Very unusual TAMA Artstar II... Any info?

cutaway79

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I've posted this on a couple other forums with no luck. Maybe someone here knows something about this kit?...

Hi, Im looking for some information/history on a set of Tama Artstar II drums that I got off craigslist. The virgin toms are 8x8, 10x8, 12x9, 14x13, 16x15, and have square, single-point snare lugs (instead of the long triangular lugs). The bass drum is 20x16, and has round, single-point snare lugs. All drums are finished in a kind of pearlescent off-white lacquer finish. Everything appears to be original except for the tom brackets, and the bass drum tension rods (most of the T-rods were bent when I bought it). The serial numbers are:

8x8 - 014803
10x8 - 014821
12x9 - 014806
14x13 - 014804
16x15 - 014807
20x16 - 014808

Any help would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!





Any help would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!
 

Rhyma Hop

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Very cool Cutaway. I remember those kits from a long time ago with those lugs. I believe there were only a limited number of those kits. One of MANY of Tama's lugs !!

What do you think of the sound ??
 

cutaway79

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Rhyma Hop said:
.

Very cool Cutaway. I remember those kits from a long time ago with those lugs. I believe there were only a limited number of those kits. One of MANY of Tama's lugs !!

What do you think of the sound ??
They sound great! But aside from a little snare rash on the back of the 10", and some spots on the bass drum hoops, the lacquer finish is in like 9/10 condition, so I'm afraid to gig with them. And I can't play an acoustic kit at home, so they're just sitting here. I'm probably gonna sell them, but wanted to get as much information as possible first. I've seen these lugs on snares, but never toms and bass drums. Wondering if this is some sort of prototype, or endorser kit, or...? I tried contacting Hoshino USA, But I haven't heard back.
 

cutaway79

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... And because I've come across these questions multiple times...

No, the toms are not cut down. 8x8, 14x13, and 16x15 were the deepest Tama made of those diameters (in mounted toms), so the toms would've had to be deeper than square-sized to start, which Tama did not do... At least not in this series. The badges look low because the tom brackets are supposed to be mounted in that empty space directly over the badges.

Yes, the lugs are Tama lugs. They are not aftermarket parts. The only parts on these drums that are not original - aside from the batter heads (yes, they still have the original Tama resos) - are the tom brackets (the original ones were garbage), and the bass drum tension rods.
 

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cutaway79

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I got a very informative reply from someone on a Vintage Tama Facebook page. I figured I'd post it here, in case anyone is curious...

As a few people have detailed above these were artist / prototype kits that were under development towards what we know as Starclassic today (or at least the MIJ version launched in 94).

Joe Hibbs (TAMA Artist Relations / Product Development Guru) shared some history of these and if my memory is not to foggy, they made a handful of kit of various sizes and shell specifications for artist testing in the USA. Jonathan Mover and Joe Hibbs were very close and Jonathan had lots of TAMA toys in those days.

I have seen and or have photos of a few of these kits some of which had very interesting sizes.

A few years ago a Black Metallic one showed up at a GC in NJ if I remember correctly with sizes like 8x10,8x12,10x14, 10x16 and a 22 kick I think.

Mover had a Birdseye Maple I think along with the Piano Black (with reinforcing rings) kit he used at the 1990 MD Festival.

Also of interest at that time at TAMA was discussion that when they launched this "new" series they did not want any current Tama artists playing the kits so they could run the new series as a stand alone to TAMA which is pretty much how they launched StarClassic in 94. Two kits I have seen from this strategy was a Teal Blue with Maple Shells kit built for Dennis Chambers who was Pearl's number one at the time. (Pic attached) and a Fiberglass kit for Steve Gadd who was Mr. Yamaha but apparently it got back to TAMA that Steve had played a Fiberstar kit as a backline kit somewhere in Asia and flipped out on how good it sounded.

In the end TAMA kept the initial branding separate but used bigger Tama players for the launch.

So congrats on a cool kit.
 

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icetech

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Those sizes are perfect, what a great kit.. and the color is awesome :) Nice find.
 

cplueard

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Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
 

cutaway79

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cplueard said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
 

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cplueard

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cutaway79 said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing
 

cutaway79

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cplueard said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing





They are awesome, but I just don't know if I can justify keeping them. They'll very likely be on eBay sometime soon. I'm just not really a "collector". And I feel like they're far too nice/rare to schlepp around to gigs. And I can't play acoustic drums at my house. Just seems a shame to let this beauty go unused.
 

cplueard

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cutaway79 said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing





They are awesome, but I just don't know if I can justify keeping them. They'll very likely be on eBay sometime soon. I'm just not really a "collector". And I feel like they're far too nice/rare to schlepp around to gigs. And I can't play acoustic drums at my house. Just seems a shame to let this beauty go unused.



Well, let me know when you've posted it so I can watch. Just bought a kit recently so the coffers are low but if it sits for a bit I'll be grabbing that as soon as I can.
 

JDA

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can see rings inside the toms on Black kit above- rings inside- the toms.
 

cutaway79

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cplueard said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing





They are awesome, but I just don't know if I can justify keeping them. They'll very likely be on eBay sometime soon. I'm just not really a "collector". And I feel like they're far too nice/rare to schlepp around to gigs. And I can't play acoustic drums at my house. Just seems a shame to let this beauty go unused.



Well, let me know when you've posted it so I can watch. Just bought a kit recently so the coffers are low but if it sits for a bit I'll be grabbing that as soon as I can.




Will do. Probably really soon. Got my eye on a new Oriollo kit. ;-)
 

icetech

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cutaway79 said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing





They are awesome, but I just don't know if I can justify keeping them. They'll very likely be on eBay sometime soon. I'm just not really a "collector". And I feel like they're far too nice/rare to schlepp around to gigs. And I can't play acoustic drums at my house. Just seems a shame to let this beauty go unused.





Just curious.. if you know you can't use them, why did you even buy them?
 

cutaway79

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icetech said:
Hoo baby. If that has the normal thick artstar/granstar shell it'd be close to a dream kit for me.
They do seem to be thick shells. I haven't had too much hands-on experience with Starclassic Maples, but these certainly seem to be thicker than the Starclassic B/B shells I had a few years ago.

Pics - tom inside; tom bearing edge; tom thickness; bass drum inside; bearing edge; thickness
Yep, that looks like the 9Ply. Those things are aaaaaaaaaa-mazing





They are awesome, but I just don't know if I can justify keeping them. They'll very likely be on eBay sometime soon. I'm just not really a "collector". And I feel like they're far too nice/rare to schlepp around to gigs. And I can't play acoustic drums at my house. Just seems a shame to let this beauty go unused.





Just curious.. if you know you can't use them, why did you even buy them?





It was a combination - impulse buy/too good a deal to pass up. At first, I was planning on using them. But after a couple close calls at gigs, I decided it was too stressful, and best not to put them in harm's way.
 

cutaway79

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Slippy said:
not to hi-jack this thread but what are those lug locks on this snare drum?
Pretty sure they're old Tama lug locks. Basically just plastic versions of Pearl's offering. Not sure Tama makes those anymore.
 

icetech

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Ah cool.. well you are lucky man.. the CL here in detroit never has deals.. and if a deal shows up there is 1 guy that snatches them up then relists.. i refuse to buy from someone like that. I mean he has made a job of it.. not just trying things out.
 


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