What snare did I just buy??

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I found this "Gretsch Renown 14x6.5" for sale by Sam Ash for only $99. The pictures looked good so I snatched it up without hesitation. I've been wanting a matching snare for my Renown kit, and this was close enough.

What a deal! Right? Right??

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I assumed it was a first generation Renown from the badge and the die-cast hoops. Having received it I can confirm that it is not a Renown.

The shell appears to be made of Mahogany, like a Gretsch Catalina Club. (I should've seen the interior didn't have Silver Sealer, but I was thrown off by the DC hoops and badge.)

So, I assume the die-cast hoops were an upgrade? But did Catalinas ever use this particular badge? I haven't been able to find any evidence that they did. Was this badge added later as well?

The butt plate was also upgraded. Two extra holes were drilled into the shell. The holes are ugly, but luckily they're mostly hidden by the butt plate itself.

In addition, the condition of the snare is worse than what appeared in the photos. There is crud and epoxy residue on the wrap, rusted tension rods, scratches all over the chrome hardware, and worst of all, the bearing edges have 3-4 small divots on the snare side. (like someone hit them with a stick)

But on the bright side, I've always wanted to try out a Gretsch Catalina Club (if that's what this is). And, it came with a Road Runner 14x4 (wtf, this 14x6.5 fits?!) bag, that was NOT listed in the ad, so that's nice. I guess.

So yeah, pretty disappointing. I'm sure it was an honest mistake by the guitar player at Sam Ash who listed it. :unsure:

What do you guys think it is?

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The back side of the badge grommet. Does this look stock? I don't recall seeing that black ring before, but who knows.
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Thin Shell

Well-known member
That sure doesn't look like Mahogany or Luan, which most people call Mahogany in drum land. It looks like poplar to me but it could be the slight fuzziness of the pictures.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
How does it sound? If not good return it. The badge is from 1983 to 2013
It sounds pretty decent, all things considering. It has an old Evans HD Dry on top. Maybe I should swap it for an Aquarian Modern Vintage head I have lying around.

That sure doesn't look like Mahogany or Luan, which most people call Mahogany in drum land. It looks like poplar to me but it could be the slight fuzziness of the pictures.
It looks like Asian Mahogany to me, or dare I say, it even looks a little like Luan. But that would make no sense because I don't think Gretsch has ever used Luan?

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Thin Shell

Well-known member
Asian Mahogany is pretty much Luan or one of its siblings. It is really inexpensive which is why it is used in inexpensive drums. There are different grades however and that looks a bit more like it in those pictures.. All of the Catalina drums were imported and I'm pretty sure they were made by Reliance so they used the inexpensive woods that were available locally.
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
That's what I was thinking, but I don't recall ever seeing a Catalina Club badge that didn't say Catalina Club on it.
That grab on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine is from 2004 and I seem to remember seeing some of the early imported Gretsch drums having that generic, black badge with nothing but Gretsch on it.
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
One way or another, that is a Catalina shell of some sort. Never going to be a stellar snare drum. It might be pretty good for low volume gigs but that's probably about it.
 

Fred D

Pioneer Member
I see those types of vents on e bay all the time, The are held in place by a rubber grommet. Probably not the original badge either. That's why the vent was replaced, There are markings Xs on the shell. Maybe someone was trying to lay out where the lugs would go. Maybe it's not even a Gretsch shell and someone had some hardware lying around. The double drilled but plate holes plus a shit wrap job makes me think it's some kind of DIY project. Try to return it.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I’m pretty sure that’s an older Catalina snare with die cast hoops and a new butt added. I know that generic “Gretsch only” badge was used on older Full Range snares, which are/were equivalent to Renowns in shell construction and features. But I believe they also used those badges on very old Catalinas from the early or mid ‘90s. Early Catalinas were also offered in that WMP wrap, but the big giveaway are the lugs.

Catalina snare lugs resemble USA/Renown (and Full Range) snare lugs, but are skinnier due to them being cheap stamped lugs vs. die cast. Those look like the skinnier ones to me, plus the the chrome plating is much worse on the stamped lugs, and the pitting I see corresponds to that. But to be certain, you can take one off and see if it feels light or heavy.

Frankly, I’d swap those hoops for cheap 1.6mm triple flange, then return the snare and keep the die cast hoops. That should make up for your trouble, and I doubt the guitarists at GC will notice a difference.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I’m pretty sure that’s an older Catalina snare with die cast hoops and a new butt added. I know that generic “Gretsch only” badge was used on older Full Range snares, which are/were equivalent to Renowns in shell construction and features. But I believe they also used those badges on very old Catalinas from the early or mid ‘90s. Early Catalinas were also offered in that WMP wrap, but the big giveaway are the lugs.

Catalina snare lugs resemble USA/Renown (and Full Range) snare lugs, but are skinnier due to them being cheap stamped lugs vs. die cast. Those look like the skinnier ones to me, plus the the chrome plating is much worse on the stamped lugs, and the pitting I see corresponds to that. But to be certain, you can take one off and see if it feels light or heavy.

Frankly, I’d swap those hoops for cheap 1.6mm triple flange, then return the snare and keep the die cast hoops. That should make up for your trouble, and I doubt the guitarists at GC will notice a difference.
I made a cursory search of all the current and completed Reverb listings of old Catalinas. I didn't find a single one that didn't say "Catalina Club" on it. Maybe they exist, but I didn't find any that have this badge.

The lugs are definitely the cheap ones. They don't feel particularly heavy, and some of the chrome has spider cracking. I mean, is spider cracking even a thing anymore? I've only seen it on vintage drums.

And the die-cast hoops? The die-cast hoops are warped because of course they are. lol

The only good thing about this snare are the Tama snare wires.

I sent a message to Sam Ash asking for a refund. Hopefully I'll hear back from them tomorrow.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I made a cursory search of all the current and completed Reverb listings of old Catalinas. I didn't find a single one that didn't say "Catalina Club" on it. Maybe they exist, but I didn't find any that have this badge.

The lugs are definitely the cheap ones. They don't feel particularly heavy, and some of the chrome has spider cracking. I mean, is spider cracking even a thing anymore? I've only seen it on vintage drums.

And the die-cast hoops? The die-cast hoops are warped because of course they are. lol

The only good thing about this snare are the Tama snare wires.

I sent a message to Sam Ash asking for a refund. Hopefully I'll hear back from them tomorrow.
If you don't get a satisfactory response CALL THEM! They don't have a leg to stand on if you choose to return it. It's nothing short of false advertising and/or bait and switch.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I don't think there were any BlackHawk with that kind of wrap. Sure it's a Catalina Club with upgraded hoops and snare.
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
Frankly, I’d swap those hoops for cheap 1.6mm triple flange, then return the snare and keep the die cast hoops. That should make up for your trouble, and I doubt the guitarists at GC will notice a difference.
In other words, you would steal from them?
 
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