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  #1  
Old 12-16-2018, 02:16 PM
Sunfish Sunfish is offline
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Default About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Hey hey...

I'm quite close to ordering a Gretsch Catalina Club jazz kit. I've done a bit of online research and have played on one several times and am pretty confident that I will enjoy owning one and adapting my playing style to fit it. Part of my research has been reading a lot of the old threads on here (which is how I came to find you and your interesting forum) and I can see they are well-liked kits and seem to be good value for money.

The reasons for my purchase (in no particular order) range from:

- I'm playing a lot more jazz / electronica beats as I get a bit older and I can feel that is where my tastes are leading me. The GCC feels like it will be a good entry-level jazz kit to get those particular sounds.

- I increasingly want to have that triangular snare-rack tom-floor tom shape close to the bass drum, and I think the smaller-sized bass drum will really help with that.

- As kits go, I think it will be light and easy to transport to practices and gigs.

- I have three young children I want to indoctrinate into our noble percussive pursuit, and a smaller kit will be easier for them to range around on.

- I'm quite a loud player and I think a smaller, more delicate kit will help me train myself out of my slight overplaying.

- Its a good-looking little kit, and the satin walnut glaze GCC in particular looks beautiful!

So: before I take the plunge and purchase one, I'd be grateful for some advice from you lot on the following points:

1. Using my criteria above, is there anything similar that I should be looking at from a competitor to Gretsch or perhaps a higher spec Gretsch kit? I'm not particularly sensitive on price so I can go a little bit higher if that would get a significantly better kit.

2. I thought I would replace all the heads with some fyber-type ones. Would that give it a nice, cushioned, jazzy sound and take off some of the reverb and volume?

3. Does anyone who have one with the smallest sized bass drum regret not getting the larger one?

4. Does the finish start to peel and fade after a few years or does it keep its looks?

Thanks for reading, people.
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  #2  
Old 12-16-2018, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I like Gretsch, I own a Grtetsch kit, but have seen and heard almost every brand and without bias will say that for the price point, and other opinions you won't be making a mistake. The drums are fine, better than fine and you will be happy for years. Have fun.
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2018, 03:40 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Those are good kits! I played one for several years, and I never played jazz, much to my dismay. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I bought one about 7 years ago now.

I am currently using Aquarian deep vintage for the batter on the toms. I do not use the snare often, instead I am using either a Gretsch copper, or a 5" Rogers metal Dynasonic. I never replaced the stock resonant heads.

On the bass drum I have an Evans with the ring. I am using a Gebraltor riser for the bass drum. The Gablator is better than stock but it doesn't hold up, I am on my third one now. I would like to find a better riser. The bass drum spurs, I can never get tight enough so they do not slip, so I use some hose clamps on the spurs like memory locks.

You will get a rash after long term use on the overhead tom mounting unless they changed it. Yes the kit is lighter, and sounds good too.

Below is an old clip using that kit, but the kit was mic'd up there. I still use that kit by the way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAUhjz7WIqw
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  #5  
Old 12-16-2018, 04:33 PM
Gottliver Gottliver is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I sold mine after a year. I found the rack tom hard to keep in tune. Maybe the 5 lugs had something to do with it. Please look at the Yamaha Stage Custom Bop Kit. Different sound, arguably higher quality build and hardware.
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2018, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I've heard both the Catalina bop and Yamaha Stage Custom bop played in a jazz context several times and I thought they both sounded fine. I tend to avoid 5-lug drums and love Yamaha hardware, but I won't deny the jazz-Gretsch connection is pretty strong.

I think either one would suit your requirements.

I would definitely try calf-style batter heads to mellow out the sound. I've tried a lot of different ones and I cannot recommend the Aquarian Vintage heads highly enough. They sound great tuned up or down, have great tone and the coating lasts forever. They now offer three thickness options but on bop-size drums I'd stick to the 1-ply versions.
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2018, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I have owned one for a year. Its the previous model with the square fittings, walnut gloss finish. Iíve played maybe 30 jazz, blues and cover band gigs on it in that time. I find the bass drum a bit weak on its own. I have an emad, and its tuned low for a rock sound. Micíd up it sounds great though, and I get compliments all the time. The rack tom has been great with an ambassador coated over clear. The floor tom was choking and buzzing until I put Gibraltar cushioned feet on the legs. Now it sounds meaty and full with a coated emperor batter and a clear ambassador reso. Can tune up for jazz, down for rock, slunding really good and lively.

Iíve never liked the snare though. Iíve tried a few different heads, top and bottom, and it always sounds a bit harsh and tinny to me. Iíve heard other people play the kit and it sounds OK, but up close it annoys me. Iím happiest with a higher tuning on the snare - seems to suit the shallow, thin shell.

Overall, Iím very happy with the kit. I would also recommend the Yamaha too. Birch shells, better hardware (wing nuts which grip more easily, etc.) but only six lugs on the bass drum.
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Another vote for the Yamaha Bebop kit.
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2018, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I also like the fit and finish of the Yamaha better. I was an early adopter of the Catalina, but also own a Gretsch USA kit and thereís a big difference between the two, quality-wise.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2018, 06:47 PM
joseraulpenaleo@gmail.com joseraulpenaleo@gmail.com is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Hi,
IDo you know where can i find a 16" floor tom for my Gretsch Renown set in autumn burst finish?

Regards,

Jose
joseraulpenaleo@gmail.com
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2018, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I had a Yamaha Stage Custom kit but it was in the larger fusion sizes. Out of the box it would be the wrong sound for your goal. and it was not ideal for my style either. The quality is amazing, but the bass drums are just too deep, I think mine was 17" deep for 20" heads. 14" would be enough. The birch sound was a bit too intense for my ear.

Now I have a Gretsch USA Custom. Much more expensive, and the sound is purely delicious. But the hardware was nicer on the cheap Yamaha. I have not so far had any problems with the 5 lug 12" tom detuning.

So your dilemma is, the Catalinas will last okay if you take care of them, but the Stage Customs will be top quality on a budget. Sound versus stuff. If you go with the Cats, let the bass drum sing, and it will be plenty loud.
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  #12  
Old 12-16-2018, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

The Stage Custom bop kit's bass drum is 18x15. I recently got to try the Gretsch kit and I liked that bass drum better.
The toms sound good on both of them. The Yamaha comes with coated heads that don't really need changing right away.
They also tune up high nicely, and the coating seems to reduce the brightness/harshness compared to the other Stage Custom heads.
The Yamaha bop kit is also very light.
Haven't owned the Gretsch, so I can't comment on the heads.
The Yamaha is 3 pc. and the Gretsch comes with a snare, if that matters.

About your #3 - I've had several 18" bass drums, and currently have one now.
But if I were buying a kit now, I'd go with a 20" over the 18".
If you use a riser with the 18, they're the same height, so there's no advantage there.
What you lose is a much more flexible range of sound by going with an 18 over a 20.

About your #1 - If you do really want to go with an 18, and can go a little higher in price in the Gretsch line,
you might want to consider something like this: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...r-oyster-pearl
I don't have one, but the Renowns seem to have a good reputation.
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  #13  
Old 12-16-2018, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
I'm not particularly sensitive on price so I can go a little bit higher if that would get a significantly better kit.
If that is truly the case, you should definitely look at something better. The Catalina drums are inferior in every way. They're great for a second kit, or a practice kit, but their sound will not inspire you. I had a set a few years ago, and while they sounded "okay", they didn't sound good enough for me.

If you want Gretsch, then get real American-made Gretsch. If you get USA Custom in satin finish, they're comparable to Brooklyn as far as price goes. If those are too expensive, and you still want Gretsch, go for the Renown.

If you can't find a great deal on a used set at Reverb.com, look into new Gretsch, Yamaha, or Canopus.
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2018, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Take a look at all the traditional bop-size kits as well. (18X14 bass, 14X14 floor, 12X8 rack) There are a plethora of these in every imaginable price range.
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2018, 09:48 PM
incrementalg incrementalg is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

The Gretsch Renown bop kits look and sound great. A 3 piece will cost you around $1,100 new. Probably twice the cost of the cats, but my experience is theyíre better built with better hardware all around.
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  #16  
Old 12-17-2018, 01:49 AM
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Chunkaway Chunkaway is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I had a Gretsch Catalina kit that I bought in the summer of 2017 and sold in the summer of 2018.

Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, stayed in tune quite a while, finish looked nice

Cons: One dimensional due to small tuning range, the 12" tom sucked- one usable tuning, fragile finish, unusable snare drum


I bought this kit (20/12/14/16 with the matching snare) as a practice kit, but I wound up using it for a few different things. Overall this kit was fine. It was inexpensive and functional, which is a great combination. The finish (natural satin) was nice - nothing too fancy by any means, but understated.

I was greatly impressed by how lightweight the drums were and by how long they stayed in tune. For this price point, those things are nice to see.

These drums had a small functional tuning range, which was right in the middle of the spectrum. Anytime I tuned the drums up or down, the drums choked or became "flappy" sounding. Because of this, I would not call these drums "bop" drums. The 12" tom was particularly a problem when it came to tuning. For my drums, the 12" tom had a VERY small tuning range, regardless of heads. Because of this, I would not recommend the Fiberskyn heads, as those typically need to go a bit higher, tuning wise. I found coated Ambassadors to be the heads which worked best with my drum.

I used these for a while, but in the end I just found them lacking in too many areas, so I sold them. I wound up biting the bullet and getting a Ludwig Classic Maple, which is a LOT more money but the sonic improvements were quite significant.

Last edited by Chunkaway; 12-17-2018 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Guys you're doing this wrong.

The OP announced that he is looking at a Gretsch kit; please ensure that recommendations are for every brand EXCEPT Gretsch.

Bonus points if you recommend a kit that you have never played.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Guys you're doing this wrong.

The OP announced that he is looking at a Gretsch kit
Except he said this:

Quote:
is there anything similar that I should be looking at from a competitor to Gretsch
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
2. I thought I would replace all the heads with some fyber-type ones. Would that give it a nice, cushioned, jazzy sound and take off some of the reverb and volume?
Good idea to replace stock heads but fiberskyns will have no less volume or reverb. Volume is how hard you hit, and reverb somewhat depends on the room you play in. I'd suggest just basic 1 or 2 ply batters heads. Good luck, you will love it.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by evolving_machine View Post
a Gebraltor [...] The Gablator
Yup, you need Gebraltor or Gablator hardware for this kit (sorry for being a prick, EM, but I LOL’d at these spellings).
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I'm a massive Gretsch-head who owns two Renown kits and two Brooklyn snares (and am contemplating either a Brooklyn or a USA Custom for my next kit), and I have to say that I absolutely cannot recommend anything from the Catalina line. The shells, even their maple shells, are made from very cheap wood, which provides limited tuning range and only a so-so sound at best (and that's with great heads and expert tuning skills). But that's not even the worst part. It's the crap hardware they slap on those shells, which just feels cheap and has a tendency to break--especially the lugs. Here's how I know.

Last year, I needed an 18" bass drum for my Renown kit for some jazz gigs I was doing. A new 18" Renown was nearly $700, and I couldn't find a used one. But I did find a used Catalina bop kit at a local music store, and I was able to talk them down to $240 for the whole kit. As I only needed the bass drum, I recovered it to match my Renowns, and fixed up the toms and snare to sell them off. Two of the lugs were already busted when I bought the kit (that's how I was able to get them for so cheap), and as I was putting the drums back together after disassembling and cleaning them, two other lugs broke. But fortunately, I was able to find similar looking lugs that fit the hole spacing. Come to think of it, when I sold the Catalina snare, the guy who bought it said he used to have the same snare... and his lugs had busted. Why he wanted another one is beyond me. This just shows that the Catalina lugs are absolute garbage. And to be honest, I'm not crazy about the 18" bass. While it worked for what I needed it for and was essentially free once I sold off the other drums, it just doesn't have the sound I'm looking for. I'll probably sell it and buy an 18" Renown at some point.

I also have experience with a Yamaha Stage Custom bop kit, which I bought a few years ago when I needed a cheap jazz kit. And they're everything the Catalinas aren't. The birch shells sing at a reasonably wide tuning range (they're best at mid to high tunings, but can handle mid-low tuning as well). And the hardware is a night and day difference from the Catalinas. My only complaint are the number of lugs on the bass drum and floor tom. It's really more of an aesthetic thing, as they sound great. But they'd look so much more professional with the correct number of lugs. If you can get over that, I'd highly recommend these over the Catalinas, for about the same price.

If you can pay more, then Renowns or any higher level of Gretsch absolutely gets my vote.

Last edited by TK-421; 12-17-2018 at 11:01 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-18-2018, 11:18 PM
Sunfish Sunfish is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Thanks for all the replies, people. A lot of food for thought and much appreciated. I'm going to delay my purchase for a few weeks and have a look at the Yamaha Stage Custom in bop sizes, plus the Gretsch Renown.

I completely agree that the quality of the GCC hardware is a bit unsatisfactory and I was a little surprised at how flimsy it felt when I tried adjusting the rack tom on a GCC in a shop recently. My main kit is a Pearl BRX Masters Studio and the hardware on that is super-sturdy. I don't need a new snare so, as someone said below, it would have been preferable for me if Gretsch had put some of the cost of the snare into making the other drums and the hardware a little more solid.

Two new questions:

Is the quality of the Gretsch Renown hardware significantly better than that of the Catalina Club?

Is the Yamaha Stage Custom just as good as the Gretsch Renown, but just doesn't have that Gretsch logo on the front?

Cheers all.

Last edited by Sunfish; 12-18-2018 at 11:32 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-18-2018, 11:30 PM
incrementalg incrementalg is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Thanks for all the replies, people. A lot of food for thought and much appreciated. I'm going to delay my purchase for a few weeks and have a look at the Yamaha Stage Custom in bop sizes, plus the Gretsch Renown.

I completely agree that the quality of the GCC hardware is a bit unsatisfactory and I was a little surprised at how flimsy it felt when I tried adjusting the rack tom on a GCC in a shop recently. I don't need a new snare so, as someone said below, it would have been preferable for me if Gretsch had put some of the cost of the snare into making the other drums and the hardware a little more solid.

Two new questions:

Is the quality of the Gretsch Renown hardware significantly better than that of the Catalina Club?

Is the Yamaha Stage Custom just as good as the Gretsch Renown, but just doesn't have that Gretsch logo on the front?

Cheers all.
I can answer the first question...Yes, the Renown hardware is significantly better than the Cats. From the lugs, to the mounts to the hoops...everything is higher quality.

I don't have much experience with Stage Customs, but there must be a reason for all the praise. As for better than the Renown? I think the Renown is more substantial feeling and has a different tone...maple vs. birch. If your comfortable at both price points, just go with which set inspires you most. (I'm a Gretch guy, so I'd go Gretsch...just because I love the tone, feel and look of em)
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I've owned both Stage Customs and Gretsch Renowns. Renown is AT LEAST one step up in quality. If somebody told me I had to play a renown kit and only a renown kit the rest of my life, that wouldn't bother me all that much. I can't say the same about the Stage Custom. Get the renown. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:49 PM
dwdrummerky dwdrummerky is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Second the Renown suggestion.

I owned a set of Catalina Jazz in WMP. Really can't think of anything good to say about them. They felt and sounded cheap. IMO, nothing resembling a real Gretsch in looks, but especially sound. I tried and tried with them to no avail and sold them. I would compare them to a Pearl forum series, SPL, Sawtooth honestly.

Last year I was needing a small jazz kit and got the Renown 18,12,14. Superb in every way. Sounds like a Gretsch. Great build and hardware.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Thanks for all the replies, people. A lot of food for thought and much appreciated. I'm going to delay my purchase for a few weeks and have a look at the Yamaha Stage Custom in bop sizes, plus the Gretsch Renown. .
Go check the Tama Superstar Jazz.. very nice shells.. and they don't subtract number of lugs on the kick to make it look like a kiddie toy like the Yamaha does. These are maple.

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Old 12-19-2018, 12:04 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VitalTransformation View Post
Yup, you need Gebraltor or Gablator hardware for this kit (sorry for being a prick, EM, but I LOLíd at these spellings).
It is ok, I know some of my handicaps. spelling is one of them. Really, I knew it was wrong, but couldn't get to another web site to check the spelling.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
....
Is the Yamaha Stage Custom just as good as the Gretsch Renown, but just doesn't have that Gretsch logo on the front? ....

Cheers all.

I would have to say no to this one. The Renowns are more than twice the price of the Yamaha bop kit.
I'd say it's fair to compare the Yamaha bop to the GCC.

If you're going to compare a Yamaha kit to the Renowns, the closest price match would be the Yamaha Tour Custom Maples.
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  #29  
Old 12-19-2018, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post

Two new questions:

Is the quality of the Gretsch Renown hardware significantly better than that of the Catalina Club?
Yes. Night and day difference. Renowns use the exact same lugs and shell hardware as the USA-made lines, which means die-cast lugs, heavy-duty 302 hoops, etc. All with excellent chrome plating. Of course all this heavy hardware means the drums themselves are heavy, but that doesn't really bother me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Is the Yamaha Stage Custom just as good as the Gretsch Renown, but just doesn't have that Gretsch logo on the front?
No. Stage Customs are fantastic for the price, the lack of lugs on the 18" and 14" not withstanding. But the Renowns are in a different league, which is reflected in the price differential.

If you want to stay in the same ballpark as the Catalinas, you can't go wrong with Stage Customs. But if you can afford it, Renowns are the way to go. Or Brooklyns, but those are even more expensive. Renowns should be more than enough.
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  #30  
Old 12-19-2018, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Interesting thread.

I picked up a Catalina Club Jazz kit in bop sizes a few months ago, and I haven't been disappointed with it in the least, with maybe the exception that the 14x14 floor tom was a bit finicky at first, but that was probably due to the fact that I'm trying to tune it maybe a bit too low.

I will say that I was on the fence between that and the Yamaha Stage Custom bop kit. I opted for the Gretch for 2 simple reasons:

1.) Mahogany (or whatever Gretsch is using and calling mahogany) vs birch - darker, vs a brighter, punchier sound
2.) Colors - I liked the Crimson burst of the Gretch - dumb I know, but I wanted a certain aesthetic

I only bought the 3 drums - the kick, the 12" tom, and the 14" floor tom, so I have no thoughts about the matching snare because that's not what I use.

I put an EMAD on the kick, and I'm using Vintage Emperors on the toms. Honestly, the kit sounds bigger than it is - the kick has enough punch and depth, and the toms sound pretty good.

I got this kit with the idea of culling a bit of volume from a full-sized kit for use in a smaller church in a traditional sanctuary setting, and for that, it seems to work pretty well.

With all of that said, I think I'd have been perfectly happy with the Yamaha, and maybe happier about certain aspects of it, such as the hardware.
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  #31  
Old 12-20-2018, 08:19 AM
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drumdevil9 drumdevil9 is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

I have a Cat Club Jazz and gig with it often. I think it sounds great but the caveat is that I got it used for a few hundred dollars. And I made a few mods to make the kit better suit my needs. First, stock heads are garbage especially the bass head. But that's expected on a kit in this price range. Resos are ok but I changed them too.

That poor excuse for a suspension mount is also garbage. The tom needs a full RIMS style mount to sing right. Floating floor tom feet on the legs are helpful. With those mods the kit is great. I haven't experienced the sound/tuning difficulties that others have described but our ears are all different. I have better snares so I use those. The Catalina snare is on my practice kit.

That being said I'm not sure I would recommend buying a new one. That Tama up there sure is sweet.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:17 AM
Sunfish Sunfish is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Thought I'd update you all with my final decision...

After a lot of trying out drums over Christmas I went for the... Yamaha stage custom with the 18 inch kick. Everything about it feels much more substantial than the Catalina Club, and the natural wood finish is nothing less than playable art. It's a joy to play on and I'm really happy with my choice. I'm working on the tuning now, but will stick with the stock Remos it came with for the time being. I can see there are a lot of mentions of Stage Customs on here and when the time comes to replace the heads I'll know where to come for some advice.

As an aside, I nearly opted for a Tama Silverstar Custom in the beautiful blue lacquer finish, and another contender after a try-out in London over Christmas was a Natal cafe racer bop kit. The latter might have been the final kit if they'd had a natural wood finish available. The Gretsch Renown was a strong early leader but after visiting a lot of drum shops during the holidays I realised I would probably want some new cymbals too in due course so I thought I would bank the difference. No regrets, but after playing on two I can understand the Renown love on here.

Thanks for your advice, a lot of it stayed with me when I was trying out kits and proved useful. I know the Yamaha is not the most adventurous of choices but I can see exactly why it is such a perennial favourite. Thank you to those who steered me in that direction.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:23 PM
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Morrisman Morrisman is offline
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Default Re: About to buy a Gretsch Catalina Club kit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfish View Post
Thought I'd update you all with my final decision...

After a lot of trying out drums over Christmas I went for the... Yamaha stage custom with the 18 inch kick. Everything about it feels much more substantial than the Catalina Club, and the natural wood finish is nothing less than playable art. It's a joy to play on and I'm really happy with my choice. I'm working on the tuning now, but will stick with the stock Remos it came with for the time being. I can see there are a lot of mentions of Stage Customs on here and when the time comes to replace the heads I'll know where to come for some advice.

As an aside, I nearly opted for a Tama Silverstar Custom in the beautiful blue lacquer finish, and another contender after a try-out in London over Christmas was a Natal cafe racer bop kit. The latter might have been the final kit if they'd had a natural wood finish available. The Gretsch Renown was a strong early leader but after visiting a lot of drum shops during the holidays I realised I would probably want some new cymbals too in due course so I thought I would bank the difference. No regrets, but after playing on two I can understand the Renown love on here.

Thanks for your advice, a lot of it stayed with me when I was trying out kits and proved useful. I know the Yamaha is not the most adventurous of choices but I can see exactly why it is such a perennial favourite. Thank you to those who steered me in that direction.
Thanks for posting - its nice to hear an update and discover what you ended up doing. The school where I teach has five Stage Custom kits, different eras, and they all sound good, especially with coated heads.
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