Gretsch is a popular name in the world of drums and today we are going to be finding out about its Gretsch Catalina Maple. We are aware that there are many varieties to this particular drum kit. However, today, we are going to be focusing on the 4-piece drum set.
Most expert drummers crave the unique Gretsch sound. But if you’re one of those that have ever wondered “is the Gretsch really all that?”, then this review is for you.
Here, we are going to be looking into every aspect of this drum kit. Hopefully, by the end of this review, you’d have been able to make draw your own conclusions.
We’ve got a lot to learn here today and we’re pretty sure you’re as excited as we are. So, come on in and let’s explore.
About Gretsch Drums
We’ve all heard about “that great Gretsch sound” but do we really know who Gretsch is? Well, this sub will explain a few things.
Firstly, there’s the large group called the Gretsch Company. This is where you find the Gretsch Drums. So, as you can see, Gretsch Drums is just a small part of a whole. The Gretshc Company actually makes a wide range of musical instruments including guitars and the likes,
Gretsch drums are pretty popular among expert drummers. So, don’t be surprised to find your favorite drum hero on the list of drummers that have used Gretsch drum kits. Some of them include Tony Williams, Vinnie Colaiuta, Max Roach, Taylor Hawkins, Charlie Watts, Art Blakey and Steve Farrone.
Moving on, it was one Friedrich Gretsch that founded the Gretsch company as far back as 1883 in Brooklyn, New York. He was a German immigrant who had a teenage son at the time. After his sudden death in 1895, his son took over the company.
Now, from that small enterprise in Brooklyn, his son took over and expanded the business passing it down from generation to generation.
Currently, as announced by the Lombardi family, Drum Workshop is the sole manufacturer and worldwide distributor of Gretsch drums.
In its lineup, Gretsch offers several series of drums which include:
- Renegade: An entry-level series.
- Energy series: Targeted at first time buyers.
- Catalina Club Rock, Catalina Club Jazz, Catalina Birch, Catalina Maple.
- New Renown Maple.
- New Classic.
- Brooklyn Series.
- Broadkaster Series.
- USA Custom.
Now, besides these, there are also many discontinued series from Gretsch. However, that’s not our focus today. In fact, we’ve spent enough time on the brand already. Time to check out the drums here…
What’s In The Box?
With Gretsch’s tagline – that great Gretsch sound – you probably already have your hopes up. Well, keep them there because this set is built to impress. Anyone from the beginner to the intermediate player, to the pro drummer will love this kit.
We found that these drums inspire all kinds of drummers. And the best part is that these drums are also great for recording or live sessions. That great Gretsch sound is no joke, the brand meant what it promised!
So, what’s in the box?
- 22 x 18 inch bass drum.
- 6 x 14 inch snare drum.
- 12 x 8 inch tom.
- 16 x 16 inch floor tom.
- Tom holder for the 12 x 18 inch tom. Newly designed and fits the mount plate on the bass drum.
This right here is the meat of this review. So, we will handle it as deeply as we can.
Firstly, we begin at the snare drum which is, of course, the center of the entire drum set. We found the snare drum to be quite versatile which is great. It plays rather gently and responds excellently. So, when you hit this hard, you see its “muscular attributes” in greater dimension.
Now, these drums are 100% maple which is fantastic news. Some purists might be a bit upset that this is Asian maple rather than North American maple. But nonetheless, the quality of the shells is still undeniable. The shells are 7-ply and all drums are about 7.2 millimeters thick.
More so, on the snare and toms, you find 2.3 millimeter triple-flanged hoops. Plus, the heads are Remo while the bass drum comes with wood hoops. And still on the bass drum, this drum comes with telescopic legs with rubber gaskets.
Furthermore, the tom mount is quite low-profile and comes with a cymbal post hole. This post hole should be able to accommodate a 7/8 inch cymbal tube post. Of course, this set does not come with cymbals included.
Anyway, we did find the tom mount to be pretty stable and secure. This is especially thanks to the ball and socket 12.7 millimeter L-arms the mount comes in.
In all, all the drums here super durable, 7-ply maple wood and natural shell interiors should assure you of that. However often you have to go on a gig or transport these, they will surely hold up.
Bearing Edge Geometry
Furthermore, although Gretsch initially used 45 degree bearing edges for its Catalina Maple drums, it now uses 30 degree bearing edges. In fact, this is now trademarked in Gretsch’s name and is quite the standard for all Catalina Maple drums right now.
So, what should you expect from this makeover? Well, the 30 degree bearing edges make for rounder rather than sharp edges. So, you can be sure of plenty of head contact.
We know some drummers might not take note of this bearing edge. However, we’ve come to find that the bearing edge geometry of your drums impacts highly on the sound of your drums. In this case, the 30 degree bearing edge works great!
Also see: Roland TD-30K V-Pro Series Electronic Drum Kit Review
The heads on these drums are fantastic with coated heads on the toms and snare. The bass drum, on the other hand, features dampening rings. So, yeah, expect to be mind blown when you start playing on these drums.
Also, we found these drums to be super sensitive and responsive. Hence, if you play softly, you’ll get a soft sound that’s warm, dark, and airy. As you up the velocity, naturally, the sound gets more generous coming out bigger and, of course, louder.
Moving on, we are super impressed with the versatility and responsiveness of the snare drum. It has depth and such an authoritative throatiness that will cut through any sound like a sword. And even with softer playing, the drum comes out sounding woody with a nice touch of edge ring.
As for the toms, as you’d expect from Gretsch drums, they sound great. There’s so much depth, musicality and resonance. Again, the heads here are pretty great, so they encourage the toms to play to their fullest potential.
Overall, we love drums that project beautifully with a round, warm, and yet punchy sound. The Gretsch Catalina Maple is certainly one of those. We are truly impressed by “that great Gretsch sound!”
It might not be a do or die affair when discussing drum features, but trust us a beautiful drum set is always a bonus. No one says drums have to be ugly before they can perform excellently, yeah? So make that another reason we love the Gretsch Catalina Maple.
If there ever were good looking drums, the Gretsch Catalina Maple surely makes the cut. It’s truly impressive that these drums look this good especially at the price point which you find them in. These drums look pretty good.
All the drums in this setup come with the Gretch badge. That is, a round badge embossed with the Gretsch logo. And the finish is just so delicious too. Wte just couldn’t get over the Walnut Glazed finish which radiated both class and professionalism.
You might be performing on big stages with bright lights on the works. Or you might be performing in a small club with dim lighting. But one thing is sure, this thing remains a beauty under any lighting circumstance. We’re more than impressed!
Pros Of The Gretsch Catalina Maple
As a beginner, getting the Gretsch Catakina Maple gets you sounding great instantly. Of course, his is much more than you can say for many entry-level drum kits. Gretsch absolutely delivered on a big, warm sound.
Another thing that really impressed us about the Gretsch Catalina Maple is the design. This is a great looking kit. The Walnut Glazed finish is just amazing and gives you the airs of a professional drummer.
Next, the hardware here is solid. But besides that, it is also super easy to manipulate thanks to the T Wing wingnuts. These wingnuts are super easy to adjust but still keep the entire kit firmly together.
This stability is especially important when you get in the middle of a solo or an exciting groove or a particularly challenging part of a drum chart. The worry of your hardware loosening while you should be focused on playing or performing is totally not worth it. Thankfully, that’s one less worry here.
Cons Of The Gretsch Catalina Maple
Firstly, the tom mount uses only 2 lugs to hold the toms. Plus, it seems the toms are suspended a little too firmly. The problem with this setup is that resonance is somewhat affected. This becomes even more apparent when you compare with older tom mounts from Gretsch that use more than 2 lugs.
Next, this is a shell pack, so the beginner would have to buy their cymbals and stands themselves. You’ll also have to get a snare stand, a bass drum pedal, and of course, your drum throne. Understandably, this might be a tad bit expensive for the average beginner.
What’s our final verdict? Of course, Gretsch has done it once again – delivered the goods and then some! We totally love the Gretsch Catalina Maple and we can’t wait to review another one of Gretsch’s fantastic drum series.