New Gretsch Catalina Maple snare, reso head tore while tuning and rim seems misshapen


Senior Member
This isn't really a tuning thread (never had a problem tuning a snare drum), but I just got a secondhand snare (this one; though curiously the ad has being refreshed by the seller a day after I bought it and it seemed to be in pretty sweet nick.

It was tuned quite loosely, so I proceeded to tighten the nuts a little on the batter head, and then went to the reso head. Though there was little resistance against the turning of my hand (a child with no grip strength could easily have tightened considerably more, it wasn't tight at ALL) I heard a little odd pop noise. I put this down to some normal flattening out imperfection that I hadn't noticed with my eyes, and proceeded carefully... and then RIP, the skin tore all across the edge of the drum, LONG BEFORE the drum was even tight!

Now I've never had an issue with tearing a skin while tuning, but I put it down to perhaps the reso head being one of those cheap original heads, and proceeded to even more carefully with the strong reso head from my old snare. As I placed the rim on and tightened it very carefully and slowly I realised that on either side of the drum, there was a rippley part on the skin that wouldn't flatten out despite the lugs on either side being tightened, and another odd pop warned me not to go any further.

I then realised that the rim was slightly elliptical, I measured and it's just a bit over 1 mm wider on one axis then the other. (And the same positions where the snare skin was loose, despite tightened lugs on either sides, and where the lugs tightening made the pop noise)

So while I THINK this is the problem, I'm not actually sure... Not being too knowledgeable about gear, is my snare really a reject because of a 1mm difference? Any ideas?


Silver Member
Re: New Gretsch Catalina Maple snare, reso head tore while tuning and rim seems missh

No, the 1mm isn't gonna make that much of a difference. It's more important that the rim is flat, as in you can lay it on a table and it doesn't rock back and forth too much. I'd be more worried about all these popping noises. It sounds like this thing is completely falling apart or something. Either- a. you've got some really bad, overtightened cheap heads, b. the lugs are breaking from being previously over tightened, or c. the bearing edges are uneven causing the rippling in the head. And, it could be a combination of all 3, so yeah I think you've got a reject here. If you don't know much about gear, maybe take it to your local drum shop and have them look it over.