OK my Tama Brothern... What Did I Just Buy???

Fat Drummer

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I have been playing a sweet little cheap Gretsch Catalina Club kit with an 18" kick for my casual work around town and I have really enjoyed the little drums. For a cheap lauan kit, they look great and sound wonderful as I have them tuned fat and full with coated Emperors on top. The problem is I am not a fan of 18" kicks. I mean I really WANT to be! They are cool as everything, sound neat tuned up, look cool and travel easy... but I just dont like risers and therefore I dont like the feel and sound of working off centered on the head. If I played jazz, I would most likley not mind as I would have it tuned up and ringing, but that is not what I use the kit for so I have decided to sell that set and replace it with my favorite kick size, a 20".

I have looked for months and worked my way through a wide variety of ideas... including contacting Josh at INDe and getting a price on buying a 14X20" for my current kit (10", 12", 14", 16" , 14X22") But I could not get my mind around the cost of a single kick compared to what I paid for the whole kit so I choose to keep looking. I have my custom kit with a 20" kick no less, but it has a sprayed copper sand finish and I wanted a wrap for around town work so I was not overly concerned about beating them up. SO the search continued... a nice wrapped kit in 14X20", 8X12" and 4X14" that caught my interest and I was not afraid to haul around town on a whim. When I say I made offers on a dozen kits, it may have been 2 dozen! I looked at Reverb, Ebay, here on DFO, GC Used, Facebook drum groups, Craigslist, FB Marketplace, ect. and I found one that interested me this week from Steve Maxwell in the Chicago store on Reverb.

So long story short (I know... WAY to late for that now) I spoke with Steve yesterday and we came to a very equitable price on this kit and I now own it. The problem is WHAT DO I OWN!!!!!!!

Steve's Reverb Photos
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Here is what I know....

A Japanese made Tama Starclassic Birch Kit in 18"X20", 8X10" 9X12" and 14X14" in Black Gold Glitter

OK, that is the easy part... I assume these are the Performer series? But the age has me thrown off. I don't find this color in the catalogs until the early 2000's but I thought by then the Performer series production had been moved to China and these are clearly Japan drums. Can you place the age and series for me? The toms are "Accel" sizes in that they are the additional 1" deep versions and I can live with that on my 12". But from here on I am flying blind.. teach me people, teach me!

I WILL BE MODIFYING the kit before I start using it or you see it! First thing is I will be cutting the kick down to a 14X20". 18" is too deep for small stages and I just really like 14" kicks (though the best sounding kick I ever had was actually a 20X20")! I will most likely sell the 10" (I am undecided at this time) and I may ditch the heavy die cast rims and mounting system and replace with a Gauger rims with standard triple fanged hoops. Again this is all just thinking out loud right now as I have not even heard the kit yet. I know I will start with heads first and go from there. Well, except for the kick...cutting that down will happen right away.

So again, what have I bought? I am more of a maple buy but my other 3 kits are maple, maple and maple/poplar/Mahogany so it will be nice to have a different shell in the family. More to come as I work through the set, but the sizes are cool and I have never seen this kit for sale before in this color and configuration so I'm pretty pumped. I would just like more info on the kit overall if you have any.

Thanks for the look,
Ward

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DanRH

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Yup, Looks like a Starclassic Performer. Birch I think. The only thing that throws me is your kick is a ten lugged bass drum. My 22 had 8. Great kit! Congrats!
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Fat Drummer

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Yeah, that threw me as well Dan. I even questioned it, but the toms are clearly 10, 12 and 14" so that is by comparison a 20" kick (it's to big against the toms to be an 18" and to small to be a 22"). I dont know enough about Tama to know if this was a factory option of someone ordered it custom?
 

halldorl

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Those are clearly Japan made drums and these are most likely made just before the Birch/Bubinga series were introduced and these discontinued. Those are Starclassic Performer EFX. I´d guess 2006 - 2008. The finish is BGG or Black Gold Glitter. This config was sold as SRG40S (20x18, 10x8, 12x9, 14x14).

Here you can see the catalog:


Tama sc.jpg
 

halldorl

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The 20" SCP EFX bass drums all had 10 lugs in that period. Dan H´s drums are an earlier model.
 

Fat Drummer

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Thank you Halldorl, do you know what the EFX designation stood for?

From looking at the catalog link you provided, my guess is the fact they are wrapped and not sprayed finishes. The Standard Performer's are direct finishes and the EFX says it's the same shell but they come with wraps (3 crushed glass and 4 more traditional wraps). Am I on the correct track?
 
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D. B. Cooper

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Oh man. Nice kit! You're going to love the build quality once you get your hands on them, especially after getting to know those Catalinas.
Good call on cutting the bass down, I would be tempted to do that too. You should hang on to the 10 for a while. Don't sell it as soon as you get it, you might want it once you get to know the drums. Better safe than sorry and you might have trouble recouping enough cash from it to make it worth it. Have a look on Reverb.

I think you're going to find that those cast hoops are a big part of the sound and feel of Srarclassics. They're kind of meant to be on there. Give em a shot before you sell em. It would be kinda like putting TF on an old RB kit I think, something may seem off visually and sonically.

I remember not loving how heavy the mounting hardware was on my Srarclassics, but man was it nice. And it all functioned perfectly. Really well made stuff, just heavy.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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What a beautiful, beautiful kit. It'd be a shame to modify it before you give it a chance to deliver the wonderful tones that I know those kits can produce. With those gorgeous die-cast hoops providing a bit of "control" on the resonance of the shells, you can outfit it with single-ply heads and still expect some lessening of ring, if that's the sound you are after. Mount singly-ply clear heads for lots of impact and projection, coated heads for a touch of attenuation of the midrange frequencies.

And I suspect that you will regret making an orphan of that 10" tom, as replacing it if you change your mind later on will be extremely difficult. I've been in love with 10" toms from the first time I bought one. I think that the 10s offer a perfect accent for punctuating the downbeat and beginning tom runs.

I perfectly understand your inclination to shorten the bass drum - I don't like deep ones, either, though that's what I'm stuck with on both of my kits. Hardware positions prevent any significant shortening on my drums, though. In your case, though, the extra depth may be just the key for coaxing a fat sound from a birch 20" bass drum. I don't know. You'll have to be your own judge on that.

So, congrats on landing such a marvelous kit of drums. These are fine examples of Tama at its best.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Fat Drummer

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Oh man. Nice kit! You're going to love the build quality once you get your hands on them, especially after getting to know those Catalinas.
Good call on cutting the bass down, I would be tempted to do that too. You should hang on to the 10 for a while. Don't sell it as soon as you get it, you might want it once you get to know the drums. Better safe than sorry and you might have trouble recouping enough cash from it to make it worth it. Have a look on Reverb.

I think you're going to find that those cast hoops are a big part of the sound and feel of Srarclassics. They're kind of meant to be on there. Give em a shot before you sell em. It would be kinda like putting TF on an old RB kit I think, something may seem off visually and sonically.

I remember not loving how heavy the mounting hardware was on my Srarclassics, but man was it nice. And it all functioned perfectly. Really well made stuff, just heavy.
Sage advice D.B., I think I'm dismissing the 10" a little to quick as it might be nice to have it handy in case I wanted to play a small 5 piece. And should I decide to resale later on, (and I will, it's my nature) I would find that it had more value with the full kit than just a random orphan on it's own. Based on the link Halldorl provided, this is an actual factory configuration... #SR40S!

I am not a big fan of the Starclassic mounts from a visual standpoint, but I do need to sit tight and experience the kit as designed before I predetermine any changes. I may find I love it as it. I know having a kick mounted tom was a priority for this kit as that was a feature that made the Gretsch so convenient. But you have to admit, flanged hoops would sure lighten the kit quite a bit!
 

Fat Drummer

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Thanks GeeDeeEmm, yes, I have seen the error of my way on selling the 10" so I will put that on hold for the moment (I cant promise I wont, but it makes more sense to hold on to it for now). I also love 10" toms and 2 of my current sets start with a 10" so I am most likely being short sighted right now.

We will see on the hoops and mounts, but the kick WILL be shorter week one... regardless. I can always get a good sound from a kick and I like 14" depth (or maybe 15"... depends on how everything lays out). I will keep you updated!

Thanks for the look,
Ward
 

halldorl

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Thank you Halldorl, do you know what the EFX designation stood for?

From looking at the catalog link you provided, my guess is the fact they are wrapped and not sprayed finishes. The Standard Performer's are direct finishes and the EFX says it's the same shell but they come with wraps (3 crushed glass and 4 more traditional wraps). Am I on the correct track?
You are correct sir!
Beautiful kit by the way!
 

halldorl

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The tom holder is non original though. Appears to be a mish-mash of Gibraltar parts. Probably works just fine but I’d recommend the Tama MTH1000 holder.

I totally understand you wanting to shorten the bass drum. 18” is pretty darn deep, especially for a 20”. I had a Brady 20”x18” once that I never came to terms with.They tend to get really boingy.
 

drummertom

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Really nice kit! I'd even consider cutting down the kick to 12x20 if you're going to be lugging it all over the place.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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Japanese Starclassic Perfomer Birch EFX, as stated. Really nice sounding kits, the tonal difference from these and your luan Catalinas is going to be significant, and in a good way.

I love my SC Birch Performers 18x22, 10, 12, 14 + snare. They're a bit earlier than yours and have the older pre-chrome Starcast iso mounts. Mine love smooth White Emp tom batters. Fantastic projection and punchy tone.

You're going to love the build quality once you get your hands on them, especially after those Catalinas.

cast hoops are a big part of the sound and feel of Srarclassics. They're kind of meant to be on there. It would be kinda like putting TF on an old RB kit I think, something may seem off visually and sonically.
^Ditto^

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Mongrel

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Wow, that is a beautiful kit, love that wrap too.

I have a MIJ 1999 set of Performers (100% birch), and I tell you every time I think about selling them to pick up something else I can never follow through. If I stayed within a similar range of drums (high end amateur\low end pro? lol) I would take too much of a hit on resale and wind up with a kit that doesn't sound any better.

The build quality and sound are top notch, and with my 60s maple Rogers and my 90s birch Performers I figure I have a lot of bases covered...lol.

I picked up a matching Transparent Black 8" tom and 16" tom and an oddball 20" bass drum from Dale's Drum Shop in Harrisburg PA years ago. I can run so many configurations from those pieces, it's a blast.

As already suggested-keep the 10" tom, even if it sits in the closet. If you do sell them it will probably have more value with the kit than as a single. Also as suggested above, pick up a Tama tom holder. That thing is just ugly...lol. Tama hardware in addition to being state of the art is elegant...

Congrats!
 

Fat Drummer

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Wow, what great feedback, information and encouragement gang... thank you all for your reply's!

Let me quickly address a few points you guys have brought up...

1) Cutting the kick down - Sorry this WILL happen. I will cut the back side off and re-edge and re-drill the holes to either 14" or 15" deep kick (without the hoops, actual shell length). I hear your points, but the ability to cut this drum down was a major selling point for me. As I originally stated, this kit is replacing my down and dirty, local casual set and around here, real estate is a premium. Especially front to back of the stage. Thus my reason in staying with a 12", 14" and short 20" kick. I'm replacing a 14X18" so I am comfortable with that depth for hauling it around and maintaining a small footprint. 20" kicks are my preferred diameter and I have had them I all lengths (my favorite being this 20X20" without hoops!) so while I do adore long kicks, this kit is not for those applications.

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2) I WILL be keeping the 10". As I stated previously, I understand their is more re-sale value in keeping it with the set since this is an actual catalog configuration and besides, I can see an occasional time I will want to use this set as a 5 piece set.

3) Since it has been established that I will be keeping the 10" tom, I WILL be getting a new Tama double tom holder. I knew the gear with the set up was not orgional. Though 90% of the time, I will just be using the Factory single holder and I'm very happy with that.

4) This set will keep running the light Gibraltar hardware currently with the Grestch Catalina Clubs, remember this set is to address a specific need, it does not have to be my everything set. It's just my small local set. And I agree, I love Tama hardware, I have it on two of my other kits currently.

Replacing these drums, keep the same hardware rig....

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5) EvEnStEvEn - Nice singing and playing my man, that is a skill set I never did get together!

6) Again, back to point #1... for my local work, if it wont fit on my cart in a single load, then I have to much gear with me... A long kick eats up stage dept and does not carry as well.

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7) I have to play the kit with the die cast hoops before I make any decisions. I agree that I was letting my personal per-conceived ideas overtake my ears... I will try the factory st up first to establish the baseline. Good counsel guys. But I STILL dont like the weird take on a simple RIMS mount.. we will see....

8 ) Last, remember, this is a quick local set... even why I was looking for a wrapped set so that it travels better in my quick work. But this is not my only set... Currently I have the following to choose from as well so it's all good....

My INDi's (with Tama double braced Road Pro hardware, though this kit is normally used as a 4 piece and runs it's own set of the single braced stands)

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My Custom Maple Punkinaters.... (with Tama double braced Road Pro... I like the balance of reasonable weight and stability with the cool vintage "swan" legs)

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And last but not least is my 1974 Slingerlands... they run a set of the Gibraltar light weight stands as well...

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Wow, that was actually fun... first time I have ever done that.. put them all in a single post. (Thanks for your indulgence) but my point, this kit will fit right into the family... I just hope I remember how to tune Birch.. it's been a VERY long time!

Thanks again folks, I truly enjoy sharing our passion together here o the boards!
Ward

On to this project next!


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multijd

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Im sorry but cutting down a perfectly good drum seems silly to me. Why not buy a a14x20 if thats what you want?
 

Rich K.

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I had Precision cut down my Spaun bass drum from 20x18 to 20x appr.14. Best move ever for me. The bass drum was a pain to carry, felt weird to play (and I had it for many years as my practice set) and was impractical for bars and restaurants. Now it gets gigged every weekend.
 

Rich K.

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Also... I'd recommend the simpler Tama tom mount that they use on the Silverstars and new Superstars. Very simple and versatile. It's easy to switch from a double to single tom mount.
 


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