80s Tama birch shell construction question

stevil

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I thought this would have been discussed ad naseum, but I can't find it in the archives, so here goes:

I'm in the market for some big, thumping Tamas, ala Dave Grohl circa Nirvana. I've read conflicting information on the differences between Superstar, Crestar, Artstar, Artstar Cordia, and various Granstar shell construction. Does anyone know, or know how to find, information on the thickness, ply count, and if possible, bearing edge style for those different lines?

Re: Artstar Cordia, how, if at all, did the inner and outer plies of cordia affect the sound?
 

Tama CW

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Tamadrumarchive.com

The catalogs often listed the number of plies and their make up. Never owned a Cordia snare so can't help on the tone.
 

stevil

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Thanks, @Tama CW

For posterity, here's what I found at www.drumarchive.com/tama

1980 catalog describes Superstars as having 6 plies. Didn't see thickness.
Crestar catalog says, "Like Superstar, Crestar is constructed of 9mm, 8-ply Japanese birch..." [no differentiation mentioned for snare/tom/bass thickness]
1983 Artstar catalog describes 9mm bass drum shells and 6mm tom/snare shells. I didn't see an exact ply count, except that it's birch between inner/outer plies of cordia
1986 Artstar II catalog describes 7-ply tom shells and 9-ply bass shells composed of Candadian maple [didn't see thickness]
1986 Granstar catalog describes 9mm, 7-ply shells

I may edit/revisit when I have more time to sift through the catalogs.
 

Ptrick

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Inner and outer ply’s and veneers don’t change the sound in my experience that much, unless it is a drastically different material, such as a layer of fiberglass or carbon fiber. I would expect it to sound very similar to your standard Birch shelled superstar.
 

stevil

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Are these plied drums as strong/durable as drums w/rerings?
I think that depends on the construction of the rerings. Some rerings are installed with inadequate tension to protect the drum, making them essentially decorative/tuning features. What I’ve heard of this era Tama shells is that they’re built like tanks and they had very high quality control standards at the time.
 

audiochurch

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I think that depends on the construction of the rerings. Some rerings are installed with inadequate tension to protect the drum, making them essentially decorative/tuning features. What I’ve heard of this era Tama shells is that they’re built like tanks and they had very high quality control standards at the time.
thanks so much! This may have set a standard at this point in time for plied drums possibly?
 

Core Creek

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I bought a brand new set of Granstar Customs in ‘89 and it was a killer kit. The shells were a little thicker than average, and I recall they had crosscut seams. They were incredibly well built and had that low end thump you’re looking for. I only sold them because my tastes changed and I found that I preferred maple shells.
 

OttawaDrumGuy

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I bought a brand new set of Granstar Customs in ‘89 and it was a killer kit. The shells were a little thicker than average, and I recall they had crosscut seams. They were incredibly well built and had that low end thump you’re looking for. I only sold them because my tastes changed and I found that I preferred maple shells.
I also bought a set of Granstar Customs in 1990. Still have them, and they’re fantastic rock drums.
 

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Elvis

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Thanks, @Tama CW

For posterity, here's what I found at www.drumarchive.com/tama

1980 catalog describes Superstars as having 6 plies. Didn't see thickness.
Crestar catalog says, "Like Superstar, Crestar is constructed of 9mm, 8-ply Japanese birch..." [no differentiation mentioned for snare/tom/bass thickness]
1983 Artstar catalog describes 9mm bass drum shells and 6mm tom/snare shells. I didn't see an exact ply count, except that it's birch between inner/outer plies of cordia
1986 Artstar II catalog describes 7-ply tom shells and 9-ply bass shells composed of Candadian maple [didn't see thickness]
1986 Granstar catalog describes 9mm, 7-ply shells

I may edit/revisit when I have more time to sift through the catalogs.
Artstar II has 7mm thick toms and 9mm thick bass's.
Their tom shells were fairly thin for the time.
Original Artstars had some really nice round sounding toms with big bold bass drum.
In the 80's, Granstars were typically the property of Metal heads and hair bands.
 

mpthomson

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thanks so much! This may have set a standard at this point in time for plied drums possibly?
They weren't any better than anyone else's top end ranges at that time. They existed at the same time as Sonor Phonics, Yamaha 9000 etc, all of which had equally good construction standards.
 

equipmentdork

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I'm pretty sure that Grohl played Artstar IIs with Nirvana with some Granstars in there somewhere. I think there's a website that traces his gear from Tama to his Slingerland flirtations up to modern-day DW. Heck, I've seen him on other kits, too, and he sounds like......Grohl. Of all those Tama ranges you mention...flip a coin. Superstars and Granstars were birch and Artstar IIs were maple but you can't go wrong. I gig all the time outdoors with vintage Superstars and they just keep going. Love 'em.



Dan
 
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Big Beat

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You cannot go wrong with any Tama from that era. Even the lowly Swingstars are fantastic for what they are, and once you get above that, you're dealing with some of the finest hard rock drums ever made. I have owned almost all of them at some point. The Superstars are my favorite, followed by Artstar II. Tone-wise, there isn't much audible difference that cannot be accounted for by heads and tuning. Just pick whatever pleases you, they're all good.
 


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