Tama Starclassic Performer - walnut/cherry - 7 piece

Tama CW

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Finally bought a Tama kit later than 1990. I never thought this day would come. I was convinced that pre-1990 covered "everything" I needed. Who needed sound mounts and all that stuff? But at $600 this kit was too nice to pass up, and a chance to try something far newer.

In many ways the same "look" as my 1984 Cherry Wine Superstars. Pretty close in color. I think Tama calls this finish "walnut." Sizes 10x8, 12x9, 13x10, 14x11 hanging, 16x16 FT, 22x18 BD, matching snare. I found them fairly easy to tune compared to everything else I've owned. Very clear and even separation in tone between these sizes, even the 12,13,14. That 14x11 (Bonham size) sounds more like a floor tom and it's powerful. What I really notice is that the sound is much more focused than my "hard mounted" Superstars. Must be the Starcast mounts and die cast hoops cutting out a lot of those overtones I'm so used to hearing. I've always had trouble getting good tones out of clear Remo pinstripes. That was not the case with this kit. Just sitting in my drum room this sounded nearly as good as what I hear from mic'd and recorded drums. Deep and throaty while being crystal clear. Much more "pure" in tone to my ears than the vintage Superstars. I didn't expect that at all. Original bottom heads appear to still be on the toms - Evans/Tama clear G2's. Hello Mr. Dobbs, welcome to the 21st century....lol.

Condition is excellent. I couldn't find any obvious marks or scuffs on the floor tom. The other toms have the tiniest of scattered grazes only in the outer clear/urethane. Bass drum doesn't even have the tiniest of hits on top....only the leading square edges of the hoops have a few spots where the finish is broken. Nothing anywhere on a drum shell that could be called a scratch, cut or dent. Very well-kept kit. Seller told me they contacted Tama and said it was a 2005. That sounds reasonable. It has the sliding bass drum mount and the black starcast mounts. From what I've read this mounting style and the drum sizes were offered beginning in 2003 and ended in 2005. I think the best set up for this will be the 10" mounted left and the 14" mounted right on separate stands....to make lots of room for the hi hat. Looks too unbalanced with the 10 and 12 both left side. I've used the "2 to the left" set up many times before.....maybe try something new this time.



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Tommy D

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$600 for that? You stole that kit from the seller. So those should be Starclassic Performers. Should be 100% birch. I find thin shelled birch kits to be very pure in their tone. Cutting, clean and crisp rack toms. Gutsy floor toms without the muddy rumble overshadowing the tone. Bass drums are punchy, but lack the deep rumble that a maple drum offers in this size. They tend to be the weakest link on these kits. Proper heads, tuning and muffling can give them a nicely rounded tone with a punchy attack, but dont expect ground shaking rumble out of them. For that age of kit I'm very surprised on the sizes you were able to get. I thought most of the kits sold in that era were still stuck in the 10x9, 12x10, 13x11 rack tom sizes.

As for setup, I recommend 10/12/13 up top, 16 on the right and 14 to the left of the hi hat as a left side floor tom. Thats how I have my Saturns set up:
 

GeeDeeEmm

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What a steal! That kit has $600 worth of very nice cast hoops . . . at least. Beautiful color, too.

I think that Tama came as close as any other manufacturer to equaling the quality birch shells used on Yamaha Recording Customs. The RC shells were dense, hard, and heavy. I remember assembling the first set of Tama Starclassics that our store received, and I was highly impressed by their sound compared to the RCs that I owned at the time. I think you'll like them.

I agree with Tommy D on the bass drum sound, but I specifically remember the Starclassic Performers having a much deeper, rounder tone than my RCs, so I'm looking forward to your impression.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Tommy D

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What a steal! That kit has $600 worth of very nice cast hoops . . . at least. Beautiful color, too.

I think that Tama came as close as any other manufacturer to equaling the quality birch shells used on Yamaha Recording Customs. The RC shells were dense, hard, and heavy. I remember assembling the first set of Tama Starclassics that our store received, and I was highly impressed by their sound compared to the RCs that I owned at the time. I think you'll like them.

I agree with Tommy D on the bass drum sound, but I specifically remember the Starclassic Performers having a much deeper, rounder tone than my RCs, so I'm looking forward to your impression.

GeeDeeEmm
I have a cut off from an early 80's 14" Superstar tom. Almost identical construction to a Recording Custom shell of the same era. Solid as hell. Plan is to convert it to a snare when I have the time and expendable income (so many other projects come way before this one).
 

Tama CW

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I had 3 Yamaha YRC toms from 1982-1983 and didn't find them much different than my 1984 Tama Superstars. And my 1980 Yamaha 9000D's are a close match to both of those. I think the tone of the 9000D's is a little more pure than the Superstars. I play the bass drums on those kits fairly wide open on single ply heads. This Starclassic has an EMAD batter head with the cushion ring inserted, a smaller sized one. But it takes all the tone out of the drum. Haven't even gotten to that yet.

For now, I'm focusing on the physical set up. I already tried the 10,12 mounted to the left side. And just finished removing the 13 and trying a 10,12,14 up top with the 14 to the right side of the kick. The 13 has a slightly "dullish sounding" pinstripe head that I didn't pick up on yesterday. Will need replacing so I set that aside for now. I find the bass drum tom mounting a bit lacking as the height adjustment is restricted having no extra tube inside the bass drum. When I went to try the bass drum mounting flange "slide" it didn't budge when loosened from above......guess the reso head has to come off to do the adjustment.
 
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Tama CW

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EvEnStEvEn, are those white silks 10,12,14? Going to check out your hanging floor tom in more detail. Probably along the lines of what I'll need. Dedicated tom stands tend not to go that low....so clamping to cymbal stands is the next lower height option. Wouldn't have thought a tom could fit under that low a ride cymbal. Looks perfect. And I could put the 16" right behind it.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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EvEnStEvEn, are those white silks 10,12,14?
Bingo.
I suspect mine may be from around the same '05 time period.


btw, I've got another kit with a hanging 14" but I've never owned a dedicated tom stand, I just hang it from the ride cym. stand. I also painted the Starcast mounts white (from black)
 

Tama CW

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You must be using a 1" clamp at the base section of the cymbal stand. I have 3/4" clamps but no 1 inchers. The 3/4" clamps end up too high to make my 14" a floor tom. I've had a number of dedicated Tama tom stands, and none of them go low enough to mount at the height of a floor tom (about 26"). Most are made for toms in line with base drum rack toms or higher. Are you using coated ambs or emps on your kit?
 
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sammy123

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I had hanging 14" and 16" with my kit. I used an Icon rack. Then I used tama rim clamps on the bottom hoop with a floor tom leg. That kept them nice and stable.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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You must be using a 1" clamp at the base section of the cymbal stand.
Are you using coated ambs or emps on your kit?
I guess it was a 1" clamp. It's a Tama clamp that came w/ the set when I got it used from GC online.
Since those pics were taken the 11x14" hanging tom is now gone, I traded that tom for a SC Performer14x14" FT in perfectly matching white silk. A real lucky find locally.

I'm still playing on those same smooth white Emps that arrived newly installed on all the toms and I really like 'em.
Coated ps3 batter on the 22" and coated Amb batter on the snare. All the resonant heads are factory original Tamas.
 

Barden

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EvEnStEvEn, are those white silks 10,12,14? Going to check out your hanging floor tom in more detail. Probably along the lines of what I'll need. Dedicated tom stands tend not to go that low....so clamping to cymbal stands is the next lower height option. Wouldn't have thought a tom could fit under that low a ride cymbal. Looks perfect. And I could put the 16" right behind it.
The L arm on a dedicated tom stand works pointed down too. Here's a dw tom stand holding my 14 in that configuration some years ago.
CIMG4572.jpg
 

GeeDeeEmm

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And just finished removing the 13 and trying a 10,12,14 up top with the 14 to the right side of the kick. The 13 has a slightly "dullish sounding" pinstripe head that I didn't pick up on yesterday. Will need replacing so I set that aside for now. . . When I went to try the bass drum mounting flange "slide" it didn't budge when loosened from above......guess the reso head has to come off to do the adjustment.
I hope your experience with the 13" tom is different from mine. For every kit that I've owned - from USA Ludwigs to RCs to my current Slingerlands - the 13" tom has always been "dullish sounding" compared to the other toms in the kits. When used in isolation, or with a wide spread (say, 10/13/16), I can make them work, but not in a multi-tom application. The 13" in my Slingerland kit is sitting aside, unused for that very reason.

Tama does make a tom stand specifically for "low setting." It is the RoadPro HTW849W.
1582668213402.png

I can't locate any information on adjusting fore/aft positioning of their sliding tom mount. Surely somebody here can offer advice on how to position it.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Tama CW

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Thanks GeeDeeEmm. If I can't get what I have in stands to work I might try that Road Pro. I tried Barden's idea of point the L arms down on clamp to a cymbal stand at the center tube...but didn't even think of trying it on my std Road Pro double tom stand. Gave the pointed downward L arms a whirl and hung the 13 and 14 off it for balance. Not bad. I'm at 28"....about 2" higher than my normal FT height. Maybe that can work. And the 16" floor tom off to the left.

I could also say that the Tama 13's I've had were a tad dullish or different in tone compared to the 12". I can't say that's the case with my 12/13 Yamaha 9000 or Rogers Big R's. Those seem to mesh together ok. I'll change the head on this 13" Starclassic and see if it helps.
 

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