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  #1  
Old 03-22-2010, 08:30 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

This is the "standard" kit. There is also another kit in "Euro" sizes (toms 8x10 and 9x12), but i went with the bigger sizes because I had heard that birch has a slightly higher pitch, and I didn't want to fight with trying to make the drums sound lower than they are meant to be tuned.

18x22 kick
6.5x14 snare
8x12 tom
9x13 tom
16x16 floor tom

APPEARANCE:

My drums have the Cobalt Blue Burst finish. One word: WOW! It is REALLY nice. Pics to follow later tonight as I'm at work right now and don't have my camera with me....
The finish is much nicer than any pics on the Gretsch website or distributor's websites. Definite plus.
One concern I have would be about bumping it with the rim of another drum.
I think I will need to take some extra precautions and set up some sort of protection method.


SOUND/HEADS:

The kit came with the Evans Coated G1's (made for Gretsch), With the exception of the bass drum heads, which are whatever the Evans equivalent of a Remo Powerstroke 3 is. One note: All pictures I had seen of the Cobalt Blue burst kits had a black with white letters reso. Mine came with White with black letters...which suits me just fine. I think it gives it more of a traditional Gretsch look.

The stock heads on the toms and snare were actually not bad at all. They gave the drums a very classic Gretsch(y) sound. Wide open... Reminded me of my fathers 67 Gretsch Champagne Sparkle kit except these were much louder.

I switched out the tom batter heads for new Remo Vintage Emperors... they really beefed them up. Nice deep tone. Much deeper than I had expected considering they are "standard depth" toms. Regardless, it took about a minute for each tom to get them tuned up and they were ready to go. Nice attack as I would expect from birch. Some nice overtones as well, but they weren't overbearing. I found 2 tuning ranges for each drum. The higher range had a bit more ring (as you would expect, but nothing that couldn't be controlled with some moon gels or the like.
The lower range needed ZERO muffling as the amount of overtones was JUST right. Any muffling would've killed it. They were perfect for the kind of music my band plays which is mostly rock-ish. Again, this could have just been the heads, but overall I was VERY pleased with the toms.

I switched out the snare head for a standard Remo Coated Emperor. Tuned it up for a minute. Sounded perfect.
The snares were pretty sensitive. Also, multiple tunings for this drum as well.
Tuned fairly tight, this drum had a good crack, but the drum didn't seem choked. This is GOOD!
Tuned medium-ish, it still had the nice crack, but was much fuller. Also good.
Tuned lower, the drum got kinda mushy and didn't really suit my taste at all. But since I would never under normal circumstances play the snare tuned this way, it just didn't matter all that much to me.
I would rate the snare definitely above average, and certainly better than what I had expected.

For the kick drum, I never even put on the stock batter (which was clear by the way). I put on an Evans GMAD with the smaller of the 2 foam rings, which is what I normally use on all of my kick drums.
This drum is the highlight of the kit for me. It is the loudest, beefiest, deepest kick drum I have EVER played, and I have played some good ones (DW's included). Kick drums can be finicky and head selection is paramount. Having said that, as I played the kit I couldn't get the smile off of my face. This thing is a monster. It has that "punch you in the chest" thump but is still very "musical?" as well.
Let me put it this way...It plays like a 22" but sounds like a 24". Deeper, lower, louder but at the same time still having 22" sensitivity. Whew... this drum alone made the kit worth it for me.

One last note on the drums themselves. As I was changing heads I did a thorough inspection of all of the bearing edges. 30 degrees on these, which is a change from the 45's on the previous model. They were flawless... which, I'm fairly certain, is one of the reasons these drums sounded so sweet (if not the main reason).


HARDWARE: Tom holder is solid and pretty easy to use. Also, I've never been a fan of isolation mounts, because they tend to become cumbersome (to me anyway). I gig a lot, and have multiple configurations I use depending on what band, gig, etc...and a lot of times I need to be able to setup very quickly. These isolation mounts were not a problem for me at all. Very user friendly.

I have also heard some former Catalina Birch owners mention their dislike for the floor tom legs. I can't say for sure, having never owned one, but it seems as though these we upgraded from the previous model. They seemed fine to me.


What else... um... oh they were only $699 from Midwest Percussion. Good grief! Gretsch could sell these for double that and they'd still be worth every penny.


I'll post pictures later tonight when I get home....

Last edited by cookedonphonics; 03-24-2010 at 05:03 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2010, 10:03 PM
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GRUNTERSDAD GRUNTERSDAD is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Congrats on the new set and welcome to the Gretsch family.
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  #3  
Old 03-23-2010, 01:15 AM
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gutenberg gutenberg is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

I just got a Catalina Club bebop kit in the new Copper Sparkle (14x18/8x12/14x14) and am impressed with it so far -- especially for only $650.
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  #4  
Old 03-23-2010, 03:24 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Here are the pics...sorry for the delay.
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  #5  
Old 03-23-2010, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

It looks wonderful. I like the two sides fade to the middle.
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  #6  
Old 03-23-2010, 05:23 PM
Mike St.Clair Mike St.Clair is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Nice kit. It's amazing how many Gretsch lovers are out there and their prices are spot on! I had this kit back in 2007 or 2006. I like your color better. Starting to make me think that these or the maples are great "budget" kits.
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  #7  
Old 03-23-2010, 06:24 PM
sodbusterjim sodbusterjim is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Hello All. My first post on the forum. Awesome looking kit there cookedonphonics. The cobalt blue is sweet. I just received the same kit only the Euro style in white pearl. I love the the overall quality of the kit but the sound has really impressed me even with the stock heads. I am just getting back into the drums for fun and relaxation so I am not an expert on drum values but my guess is it will take quite a kit to equal the value of these Gretsch Catalina Birch offerings. Great review. Sodbusterjim..
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2010, 04:28 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

sodbusterJim.... I considered the white pearl, but I already have another kit with antique white pearl, so I went for something different. That DOES look nice though.
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Great lookin kit there! Almost pulled the trigger on one..went with Stage customs instead.

nice review too!
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2010, 05:06 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlygates View Post
Great lookin kit there! Almost pulled the trigger on one..went with Stage customs instead.

nice review too!
Thanks!

ooooh... Stage Customs, huh? Nice. Considered that move myself...lol I've never heard/seen a Yamaha I didn't like.
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2010, 08:11 PM
Genius Switch Genius Switch is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Hey I just joined this forum because somebody on the Pearl Forums mentioned you bought this kit and I am very interested in buying one in the same color myself. My concern is, based on your photos, that the fade looks kind of washed-out in the middle portion. Additionally, I'm wondering how obvious the fade is without being under bright lights (or your camera's flash).

Is there any way you could post some photos of that kit, or at least one drum, in natural daylight without the flash?

Congrats on those drums though! I owned a set of first-generation Catalina Birch drums from a few years back. Mine was Caribbean Blue with clear Gretsch heads on the toms, and from my research had 6-ply shells with the 45 degree edges. One of my biggest regrets was taking them back to Guitar Center because, at the time, I was still trying to pay off a custom DW I had ordered the previous year.

Those Catalinas remain as the best sounding kit I've ever owned. I would buy that kit back in a heartbeat. I'm hoping these new Catalinas sound as good, hopefully better, than my first-gen kit.

Good luck and I hope to hear back from you soon.
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  #12  
Old 03-25-2010, 09:23 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genius Switch View Post
Hey I just joined this forum because somebody on the Pearl Forums mentioned you bought this kit and I am very interested in buying one in the same color myself. My concern is, based on your photos, that the fade looks kind of washed-out in the middle portion. Additionally, I'm wondering how obvious the fade is without being under bright lights (or your camera's flash).

Is there any way you could post some photos of that kit, or at least one drum, in natural daylight without the flash?

Congrats on those drums though! I owned a set of first-generation Catalina Birch drums from a few years back. Mine was Caribbean Blue with clear Gretsch heads on the toms, and from my research had 6-ply shells with the 45 degree edges. One of my biggest regrets was taking them back to Guitar Center because, at the time, I was still trying to pay off a custom DW I had ordered the previous year.

Those Catalinas remain as the best sounding kit I've ever owned. I would buy that kit back in a heartbeat. I'm hoping these new Catalinas sound as good, hopefully better, than my first-gen kit.

Good luck and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Thanks! I wish I'd have more time to play them, but right now I'm in the middle of dry walling the 3rd floor of my house...and I need to have it done by Monday when the carpet installers show up.

I will try to get an outdoors pic up here for you by the weekend. My camera is kinda spastic at times in regards to the flash. I actually really like the subtlety of the fade, much more so than a multiple color fade. Out of the current pics up there right now, I'd have to say the very first one is the most true to the actual finish, wheras the pic looking down on the kick drum is "flashified" I think...lol
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:56 AM
Genius Switch Genius Switch is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by cookedonphonics View Post
Thanks! I wish I'd have more time to play them, but right now I'm in the middle of dry walling the 3rd floor of my house...and I need to have it done by Monday when the carpet installers show up.

I will try to get an outdoors pic up here for you by the weekend. My camera is kinda spastic at times in regards to the flash. I actually really like the subtlety of the fade, much more so than a multiple color fade. Out of the current pics up there right now, I'd have to say the very first one is the most true to the actual finish, wheras the pic looking down on the kick drum is "flashified" I think...lol
Thanks. I look forward to a few more pics.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:03 PM
sodbusterjim sodbusterjim is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by cookedonphonics View Post
sodbusterJim.... I considered the white pearl, but I already have another kit with antique white pearl, so I went for something different. That DOES look nice though.
Getting a little more aquainted with my kit everyday. I kinda wanted that vintage old school look. Gretsch did a good job in my opinion. Sodbusterjim.
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default For Genius Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genius Switch View Post
Thanks. I look forward to a few more pics.
Here are the outdoor pics requested. It was overcast, but that might actually be better to keep some reflection down. Hope these help.
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  #16  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by sodbusterjim View Post
Getting a little more aquainted with my kit everyday. I kinda wanted that vintage old school look. Gretsch did a good job in my opinion. Sodbusterjim.
Very nice Sodbusterjim!
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  #17  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:09 AM
Genius Switch Genius Switch is offline
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

thanks for posting the outdoor pics. Can't say the fade really stands out as much as I'd like. Maybe this color isn't for me after all. Thanks for helping me out...
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  #18  
Old 12-20-2010, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

Hi everyone. I'm new here and have enjoyed reading the comments about this kit and other stuff. Nice to meet you all.

I just pulled the trigger on the standard size Catalina Birch in silver sparkle. Musician's Friend is having a crazy deal for the wrap finish ones for $499 and I just couldn't resist. When I get them I'll give my thoughts on the kit and maybe post a few pics.

But my thoughts so far with just the info available:

Gretsch seems to have addressed some of the issues that people had about the previous model. I'm very happy that this kit is 6 lugs on all mounted toms instead of 5. The mini suspension mounts looks superior to the other model and the beefier tom bracket is a plus. I have the same ones on my Club Jazz (selling that one) and it is very sturdy and functional so I'm glad to see it used on this kit. I also like the 16" floor tom (with legs) instead of a 14" in both shell packs. Good move IMO. The tom holder seems better than the one they put on the Cat maple (old) and ash kits.

I heard the kit in this video and it seems to sound pretty good, snare included. The snare seemed to be the biggest complaint about the old model so I'll let you know what I think once I have it. Though since I ordered the standard sizes the snare will be a 6.5x14 instead of a 5.5 so it might have a bit more underlying body than the one in the video. We'll see.

As far as 30 degree bearing edges instead of 45, I'll have nothing to compare it to so who knows. Maybe it took some of the attack off but I'm speculating.

I've read some complaints about the finish being delicate but since I got the wrap that is irrelevant to me. I hope the silver sparkle looks snazzy though I'm not worried. I also ordered some classic bass drum claws that I think will look better that the stock claws. It'll look more like a classic Gretsch! Got 'em here cheap.

I'm looking forward to getting this one!

Last edited by drumdevil9; 12-20-2010 at 06:06 AM. Reason: added claw change
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  #19  
Old 12-23-2010, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

I spoke too soon about the lug count. 5 on the 12 and I have to assume on the 10 as well. (I got 12-13)

My bad.
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