Jazz drums are majorly known by their 18-inch bass heads. Some jazz drummers have never played anything other than these.
But Gretsch has come up with a more compelling idea by producing a line of kits that feature small bass drums. The matching wood snares covered finishes combined with the affordability targets the entry-level drums.
They are referred to as the Catalina Club Series. Gretsch’s quality touch with a classic style and smooth sound makes the model very popular.
For long, the company was only focused on the higher end market. But perhaps competition compelled them to explore more options.
This affordable, dedicated for jazz, drum ‘n’ bass, or other styles that call for compatibility, has taken the market by storm.
I decided to review them just to make sure what other users were saying is true. I have been a fan of more affordable Pearl drums myself.
Are Gretsch Catalina Club drums good?
The most basic reason anyone will think of Gretsch Catalina Club drums is that they come from a reputable brand. If it were not for Gretsch’s name, perhaps we would not be so much talking about them.
Gretsch is a company that dates back to the 19th century; hence it has been around long enough to understand the ever-changing consumer needs. It was an original creation of Friedrich Gretsch, a German immigrant living in the US.
It all started out as a small music workshop in Brooklyn, New York. But today, it is a household name for banjos, drums and tambourines manufacturing.
Note also that Gretsch only manufactures adult drum set models that come in different sizes. They have been customized to meet various consumer needs.
Each drum set model that comes out is uniquely designed, showing differing patterns and finish choices. This is another reason the firm is very popular with what they do.
Catalina drums can be well described as good looking and great sound drums. Some may wonder if they live up to the Gretsch drums’ high standards, or if they have been reduced to meet low-budget consumer needs.
After using one for a while, I can tell you they are among the best affordable, yet great sounding drum kits on the market.
Gretsch has ensured there are lots of options for consumers. This is why finding the ideal set is very easy.
Features of the Catalina
There is more to explain why Gretsch Catalina Club is good. There are two variations on the drums.
First, we have the Catalina Maple drum set, which is one of the most popular drums by the manufacturer ever sold online. It is their innovative hardware design and the Gretsch formula shell that describes their goodness. The model stands are a favorite among drummers seeking incredible sounds with their drums.
Then there are the Catalina Club drum sets. This series combines traditional configurations and classic tones with sleek hardware technology to build amazing sounds. What comes out is a model that has also gained a lot of popularity among online buyers.
The blend of mahogany shells with natural shells and a beautiful wood bass drum hoop creates a perfect setting for the modern drums. I could not find better sound toms and snare at this price range. They come with triple flanged hoops and unique Remo drum heads that keep the traditional feel of quality Gretsch construction.
Is the Gretsch Catalina Club Drum series worth it?
As stated above, Gretsch has been making high-end drum sets for many years. And when I talk about high-end gear, in this case, I am referring to the DW drums.
Hence, quality is not an issue. Hence, the model has become very popular among players.
There are two versions of the kit, which is another reason they are easy to find. The first one comes with a 16-inch by a 16-inch bass drum, an 8-inch by 6-inch and 10-inch by 7-inch rack toms, a 13-inch by 13-inch floor tom and 12-inch by 5-inch snare.
This set works best with drum ‘n’ bass or hip-hop music styles. The smaller drum heads make it portable and compact enough to fit in any space.
The second version is more geared towards jazz drumming. It features an 18-inch by 16-inch bass, 12-inch by 8-inch mounted tom, 14-inch by 14-inch flow toms, and a matching 14-inch by 5-inch snare. The set is completed with a full set of Gibraltar hardware.
My review is more about the jazz set. There are a lot of similarities and several differences between these versions and the classic Gretsch jazz drum. If you have seen the two, it is easy to tell where it comes from.
The Catalinas are fitted with 6-ply 100% mahogany shells. They miss the maple/gun shells that Gretsch purists know.
They also feature the legendary 30-degree bearing by Gretsch. This feature appears on many of their kits, but the most recent releases.
The rounded bearing edges makes the contact area larger. Hence, there is more space between the head and shell, giving out more vibration than the shell. The drum’s resonance is much bigger with each strike. Besides, there is no silver sealer on these shells’ interior, which makes them sound even better.
Mahogany finishes are loved for its warm, rich tone. And this is the best way to describe the sound in these drums. They appear spades, yet within muddy sounding. The brightness and attach of popular Gretsch drums have been well represented.
All drums feature center-mounting with low mass lugs. The toms use the GTS suspension mount for more stability. The 1.6-inch rims are stamped with hoops and not die-cast in hoops like other popular drums from the manufacturer.
Note that there are only three finishes, which some people may find disappointing. They include White Marine, Black Marine, and Silver Sparkle.
Is it good sounding?
This is the most important question every drummer seeks to answer. Well, let’s talk about that on Catalina.
There is nothing much you can expect from a snare drum featuring entry-level to an intermediate drum kit. But the Catalina sounds surprisingly good. This is why I keep it on my favorites list.
It may be lacking in some specific characteristics and does not really shine with any specific skills, but it’s a really useful tool. You can tune it low with an equally low tone snare tension, and it will give you a perfect deep snare sound that keeps rock music on edge.
A higher tune brings in the jazz flavor. It is crisp and clear through the ranges.
And if you don’t find the snare good enough, the toms will. They have a nice, sustaining ring when tuning high, and a wonderful boom-feel when low.
The floor tom and the high tom both sound with intention when tuned right. They can produce the classic and vintage warm strength of any drums.
The bass sounds great too, but it’s not what I can call my best. It is bad, and it is not particularly good either. But it did not cut it for my taste in some pieces I was working on. But that is what you can expect from such a price tag, though.
Generally, the kit gives out a satisfying sound. It is a versatile kit that works well across a broad range of playing styles.
Where are Gretsch Catalina Club drums made?
The Catalina Club drum series is made in Taiwan. This makes it cheaper than the pro drum made in the USA.
They feature 9-ply shells made from the Philippines mahogany, which makes them incredibly affordable.
Does DW own Gretsch?
Yes. Recently there was significant speculation that Fender Musical Instruments would sell their distributes through Kaman Music subsidiary. And it happened just so.
Drum Workshop bought the brands Gretsch, Gibraltar, Kat, and Latin Percussion and many others. Hence, they are part of the company.
The Catalina Club drum set is perfect for anyone looking for vintage sound in jazz sizes. It is very affordable while keeping the brand’s quality.
It is right for gigging in small venues and jazz clubs. But I would not recommend it for large venues.