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First Thoughts: Tama Club Jam Mini 12/18 2pc. Drum Kit

mtarrani

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My mini kit arrived today. After assembling it and playing around with it for about twenty minutes I can give some first impressions.

(1) It does NOT come with a riser. That's not really an issue for me since I don't use risers on bass drums 18" and above. Aside from the drums you will need to supply stands, etc. Most advertisements make this clear, but I am reemphasizing it to set expectations.

(2) The snare drum comes fully assembled, but you will been to assemble the bass drum by installing the heads, hoops, claws and tension rods. I haven't purchased a new kit in decades, but I think that is standard unless you purchase a floor model.

(3) Both drums come with an extra clamp. The bass drum has one to attach shell mounted cymbal arm, and the snare drum has one that allows you to hang it from a stand. Nice feature.

(4) The snare drum, which comes with functional heads IMHO, is snappy when tuned high and is definitely capable of projecting over loud[er] music. Surprisingly I had little trouble adjusting my brush playing to the 12" diameter snare drum. I was prepared to sell or trade the snare drum since I purchased the kit for the bass drum, but may just keep it. I mention this because I often play brush-only gigs, and even in my pop/rock/country/blues band I play brushed regularly.

(5) I was surprised that the bass drum was mostly suited for low volume gigs. I am not disappointed, mind you, but I expected such a shallow shell to be boomy and louder than it is. Perhaps that will change after I swap out the crappy (IMHO) heads for coated ambassadors. We'll see. Also, I am not accustomed to the gull-wing style spurs and had to spend time getting the drum level and minimizing the rocking when I played it. I think it's a matter of a learning curve.

Overall I am very pleased with the kit. I do not plan to purchase the add-on rack and floor toms to go with it since I really wanted a bass drum that would fit in small places where I am normally forced to play just a snare drum and hi-hats. If I need more drums I have kits that will fill those needs.

I should be playing this out Saturday night (just snare, bass and hats - no ride) and will have my girlfriend shoot some videos that I will post here. In the meantime here are some photos.

The basic set-up showing the aforementioned clamps on the snare and bass drums and other details:
bassdrumbirdseye.jpg
snaredrum1.jpg
snaredrum2.jpg
bassdrumfront.jpg


In various stages of being set up (the cymbal holder is an old Gibraltar that I had laying around)
addcymbalholder.jpg
basicconfiguration.jpg
basicconfiguration2.jpg
gigconfiguration.jpg
 

Joe A

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Sharp looking drums; I keep seeing them pop up on my Facebook. I've thought about them myself, but I've got enough snares, plus I have a Rhythm Traveler kick I'll put together as soon as this Danish oil cures up (I won't use that stuff again), which it may well have by now.

It's definitely not too boomy itself, a quality I prize about it. If you heard the isolated drums from "Come Together" on YT, it does that sound quite well.
 

Rich K.

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Drummingdeals.com has the set with the toms for only $300. Guessing they only have one. Seems like a great deal.
 

Joe A

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Looks like a deeper bass drum, but that's still a VERY sweet kit. I'd almost jump on it myself!
 

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That’s a nice looking finish with the wood hoops.
 

cribbon

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That's nice, but I always like to have a tom when I play; Michael White once said, "Kick, snare, hi-hat, one tom and a cymbal and you're making records." The cheap-o way to go this route is to pick up a Rhythm Traveler bass drum (8x20), which gives you an actual bass drum sound and will also support a tom and a ride cymbal, thus minimizing both your equipment and your footprint. I use this version of a 3-piece all the time - very practical. FYI, I use an Aquarian SK1 batter with no internal muffling - sounds fine.

IMG_9380.JPG

IMG_9379.JPG

2018-06-29-Romilos001.JPG

2018-06-29-Romilos002.JPG
 

blueshadow

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Looks great Mike and similar to what I have found with the 8x20 Ludwig, has a good sound but not very loud, which is perfect for what I need. When I have the room and need more volume I have the 14x18 or 14x22.
 

mtarrani

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In my original post I said that I would have video clips of a gig I was planning to play the mini kit. My girlfriend (a.k.a. videographer) was unable to make it, so no video. However, I have some additional thoughts.

I had planned to replace the stock bass drum reso head with a coated Ambassador. I didn't. Instead I remembered that I had a custom made head from 2004 when I had a Tama Stagestar, so I swapped that on. No real change in sound in my rehearsal space, but the gig was in a very live room and the bass drum got a little boomy and loud. I compensated by just feathering during the gig and things worked out.

The snare drum became super loud in the room though. I was playing with brushes and the coating seemed to amplify my every sweep. That is my fault for not completely breaking in the head before taking it to a gig. However, there is a positive to the experience: I discovered that I could play slow ballads across a 12" diameter head without messing up my time.

For the stuff that I do this little kit was the best $280 I've spent on drum gear in my opinion. I am tempted to outfit it with calf heads, but realistically that would be a mistake since many of my gigs are one hour affairs at assisted living facilities and often more than one on any given day. With just a snare drum and hi-hats I can be set up in five minutes, and even adding the bass drum only requires an additional minute. The issue would be tuning and retuning. Since most folks would not even hear the difference, adding calf heads is just not worth it IMHO.

Here is a photo from last night's gig. When I get video/sound clips I'll post them:

Oceansthreegig.jpg
 

mtarrani

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Yet another update. I finally swapped the reso head on the bass drum for a Remo coated Ambassador. In the same room (and spot) where I tested the bass drum with its original heads (and found it to be subdued), the Ambassador made it loud and boomy with (approximately) the same tuning.

I tried a Gibralter felt strip, which tamed it enough to be bearable, but since I wanted the bass drum for small rooms I wanted to get back some of the original lower volume characteristics. By doubling the felt strip (piggy-backing one strip over the other), I tamed the sound to my satisfaction. Indeed, it's MUCH better than the original heads and I have a wider tuning range with the Ambassador.

minijamambassador.jpg
 

mtarrani

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There is a Tama kit that has a 20x10 BD.
These are tempting little kits! There seems to be 20x7 models available online but not available here.
I wish I saw that kit before getting this one. After my purchase I also found a different Tama model that has a 20x10 BD.
 

rikkrebs

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I bought a Metro Cocktail Jam about 10 months ago and I love it. However, I wish I would have known about these. I would have bought one.
 

zendrums

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In various stages of being set up (the cymbal holder is an old Gibraltar that I had laying around)

I have the same kit! For the bass drum shell-mounted cymbal arm, do you have an opinion on the heaviest cymbal it could support? I am a beginner drummer--I only have hi-hats thus far, but was investigating a used ride cymbal for jazz and folk. I was trying to figure if it might be able to support a 22" ride that is approximately 3000 gm.

I see you are using a Gibraltar cymbal arm for the bass drum shell-mount. The official Tama CACLJ cymbal holder for the Club-JAM Mini (https://www.tama.com/eu/products/detail/caclj.html) seems hard to find online. It seems like your Gibraltar gives you more height than the Tama CACLJ cymbal holder. I am trying to figure if the Tama CACLJ cymbal holder might be too low.
 

CAMDRUMS

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There is a Tama kit that has a 20x10 BD.

I wish I saw that kit before getting this one. After my purchase I also found a different Tama model that has a 20x10 BD.
Tama Neo Mod. I have owned the 10x20 and 10x22 configurations- both terrific kits.
 

mtarrani

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I have the same kit! For the bass drum shell-mounted cymbal arm, do you have an opinion on the heaviest cymbal it could support? I am a beginner drummer--I only have hi-hats thus far, but was investigating a used ride cymbal for jazz and folk. I was trying to figure if it might be able to support a 22" ride that is approximately 3000 gm.

I see you are using a Gibraltar cymbal arm for the bass drum shell-mount. The official Tama CACLJ cymbal holder for the Club-JAM Mini (https://www.tama.com/eu/products/detail/caclj.html) seems hard to find online. It seems like your Gibraltar gives you more height than the Tama CACLJ cymbal holder. I am trying to figure if the Tama CACLJ cymbal holder might be too low.
It will easily support a 22" ride.
 


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