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Gretsch Renown or Tama Superstar Classic 2022

Friendo

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Hi all - I'm a steady-working drummer, have been gigging for years and played mostly Yamaha and Mapex. I'm in the market for a new kit and am struggling! I'd love to find a sturdy working kit, all maple shells, and something that can accommodate any style of music (I mostly play rock / pop, but also some jazz). Looking at intermediate price range ($2K max), and hoping to get a 5 or 7-piece shell pack.

I've never played Gretsch nor Tama, but I've narrowed my decision to those two. If Gretsch, I would stretch and get the Renown RN2 5-piece. But I've heard there are issues with the tom mounts and hardware. OR I could get the Tama Superstar Classic, which I think is a lower line but 7-piece for $1,200. The Starclassic Performer is the next line up but is maple/birch, and I'd prefer all maple.

I've been researching for waaaay too long now and can't seem to find direct comparisons on these two. Suggestions? Thoughts? Anything would help! Appreciate it.
 

mtarrani

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Hi all - I'm a steady-working drummer, have been gigging for years and played mostly Yamaha and Mapex. I'm in the market for a new kit and am struggling! I'd love to find a sturdy working kit, all maple shells, and something that can accommodate any style of music (I mostly play rock / pop, but also some jazz). Looking at intermediate price range ($2K max), and hoping to get a 5 or 7-piece shell pack.

I've never played Gretsch nor Tama, but I've narrowed my decision to those two. If Gretsch, I would stretch and get the Renown RN2 5-piece. But I've heard there are issues with the tom mounts and hardware. OR I could get the Tama Superstar Classic, which I think is a lower line but 7-piece for $1,200. The Starclassic Performer is the next line up but is maple/birch, and I'd prefer all maple.

I've been researching for waaaay too long now and can't seem to find direct comparisons on these two. Suggestions? Thoughts? Anything would help! Appreciate it.
I have renown hardware on a few kits. I think it's an eyesore, but it's also rock solid. If hardware sturdiness and functionality are your concerns allow me to assuage them.
 

Rhyma Hop

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I've been researching for waaaay too long now and can't seem to find direct comparisons on these two. Suggestions? Thoughts? Anything would help! Appreciate it.

So you will be mostly at gigs with this kit ??.. Many woods will sound great mic'd IMO . . I wouldn't get too concerned about maple but these two kits are NOT direct competitors.. It would be the Renown and Tama Starclassic Performer Maple/Birch although I know that Superstar can hang with almost anything from what I have read and heard.
 

varatrodder

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So I LOVE Tama drums, but the Gretsch kit is a solid step above the Tama kit. The Superstar Classic is more on the same level as Gretsch Catalina Maple.
 

Rick

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I had a set of Superstar Classics (that I just sold). I bought it a few years ago when I was leaving my Starclassic Maple kit at a local restaurant gig and needed a suitable, lesser priced substitute for other gigs so I didn't have to move/setup drums so much. I bought the Superstar Classics because I figured with the same heads and tuning they would sound at least reasonably close to my SCM's. Mission accomplished! They were surprisingly close. Great sounding drums! The only thing I would say is the tom mounting hardware is not as beefy as what is on the Starclassics. It's the same idea and gets the same result in terms of sound, but might not hold up to a ton of setting up and tearing down. I'm super careful with my stuff so it was fine. But if you don't baby them, I could see that hardware being a bit fragile.
 

Friendo

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I have renown hardware on a few kits. I think it's an eyesore, but it's also rock solid. If hardware sturdiness and functionality are your concerns allow me to assuage them.
Thanks for the reply. It's hard to discern what's out there, but there seems to be a sentiment that Tama is much studier than Gretsch, and that the tom mounts are challenging. But I appreciate the feedback!
 

Friendo

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So I LOVE Tama drums, but the Gretsch kit is a solid step above the Tama kit. The Superstar Classic is more on the same level as Gretsch Catalina Maple.
Yes, I recognize that Superstar Classic is more competing with Catalina. I just wasn't super interested in going for the higher level Tama (from what I've read). I def considered the Catalina, as well, but have heard it's better to stretch the budget and go for Renown if you're going for Gretsch Maple. I've never played either so it's hard to tell! But appreciate the feedback.
 

Friendo

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I had a set of Superstar Classics (that I just sold). I bought it a few years ago when I was leaving my Starclassic Maple kit at a local restaurant gig and needed a suitable, lesser priced substitute for other gigs so I didn't have to move/setup drums so much. I bought the Superstar Classics because I figured with the same heads and tuning they would sound at least reasonably close to my SCM's. Mission accomplished! They were surprisingly close. Great sounding drums! The only thing I would say is the tom mounting hardware is not as beefy as what is on the Starclassics. It's the same idea and gets the same result in terms of sound, but might not hold up to a ton of setting up and tearing down. I'm super careful with my stuff so it was fine. But if you don't baby them, I could see that hardware being a bit fragile.
Thanks, Rick! Good to know. Yes, I do a lot of setting up and tearing down, so want to make sure it can handle all the movement. I'm kinda surprised my Mapex Meriden kit has survived so well! 10 years of pretty consistent set up and teardown and they've been great. I was considering Mapex Armory but, in terms of setup, I'm not a fan of the cymbal stand / stand tom mounts (which is all they have in that line). I prefer to have the kick tom mount (even tho I know it's supposed to detract from the sound when drilled), for easier setup.

Definitely appreciate the input!
 

bpaluzzi

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Thanks for the reply. It's hard to discern what's out there, but there seems to be a sentiment that Tama is much studier than Gretsch, and that the tom mounts are challenging. But I appreciate the feedback!
Not at all the case.

Renown is a pro-level kit. Far prefer the Renown mounts to the Starclassics, both in terms of the on-drum mounts and the bass drum tom arm.

I got a screaming deal on a birch-bubinga Starclassic in the tiger wood veneer, and had planned on selling my Renown to pay for it. Once I got them home and a-b'ed, the Renowns were much better pick for me. Sold the Tama kit after only having it for a month or so. Ended up getting more Renown, and now I have a full shell bank of them (8-10-12-13 racks, 14-16-18 floors, 16-18-20-24 kicks).
 
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gonzo

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I would look at an older Mapex Saturn kit. You are familiar with Mapex and know how good they hold up. Stay with the brand and take it to the next level! You can find used older Saturns for less money than the Tama and Gretsch kits mentioned and a much better kit!!
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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Thanks for the reply. It's hard to discern what's out there, but there seems to be a sentiment that Tama is much studier than Gretsch, and that the tom mounts are challenging. But I appreciate the feedback!
I've read statements reiterating this sentiment as well, and they've always kind of surprised me. I used to own a set of Catalinas, and currently play a set of Brooklyns, and find the Gretsch hardware to be rock solid, well-designed and reliable. On the other hand they have only Tama Starclassics where I rehearse, and there's always issues with the hardware. The bass drum tom mounts slip and don't hold the position you've put them in, and while the Tama hardware seems to be designed to allow for resonance, everything just feels shaky and unstable. I can't tell you the number of times I've come in to set up and the rack tom is just sitting on the bass drum as the mount has given out.

In fairness, my Brooklyns are mine and I treat them well, whereas I'm sure the rehearsal space drums take far more abuse. Still, my experience has consistently been the opposite of the sentiment you mention. While I can't speak to the Renowns in particular, I hope my insights are at least somewhat helpful to you.
 

Blue Zurich

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I'm playing a Renown kit and after having it for the better part of 6 months I can attest to the positive qualities. Tuning range for one. Hardware and sturdiness is top notch, finish is gorgeous as well. Best drums I have owned and played (of my own) I matched mine with Tama Classic stands fwiw.
 

Redbeard77

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I've been gigging my Renowns for over a decade and recommend them every chance I get. What sizes are you wanting?
 

Friendo

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Not at all the case.

Renown is a pro-level kit. Far prefer the Renown mounts to the Starclassics, both in terms of the on-drum mounts and the bass drum tom arm.

I got a screaming deal on a birch-bubinga Starclassic in the tiger wood veneer, and had planned on selling my Renown to pay for it. Once I got them home and a-b'ed, the Renowns were much better pick for me. Sold the Tama kit after only having it for a month or so. Ended up getting more Renown, and now I have a full shell bank of them (8-10-12-13 backs, 14-16-18 floors, 16-18-20-24 kicks).
Thanks, bpaluzzi. I really appreciate the personal insight! I've never played Tamas, but I do read some amazing things about the Renown kit sound and design. I think I'm sold :)
 

Friendo

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I've read statements reiterating this sentiment as well, and they've always kind of surprised me. I used to own a set of Catalinas, and currently play a set of Brooklyns, and find the Gretsch hardware to be rock solid, well-designed and reliable. On the other hand they have only Tama Starclassics where I rehearse, and there's always issues with the hardware. The bass drum tom mounts slip and don't hold the position you've put them in, and while the Tama hardware seems to be designed to allow for resonance, everything just feels shaky and unstable. I can't tell you the number of times I've come in to set up and the rack tom is just sitting on the bass drum as the mount has given out.

In fairness, my Brooklyns are mine and I treat them well, whereas I'm sure the rehearsal space drums take far more abuse. Still, my experience has consistently been the opposite of the sentiment you mention. While I can't speak to the Renowns in particular, I hope my insights are at least somewhat helpful to you.
it's funny you mention this because I do recall playing some Tamas recently at a rehearsal studio. You're right, they do get more abuse, but they were slipping around on me the whole time. I guess I didn't put 2 and 2 together until I read your post. Your insights are super helpful! This is what I needed: Real drummer insight instead of a lot the promo stuff that's out there. Sometimes those are obviously geared toward trying to sell the kit. Thanks again.
 

Friendo

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I've been gigging my Renowns for over a decade and recommend them every chance I get. What sizes are you wanting?
This is good to know, @Redbeard77 ! Thanks for the feedback. I was going to order on Sweetwater. I was going to get the 5-piece shell pack in Cherry Burst (7" x 10" and 8" x 12" toms, 14" x 16" floor, 18" x 22" bass, 5" x 14" snare). Beautiful finish (red is my fav). I was also going to special order an 7" x 8" tom just because I love having three up, one down. I know it's unconventional! But that's my fav setup.

Appreciate the insight!
 

Friendo

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I appreciate everyone's help! This is the insight I was looking for. I was leaning toward the Renown (and thinking if I'm stretching on the cost, I would consider Tama Starclassic Performer), but there is something about the renown and full maple, the finish, and the musicality that was pushing me toward the Renown. I think the people have spoken! Now I just need to figure out what cymbals to get!! :)
 

Cauldronics

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The SS Classic won't project much when you go up in diameter from the 12. I found it frustrating when playing in a group with no mics on the drums. If most of your playing is mic'd I wouldn't worry about it. The sustain and decay on the floor toms is abysmal compared to any kit I've owned. Yep - tried many heads and tunings.

Now that I've had both and kept the Renown, I can't recommend the Renown more highly. It's a step or two up from the Tama and more in line with both Gretsch USA Custom and Tama Starclassic.
 


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