Catalina Club or vintage Pearl Exports


Junior Member
I’ve done my research. Saved my money. Worked real hard for it. It’ll be my first real kit so I don’t have to go to my cousins anymore to practice.

Please give me advice as to which may be best.

Found two real clean sets both at same price. A 1988 pearl export in beyond excellent shape from original owner with 80’s zildjian 20 ride and Hi hat cymbals and hardware.

The other set is a 2012 galaxy black sparkle Catalina Club Jazz. In good shape, but not excellent. It’s been through several owners. Only comes with a newer Istanbul xist hi hat 14 inch and all hardware. I’d have to buy a crash/ride.

I’m torn between. The Pearls are like eye candy. The Gretsch I think are higher quality, but will need heads and I have to purchase at least a crash/ride.

I’d appreciate any input to steer me in the right direction.


Platinum Member
Without knowing details about the Export I would say those two kits are at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Many drummers have started their careers on both.

The 80s Zildjian ride and hats could be great cymbals or they could be Scimitars. We would need more info on those. Exports of that era likely have power toms and positioning could be difficult, or not depending on how you like things set up.

What kind of music are you playing or do you want to play? Are you planning on gigging?

If I had to choose right now off of the info provided I would go with the Cat Jazz, and that's knowing that I don't like them very much. Im fine with a smaller kick and I can't stand Pearl's tom mounts or arms. I started on a Pearl Forum and I still hold no nostalgia for those ridiculous tom arms or mounts.

You will have to purchase heads eventually anyway so that's not a factor I would consider.

Also, your used prices may differ from mine. In my area would not have to pay more than $400 for either outfit.


Junior Member
I made a typo. They are both being sold at $600.

I don’t plan on giggling, just a hobby I like to do at home. My style music is the bebop jazz area all the way to zeppelin. I’m pretty sure those 80s cymbals hi hat and ride are Scimitars.

I’m leaning towards the gretsch. At least I’d have the Istanbul xist 14 hats and could get a nice k ride to get started.

Thanks for your feedback.


Senior Member
Where are you located? There should be some better options nearby. $600 would be considered steep for either of those kits around here.

If you HAVE to choose between these two, take the Catalinas. I hate the Pearl tom mounts.


Platinum Member
If you are in the USA, there are better deals to be had IMO. Without pics or anything, I'd say go for the Catalinas. I also can't stand Pearl mounts.
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Platinum Member
Another vote for the Catalina. My mate had one of the rock kits with the 26 bass drum, it was a great kit.

Hardware on older Pearls can be questionable. Probably power toms as well from that era. I have a phobia of old Exports, the scourge of rehearsal rooms/colleges growing up.

Get some Zildjian As 2nd hand, easily gettable at a good price.


"Uncle Larry"
With all due respect, I don't like either choice. I'd keep looking. Did someone say Yamaha Stage Custom??

Cat Clubs have 5 lug tuning on the racks. Drives me insane. YMMV.

Older Pearls are best avoided, JMO. Some sound really bad.

You can get much better quality for the same price.

Used hardware you can get for a song. I wouldn't even factor in the hardware or the cymbals in the decision. Just get really good drums for now. Old exports don't qualify IMO. Cat Clubs would be a more satisfying tone IMO.

If your mind is fully made up, I'd go Cat clubs. They will likely sound much better.

But my suggestion is to look for Stage Customs. Heck a brand new set is $649.


Silver Member
With all due respect, I don't like either choice. I'd keep looking. Did someone say Yamaha Stage Custom??
But my suggestion is to look for Stage Customs. Heck a brand new set is $649.
The whole way reading through this thread, that's pretty much exactly what I was thinking.

Some people like to buy something used because there is an idea that they are getting a deal on something. I do that too in certain situations - I recently picked up a fantastic Sig 226 Mk 25 for less than $800 that was barely used before the guy decided it was too big for his small hands. (Seriously - it reminded me of the Burger King commercial and the guy with the tiny hands.) The Mk 25 is a top-of-the-line Cadillac, but I digress.

Getting back to the subject, in this case, when looking at two kits that are marketed at a point that's just a step up from entry level, I'd want a deal that's a bit better than that, and unless the deal was just silly-good, I'd save a few bucks and get a brand new set of Yamaha Stage Customs. They are uncommonly good for the price.

On another semi-related note, I recently bought a brand new set of Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz drums in bop sizes (18x14 kick drum) and in hindsight, kind of wish that I'd have gone with the Yamaha bob kit instead. (I was on the fence between those two) I wanted the comparatively darker lower tone of the mahogany with the Gretsch though. My chief complaint has been the 14x14 floor tom, which can sound a little bad if it's not tuned just right. It's something I have to address about once a week, although that could be in part to how low I have it tuned - my tension settings would be more appropriate for a 16" tom.

Mike Stand

Silver Member
I think you'll likely find a better deal if you try to buy the drums and cymbals seperately. Sometimes people package these things together in a bid to make it look like a good deal when in fact they're trying to cut their losses.

Although, like Larry, I can't stand the 5 instead of 6 lugs on the small tom, I still bought a new Catalina because I got a BIG discount on the last remaining set when an online vendor was having a clearout. Second-hand those kits should sell for next to peanuts. There's just so many of them around.

Also, the Yamaha option is always good to consider if one is available for a good price.

As for the export, a set from the '80s in very good condition? I know they are well regarded for "cheap" drums but I find it hard to believe that they have remained completely unblemished throughout all this time.


Junior Member
I really appreciate the feedback. I think the unanimous opinion is save a bit more for better quality. $600 is a lot of money (To me at least!). I see a lot of shell packs but never hardware itself. I assume that’s due to people keeping the hardware once they upgrade their set. Good investment. I may look at going this route and getting a nice hardware kit. My cousin has the Ludwig atlas hardware and I see it retailing for $350. I’ll probably look into that. I do believe that in the long run you really get what you pay for.