Questions for Gretsch Catalina Jazz owners

Just got a new Catalina Club Jazz kit in Whiskey Pearl finish. Very impressed with the fit and quality for the price. Need some advice, though.

1. The stock heads need to be replaced ASAP. I will use the kit for softer rock, blues, and country. Quieter stuff. Any suggestions on heads?

2. The kit came with a standard Gibraltar riser, which is already crapping out (screws coming loose). Any suggestions for a better riser?

3. I'll probably never use the snare that came with the kit. What could I expect to get for it on ebay/Craigslist? Even worth it?

Thanks!
Bob
 

MangueBeat

Junior Member
Hi!
I can only help you out with number 1. I put Aquarian Satin Texture on Snare and toms, the sounds great with these heads, really open sound!
 

opentune

Platinum Member
That snare would go for 60 - $100 where I live depending on condition. Its worth it to sell, somebody will be interested.
Bass drum - I'm a big PS3 fan, though when I had an 18 kick before I only used an Aquarian Perfomance II batter (cheap), and Remo Fiberskyn reso.
 

brady

Platinum Member
You didn't say what size the kick was. I assume 18"? Or 20" I suppose. I think that was an option?

I second the single ply coated heads. Aquarian calls it Texture Coated. Or you could try their Modern Vintage for that well...vintage vibe. It's supposed to replicate the sound and feel of calfskin. Just what a Gretsch jazz kit needs.

I have the Modern Vintage heads all around on my kit (Ludwig Classic Maple--20" kick) and I love the way it sounds.

I just wouldn't use anything too muffling on a small kick. I have 2 strips of felt on mine and it's plenty.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
...2. The kit came with a standard Gibraltar riser, which is already crapping out (screws coming loose). Any suggestions for a better riser?...
I had this kit and the same thing happened. I went to the hardware store and bought some bolts, washers, and nuts. I installed it all and tightened the crap out of them and it didn't slip anymore. Cheap fix.
 
Thanks. It's an 18" bass. Yeah, going to the hardware store is a good idea, I'm just surprised there isn't a better BD lifter out there. The Gibraltar is a piece of junk.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Thanks. It's an 18" bass. Yeah, going to the hardware store is a good idea, I'm just surprised there isn't a better BD lifter out there. The Gibraltar is a piece of junk.
You could go old skool and go without a lift too. That's how you woulda played an 18" bass drum before 1999 ;)
 
Thanks, I might just try that. This is a limited edition CC "funk " kit, and the bass is 16" deep as opposed to the regular 14". Should be stable either way.

How do you think remo fiberskyns would sound on these? I use brushes and hot rods a lot.
 

john gerrard

Senior Member
On my CCJ 18 I used a clear EMAD and a small port on the front. I used coated G2's on tom batters and clear G1 reso's. I kinda liked the snare with a Evans EC Reverse dot over a Hazy 300. Great sound. John
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I have this kit and I think it sounds great.

This is my config with the following mods:

18x14 bass - Emad single ply with the smaller muffling ring. Coated Ambassador or Evans EQ3 (both unported) either sounds great.

Coated Ambassadors or Evans G1s on the toms with clear Ambassadors on the bottom. That's my preference but any quality single ply sounds good on these toms.

I got rid of the rack tom mount and screwed the mount receiver directly to the shell. I had to get slightly longer bolts but it was totally worth it. The rack mount is crap and tugs on the rods which made it a little harder for me to get the tom tuned reliably. The extra mount directly on the shell made no noticeable difference to me in the sound of the drum.

The riser cause the beater to be set back a little too much for my taste. It certainly made it easier to not bury the beater if that's not your thing but I removed the bottom plate and flipped it around. It allows the pedal to come in a little closer then all I did was swap out the flat washer for locking washers and I've never had a problem with it coming loose.

The snare never really responded to any head changes or rim changes to make it sound much better. I stripped off the WMP wrap, sanded it and put some wooden hoops, Puresound snares, a remo cs with a dip on the bottom and it sounds decent. Still not a great snare. A little boxy and or muddy. Works well for mellow tunes but I don't really use it often at all. I just dressed it up for fun.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Thanks, I might just try that. This is a limited edition CC "funk " kit, and the bass is 16" deep as opposed to the regular 14". Should be stable either way.

How do you think remo fiberskyns would sound on these? I use brushes and hot rods a lot.
I used the Fiberskyns quite a bit up until a few years ago.

There is an issue with the "fiber skin" delaminating from the head. It bubbles up after a while. Which I suppose is this heads version of premature coating wear. I've just found that the Modern Vintage heads I switched to gave a better sound...with brushes and sticks. Plus the coating lasts forever. I've never had one lose it's coating. It loses tone well before that. All the Aquarian heads I've ever replaced only had the coating worn smooth; or nearly black in the case of my snare heads.

I also found that the heads didn't give that much sound with my lighter gauge brushes (VF Heritage). Heavier ones work much better like the VF Jazz brushes or the Jeff Hamilton signature brushes.

However, if you can deal with the delaminating issues and you use heavier gauge brushes, they may work for you.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
I used the Fiberskyns quite a bit up until a few years ago.

There is an issue with the "fiber skin" delaminating from the head. It bubbles up after a while. Which I suppose is this heads version of premature coating wear. I've just found that the Modern Vintage heads I switched to gave a better sound...with brushes and sticks. Plus the coating lasts forever. I've never had one lose it's coating. It loses tone well before that. All the Aquarian heads I've ever replaced only had the coating worn smooth; or nearly black in the case of my snare heads.

I also found that the heads didn't give that much sound with my lighter gauge brushes (VF Heritage). Heavier ones work much better like the VF Jazz brushes or the Jeff Hamilton signature brushes.

However, if you can deal with the delaminating issues and you use heavier gauge brushes, they may work for you.

+1 to every point Brady made. I've used both and just can't get past the delamination, light brush texture (too smooth for me) and the stick sound. The Modern Vintages are a cross between Fiberskyn and Ambassadors (or Satin TC) heads.

If I had a set I could dedicate to jazz or brush only playing, the set would be all MV's on tom s and snare, possibly BD batter.

Aquarian durability is the best in the biz.

Jim
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
My Catalina Club Jazz kit came with a bass drum lifter, but it was not the Gibraltar. I upgraded to the Gibraltar. I tried a Remo PS3 on the bass drum batter, using the stock head on the front, and this sounded pretty good. I later replaced the PS3 with an Evans EQ3, and it sounded better. Then I replaced the front head with an EQ3 Resonant, and it sounded even better. Finally, I put an Evans EQ Pad inside, lying on the bottom not touching either head. I used it in a blues-rock band, and it worked great.

On the toms I use Evans clear G12 on top an EC Resonant on the bottom. I got rid of the snare soon after I bought the set. It sounds OK, but I have three better snares already. Enjoy that great Gretsch sound. Peace and goodwill.
 

ed_chisholm

Junior Member
Good shout on the kit. I got myself a Club Jazz a few months back which I'm going to use until I eventually replace it with a Gretsch Brooklyn in jazz sizes. For head choice, I would stick Remo Fibreskyns or coated ambassadors on both toms and the kick and be done with it to be honest! That is assuming you are getting a jazz kit to play jazz on. (I'm getting quite annoyed with people buying these kits to primarily play rock, then complaining that the kick doesn't sound right... Anyone with me on that or am I just too impatient?!) Also, if the kit is a keeper, it's probably worth putting diplomats or ambassadors on the res side too.

The riser that came with mine is fine. Not sure what it is to be honest though - no branding on it - but it does it's job fine!

I'm not sure on value, but I got mine without the snare from my local dealer for £320 I think it was. Can't remember how much the full kit retails for, but assume the rest of the value is the snare!
 
Top