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Thread: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

  1. #1

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    Default Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    After 2 weekends and 4 gigs, I will finally weigh in on the Cat Maples. First, the pics:





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  2. #2

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash





    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Nice! Those Catalinas look absolutely stunning, especially the first couple of pics.
    Peace, Love, and Rock N Roll

    Matt

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    i was thinking of buying these cause i like the finish!! My current drums are in this finish but without the thing on top of the black colored wood...if you know what i mean!!

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    are these drums any good if you want to play metal?

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Gretsch Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack

    I want to start off by saying I believe this is the best price to quality deal on the market today. These drums sound great. I have been buying and playing sets for almost 20 years now, and getting a good quality maple kit for well under a grand was unthinkable when I started out. With that in mind, I do have a few minor issues that will be nit-picking, but that anyone considering this kit should be aware of.

    The look:
    At last count, I have owned 7 kits in my life (Tama Superstar, Tama Grandstar, Yamaha Recording Customs, Yamaha Beech Customs, Taye GoKit, Gretsch Catalina Jazz, and these). The sad thing is that I have never had a finish I truly loved. I have always had good sounding kits for the price, but settled on the look. With that in mind, I decided to go for the ebony lacquer on this one even though it was $100 more for the black hardware. I am not sure if it is worth the extra money in general, but it was definitely worth it for me. If I didn't have a nice snare and set of cymbals, I would have gone for the cherry red or tobacco fade and put the hundred towards something else. The ebony is very nice looking, with the wood grain showing through, as the pics show. The hardware is not a solid black, more like a charcoal grey, but it compliments the finish nicely. I saw one of these live beforehand, so I knew this going into the deal. I didn't (but should have) anticipated the color looking purple-ish under stage lights.

    The toms:
    This is also my first maple set, so I was excited to hear the toms. The stock heads are single ply Remo clones and the biggest weak point of the deal. I will do some comparison to my Cat Jazz kit, as this is the only other one I still own. They came with labeled Evans G1 coated batters and resonants that are the same as all the heads on the Maples. The Jazz is playable right out of the box, but i couldn't bring myself to even try the stock Maple heads. First off, they weren't all even in true round. Several were warped and didn't sit flat. Some are also slightly too big for the shell and rim. After sorting through them, I came up with one decent set to use for the resonants. I put my current favorite set of Remo Fiberskyn batters on them and tuned up. The Fiberskyns aren't the easiest heads to get in tune, but when done, they sound amazing. The rack toms have a great sustained ring tuned with mid-high tension. The floor toms are boomy tuned mid-low. I was never completely happy with the sound of suspended, short floor toms and am glad Gretsch went with square sizes on legs for these. My one gripe is the leg tips. They are just ridiculously small. The ones on the Cat Jazz are at least twice as large, and I am baffled as to why these are so tiny. I haven't really noticed a problem yet - they just look weird. They don't move around on a rug, but I wonder if getting a set of the Pearl Air suspension feet would help the sound any. I will report back when I do so.

    The bass drum:
    All I can say is - wow! I was really nervous about having a full sized kick for the first time in 15 years. I've had 18s and 20s for a while to cover jazz and latin gigs, but I could mic up and get a good rock sound as well. I have also gotten used to being able to position my toms low and flat. After a few gigs, I am now used to the rack tom positions and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. The sound from this bass is huge. The extra inch on depth (22x18) gives it a nice low end. I honestly just threw a pillow inside, ported the front head, and haven't messed with it at all. Where the tom stock heads fail, the bass drum does not. There is a powerstroke-type batter head with an extra ring on the batter and a single-ply resonant. I experimented with pillow position, touching just the reso, just the batter, and a little of both, and there is not much difference, just a really nice low end thud. Thinking of putting an Emad set of heads on this baby makes me drool with the possibilities. I have been using 2 overhead mics and nothing on the bass for a couple of small gigs and it balances well.

    The snare:
    Sad to say, I think I spoiled myself at an early age when it comes to snare drums. When I was 15, I fell in love with Dave Weckl's sound and saved all my hard earned cash for months to get his signature snare. Today I would never buy a snare just for a name on it, but this one was worth it. I have never found another that I like enough to use on a regular basis. Being fair, this snare sounds really good. The stock heads are remo clones again, but usable. I tuned it up and was really pleased with the big, warm sound, then immediately put it in the backup snare bag. If you are in high school or college and will be performing any snare solo pieces, this drum would be an excellent choice. I will loan it out to a couple students during contest time and put it up next to the Pearl Symphonic they use and see what happens.

    OSP Hardware pack: (copied from a comment I made in the Gretsch forum last week)
    I went back and forth on the OSP harware pack before deciding the get it. They could take off $100 and sent a shell pack. The stuff is surprisingly decent. Both cymbal stands are fairly solid. The BD pedal feels good, but it's a double chain and a bit heavy for me. The HH stand is smooth, but the legs are fixed, so that may be an issue. The snare stand is okay, but the basket adjustment knob is plastic for some reason. It will end up being good backup gear for me.

    General comments:
    The hinged tom mounts all around are very nice. The Cat Jazz has the eye bolt type similar to LP cowbells which can be a pain to set up in a hurry. The full sized suspension mounts are cool, but the mini mounts on the Jazz work very well and are less bulky. I am going to need odd sized cases to fit around the hardware on these, which has been pain so far, but caused by the store I am trying to order them from and has nothing to do with Gretsch. With the Jazz kit I got a couple of extra lug casings in the box and none with this kit. Normally that would not be a problem, but if something gets damaged I am not confident I can easily get a replacement with the same finish.

    I have been loving my Cat Jazz kit for a few months now, and feel like this kit is it's big brother. I can take either one out to a gig depending on space and room size and get the same kind of sound, which keeps by band mates and sound guy happy.

    To conclude, this was a very smart buy for me. When I signed up to this forum, I was a die hard Yamaha player. Due to the solid info from all of you, I am now on the Gretsch bus and loving it.
    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Quote Originally Posted by Olly View Post
    are these drums any good if you want to play metal?
    That review took a half hour to write and some of you got some in some comments in the mean time, sorry.

    Olly - I don't currently play any metal, but did when I was in high school. If this kit is in you budget, The answer is a huge YES. With the right heads (Evans G2 clear or Remo Pinstirpes) you could get a great metal tom sound. The bass drum tuned low with an Emad set should give you a good platform for double pedal work. The snare should be able to give a nice crack while tuned on the low side. Plus - it's black.

    A couple more gripes I forgot about; I know this kit is not US made, but did they really need "Made in China" stickers on every single piece of hardware? I mean all the rims, bass drum spurs, mounts, and everything. I get the picture. I am still finding ones I missed 4 gigs later and have to scrape them off.
    Memory locks have been standard for decades on tom mounts like the L rods on this kit. Unfortunately here, the knurling on the rods makes them virtually impossible to move by hand. Even with the drum-key bolt tightener all the way out, I need a pair of pliers to move them. There is no way to loosen everything, move the drum to where you want it, then tighten the lock first that makes positioning easy.

    I didn't do the A Custom review as said in the title, but couldn't edit it out. That cymbal completed a set of 3 crashes for me. So I will do a separate review of them later on.
    Last edited by Redeye; 08-30-2009 at 11:42 PM.
    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Quote Originally Posted by yohin View Post
    Nice! Those Catalinas look absolutely stunning, especially the first couple of pics.
    Thanks yohin. The gig pics were taken with my (decent) pocket digi cam and the house ones with my (very nice) Canon SLR. They look is much more faithful with the better camera.
    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    I took my good camera on a gig last night and got some more decent shots.





    Website with free full song transcriptions: redeyepercussion.com
    Youtube channel with covers, lessons, and product reviews: youtube.com/RedeyeSPR

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Outstanding Shane!!! Verry nice looking set up there! Glad you are digging them!


    -Les

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Great write up - Grestch really do give value for money.
    Still love the colour of your kit too, very nice.
    PROUD TO BE ENDORSED BY DUALLIST PEDALS
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  12. #12

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Shane, I love my cats. Glad you are enjoying them too.

    I hear you on the made in china stickers... they were a nuisance. The stock heads are Taiwanese spec Remo UT heads. They're OK for resos as you found.

    I'm most interested in the tonal comparison of the fiberskins as opposed to a standard emporer or G2 2-ply head. Any input?
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
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    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

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  13. #13

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Great review Shane, and the new pics make that kit look even more awesome!
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  14. #14

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Thanks for that review, I'm probably going to be buying a new kit here soon and I was considering the cat maples, renowns (guy had a 4pc kit listed, brand new with skb cases for $900 on cl), mapex pro-m, mapex saturns...So I thought about those renowns and then emailed him and he said they came with the cases, couple boom stands but no snare or hit hats..plus it was a fusion kit, I decided against it. I also found a mapex pro-m 7pc shell pack for $750 (thanksDD) a saturn kit for about $1100...and honestly the more I've thought about it to more I'm drawn to the cats.

    I'm not sure I can justify the couple hundred extra for the saturns. I figure I can get a 6pc catalina and a gibraltar start rack kit for about $1000 , add another $100 for some new heads which leaves me the other $1000-1300 for cymbals and our PA speakers. I think I'm going to go with a couple of Dream Cymbals... hats, couple crashes and a ride, plus pick up a Wuhan China . The rest of the $$ will go to our PA speakers, Yamaha Club s112.

    I just have one question for you guys who have owned your cats for awhile, someone told me that "I had a student who had one (he bought it on my recommendation after I heard good things), and everything failed. Hardware stripped, plies delaminated and on and on...so I will never recommend them again."

    have any of you had any problems with the hardware or delamination? first time I ever heard anything like that. the only other thing I have heard is about those floor tom legs being way too small and a lot of people like to replace them with Pearl Suspension legs.
    otherwise that is the only time I have really heard anything negative about the catalinas

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  15. #15

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Quadcam, I have had my Cat Maples for about 2 years now and they are in the same great condition that they were in when I bought them. Either that person got a true lemon (I'm sure it can happen, because even the Asians have to go to work on a Monday), or they simply were abused. Now I got a shell pack, so I can't say anything about the hardware that are coming with some of the kits, but if someone's drums are delaminating and the hardware is stripping, I have to question how they were treated.
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  16. #16

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    PB, yeh that was my thought also, I had never heard of anyone having problems with the catalinas but I figured I would ask anyway. I pretty much have made up my mind that those are what I'm going to get

    http://bipolarbarbierocks.com

    Quote Originally Posted by fiacovaz View Post
    Quit belly aching and just do it...no other way.
    - RIP Frank

  17. #17

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    I have owned 2 Cat maples and that is the first time I have heard of shell de-lamination. I suppose it can happen if as PB eluded the kit was not properly housed. ie: kept in a garage or damp basement for extended periods.
    As far as HW stripping? I think it is a beginner mistake to over torque wing nuts on tom brackets, bass drum tom arm receivers etc. Again..things can happen with regard to any company's quality control.. Some one yawned on a line and the bad one slipped through etc..etc..etc..

    This seems to me to be a isolated incident, if it is in fact the fault of Gretsch's QC. Fred Gretsch is putting his family's name and reputation on and into his products. I am comfortable in saying that Mr. Gretsch demands quality throughout his product line. My 2 kits were superbly built!
    *I will not rule out another Cat Maple in the future!


    -Les



  18. #18

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Quote Originally Posted by Quadcam79 View Post
    I just have one question for you guys who have owned your cats for awhile, someone told me that "I had a student who had one (he bought it on my recommendation after I heard good things), and everything failed. Hardware stripped, plies delaminated and on and on...so I will never recommend them again."
    Hardware doesn't strip by itself. It has to be overtorqued or abused in some way to do that. Like Les said, newbies overtighten stuff. God knows I did. The guy even said his "student" did it.

    I would have no quams in recommending a Cat Maple to anyone. They truely are a fantastic value for the money.
    Kevin
    DW Performance series - Gun Metal Metallic Lacquer
    24/12/16 6.5x14
    Sabian AA/AAX hi-hats & crashes
    Sabian HHX Evolution ride

    Drummers can be very tempomental.....

  19. #19

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Ha! I saw the title with 17" A custom and thought someone had stolen my kit! Personally I'm loving my Cats along with a 16" Crash as a primary and 17" for riding.

  20. #20

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Quote Originally Posted by Lesizmor View Post
    -Les
    That is a great shot Sir.
    PROUD TO BE ENDORSED BY DUALLIST PEDALS
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  21. #21

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    ^^ Great kit too ^^ shame it had to get sold. Another forum member owns the very kit. (sans the cymbals & HW)


    -Les

  22. #22

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    looks good in the studio man
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  23. #23

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Gorgeous kit Shane, and a great review. I love those fiberskin heads you have on there...pure class in that driver's seat pic. Oh, and awesome taste on your ride cymbal!!
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  24. #24

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    Thumbs up Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Hi Shane: I'm new to this forum and would like to say that you're new Catalina Maple looks great expecially with the ebony finish? My very 1st set was a Gretsch back when I was learning to play in Junior High. I bought it new at the time (1976 I think). Too bad I still don't have it.

    I myself am also interested in Jazz and Drumming. Since I sold my Gretsch, I bought a Ludwig Rocker drumset back in about 1994. I am moving on to another set after I have this one sold and am seriously considering the Catalina Maple set with the Ebony finish. In your opinion, do you think that after replacing the heads (perhaps Evans G1) and tuning the set properly that this set could be good for playing Jazz (Traditional - Straight up - Bop - Post Bop)? I am also considering the Yamaha Tour Custom which is maple to but I still lean towards the Gretsch.

    By the way I'm from Ohio to. Columbus area. Just went back this summer to see my parents in Marysville. My brother is somewhat known in the Jazz circuit back there in Ohio (he plays straight up Jazz guitar locally). We went to the bratwarst festival in Bucyrus to see he him play with a Big Band. Let me know what you think.

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Gretsc Catalina Maple w/OSP Hardware Pack and Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash

    Welcome to Drum Chat jmccormick!

    I'll leave any response to your post to Shane.

    Again, welcome!
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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