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Tama

drums1225

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I consider myself sort of an unofficial and, of course, uncompensated Tama endorser. I've owned and played Tama kits almost exclusively since 1985, with the exception of my 1996 Modern Drum Shop bop kit. When it comes to snares, I have no particular loyalty to Tama, although I have two great Tama snares (1986 Artwood and 2021 STAR Maple) and one unspectacular one (2000 Starclassic Performer birch).

My first personal experience with Tama was around 1980 at the conservatory where my private teacher held annual summer workshops/recitals. I'm pretty sure their kit was an Imperialstar, because I remember the "Zola coat" on the inside of the shells. To a kid who owned a Keystone Badge Ludwig kit with a rail mount and tom bracket that literally required a wrench to adjust, the Omni-Sphere tom holder was a revelation. I knew I would own a Tama kit someday.

In 1985, I bought my first Tama kit; a used 13pc Imperialstar with concert toms in every size from 6"-16", plus 16" and 18" floor toms. In the throes of my Neil Peart phase, I wanted so badly to have a (big) Tama kit that I looked past the concert toms, but aside from the 6, 8, and 10, I just didn't like the way they sounded. I began saving for a brand new Candy Apple Red Superstar kit with power toms. My 10pc Superstar kit arrived in 1987 and an ever-shrinking portion of it has been on 90% of my gigs for the past 35 years.

37 years and 6 Tama kits later, I'm still a loyal customer. For all those years, I never got along with Tama's bass drum pedals. I almost bought a Camco, but I was playing DW5000s at the time. The Iron Cobra got my attention, and they were well built, but always felt too heavy or "power-oriented" for me. I like a light feeling pedal that I can play with a great degree of control and speed at a wide range of dynamics. Then they went and produced the Speed Cobra, which is my "soulmate" of bass drum pedals; I own 3 singles and a double.

I'm not affiliated with Tama in any official way, but I'm certainly open to it! You listenin' Tama?
 

boomstick

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The first kit I ever bought (after I graduated from my CB700s) was a Tama. I sold it long ago, but I've been using their hardware ever since. I really like the Roadpro line, and I got a Dyna-Sync pedal around a year ago which is also great. The only Tama drum I have now is a Simon Phillips signature snare (maple/bubinga). It's really a lovely instrument. Sounds awesome and great craftsmanship.

tsp1.jpg
 

Rhyma Hop

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Back then, I think Tama only had two lines: Superstar and Imperialstar. The Imperialstar weren't exactly "base budget" at the time.

LOL. The point you are missing.. Why would you compare a Luan shell drum to a top level USA Custom ( then unsurprisingly declare the USA Custom sounded much better.. lol ) , instead of making a more fair, sensible comparison of the Superstar to the USA Custom ?
 

audiochurch

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I consider myself sort of an unofficial and, of course, uncompensated Tama endorser. I've owned and played Tama kits almost exclusively since 1985, with the exception of my 1996 Modern Drum Shop bop kit. When it comes to snares, I have no particular loyalty to Tama, although I have two great Tama snares (1986 Artwood and 2021 STAR Maple) and one unspectacular one (2000 Starclassic Performer birch).

My first personal experience with Tama was around 1980 at the conservatory where my private teacher held annual summer workshops/recitals. I'm pretty sure their kit was an Imperialstar, because I remember the "Zola coat" on the inside of the shells. To a kid who owned a Keystone Badge Ludwig kit with a rail mount and tom bracket that literally required a wrench to adjust, the Omni-Sphere tom holder was a revelation. I knew I would own a Tama kit someday.

In 1985, I bought my first Tama kit; a used 13pc Imperialstar with concert toms in every size from 6"-16", plus 16" and 18" floor toms. In the throes of my Neil Peart phase, I wanted so badly to have a (big) Tama kit that I looked past the concert toms, but aside from the 6, 8, and 10, I just didn't like the way they sounded. I began saving for a brand new Candy Apple Red Superstar kit with power toms. My 10pc Superstar kit arrived in 1987 and an ever-shrinking portion of it has been on 90% of my gigs for the past 35 years.

37 years and 6 Tama kits later, I'm still a loyal customer. For all those years, I never got along with Tama's bass drum pedals. I almost bought a Camco, but I was playing DW5000s at the time. The Iron Cobra got my attention, and they were well built, but always felt too heavy or "power-oriented" for me. I like a light feeling pedal that I can play with a great degree of control and speed at a wide range of dynamics. Then they went and produced the Speed Cobra, which is my "soulmate" of bass drum pedals; I own 3 singles and a double.

I'm not affiliated with Tama in any official way, but I'm certainly open to it! You listenin' Tama?
any pics?
 

T_Weaves

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I switched from Sonor SQ2 (Heavy Beech) and a Prolite to Tama Star Walnut. Better sound, hardware, and finish. I was able to A/B/C them all for two months in my home. Kept the Star and sold the Sonors. This is not to denigrate the Sonors but rather a testimony to how incredibly good the Star kit is!
 

Steech

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I switched from Sonor SQ2 (Heavy Beech) and a Prolite to Tama Star Walnut. Better sound, hardware, and finish. I was able to A/B/C them all for two months in my home. Kept the Star and sold the Sonors. This is not to denigrate the Sonors but rather a testimony to how incredibly good the Star kit is!
Woah.
 

drums1225

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Back then, I think Tama only had two lines: Superstar and Imperialstar. The Imperialstar weren't exactly "base budget" at the time.

They also had the Royalstar from the mid-70's on. The Superstar was top of the line (until the Artstar came along in 1983), and the Imperialstar was one notch below. Stewart Copeland played Imperialstars.
 

dale w miller

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Being a Stewart Copeland fan I loved the old Imperialstars, but when I finally got money to buy my dream kit I moved on to Premier Resonators. TAMA completely lost me the moment they turned exclusively heavy metal with those awful triangular lugs of the Granstars and Artstar II’s. Even TAMA marketing department knew they dug themselves too deep with its metal affiliation as when the 90’s alternative came they became “Starclassic by TAMA” even on the front head.

Today I would kill for a 2004 8x14 bubinga snare, the first year to release them I believe.
 

drums1225

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Being a Stewart Copeland fan I loved the old Imperialstars, but when I finally got money to buy my dream kit I moved on to Premier Resonators. TAMA completely lost me the moment they turned exclusively heavy metal with those awful triangular lugs of the Granstars and Artstar II’s. Even TAMA marketing department knew they dug themselves too deep with its metal affiliation as when the 90’s alternative came they became “Starclassic by TAMA” even on the front head.

Today I would kill for a 2004 8x14 bubinga snare, the first year to release them I believe.
I ordered my Superstars (unknowingly) just as the line was discontinued and replaced by the Crestars (which very quickly turned into the Granstar line) in late '86, and they arrived in early '87. The Crestar line was the dawn of the "shark tooth" lug era. Even though I played a lot of metal at the time, it was disappointing that Tama catered their look to metal. I'm glad I got my Superstars before it was too late because they're timeless classics. Believe it or not, the old Granstars are apparently very much in demand among metal drummers and, specifically, Lars Ulrich fans, as I've learned from Tama FB groups.

Unfortunately, when I ended up needing several replacement lugs for my Artwood Superstar snare, eventually, the only ones available were the bowtie lugs from the shark tooth era. I could almost live with the shark teeth, but the bowtie snare lugs were absolutely horrendous. I hated them and I had several of them on my snare. During the pandemic, I replaced them with the newest lugs which are much more "neutral". I ended up selling the bowtie lugs on Reverb for a pretty penny.

20190329_140252.jpg


Anyway, those lugs were very period specific, and in retrospect, they were a blip in Tama's history. I forgave them immediately when the Starclassics came out.
 


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