Old Tama Swingstar Snare: what did I just buy?

Big Beat

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Whats the give away for 1984? I’m just getting in to serial # research. Thanks
Those lugs and badge together are about 1984-5. In about 1986 the badge changed, and earlier Swingstars had different lugs. Also, the drum is pictured in the 1984 catalog.
 

pgm554

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I owned one when I bought an entire Swingstar set for $299 @GC.
Not impressed.
You're better off buying a 10 lug Yamaha stage custom steel when they're on sale at GC for $99 bucks..
 

1988fxlr

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I owned one when I bought an entire Swingstar set for $299 @GC.
Not impressed.
You're better off buying a 10 lug Yamaha stage custom steel when they're on sale at GC for $99 bucks..
Part of me thinks I should have bought a 14x8 Ludwig Supralite instead but I just have a hard time finding readily available taiwan drums interesting
 

pgm554

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Part of me thinks I should have bought a 14x8 Ludwig Supralite instead but I just have a hard time finding readily available taiwan drums interesting
Probably from the same factory.
 

1988fxlr

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Probably from the same factory.
I assume the budget ludwigs are either taiwan or prc. The old tama that is on its way is japan. If I don’t like it I need to add a snare to a kit I’m giving away anyway. Was planning to give a wood Slingerland I never bonded with but time will tell. I’m optimistic about the tama for what I want it for
 

BennyK

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Seamless shell and precise edges same as the Kingbeat and Mastercraft. Crisp and loud . Not your average budget drum at all .
 

davezedlee

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i have seven (or eight) of these steel snares, and as long as you have a black "T" badge, you're good

the earlier red "T" badge versions of these snares are oversized, meaning heads have to be pried on and off with a mallet.... they rimshot okay, but are very dead and lifeless otherwise, IMO

my red badgers have all become parts donors
 

1988fxlr

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i have seven (or eight) of these steel snares, and as long as you have a black "T" badge, you're good

the earlier red "T" badge versions of these snares are oversized, meaning heads have to be pried on and off with a mallet.... they rimshot okay, but are very dead and lifeless otherwise, IMO

my red badgers have all become parts donors
Any head/snare wire choices you can either recommend or have found don’t work well on them?
 

davezedlee

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for the black badges, any thing you want... seriously, they're versatile enough that almost anything works; coated, dot, two-ply, 12-mil with 2,3 or 5-mil bottom with any wires all give different flavors

combine with diecast or triple flange hoops, and its just a matter of settling on what you prefer

i tried the same combos with the red badge-rs in the hope that something would save them, but nothing did, so their bits go on some stave shells that i made
 

1988fxlr

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for the black badges, any thing you want... seriously, they're versatile enough that almost anything works; coated, dot, two-ply, 12-mil with 2,3 or 5-mil bottom with any wires all give different flavors

combine with diecast or triple flange hoops, and its just a matter of settling on what you prefer

i tried the same combos with the red badge-rs in the hope that something would save them, but nothing did, so their bits go on some stave shells that i made
Just got home to find the drum waiting for me and getting right to experimentation. Came with a fairly recent emperor x on it which is a little too controlled.

Trying to dial in an evans uv1 on it now. Changed the plastic strap on the no name snare wires just because the plastic were trimmed too short to center the wires. I wonder how small the hands of the 80’s Tama r/d team that put the strainer and butt plates behind the the butt and strainer were.

It still has what appears to be its factory snare side head, so gonna do a bit of swapping there. I know I have a diplomat around and probably a decent ambassador.

I thought I lucked out the other day and found the missing tone control in a local drum shop but it seems swingstars have a different muffler than the other drums. This one has the same two screw drilling pattern as a Ludwig one, but requires a longer arm. The one I found has three screws and some plastic adjustment between the regular knob and the shell.
 

1988fxlr

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So far my initial impression is that this is a pretty versatile and decent general purpose snare. I was expecting a little more brashness from a deep steel snare so not sure if I’m going to keep it or give it away with the orphan set I’m building. It would make a good only snare to own, but not sure yet if it covers enough ground I can’t get out of my supra or acrolites. Its far more “civilized” if that makes sense than my steel Slingerland. I do have a die cast hoop on the way to experiment with but that may be the wrong direction for it. I wish I had a 8 lug stick chopper around to try
 

Big Beat

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The Supra and the Acro cover a whole lot of territory. The Swingstar can cover most of the same territory with a minimum of fuss, for a lot less money. You can take a Swingstar to the big leagues and it won't let you down. But few people would argue that it can do something that a Ludwig can't handle. The whole point of the Swingstar is its utility and value for the price. It's not anyone's top choice to handle some unique niche.
 

1988fxlr

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The Supra and the Acro cover a whole lot of territory. The Swingstar can cover most of the same territory with a minimum of fuss, for a lot less money. You can take a Swingstar to the big leagues and it won't let you down. But few people would argue that it can do something that a Ludwig can't handle. The whole point of the Swingstar is its utility and value for the price. It's not anyone's top choice to handle some unique niche.
I’m not knocking the drum at all. Its a surprisingly nice versatile snare. I was expecting a brash harsh drum with ringy overtones that might sound cool beaten hard with heavy heads. I got a reasonably focused nice sounding snare drum. I’m pretty impressed actually, I just have to try head and hoop combinations to see if its right for my intended purpose. I can definitely see why its a drum you recommend for good rock snare on a budget
 

Tama CW

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I always thought the Swingstar shells were slightly lighter. At least they felt that way compared to the other 80's lines of COS Imperialstar snare drums. I had a red badge 80's Swingstar the past 2 years and just couldn't get anything decent for
that drum. Every time I tried to include it in an 80's Tama kit, the buyers never wanted it. And it sounded pretty dead too with minimal resonance. I finally "ditched" it for $20 to a guy who just needed something to bang on
while deciding what "real" snare he was eventually going to settle on. I paid $15 just to put the missing muffler assembly back on that drum....lol. Never again.
 

Big Beat

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As someone mentioned above, the red badge drums aren't as good as the black badge ones. But neither of them is easy to sell. There is simply no demand for them. They are not on anybody's radar, which keeps the prices down - great if you're buying.
 

1988fxlr

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Been experimenting and think I found the right combination. Came with emperor x, tama reso, and generic 20 strands- pretty dry for steel and pretty quiet for 6.5”.

Tried evans uv1 with same wires and reso- sounded good reggae high but otherwise pretty vanilla with a slightly annoying ring that would be a non issue if it still had a tone control.

evans uv1 with diplomat snare side and 42 strand generic wires/possibly gibraltar- ringy and sloppy without expected power. Same heads 20 strand-ring and generic. Time for oddball stuff

Aquarian modern vintage batter I bought for my Slingerland but didn’t fit and tried on 5” and 6.5” acros and found too dry. Remo Renaissance snare side that made the 5” acro respond slow and 16 strand puresounds that sounded way too thin on the Ludwig Classic birch 6.5” someone gave me that they came on. This is a great combination on this drum. Super crisp and articulate but warm for a metal drum. Not the sound I was expecting to get out of a deep steel 80’s japanese snare but its cool and the wood Slingerland is likely back on the chopping block to be the giveaway snare
 

1988fxlr

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I always thought the Swingstar shells were slightly lighter. At least they felt that way compared to the other 80's lines of COS Imperialstar snare drums. I had a red badge 80's Swingstar the past 2 years and just couldn't get anything decent for
that drum. Every time I tried to include it in an 80's Tama kit, the buyers never wanted it. And it sounded pretty dead too with minimal resonance. I finally "ditched" it for $20 to a guy who just needed something to bang on
while deciding what "real" snare he was eventually going to settle on. I paid $15 just to put the missing muffler assembly back on that drum....lol. Never again.
I didn’t pick this one up as an investment piece, and thats probably a good thing. Mostly a relatively cheap experiment at finding a monster rock snare without spending a whole lot. Instead I got a nice articulate versatile snare with little resale value so I’m not too disappointed. Its looking like we might be getting a run of overtime soon that will let me pick up a Ludwig Coliseum or Premier Heavy 9 or something else that was designed to be obnoxious in the near future so all is well
 


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