Bop kit...Gretsch vs. Tama vs. Sonor ?

EcnivZeud

Member
Hi guys, I'm new on this forum! Maybe some of you know some precious informations about what I'm looking for: I wonder what would be the best choice between the following bop-sized kits 18", 12", 14" (pictures just for illustrative purpose):

  • Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz, in Walnut Glaze :

  • Tama Silverstar Jazz in Dark Mocha Fade at an unbeatable price (only played once...) :

  • Sonor Force 3007 in White Sparkle -- I've got a great deal on 3 toms (12, 14, 18), among which a 18x16" floor tom to be converted into a bass drum:
I play currently on a vintage Premier (BD 20", TT 14", FT 16") but I really want a 18" bass drum, as I'm more and more into hard bop playing. So I want to sell this old kit, + I have a comfortable budget besides but don't want to spend it all in a drumset that I won't keep long (I will move in one year and probably will upgrade at this moment). To say money is not a limiting parameter, but I'd like not to spend more than ~ 850€ or $. And I like a set I could resell easily.
I will keep my Gretsch New Classic snare that I really like, though I'd like something a bit less loud ideally, and my beloved Istanbul Cymbal (among which a fabulous Agop ride 22" SE Tony Williams!).

  • I played the Gretsch Cat's in my local music store and really like the feeling I had when I played it. Although the sound was really kind of mellow to me, with really very little attack it had a good vintage round sound I liked, with lots of harmonics!
    On the other hand I don't like the tom holder nor the 5 lugs on the small tom, it seems hard to tune.
  • I never tried the Silverstar and it is not available in my local music stores, but I already have some Tama hardware I really like (a Speed Cobra pedal and an Iron Cobra HiHat, and a good hydraulic throne for my butt ;-). Reviews on the net are very positive, and I have a very good deal currently, so I wonder if any of you have tried it?
  • I never tried neither the Force 3007, and I'm not so keen of this sparkling white finish, but I have to admit I really like Sonor, since the first drumkit I played was an awesome Hilite from my teacher.... All the videos on the web gives a very good sound of the 3007s, and the other best drumkit I ever played was a Yamaha Maple Custom, also in maple then.
    The cons for the Sonor would be that I would need to convert it into a bass drum (need to buy wood hoops, convert kit etc.), but on the pros side I'd like to have a 16" deep bass drum.

Any advice or comment on these? Anybody tried them?
 
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drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I only have experience with the Catalina Club Jazz. I like it a lot. Five lugs can be weird at first but you get used to it. It doesn't come with real G1's any more so the heads are crap. Keep that in mind as you try them.

Many here love the Sonor. They get consistently good reviews.

There have been some mentioning issues with the BD lift on the Tama putting the pedal too far from the head. Otherwise seems to sound great.

There's also the Yamaha and the Mapex that you didn't mention. They seem pretty great too.

An aside: I don't know who started this budget bop sizes thing (Gretsch?) but it sure is working.
 
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EcnivZeud

Member
I only have experience with the Catalina Club Jazz. I like it a lot. Five lugs can be weird at first but you get used to it. It doesn't come with real G1's any more so the heads are crap. Keep that in mind as you try them.

Many here love the Sonor. They get consistently good reviews.

There have been some mentioning issues with the BD lift on the Tama putting the pedal too far from the head. Otherwise seems to sound great.

There's also the Yamaha and the Mapex that you didn't mention. They seem pretty great too.

An aside: I don't know who started this budget bop sizes thing (Gretsch?) but it sure is working.
Yeah, I also leaned towards Mapex and the Yamaha Tour Custom, but it would take long to order and I do have great deals on the aforementioned sets... let's focus on these ;-)
I also thought to the Stage Custom bop kit, but I already have the previous version by my parents, in fusion size (I play them 15 days a year). I don't like them so much, they lack sustain IMO. Maybe the new full birch model is better to that respect?

+ Yes it was a brilliant marketing idea to launch budget bop kit... but now the manufacturers certainly already regret it! (I wonder what are their margins on such cheap products)...
 
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bobdadruma

Platinum Member
The Cat Jazz is a good kit, I don't care for the tom mount on the Cat.
I have no problem with a 5 lug tom. I have owned a 5 lug tom since 1974.
The Tama SiverStar kit is OK, nothing spectacular. The extra tom mount can hold a splash cymbal with the right holder attachment.
The Mapex is really nice.
The Sonor Bop has a not so good snare but the rest of the kit is fine.
The Taye kit is also really cool. The Studio Maple is great.
 

EcnivZeud

Member
The Cat Jazz is a good kit, I don't care for the tom mount on the Cat.
I have no problem with a 5 lug tom. I have owned a 5 lug tom since 1974.
The Tama SiverStar kit is OK, nothing spectacular. The extra tom mount can hold a splash cymbal with the right holder attachment.
The Mapex is really nice.
The Sonor Bop has a not so good snare but the rest of the kit is fine.
The Taye kit is also really cool. The Studio Maple is great.
Well, I was talking about a modified force 3007 full maple shell set, not quite the same as their budget so-called Bop kit (BTW, curiously not available here in Europe, even in Germany where I live!)

The traditional 5 lugs on the old Gretsch die cast hoops sure works fine... not that sure with 1.6mm flanged hoops.
 
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EcnivZeud

Member
Actually, I'd like to have impressions from people who tried at least 2 of these models (I can find the specs everywhere...)
Especially between the new Tama Silverstar and the Gretsch Catalina. And the 3007 ;-)
What prevents me to jump on the Silverstar or the force 3007 bargain is the sound of the Catalina, I found it really had some nice Mojo, very warm and pleasant tone, added to the fact that I never tried one these latter drums! I don't know though if the Gretsch would cut enough in a band with a double bass and how it would blend with my cymbals, which have a lot of warm harmonics too. Anyway, why a Mahogany tree would be less respectable than a Maple tree or a Birch tree?? Aren't they all beautiful trees! In which extent is Mahogany sooo different from Bubinga, sonically speaking? They are both high density grade woods.
To come back to my preoccupations, I also found a good bargain on a Sonor force 3007 set, but with an 10" tom instead of the 12", do you think it would do the job? (it has a 18x16 bass drum!)
I'm really hesitating btw. ordering one of these sets I haven't tried or jumping to my music store to buy this Catalina.
Besides, has anyone tried the Mapex Saturn?
Thx for any input!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Wow. I've actually owned and played all three of those and can be of some assistance!

Suffice to say, they're all about in the same price range, so I think they're all about the same. However, I didn't like where Tama put the bass drum pedal lift mount (it's permanently attached to the drum and sticks out about 2" too far) and mine had the pearl covering bubbling, so that one went back. You're correct in thinking the Gretsch has a certain bit of mojo - it does. But I was nit-picky and didn't like the 5-lug 12" tom, and the bass drum sounded a bit "small" to me. When I had the Sonor 3007 - these I felt were the best. Even on the Safari kits, a 16" deep bass drum totally helps with getting a little more "umph" from the smaller diameter bass drum. And I was very impressed with the 3007 snare - very versatile. The provided tom mounts on all three are great, and the spurs on the Gretsch are probably the most generic (the standard Pearl-type). But the snares on both the Tama and Gretsch are pretty good as well (you'll get one with either of those). I don't recommend the snare that comes with either or Sonor's Safari or Bop kits. Not sure if you're getting one with the 3007s.
 

EcnivZeud

Member
Many thanks for your comment. There's certainly a solution to this design fault on the Tama's BD riser. What about the sound it delivers? I'm personally not such a big fan of birch sound....too bright... but maybe that Silverstar with its thin shell is warmer and more responsive than other kits in this price range.

I also find that 15" or 16" depth deliver a much more pleasant bass drum sustain, despite the fact it takes more room on the stage (sometimes critical). So Sonor 3007 might be the best option. But I think I'll need a psychologic period to get adapted to this disco white sparkle finish... I'm more into good ol'school natural laquers like the two other ones.
Did anyone encounter problems when converting a floor tom into a bass drum? I would go for wood hoops, I hate the odd look of a tom with its steel hoop as a bass drum.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Many thanks for your comment. There's certainly a solution to this design fault on the Tama's BD riser. What about the sound it delivers? I'm personally not such a big fan of birch sound....too bright... but maybe that Silverstar with its thin shell is warmer and more responsive than other kits in this price range.

I also find that 15" or 16" depth deliver a much more pleasant bass drum sustain, despite the fact it takes more room on the stage (sometimes critical). So Sonor 3007 might be the best option. But I think I'll need a psychologic period to get adapted to this disco white sparkle finish... I'm more into good ol'school natural laquers like the two other ones.
Did anyone encounter problems when converting a floor tom into a bass drum? I would go for wood hoops, I hate the odd look of a tom with its steel hoop as a bass drum.
Regarding the Tama riser, I was a little miffed by the fact that I either a) had to re-drill the drum to put it where I wanted it, b) go without it, or c) purchase the Gibraltar clamp-on riser.

a) I shouldn't have to do that, and kill my chance for the 30-day return if something else came up (which did when the wrap bubbled)
b) Going without it then made the drum lose its "umph"
c) Another $30 is another $30 I shouldn't have to spend.

Sonor makes a much better riser for it's small bass drums - they're adjustable. The Tama Silverstars don't sound bad at all. Like any drum, if you can tune you should be OK. I think in the end, I just turned off the idea of having a bass drum smaller than 20". I much prefer having the available voices from one drum. I don't have a space limitation when I go out to play (in my current gig I don't use the bass drum at all). So I continue to use my 20, and have a Pearl Export to practice on with a 22.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
Actually, I'd like to have impressions from people who tried at least 2 of these models (I can find the specs everywhere...)
Especially between the new Tama Silverstar and the Gretsch Catalina. And the 3007 ;-)
What prevents me to jump on the Silverstar or the force 3007 bargain is the sound of the Catalina, I found it really had some nice Mojo, very warm and pleasant tone, added to the fact that I never tried one these latter drums! I don't know though if the Gretsch would cut enough in a band with a double bass and how it would blend with my cymbals, which have a lot of warm harmonics too. Anyway, why a Mahogany tree would be less respectable than a Maple tree or a Birch tree?? Aren't they all beautiful trees! In which extent is Mahogany sooo different from Bubinga, sonically speaking? They are both high density grade woods.
To come back to my preoccupations, I also found a good bargain on a Sonor force 3007 set, but with an 10" tom instead of the 12", do you think it would do the job? (it has a 18x16 bass drum!)
I'm really hesitating btw. ordering one of these sets I haven't tried or jumping to my music store to buy this Catalina.
Besides, has anyone tried the Mapex Saturn?
Thx for any input!
Has anyone tried the Mapex Saturn! Well let me tell you. I sure have. :) To me it is the best sounding kit on the market, and the price is fantastic compared to other professional kits out there. I have to be careful in case my buddy is reading this, but he just got a very, very, did I mention, very expensive Tama Babinga Elite 6 piece kit new and they look beautiful, but they sure don't sound three times as good as my Saturn's. They came with Evans heads which him and I can't wait to change. Until he does I will hold off on my opinion of them. :)
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I am kind of partial to this little kit. I built it out of spare Saturn drums I had laying around. Small size but big professional sound. :)

18 x 16 floor tom converted to a bass drum
14 x 12 floor tom
10 x 8 tom
13 x 6 snare

 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
Nice little kit! I think the black hoops on the "kick" distract from the fact that it's not a bass drum. I didn't notice til I read the post. Did you have the extra spurs or did you have to buy them?
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
What prevents me to jump on the Silverstar or the force 3007 bargain is the sound of the Catalina, I found it really had some nice Mojo, very warm and pleasant tone
Yeah it does have a certain Mojo. It's got a nice tone and responds well to different head selection. Just a good all around kit to own. I love playing it.
 

Vibes

Junior Member
I own a Sonor Safari and a Gretsch Catalina Jazz kit. Love them both.
The Sonor's can kick butt and the Gretsch has a nice mellow sound. Peaches and Pears.
Here are my Jazz Cat's. I have only seen a Blue Pearl type finish once in a English shop on the net and it was not exactly like this. I have never seen a wrap exactly like this. It has a lot of depth and like a Blue Pearl black tiger stripe?? They are beautiful. The pic does not do them justice. I will never sell them. I know the guy I bought them from got them at Resurection Drums in Miami. I was in there last month and they remembered the set. The only one they have seen too. They are in mint condition and I treat them with kid gloves.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Those are great looking. I have never seen that color either. I also like the to-scale size port hole in the bass drum. Perfect.
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
Nice little kit! I think the black hoops on the "kick" distract from the fact that it's not a bass drum. I didn't notice til I read the post. Did you have the extra spurs or did you have to buy them?
I had the extra spurs from a warranty issue on another kick. I now have white hoops on as well.
 
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