New Yamaha Stage Custom versus Gretsch Catalina Maple

fwb30

Member
I wanted to ask peoples opinion about these two sets - fully realizing one is birch, the other maple (I'm in my 50's - getting back into drumming after many years hiatus). Anyway - looking at buying a new kit - most likely 5 piece (2 up, 1 down config - with possibility of adding another floor tom at some point). It seems the quality of these newer kits, along with the price points, make it a no-brainer to buy new. I know that Yamaha has legendary HW and for gigging, may be the better long term/reliable set. But, the Gretsch maple sound appeals to me, too. Generally speaking, my sound preference is of a low/thuddy type tone, with some resonance. I want the drum to sing out a bit. As an aside, I had recently bought a used late 90's YSC (birch/luan?) - and could not get a decent tone from the toms. Not sure if it was bearing edge/shells, or what (and I bought new Evans G2, and Reso 7s). So, back they went. But - any other criteria I should consider? I know drum sound/tone is highly religious and based on personal preference, so I'm more interested in opinions on HW, or other?? Perhaps people that own these/gig w them can comment? Heck - could probably even throw the Tama Superstar in the mix here. Thanks much -
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Tama -> Yamaha -> Catalina. That would be my line of choice. The Catalinas aren't the best hardware and if going Gretsch I'll be the first of many to recommend a used Renown kit over the Catalina. The Renown is eons better than the Catalinas.
First choice, for me, would be the Tama SSC.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Actually I play my first kit with same cymbals and heads- 58 years old now. ROFL Just kidding- I’d just pick one no matter your choice you will more than likely want another soon enough. The urge comes and goes -had bad GAS for a Renown and new cymbals recently but fought off the urge. People recommend customs a lot on here, but I see Catalinas gigging
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
An even better option for a bit more money.

That looks like an excellent deal if you don't mind the tom mount system.

The mount system is why I usually lean towards Yamaha.
Straight out of the box without a head change, it seems like the OP should go for the Catalinas for the sound he wants.

Drums are really pretty simple -shells, wood types, lugs, spurs, hoops, legs, mounts, rods and heads.
Any one of those could be enough to sway a decision.
There's also different methods of shell construction, but I don't think that's a concern here.

Of course, if you up your budget, you can always get something a little better.
Then do that again, and again, and again. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Electric chair or gas chamber? :rolleyes: .........Seriously, get a used Renown and save yourself a lot of pain and trouble.
Sorry, I've used my little Cat for more than 10 years now, and it might not be on par with a Renown. But it is still a decent kit for many situations as long as you use quality drum heads . I've done many live performances, some recording and lots of rehearsals, and noone ever complained.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
The reason there's a lot of recommends for the Renown, you're stepping into a top tier grade kit, for the price of a new intermediate level kit.

Yamaha SC new .... $679

Gretsch Cat Maple new ..... $849

Tama SSC new ...... 899

Gretsch Renown used ..... 2 rack toms, 2 floor toms ...... with shipping $864.99 https://www.ebay.com/itm/324733556581?hash=item4b9ba0d765:g:vFwAAOSwKcJhA6fA

Welcome to Drummerworld.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Well - you're comparing the price of 3 new sets to one used set. A quick peek shows a new 5 pc. Renown goes for about $1500.

I agree that you can get more for your money by buying used.
But comparisons should be apples to apples, unless you're just trying to show that used is a better deal.

There's probably a fair amount of other higher line used sets that could be used instead of the Renowns for a comparison too.
I'm sure Tamaha, Pearl, Yamaha, and all the rest have higher priced sets
that could be found used for close to the price of the ones the OP is considering.
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
I owned a Stage Custom Birch not long ago and currently own a Gretsch Renown. Honestly, low and thuddy is neither set's forte though the Renowns are perfect in just about every other way.

If you want a maple kit that does everything well, I cannot recommend the DW Design Series highly enough. Seriously amazing drums.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I owned a Stage Custom Birch not long ago and currently own a Gretsch Renown. Honestly, low and thuddy is neither set's forte though the Renowns are perfect in just about every other way.

If you want a maple kit that does everything well, I cannot recommend the DW Design Series highly enough. Seriously amazing drums.

Nice set.

$1649 for a new 5 pc. here though: https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/dw-design-series-5-piece-lacquer-shell-pack-with-chrome-hardware?rNtt=DW Design Series 5-Piece&index=1

fwb 30 didn't specify a price range, but the two sets he mentioned are considerably less.
He could get both the Gretsch and the Yamaha for around that price and wouldn't have to choose between them. :ROFLMAO:
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Nice set.

$1649 for a new 5 pc. here though: https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/dw-design-series-5-piece-lacquer-shell-pack-with-chrome-hardware?rNtt=DW Design Series 5-Piece&index=1

fwb 30 didn't specify a price range, but the two sets he mentioned are considerably less.
He could get both the Gretsch and the Yamaha for around that price and wouldn't have to choose between them. :ROFLMAO:
Agreed. I fought with my Stage Customs for about a year to get them to sound good tuned low but they never did. It was an expensive lesson between the shell pack and two sets of new heads.

$1650 isn't cheap but you get the full DW experience for that kind of money and that isn't trivial. They're unbelievably good drums.
 

fwb30

Member
Nice set.

$1649 for a new 5 pc. here though: https://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/dw-design-series-5-piece-lacquer-shell-pack-with-chrome-hardware?rNtt=DW Design Series 5-Piece&index=1

fwb 30 didn't specify a price range, but the two sets he mentioned are considerably less.
He could get both the Gretsch and the Yamaha for around that price and wouldn't have to choose between them. :ROFLMAO:
yeah, good point. I was trying to stay around $800 +/- ... but could go higher. just not sure I want to...
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
yeah, good point. I was trying to stay around $800 +/- ... but could go higher. just not sure I want to...
Make no mistake, there is much to love about the Yamahas (I have an older set of Stage Customs that I'll likely never sell) but if that classic, deep and low maple sound is what you're after, they're unlikely to make you happy.

I played a set of Catalinas a few weeks ago and liked them but 30 minutes wasn't enough time to really get to know them. The Renowns are a slam dunk but they're twice the price and medium-low to high tuning is their wheelhouse. For roughly the same money you can buy the DWs and they have no apparent shortcomings, at least as far as I can tell after three months of ownership.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
If low tuning was my main concern, I think I'd be looking for 13/14 mounted toms and 16/18 floor toms.

You can only go so low with 10 and 12. Low enough for me though.

But yes - even with same sizes, some drums can be tuned lower than others.
 

fwb30

Member
If low tuning was my main concern, I think I'd be looking for 13/14 mounted toms and 16/18 floor toms.

You can only go so low with 10 and 12. Low enough for me though.

But yes - even with same sizes, some drums can be tuned lower than others.
yeah, that's a good point. something I'll need to think about.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Well - you're comparing the price of 3 new sets to one used set. A quick peek shows a new 5 pc. Renown goes for about $1500.

I agree that you can get more for your money by buying used.
But comparisons should be apples to apples, unless you're just trying to show that used is a better deal.
I'm comparing that ..... in the $700-$900 dollar range for a new kit (all kits the OP mentioned) ..... he could get a used Renown.
I was trying to stay around $800 +/- ... but could go higher. just not sure I want to...
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I have a set of Renowns and low and thuddy is a tricky enterprise. It can be done but it took me several head changes to figure it out. I also have a Mapex Meridian Maple kit that does low and thuddy beautifully. They are two entirely different kits. The reason I recommended the Pearls is that they do everything well. My Sessions are the most versatile kit I own and they never slip out of tune. The hardware is rock solid if not beautiful.
 
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