Gretsch Renown vs Tama Starclassic


I've narrowed my new kit choice down to these two. I have played them both side by side and loved both sounds but in different ways. The Renown's were warmer in sound but I felt they were slightly lacking in attack, the Starclassics were almost the complete opposite with quite a dry sound but plenty of volume and power. So which one, i'm keen to hear positive and negative veiws of both as it's a very difficult choice, this kit will need to last me a long time and be versatile in it's use as both a studio, and live kit.


Platinum Member
Renowns for sure great drums for the $

I agree. They can be had new for $900 or so. I love the Renowns. Nice and warm. Starclassics are much more expensive I believe, though I've never had the pleasure of sitting behind/playing them yet.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
The Renown's were warmer in sound but I felt they were slightly lacking in attack, the Starclassics were almost the complete opposite with quite a dry sound but plenty of volume and power.
That's mainly due to different bearing edges design, Gretsch (30°) will provide a warmer and softer sound while the Tama (45°) will be more agressive with more attack, it's depending much on what type of sound you prefer :)


They are both great sounding kits and in my opinion priced comparatively. I own a 7 piece Gretsch Renown set of drums and really enjoy playing the Tama Starclassic Birch/Bubinga. You can adjust the sound a bit of either by just picking the right heads and using the proper tuning, but they're still going to have their own definite personalities..



Platinum Member
I have Rockstars right next to Catalinas and the difference is enormous. Some is due to the edge and some is due to the wood. Cheaper drum comparison but same makes and edge details.

Tamas have way more attack and kick has a tight punch but catalinas have warmer, softer tone and kick has a way lower note. Same heads.


Silver Member
I'm not really a gretsch fan, so that makes my opinion kinda biased from the offset, but what I can say is that I toured a Tama SC B/B for about 3 years and it never so much as loosened a tension rod. Great sound, solid as hell, and it looked good to boot. Evans G2 over G1 on the toms sang all day long. It's the kit I regret selling, as it was awesome. More over, I've never met anyone who said they bought one and didn't like it.....


Platinum Member
Of your 2 choices, I only have experience with the Renown but I would definitely recommend it. I also love Tama. You can't lose either way.


Thanks for all the help guys. I'm starting to think the starclassics are the way to go, the slightly more powerfull sound will probably be more versatile than the mellower gretsch, especially as most of what I do is unmicked/ medium sized gigs.


Junior Member
I've owned both kits the gretsch renown & currently own a tama B/B kit. The renown kit was good though I had to make many cosmetic changes to really start liking the kit. The pros of the kit were that they sounded great once I got the tunning down...but the finishes were not consistence on each shell (ordered component drums at separate times) and I hated the fact that the 8,10 &12" drums only had 5 lugs it was difficult to tune the smaller drums to me with a odd number of lugs as opposed to an even amount of lugs. The tama starclassic B/Bs however are awesome & very easy to tune the hardware is strong & beefy, the finishes are all the same. Tama wins for me!!


Platinum Member
I think the Tama's are just a bit more robust in all aspects to the Gretsch kit. The hardware is beefier (tom mounts, lugs, bass spurs, diecast hoops, etc.), there are more sizes offered giving you more sound options, the 45 vs 30 degree bearing edge just has moor umph, there are many more finishes offered in the Tama's, etc...

I have a Tama Rockstar from the early 90's, and a Gretsch Catalina Maple from last week. Overall both are fine kits, though both are cheap beginner/intermediate kits, but the Tama just looks like it can take a bit more of a beating and last the rigors of gigging, where the Gretsch feels a bit more delicate. The Gretsch certainly looks nicer with its stained exterior vs wrapped black Tama's, but my Tamas have lived for 20 years and still look and play as well as they did the day I bought them. Short if dusting them and changing the heads, I have don't next to nothing for maintenance on the Tama kit.