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A perfect club date kit!
The Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz set has been designed for the player who is looking for quality features in a jazz 4-piece configuration to suit their playing needs. With the warmth of the mahogany shells, the 14" x 18" bass drum and retro finishes, the Catalina Club Jazz offers the looks and features of a pro kit without the high price you would expect to see in this style of set up. Hardware and cymbals not included.
Reviewed by 25 customers
I have been lucky enough to have owned some of the most celebrated and loved kits of all time: Yamaha 9000's, Ludwig Classics, Sonor Phonics, Pearl Custom Z, Pearl DLX... the list goes on. I can honestly say that the Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz beats them all. I'm not kidding! The TONE you get from these drums is incredible. They sound just right. That classic, singing tone you hear on the old jazz records? This is it! It's not trying to be modern and cutting, it simply sounds like what drums should sound like. Sure, they are nowhere near as loud as a Phonic or a Ludwig Classic, but who plays unmic'd in a large venue anyway? Mic'd they can sound however you want them to. And recorded, they sound absolutely HUGE! It's all done to the tone rather than sheer volume. For instance, the bass drum's fundamental note is very powerful. My 24" Phonic bass drum, whilst being acoustically louder sounded like a dull thud compared to the full bassy note from the Catalina when recorded (interestingly, the CCJ got a big response from my bass subwoofer on my speaker system, whereas the Phonic didn't even register!).
Don't get caught up in the wood-snobbery inherit with top-end kits. I've owned top-end maple, birch and beech kits, and all have their merits, but when a kit sounds this good, I don't give a hoot as to what it's made of! I've previously owned a all-maple GMS kit in these exact same bop sizes, as well as a birch Yamaha, and neither of them sound ANYWHERE near as good.
The Yamaha 9000 may very well be the greatest mass produced kit of all time, I agree, but in my honest opinion, especially given the fact it costs 3 or 4 times less, I honestly would say that the Gretsch CCJ is the second greatest one, and as I said at the start, it's my favourite. And sure, peeps always belittle the snare, but how many 9000 players use the matching 9000 snare? Exactly! As it goes, the trick with the snare is crank it right up and add a Moongel. Sorted.
I got these drums the day I had a Jazz trio gig and thought I would use them in place of my Vintage Slingerland maples. Man was I completely impressed, as were the band members and several audience members. First of all they looked great on the bandstand, I got the Emerald pearl set. I could have closed my eyes and thought it was a $2000 vintage set from the 60's. You would be hard pressed to tell the difference!Before I took delivery of the kit, I already had my plan in place, I would take all the drums apart and sand the bearing edges and shell interiors, because most of the time you get a kit in this price range and the quality control is pretty bad, meaning the bearing edges are very rough as are the interiors of the shells. Not the case here.With the Catalina Jazz kit, you have to put the bass drum together, which is attaching the front head and attaching the bass drum riser, if you choose to use it (more on that later). This gave me a chance to check the interior of the shell and the bearing edges on the bass drum, again I was very impressed with what I found. Very smooth 30 degree bearing edges and the interior was already sanded, I didn't have to do anything. All the other drums were like this as well!After putting the front head of the bass drum on, it was time for the riser. Now I had never used one of these before. The smallest bass drum I have used (without a riser) is a 20" with my Slingerland kit. So I immediately just set it up without the it. I spent some time tuning the bass drum and liked what I heard. I set up and tuned the rest of the kit, which was very easy, and started to pay a bit. The toms sounded focused and had a warm attack. Just what I was looking for with the mahogany shell. But something was missing in the bass drum. So I decided to give the riser a try.The riser attaches in place of the bass pedal and lifts the rear of the drum 2-3 inches. The bass pedal is then attached to the riser so that you don't have to adjust the length of your bass drum beater. If you go from a 22" bass drum to an 18", you'll know what I'm talking about. With the riser, it sounded like a different bass drum, much more focused tone and attack. You may eventually change out the beater head and improve the sound even more, but stock, I had no complaints.In short, you can't go wrong with this kit, it sounds as good or better than kits costing 5 times as much.It feels good to play and is easy to move around! Oh, did I forget to say, it looks awesome too. I'm going to get some die cast hoops for the toms which should raise the bar even higher.
The Catalina Jazz kit has worked great for acoustic rock, small group jazz and recording. I found it worked best in small to medium size indoor venues. It has a very classic american woody drum sound and has the same classic look to match. The drums tune well and hold the tuning well. I do not have the snare so can not comment on that. The sound was further enhanced with Aquarian Z-100 heads which warmed the toms and brought out a darker sound. Very easy to play at a low volume. They sound "papery" in outdoor settings and the bass drum did not have the guts to kick a big band. The hardware seems a bit fragile, but functional - handle with care. The shells are well made and well wrapped. The price is amazing and overshadows any quality concerns. I just bought a Catalina Maple to fulfill the big venue/outdoor/big band needs. BUY BOTH!!! and have the perfect tools for all your playing needs, especially at these prices!! Overall it met all regular and versatile gigging needs, is a joy to play, lowered my chiropractor visits, fits easily in a Civic and my wife could not complain about the amount of money spent!!!
This is my first drum kit and I must say. I am not looking to get another one until these shells fall apart. This set is great quality with a great price. I just wish they had an add on floor tom.
Probably one of the best purchases I have made and the kick drum will blow you away. The only problem I had with the kit was the snare. It was hard to tune and really didn't have a sweet spot. I've since replaced the tension rod washers with nylon washers which cured the tuning problem, changed the snare bed out to a 20 strand and use an Evans HD dry on the batter. The cool thing is I can get the whole kit in one case. I haven't touched my Tama Starclassics since I got these.
I've been playing drums for tens years with a Tama and was never satisfied. I downgraded my huge set for this and I'm very very pleased. Punchy, loud, economical, suitable for all styles. I've just started playing in a heavier punk/blues band and was worried this wouldn't fill enough sonic space, but I was proven wrong.
This was my first good acoustic drums - and I have to say, for the years I've been beating on them and hauling them around, I've experienced very few letdowns. Cons: - Not all of the lugs screw in with ease (only one or two don't, but it's still a pain sometimes. They were like that out of the box. - Snare isn't my favorite...but that's just me - Kick pedal mount doesn't allow for my beater to be as close to the head as I'd like - but I'm slowly getting over thatPros: - Great tone in toms and ESPECIALLY the kick drum - Easy to haul around (very easy-carry the bass drum under one arm ;)) - very prettyAnyways, my kit now essentially a big small kit. I added a 10" pearl world series tom and lots of cymbals. Everything except my hardware fits in the back of my car, it's great. Also, don't let the small size of this kit turn you down. For example, I saw the drummer for Skillet play this same kit, with no additions other than cymbals for thousands of people in a hockey rink. These drums can sound BIG even without the all that EQ if you tune them right. I practice acoustically with my band all the time with the 200 watt amps blasting. No problems.VERY VERSATILEVERY LIGHTWEIGHT VERY FLASHY VERY PURE SOUND...and best of all, your fans can easily see bulging muscles when you throw those mad 64th note fills.
Picked these up to use as a rehearsal kit, used them that night at a gig, and now I'm just going to keep them as my road kit! Great punchy kick drum, nice full sounding toms - I was totally pleased with the sound of this rig. I would rate them a straight 5, except that there was a lug on the floor tom that seemed a little weird, but other than that, they were excellent quality. Nice wrap job, bearing edges were good, and again the kick drum is awesome. If your band plays smaller venues where stage space is tight, these are just the thing!
I love this kit. I have carried around 22-inch bass drums my whole life and what ta change now with this kit. Very economical--love the sound, the layout, the finish. A very good investment by far. Just not 100 percent bought on the snare drum but is workable. I also have oher snares that fit in well with the great Gretsch sound.
I bought this kit probably a couple of months ago after lugging around a big Ludwig kit witha 22" bass drum, 12" and 13" rack toms, and a 16" floor tom, with all the associated stands, cymbals etc.Gretsch was really smart to mak a kit in this configuration...really smart. This kit is very nice. It is not the greatest quality; but is as nice as anything being made in this price range today.I am hooked on 60's vintage Ludwigs and Gretschs. I like reinforcing rings. I like cast rims with a healthy coat of chrome. I like metal snares. And I like mufflers built into the toms..but I now have this kit set about right. I bought some insulating tape, like the kind used for room air conditioners to seal them to the window, and put a piece on the inside of each drum (except the bass) attached all the way around on the bearing edge and touching the top head of each drum. (It has adhesive on one side of the tape.) This worked great to muffle the toms and the snare. I got a pillow and placed it in the bass drum. A little work with a drum dial and I'm in business. The bass sounds awesome. The snare is just a little too subdued and doesn't "crack" like a metal snare does. I may replace it with a metal Gretsch if I can find a deal on a nice round badge.Lots of nice touches on this kit though. The bass drum legs (Gibralter?) are great. I like the plastic spacer on the lugs. I love the isolation system on the suspended tom, and I love a 14"X14" floor tom. I think the color choices should be greater. I personally like the bass drum riser. I have a Gretsch Floating Action bass pedal on its way and hope it works out. I am using a Titan or something now which works alright. Come on Gretsch, remake the the Floating Action Bass Pedal, the old flat based hi-hat stand the flat based cymbal stands and the flat based snare stand again for your stuff. Don't let people get Gibralter stuff. Get real...Get with the program...I know the Custom kits can be had for more moey, but why? What the hey? While you're at it, reopen the Zildjian factory in Istanbul and start making K's again with the G stamped on the edge..