Neil Peart's "Artstar" kit

mlucas123

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The red kit.

"They were cooperative enough to make me a four-ply version
of their normal six-ply set, and asked me to keep quiet about it." - NP


70's Tama Superstar shells were 4 ply 6mm with rings.

My question is....Did Tama just make Neil's red kit with old Superstar
shells?
 

thin shell

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mlucas123 said:
The red kit.

"They were cooperative enough to make me a four-ply version
of their normal six-ply set, and asked me to keep quiet about it." - NP


70's Tama Superstar shells were 4 ply 6mm with rings.

My question is....Did Tama just make Neil's red kit with old Superstar
shells?
I doubt it. They probably didn't have any old shells at that point. It would not have been difficult for them to omit 2 plies when making the shells for that kit. The re-rings would most likely have been installed after the shell came out of the mold.
 

bluejacketsfan

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I thought I read somewhere that these shells on NP'S set were maple? (This in contrast to the b Birch shells of the Superstars. )

In Japan the original Art stars WERE available in Candy Apple Red AND were available with maple shells. We I'm the rest of the world had to wait until AS II came out before we had that color and that shell. If you check out the old Japanese catalogs on the Tama site, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Also, I don't think the rering shells of the 70's were made very long, a couple of years maybe?
 

Snooter

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I think he left Tama and went to Ludwig for Hold Your Fire ('87?), if anyone's keeping score.
I believe this to be correct. Played a new set of Plum Crazy colored Luddies.
I remember seeing an ad with him standing behind those drums. I was shocked he dropped Tama for Ludwig
 

Chonson

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Snooter said:
I think he left Tama and went to Ludwig for Hold Your Fire ('87?), if anyone's keeping score.
I believe this to be correct. Played a new set of Plum Crazy colored Luddies.
I remember seeing an ad with him standing behind those drums. I was shocked he dropped Tama for Ludwig
'87 was his best finish/kit IMO: white pearlescent sparkle with a little pink. Plum was Presto.
 

dje31

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...and I think they were transparent navy blue for Roll the Bones, which I believe was the beginning of a single kick with a double pedal...maybe even the first 22", despite questionable memory, recollections, or company lines...
 

sandmanexc

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The Roll The Bones Drum Kit was Ludwig's Shadow Blue Lacquer which was one of the few stock colors Neil ever went with for one of his kits. It was so strange to see Neil with only one bass drum but his drums sounded great. I think his Ludwigs were the best recorded drum sound.

As far as the Artstar Prototype, the shells were far from anything that Tama sold to customers. I used to run a website dedicated to Neil's drum kits and one of my site members was the infamous Robert Telleria, who was hired to restore the kit by the Ebay Winner from the UK that won the kit when it went up for auction a 2nd time when Scott Gemm sold them. Robert ended up owning the kit when the restoration bill on the famous CAR Tamas got excessive. Robert also wrote a book on Rush as well as helped develop Tama's drum archives. Robert gave us lots of inside information that was never published about Neil's Candy Apple Red Tama's. Here's a few gems I bet most don't know. The drums are/were made of 100% Birch just like the regular Superstar line. The shells were actually custom machined down thinner after Tama made the shells. Neil Graham of Percussion Centre of Fort Wayne applied the "Vibra-Fibing" - Process of applying a thin layer of fiberglass to the inside of the drum shells to make them project more. Neil always had Vibra-Fibing on all his older kits done going back to his earlier Slingerland,, Rosewood Tama Kits and all the way up to the Ludwigs. Neal Graham had a machine specially made for the vibra-fibing process that he developed and had custom built. A friend and I almost went in partners to buy the Vibra-Fibing machine when Neal Graham was selling off all the drum shop machinery before his untimely passing. When Neal was selling off the custom designed machine, it no longer worked and needed lots of repairs so we had to pass on the opportunity to buy the infamous machine that was used on Neil's drums.

The Superstar shells as presented to Neil by Tama were too thick for his liking and did not have the long sustain that he liked and as most know Birch drums are somewhat louder and more articulate with less of a sustain than maple. Neil wanted the shells to sing out thus the machining down of the inside of the shells to make them thinner plus they had to be thinned to allow for the vibra-fibing of the interior. The kit as Neil used it was far from the specs of the actual consumer kits that Tama offered. Less mass = longer sustained fundamental tone. Tama was not happy about all the modifications Neil had done to the drums since they know whatever a drum hero does, his fans and followers will also want.

Hope this helps some of you fellow Neil Peart gear afficiandos.
 

dje31

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Thanks for the "inside baseball" info. I admit, I'm a huge gearhead nerd, have been most of my life, even though most other folks couldn't care less.

I also dabble in keyboards, and back in college, while watching a Pink Floyd tribute band, spent almost as much time watching the keyboard player, and figuring out how he made the sounds he did...or how I would replicate it on my own gear.

NERD! ( self-referential)
 

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Great inside info on the Peart set, thanks for posting. Seems to me though that if he wanted a longer fundamental tone why go through all the work of having them machined and modified, then go an put hydraulic heads on the bottoms? Those heads were designed to shorten and lower the fundamental tone.
 

sandmanexc

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As Neil has stated before in his equipment notes, he didn't know a lot about the specifics of his gear as he paid Larry Allen to keep all that straight. Neil said when he hired Larry to be his roadie, Larry knew nothing about drums but was willing to work hard and learn which endeared himself to Neil. Larry researched whatever Neil wanted to inquire about so it was all left up to him to put Neil's tour kit together before the start of the tours. I imagine Neil and Larry didn't know all the complexities of head selection and how the different heads influenced sound. Needless to say, we were all very surprised when Robert Telleria told us all how thinly the shells were machined down on the inside plies on a special lathe. The machine that was used to apply the vibra-fibing was based on the principles of centrifugal force I used to have some pix of the actual machine....I will see if I can dig them up and post them.

I learned lots of great info from running the site that satisfied my drum geekdom of Neil's past kits. Most of the members were like myself puting together our own replicas of our favorite past Neil drum kits. We had one member who actually went full bore with his replica of the CAR kit. He bought up a bunch of vintage Tama Superstar Shells and paid a professional woodshop to machine down the shells to the same specs as Neil's. He even found someone to Vibra-Fibe the insides of his shells too. Last I talked to him, he was about to pay a body shop to apply the Candy Apple Red Paint. He also paid a fortune to have all the hardware brass plated just like Neil did back in the day.
 

Zeb

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I still have the ArtStar Cordia/Birch kit I bought in '83. They're canons...

 

sandtrooper

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Did Tama make any maple shelled kits back in the early to mid '80s?
 

ppfd

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fishmouth said:
Geez, all i did was add a china, a splash, and some rotos to my rocker kit!
LOL
You, me, and just about every teenage drum player back in the 80's :headbang:
 

dje31

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Another theory, triggered by the picture of Cordia Artstars by Zeb: power toms were all the rage back then, while Peart always opted for normal depth toms. Perhaps Tama wanted him to "go deep" and Peart wouldn't? Add that to Tama's supposed anger about the Virbra-Fibing, and perhaps there was no compromise or middle ground?
 

thin shell

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the red tamas were made before the cordia artstars were produced, hence they called them the prototypes for the artstars. How they went from thin shelled superstars to the deep shelled, mach lug, ugly (in my opinion) cordia as the only finish production drums has always baffled me. They eventually added some color choices but I don't think they were nearly as successful a line as they would have been if they had just made them like the prototypes, thin shelled superstars.

The article Neil wrote in MD about his new Ludwig drums said that he did the drum shootout with several different drum companies drum kits. He chose Ludwig because they sounded the best. Tama offered to make him drums that sounded like the Ludwigs but he didn't see the point so off to Ludwig he went.
 
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Actually Artstar II's date from around '86 and were early 100% Maple shells. 9 ply/7mm thick, which was fairly thin in those days.
The original Artstar was introduced in '83 and used a Birch/Cordia shell of similar thickness.
Also in '86, Tama came out with a single ply Maple snare drum that was quite popular.



Elvis
 

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