Mapex or Gretsch?

Bali Blue

New member
I’ve not played myself in a while, but now my son has caught the bug... big time! Living overseas my research is limited to the internet, but I’ve spent a long time reseaching and - also constrained by limited availabilty - I’ve narrowed my choices down to a Gretsch Energy or Mapex Storm.

Both get very good reviews on the web and YouTube but i would love to hear from anyone who has recent experience of either, or even better, both of these kits to help me make my decision. Without a kit of his own he is having local lessons and the kit he’s playing leaves MUCH to be desired!

Many thanks!


Senior Member
Neither are going to be great kits. I have zero experience with the Mapex kit but I have spent quite a bit of time playing on a set of Gretsch Energy’s. In my last band the singers son had a set so when we rehearsed I used them. I put on some better heads (can’t remember what exactly) and I got them to sound decent. The toms were ok but the bass drum sounded pretty good. I never could get the snare to sound decent.

Of the two sets mentioned I’d probably just pick the one that’s in color and sizes you want because neither are going to anything special. But if it was my money I’d just save up more and get something a little better. Probably Yamaha Stage Customs or maybe Mapex Mars series.


Senior Member
The Gretsch Energy and Mapex Storm aren't great.....they're one step above a "junior" kit and will get the job done, but you'll probably want to upgrade in a few years.

A Yamaha Stage Custom or Gretsch Catalina would be a much better choice if you can find one in your area. They will sound better and last longer.

A Pearl Export would also be a much better choice than the Energy or Storm.

Bali Blue

New member
Thanks guys. Should have said he's only young - I can get both these kits with a 20" bass - so can't guarantee he's going to keep it up; but he'd better!

Again, I'm hampered by availability where I live, but these two offer me the best 'starter' options; I can't get Pearl or Yamaha with a 20" here and that's going to be a little big still now. This is what is leading me towards the Mapex, I know the pros can make anything 'sing' but this is the kit I'd buy...

As for the Gretsch, this sounded good in this guy's hands - other reviews say decent things - but I liked what he said about it suiting youngsters...

Will check out the Catalina because I know I can get a 20" with that, but it's probably going to be above budget.


Platinum Member
I like Mapex, and I have a good luck with Mapex hardware (lugs and stands). Peace and goodwill.


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Find a used Gretsch Renown , and sit back and play. I have had mine now for 12 years, bought new, and not one , zero, issues. 135 plus years of building drums means a lot. The Catalina are also fine kits and actually by many pros for touring.