Has Gretch quality decreased? We’re Gretch drums sold to another company?

RevWrona

Senior Member
Hello all,

I was at a jazz jam the other day; myself and other drummers were talking about the Gretch Catalina Bop kit. One of the guys said that the quality has diminished since they got sold. I’ve looked up some info and they were sold to Baldwin Piano co. In 1967. Bought back by a Gretch family member back in 1985. In 2000 they made an agreement with Kaman music but it looks they’re still owned by Gretch. Does anyone know if my information is wrong or does it look like my buddy was wrong?

Scott
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I I am pretty sure that drum Workshop bought Gretsch a few years ago. I do not own any Gretsch drums but just judging from looking at them in the stores and online and reading what their owners have said about them recently oh, I would have to say that their quality has not dropped. They look and sound like very fine musical instruments to me
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
DW got them a new wrapping machine. That's what the most complaints were about 10 since 10-15 years ago.. From most accounts quality is better. I'd did just heard a horror story about a snare, but that being said, I've heard stories about most major companies. It's how you're dealt with after that's the main thing.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
If you were discussing the Catalina Kit, its worth considering that these are made in Taiwan, and sell for a fraction of the price ofthe USA kits. So if someone thought the quality had dropped, its because you were looking at a Catalina, almost the cheapest model Gretsch sells.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
I think Jasper used to make the shells, then they switched to Keller. And I think Keller uses the same exact formula that Jasper did, but you might want to double check
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
I think Jasper used to make the shells, then they switched to Keller. And I think Keller uses the same exact formula that Jasper did, but you might want to double check
That is only for their U.S. made drums. Their foreign made lines are indeed decent drums, and sound pretty good, but real Gretsch (USA Custom, Broadkaster, Brooklyn) are much, much better sounding and better quality.
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
As reported by others the Catalina drums are imported. As are the Renown, Energy and Blackhawk lines. I've played many imported Gretsch kits as back line over the years. They are decent drums for the money, the Renowns are particularly nice at their price point. And I don't think that their quality has gone down.

USA Gretsch drums are a separate entity entirely. The USA Custom, Broadcaster, and Brooklyn drum lines are all made in Ridgeland, South Carolina using Keller shells. They are top quality drums. Currently I own five sets of American made Gretsch drums, including a set of brand new USA Customs that I received this past June. The brand new kit came to me absolutely perfect. I ordered more pieces to expand the kit.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Catalinas aren't the best, but they sound more Gretsch than other cheap drums do.

USA Customs and Broadkasters are a different animal and the best drums ever made IMO.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
As reported by others the Catalina drums are imported. As are the Renown, Energy and Blackhawk lines. I've played many imported Gretsch kits as back line over the years. They are decent drums for the money, the Renowns are particularly nice at their price point. And I don't think that their quality has gone down.

USA Gretsch drums are a separate entity entirely. The USA Custom, Broadcaster, and Brooklyn drum lines are all made in Ridgeland, South Carolina using Keller shells. They are top quality drums. Currently I own five sets of American made Gretsch drums, including a set of brand new USA Customs that I received this past June. The brand new kit came to me absolutely perfect. I ordered more pieces to expand the kit.
Completely agree with everything said above.
FWIW Hal Leonard distributes the Gretsch Imports just as DW distributes the US versions

I bought my Gretsch kit in 1982 when there was only the main USA line. It was priced that way too (for the time), They would be the comparable line to the USA Customs today the only main difference being mine have the Jasper shells and I don't believe any of the new upper lines have them. Both still sound fantastic.

Any low end drum series from any of the manufacturers can be very inconsistent - but these are heavily targeted to a specific price point. Not surprisingly, both low end acoustic and low end electronics are the best sellers for all companies that sell a selection of different series.
 
I bought a set of Renowns' last year. And I'll say they are one of the best sounding kits I've ever owned. I was a little leary at first because of the five lugs; but they tune just as easy as any other drum.
 

fobz

Member
I have to be honest, I find their mid-range kits really sub-par, the hardware sucks and they don't sound good. Not worth the money...
Maybe I've just had a few bad experiences, but they've totally put me off them as a brand
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I bought a set of Renowns' last year. And I'll say they are one of the best sounding kits I've ever owned. I was a little leary at first because of the five lugs; but they tune just as easy as any other drum.
Agreed. My Renown RN2 kit sounds as good as anything I've ever played and I have played on some truly superb kits. I actually prefer the 5 lug design over anything else I've tried.
I have to be honest, I find their mid-range kits really sub-par, the hardware sucks and they don't sound good. Not worth the money...
Maybe I've just had a few bad experiences, but they've totally put me off them as a brand
Unfortunate indeed. The Renown is a midrange kit but universally well-loved and well-reviewed. My set is built like a tank.

The good news is that everybody is making good drums these days so you're sure to find something you like. There has never been a better time to be a drummer.
 
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TJK

Well-known member
I have to be honest, I find their mid-range kits really sub-par, the hardware sucks and they don't sound good. Not worth the money...
Maybe I've just had a few bad experiences, but they've totally put me off them as a brand
What exact set gave you the problem(s)?
 

TK-421

Senior Member
What exact set gave you the problem(s)?
I suspect he's referring to the Catalinas. Or as I call them, Crapalinas. There's a world of difference between those and Renowns. Catalinas are basically budget kits with cheap hardware marketed as a mid-level kit (which they are not), while the Renowns are pretty much on par with the USA-made stuff from a quality and sound standpoint. They're just at a cheaper price point since they're made in Taiwan and have fewer options.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, the USA Gretsch's do sound slightly better than their Renown counterparts—but only just so. Yet they are 3x more expensive. However I still lust after them, even though I know my Renowns are ever so close to sounding as good!
 

fobz

Member
The good news is that everybody is making good drums these days so you're sure to find something you like. There has never been a better time to be a drummer.
Absolutely! I love my Sonor Lite Scandi birch kit and Pearl Reference Pure, can't see myself switching anytime soon...

What exact set gave you the problem(s)?
I can't remember what specific kits they were - I've played several in rehearsal studios and backlines and I've found them really poor. I remember a tom clamp where the bolt you tightened actually scraped another part of the drum, making it impossible to tighten it fully without damaging the drum or hardware (can't remember exactly how it worked, but it was a spectacularly terrible design). And then others I've just found flimsy, and difficult to get a decent sound, even with good heads... Like I said, maybe I got unlucky, they've just left me with a bad impression. I've played a USA custom which was great, but then no better than lots of other top of the line kits I've played, some of which cost significantly less...
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
DW bought distribution from KMS a couple years back..

I believe Catalina/Renegade are MIC, whereas Renown/Marquee/NewCustom were Taiwan. Brooklyn and USAC are US made. All hardware appears to be sourced from Gibraltar in China (With the possible exception of the NG's Gladstone lugs).

Their marketing objective is to convey the following:
Catalina - Economy
Renown - Professional
USA - Artisan
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Catalina is not real Gretsch.
Years ago, another drummer said the same thing when I complained about a Catalina kit I’d been playing. IMO, it is a Gretsch kit, just a lousy one. Their name is on it, their badge is on it, the corporation profits from its sales.

Tama has a Chinese factory that makes everything except their STAR kits and premium snare drums. Tama spent three years building out the factory, dialing in the equipment and training the employees, and knew they were up against a huge international bias ‘cuz China makes crap (in addition to f***ing viruses). They worked hard at making the kits—especially the Starclassic line—sound like Japanese-built kits (and they’ve done an excellent job; have a listen to the Superstar Classic kits). But, by the same logic, are those not “real” Tama kits?

Every major drum company has entry-level and mid-level kits made with cheap labor. Are those not “real” kits? When does a kit made outside the original factory become a “real” kit?

Perhaps a better way to say it is, “It’s a cheap Gretsch import kit.” Or “It’s Gretsch, but it’s also a turd.”
 
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