Pearl Midtown vs Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz


Hi all, I have two drum sets in my budget range, Pearl Midtown and Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz. I cannot find them in stores around me. So I was wondering if anyone has an opinion which is better. Please let me know if you have played any and have a preference.
Thank you.


Platinum Member
I have not until you mentioned. Would you prefer Yamaha Stage Custom over Catalina Club?
The SC is like the Toyota Corolla of drum sets. Reliable, ubiquitous, good hardware, good sound, etc. In situations where we know nothing about a persons preferences or genre, it's one of the safest recommendations we can give. This doesn't necessarily mean that other similarly priced kits are somehow bad, just that the SC has been consistently good throughout the years.

This also means that there is usually a good/safe used market of available SC's on Craigslist and FB marketplace. You can often pick one up for ~300


Senior Member
The Yamaha Stage Custom is easily the best drum kit in your price range. That is the general consensus here on the forums.

I am also a fan of the Catalina Club kit because they sound great, but the hardware and build quality are not quite as good as the Stage Custom. Also, the Catalina Club kits went up in price recently, which is a bummer.


Well-known member

Not a fan of the colors myself but I played them and they are fantastically fun. The Toms sing


Thank you. this is very helpful. I read there is a smaller version of Stage Custom called SC Hip. Since I dont have much space in my apartment, this might be even better.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The Pearl Midtown is also a 16" bass drum. The other examples here are 18" bass drums. I'm not a big fan of tiny bass drums. 20" would be the smallest I would go just because you can get a lower fundamental out of the 20", which is what constitutes a bass drum to me. Check out Musicians Friend - they have a Pearl piano black lacquer wood-fiberglass 12/14/20 kit for until $700. I say the slightly bigger bass drum is a better investment.
Thank you. this is very helpful. I read there is a smaller version of Stage Custom called SC Hip. Since I dont have much space in my apartment, this might be even better.
If you're in an apartment, you might want to go electronic—even a small acoustic kit is likely to be too loud for your neighbors, unless you've discussed this with them ahead of time? (You could also go the quiet mesh heads and cymbals route, I guess.)


Platinum Member
Midtown owner here. Hands down this is probably the the most fun tiny kit ever, as well as having fantastic fit and finish. The build quality is that of a much more expensive kit. And don't worry about the bass drum, it might be small but doesn't feel or sound like it. The snare is usable, some don't like it. I tune it up high and it does pretty well up there.

It doesn't feel like a small kit, or a child's kit. It feels like an adult drum kit, just compact. Same as the Mazda Miata is a real car and not a go-cart.

The Midtown is well worth the money. You don't find them used too often, and they hold their value well. Most people who have/have had one will tell you the same thing.


Senior Member
I always try to live by the old saying of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", but as you're looking for advice I will say that personally I REALLY do not care for the Catalina Club kits at all. I've played on a lot of them as many clubs that have house kits buy these, presumably because of the Gretsch name (it looks "jazz"). I've always found them to be very difficult to tune, and even when they are "in tune" they just have this cheap-sounding twang. The hardware is clunky and they're not very durable in my experience. Gretsch makes some great drums, but these are not them.

There are a few other options out there as well... The Ludwig Questlove "Breakbeats", and the Tamagotchi's "Club Jam". Never played either myself, but people seem to like them.

KamaK nailed it on the head with his statements about the Stage Customs though. They are excellent "go-to" drums. I would not hesitate to buy a SC without having heard it first. I trust 'em.


Senior Member
Both are fine kits, but I also recommend the Stage Custom as well. They have multiple bass drum size kits (18"/20"/22") and you have more options. As good as the Midtown sounds, a 16" bass drum does have it's limitations and isn't as versatile as an 18" or certainly as a 20". There are plenty of used Stage Customs and Catalina kits out there.


Senior Member
+1 on the Stage Custom. I have one in 10,12,14, 20 sizes. Great sound and they don’t weigh a lot.


Platinum Member
Former midtown owner, MrInsanePolack hit the nail on the head. So much fun and built like a tank.

As long as you have decent bass drum mic the 16" bass drum isn't that much of an issue.

I've found a happy medium at 20/12/14 as a gigging kit. As others have said, look at Yammy Stage Customs, I'd look at the used market and try and get my hands on a Mapex Saturn or Orion. These are pro drums that sell real cheap because the ink on the front head isn't fashionable.


Platinum Member
The Pearl Midtown is like Pearl's effort to emulate the Sonor Safari-though a smaller 13 snare and floor tom. The Roadshow has an 18 in kick, poplar, and 13 in snare and 14 in floor tom. Pearl stuff is sturdy-well made. I'd pick the Pearl over Gretsch in this instance. I've heard a mixed bag about Catalina's while Renowns are all positive it seems. Right now I don't even play my Pearl Decade 24/10/13/14 and playing my Lil Sonor Safari-I just love the little thing. I can hear the kick better and I think it cuts better. I like the 14 in floor tom of Sonor-the 10 in is fine but I'm in a "I hate 10 in toms" right now-while I just got over "I love 10 in toms" because my 13 in tom was boring after I'd been on a long love fest. I hate toms they are all unfaithful-or perhaps it's me. Because everyone loves the Yamaha Stage Custom and always recommend it-I would never buy one LOL.So I'd weigh all the opinions on the thread very carefully and then do what I want ignoring all of it-it will make you question your decision. You could just let us decide for you and absolve yourself of any responsibility-so if you don't like it you can blame us. But we would just retort you told us to.
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Platinum Member
My vote is also for Stage Custom.

Another benefit is the super wide range of add-on drums available. You may want a small kit now, but down the road you may want more toms or bigger or smaller bass drum and no one else offers the sheer number of options as Yamaha does, and for such an incredibly reasonable price too.