Gretsch Catalina Club Review

Last Updated on May 17, 2021 by Danny

Gretsch is one of the most renowned American drum brands that manufacture the best vintage and classical drum kits.

For over 14 decades, Gretsch has equipped some of the most famous jazz drummers such as Max Roach and Tony Williams with the finest drum kits.

If you are looking for an excellent Jazz kit that is worth the deal, you’ll never be disappointed with what the Catalina club series has to offer.

Gretsch Catalina Club review

gretsch catalina club

For an entry-level to an intermediate-level kit, you’ll be surprised by the features and the quality of the Catalina Club Jazz. It has a sleeker and a more compact design, which requires lesser space and time to set up.

Ideal for playing Blues and Jazz, you can also easily tune it because of its high-quality REMO drum heads, and high-grade tuning lugs. It blends retro sound and classical tone with modern design, construction, and hardware.

The Catalina Club Jazz is a low-price drum kit that comes with commendable features, exceeding the standards of other drum kits at the same price. Featuring a small bass drum, and a lightweight shell pack, it is perfect for touring and recording sessions.

Although it is a popular drum kit for Jazz and Blues drummers, you can easily adjust the tone of each drum to suit your desired sound for any musical genre. It features superior Gibraltar hardware, and 8-ply mahogany shells, available in different finishes and configurations.

  • Extremely versatile, compact, and portable, with a classic vintage tone.
  • Solid snare sound. Deep sounding when tuned low, but powerful and dynamic when tuned on higher frequencies.
  • Worth every penny, beautiful to look at, and perfect for jazz and blues.
  • The features, hardware, and craftsmanship are beyond its price point.
  • The Bass drum head might not suit your taste, especially if you prefer low-resonant bass drums.
  • Light compared to other mahogany kits, but can still pack a punch when heavier sticks are used.
  • You might need to replace the drumheads if you plan to use it for heavier musical genres.

What’s in the box

Basic shell pack: 14”x18” Bass drum, 5”x14” snare, 8”x12” mounted tom, and a 14”x14” low/floor tom, with uniform 30 degrees bearing edges

Available finishes: Silver Sparkle, White Marine, and Black Marine

Drum heads: 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops, equipped with Remo® drum heads

Hardware: Gibraltar 8600 series for drum stands, Gibraltar 9611SD kick pedal, Mini GTS mounting system

Available Add-On drums: You can also expand or modify the kit by adding add-on drums, which are available on Gretsch’s official Catalina Club Jazz product page.

Features and their Performance

The Catalina Club Jazz is simply a kit to behold. The moment I first laid my eyes on this kit, the first thing that came to my mind is how is it possible for such a glamorous and good-sounding kit to be bought at an affordable price.

It comes in a glossy, smooth finish that exhibits a vibrant and attractive look, perfect for establishing your presence on stage.

The complete Gibraltar 8600 hardware and stands suit my preferences and the mounting system is seamless.

The kick pedal has an excellent memory lock that prevents displacement and rotation of the beater. It also has rubber on its clamps which prevents damages on your bass drum hoop.

The REMO registered drumheads are perfect, and there’s no need to replace them unless you want a heavier tone for the rock/metal genre.


Gretsch has a good reputation in drum set manufacturing due to its excellent craftsmanship and aesthetic drum design.

The Catalina Club Jazz features 100-percent 8-ply mahogany shells, and 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops/rims. The 30-degree bearing edges are excellently polished, maximizing the sound quality without uneven/unpleasant buzzing.

The sturdy Gretsch T-wing screws and bolts ensure the stability of the drums and maintain each component right in its place.

Drum Shell-Pack 

The drum shells are made of pure 8-ply mahogany, which is capable of producing warm and bright tones, with a wide range of tuning options.

For the standard 4-piece kit, the bass drum and the snare have eight tuning lugs, while the mounted tom has five.

This kit is available in different configurations, but you can also buy the kit as a shell-pack with or without the snare in case you already have a trusted gear/set of your own.

Furthermore, if you want more than the standard four-piece kit, you can always purchase Gretsch’s add-on drums and choose from a wide variety of size options that would serve your preferences well.

Sound quality

Due to its rounder 30-degree bearing edges, the head and the shells have more surface of contact, producing better resonance and longer sustain.  

The Remo drum heads together with the 8-ply mahogany shells produce a warm, classic, vintage tone.

The snare drum sounds perfect for a wide variety of genres. Tuning it higher brings a bright tone suitable for playing Jazz music. Low-tuning the snare results to a deep-sounding snare that is suitable for recording/home studios.

The mounted and floor tom are astounding. When tuned on a higher pitch, they achieve a sustained tom sound, with a classic bright tone that cuts through the groove.

Although the bass drum sounds a little ‘boomy’ that is undesirable for some, you can reduce the overtones and resonance by adding a bass drum pillow inside or replacing the batter head of the kick drum.

Replacing the heads can drastically improve the sound of the drums in a good way. By replacing the drumheads with thicker coatings, you can easily switch from a Jazz drum kit to a compact rock drum kit.


Overall, for an intermediate kit, the Catalina Club Jazz drum kit is an excellent kit for all types of setup.

It is a suitable starter drum kit for novices, but it can also be used as a smaller gigging kit like the Breakbeats or SONOR Martini. The compact design and lightweight build of the kit increase playability even for tight spaces or small stages.

The provided REMO drumheads are excellent heads for Jazz and blues, but replacing them with thicker drum heads can easily make this kit an appropriate drum set for rock, gospel, and metal genres.

The drums have a rich, full sound, and the snare is extremely versatile.

With its aesthetic finishes and exquisitely engraved Gretsch logos, you can establish your presence on stage while looking and sounding professional.

Leave a Comment