View Full Version : Gretch Catalina Maple drum set

October 4th, 2013, 06:55 AM
I purchased a new set of drums. The Gretch Catalina Maple set in red sparkle; the six piece set. These are replacing my twenty plus year old Yamaha Stage Custom five piece set - the difference being, among other things, that this set has a second floor tom, which is cool because it allows for more bass versatility.

The set is really beautiful and is going in my new drum room. I will be using all my hardware and Zildjan symbols from the Yamaha set, which is decent hardware and superb cymbals from the "K" series. The Catalina Maple set has isolated, suspended toms, which is different from the non-isolated toms on the Stage Custom.

I will be taking the new Remo black pinstripe two ply heads off of the Yamaha's and putting them on the Catalina Maple. I will be using both standard snares and my piccolo snare, at least two snares in the rig at one time. The bass drum has an Aquarian with the muffling ring and has a great rock tone, and the entire set from any resonant ringing or boing'ing sounds. It will have a more muted, thuddy type tone, which is what I like. Even my main Yamaha standard snare has a Powerstroke 3 head that produces a full muted snare sound, eliminating the need for a dead ringer; in fact the use of a dead ringer on this head results in a useless snare sound. To provide for the popping snare sound the piccolo snare will sit just beyond the standard snare for roll offs, solo, and combined with the other snare, use. I'm looking forward to being able to integrate the second floor tom into the sound.

The drums look great with a dark, deep red with plenty of sparkle - not wrapped shells, but lacquered to a high gloss. I did not want the fire engine red sparkle vibe going on. The deeper, darker red gives the flashy style rig a more demure vibe; but I'm totally happy with some muted flashiness and sparkle. My Yamaha's are a deep walnut stained and lacquered transparent wood finish, which is cool, but a far cry from the Gretch red sparkle. The Yamaha's are also all birch shells. I'm looking forward to getting into the maple shells and the tones that I will be able to get out of them.

This will be my first new drum set in over twenty years and I'm looking forward to the change. Right now, it's kind of like Albert Collins sings, "There's Gotta be a Change". Ha ha. And a change it should be. I think I'm going to like the slightly bigger set.

I have a new drum room that is almost finished being renovated. I can't wait to get in there and get the new drums set up. Maybe I'll just set them up anyway and move them out during the actual ceiling replacement. The drums will sit on a solid pine plank floor, two by twelves about ten feet deep, wall to wall on the sides. In front of the drums is a larger newly carpeted area that constitutes our guest bedroom.

I am using a Crate Flexwave solid state combo amp with a 12 inch speaker. The stock speaker has been replaced by an excellent sounding, inexpensive Celestion Seventy/80 speaker that produces great reproduction of the music played into the cd input on the amp from my Sony cd Walkman. The sound of the amp is crystal clear and very clean sounding, even when cranked. It produces a good clean reproduction of the music on the cd's at a volume loud enough to lay into the drums decently hard without drownding out the music. This turned out good and has made good use of the inexpensive Crate Flexwave 15R amp. I think a Celestion Seventy/80 twelve inch speaker sells for about 25 dollars, but it is a very decent speaker in my opinion and works well in a guitar amp for both single coils or humbuckers. There are other speakers that may be preferable, of course, and I have some in some of my nicer tube amps; but the Seventy/80, I think, gets slammed by a lot of people that rip it out immediately and replace it with one of many other speakers. I think it is a very decent guitar amp speaker, especially after broken in. Speakers are a really good example of where "personal preference" often comes into play.

So, my new drum rig is a really decent set. I like the way it looks and I like the layout and the suspended toms. The style of the kit is different from my Stage Custom and that is a welcome change. The sparkle finish is also a big change from the laid back stained wood finish of the Yamaha's.

I have offered the Yamaha's to my son and explained to him that he will have to get stands, cymbals, and a bass pedal, plus batter heads; all of which he can get relatively cheaply considering he is getting a mint set of birch drums. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa., and there is a major retail drum distributer there called "Dale's Drums". Some of you may have heard of Dale's. He has major warehouse space and advertises in the big drumming magazines. I purchased all my drums from Dale's, including my Pearl rosewood piccolo on sale for 99 dollars and my set of three professional series Sonor Conga drums and basket stands. Evidently Sonor discontinued the particular series I have and when they did Dale bought all of the inventory that Sonor had in stock. The Conga's sold for 100 each including the heavy duty basket stands - heck, basket stands alone cost almost 100 dollars each. I have a twelve and a half inch one, an eleven and three quarters one, and a ten and a half one. They have heavy duty, real Buffalo hide heads and chrome rims. They are really nice Congas. Congas work really well to develop interesting rhythms. Plus you can play them softly at home and work on your timing. Ancient tradition has it that when evoking the sound from the Buffalo hide heads, you are able to communicate with God, the Great Spirit, by means of the "skin to skin" contact between your hands and the Buffalo hide, combined with the production of the penetrating sound that calls out and speaks to God. It is an interesting idea and can be very therapeutic.

I will post some pictures when I get my drum rig set up again.

October 5th, 2013, 05:12 AM
Hmm, tasty.
Your son is lucky to get a nice set of Stage Custom!

Congas: they *seem* to offer a lot, and work remarkably well with many musical genres.

October 7th, 2013, 05:33 PM
Congas do offer some great options and are super fun to play without a hugh investment. I love my Congas.

Anyway the new drum set took a new turn, and I must say that I'm happy with the way things went. I like it when things go this way. They are a super beautiful looking and sounding set and I'm tired right now after all this, so I'll probably take the pictures in the new drum room tomorrow. It is a nice bright, well lit drum room and the bright red sparkle drums with the clear pin stripes look really nice in there The twin ply Emperor snare head is also a new item to me and I really like it's loud but deep focus.

I thought I would start a new corrected thread to reflect the unanticipated change in direction that my new drum set purchase took. I must say, that I am very happy with the new direction that the purchase took.

- - The Change - -

Well, as can often be anticipated, the situation changed.

I dropped of my od stage customs and we were setting up the new Gretches with new clear pin stripe head when the salesman announced to me that he found a smashed rim under the rim and head on the small floor tom. A piece o the shell rim, including paint, about four inches long had fallen off when he removed the head. The damaged site on the shell bevel was completely smashed in as if by a big ball peen hammer. The beveled edge was smashed into oblivion for about two inches and was delaminating and disintegrated. I thought for a short time about gluing it and using the drums with a repaired floor tom. I dismissed this idea on a new set of drums even when he said he would take 100 dollars off the price.

I was disappointed but there was another set of a brighter red sparkle lacquered maple drums stacked up right by where the Gretches were. They are a five instead of six piece set but have the larger toms and only one floor tom, but they are of excellent build quality. So I decided to get them.

They are Pearl Vision red sparkle maple drums. He put on a new set of clear pin stripes and my bass drum Aquarian SuperKick II, clear. He also gave me a double ply new Emperor snare head for the maple snare drum. He didn't charge me for the new heads and the entire set, out the door was 499, brand new. He tuned my Pearl piccolo snare and I have two snares set up in the rig.

The rig is in my new drum room and looks beautiful. The bright red sparkle looks really good in the room. I have a rock and sock hydraulic drum throne that is awesome with a backrest. The way I have adjusted the drums and cymbals, the set plays very smoothly and with ease; moving from the snares across the set to the floor tom. The Zildjan "K" cymbals sound great.

I moved the guitar amp into the room that serves as my sound system and I have the cd player there with the custom made, I have yet to jam to the amp yet, but I have Buddy Guy's new cd, "Rhythm and Blues" sitting there waiting.

In the end, or should I say, the beginning; I think I like these Pearl Vision series drums more than I liked the lighter shelled Gretch Catalina series. The bass drum has a powerful deep tone to it and sturdy legs. The overall hardware looks slightly heavier duty. The shells are a little heavier. The finish is brighter and also shellac not plastic wrap.. Maybe I'll add a Djembe and a Djembe stand to it for more versatility later. Also I might get a bongo stand and add my bongos on to the set, over by the high hats, for some bright snappiness to work into the overall sound.

In the end things didn't turn out exactly as expected, but that element of surprise has actually resulted in me being happier with the way things turned out. The drums are absolutely beautiful looking. A few years ago I would never have considered getting a red sparkle drum set. Now I'm actually really glad that I did.

I will take some pictures later or tomorrow. It is a nice bright room with good lighting. I'm hoping the pictures will come out great with my new Nikon L810. It is a good camera and takes some great pictures with some great color rendition. A lot of people have given it great reviews.

So what do you all think about my unpredictable outcome and me ending up getting the Pearl maple set for the same price? 499 out the door and no charge for the new clear pin stripe heads and the Emperor double ply snare head?

My son didn't want the drums. He is getting a white LP copy and a 22 watt all tube combo amp that he is excited about. He is quite an awesome musician.

October 8th, 2013, 07:08 PM
I wish there was more activity in the drum section of the Fret. There are quite a few drummers here and you don't have to be a master drummer to post here.

Drums are so much fun and it's great to hear other drumming stories.

Getting a new set of drums was a really cool experience for me and getting one twenty five for the old Yamaha shells was a fair price I think and it made getting these new drums a lot more affordable. I got these Pearl maple Visions for 499 out the door, which is about half the normal street price. They are brand new, never used drums in bright red sparkle finish, not wraps, but sprayed on lacquer, which is a better chemical match for me. There is something about thick plastic sparkle wraps that makes me want to "up chuck". It just seems so fake and "plastic". These sparkly drums are actually beautiful, something I might not have agreed to five or so years ago. They really brighten up my drum room.

Tonight I put on a nice "Gibraltar" bass drum beater, felt style, and it sounds good. My old one was discovered by a puppy years ago and mistaken for a tennis ball. Showing its losing battle scars from its encounter with the puppy, it has a rather raggedy look. The new one looks good and works great, but I'm keeping the raggedy a$$ one for sentimental value and as a back up.

Chime in with some ideas, etc., it will be appreciated.

October 10th, 2013, 11:01 AM
Er, I have an older Pearl Export I make noise on, once in a while.
Only real neat thing on it is the Paiste Sound Formula crash cymbal, now semi-vintage. I can't wait to find a cheap K Custom ride - love the sound, even though I do not have a wide comparison range to go by.

Congas would be more accessible, and I am thinking about it.

This post reminded me that I was fortunate to get to see a few greats like Tony Williams and Art Blackey play, back in the day. Tony was sooo much in charge, lots of power on that throne, it was amazing to see!

Right now, with my limited drumming "ears" (i.e. not very educated), I both like drummers with a simple, to-the-point style, as well as the ones working with more embellishments.

October 11th, 2013, 03:16 AM
Pictures of my new bright red sparkle lacquer (not wrap) Pearl maple Vision drums. It is good to be retired and have some entertainment time to play the drums and guitar every day, and to have a woman that tolerates my playing and even lies, telling me I sound good.

http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy330/1Duffy1/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0092.jpg (http://s804.photobucket.com/user/1Duffy1/media/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0092.jpg.html)

http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy330/1Duffy1/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0.jpg (http://s804.photobucket.com/user/1Duffy1/media/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0.jpg.html)

http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy330/1Duffy1/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0086.jpg (http://s804.photobucket.com/user/1Duffy1/media/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0086.jpg.html)

http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy330/1Duffy1/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0085.jpg (http://s804.photobucket.com/user/1Duffy1/media/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0085.jpg.html)

http://i804.photobucket.com/albums/yy330/1Duffy1/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0095.jpg (http://s804.photobucket.com/user/1Duffy1/media/New%20Drums%2010%20-%2013/DSCN0095.jpg.html)