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View Full Version : The Truth Behind Tama's Move to China


Artstar
01-03-2011, 08:18 AM
Posted on behalf of TAMA's U.S.A. Division Manager, Terry Bissette...

After reading an incredible number of comments (both positive and negative) about the “Tama goes to China” topic, I feel it’s time to set the record straight. We really appreciate all the comments and passion for Tama that is being expressed here and abroad. And we also respect everyone’s opinion about this sensitive and somewhat controversial subject. That being said, if you would please allow me to explain, I would appreciate the opportunity to take you “behind the scenes.” All I ask is that you read this in its entirety so you can fully understand the dynamics and timeline of the situation. Before I start, please understand that everything I say will be based on fact. Nothing more, nothing less. I won’t be mixing in any “political spin” here. What I will tell you is the real deal. Factual information. There is quite a bit of misinformation and/or misunderstandings being posted out there in web-world, hopefully this will set the record straight. Many of you have already posted “the right answers”, and for that I thank you! But still, some things need to be clarified.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty- One might ask “Why in the world did Tama go to China?”

The simple answer: To cut costs and make high quality drums at more affordable prices. Prices that the average drummer can afford and feel good about their purchase. We wanted to make our high quality drums even more accessible to the drummers of the world by lowering the price points. With this goal in mind, fewer drummers would have to “settle” for a less than adequate instrument, based on price alone.

The more complex answer: We had to go, to stay competitive. When you take a broad look at the global drum market, we’re one of the absolute last brands to make this tough decision. Whether you know it or not, select Ludwig, Gretsch, DDrum, Pacific, Sonor, Premier, Yamaha, Pearl, Mapex, OCDP, and dozens of other brands you know and love have been made in China for the last 7 to 15 years. Not every kit in every series, mind you. But the vast majority of their lineup. A few specific series within the brands listed above are still made in the USA, Taiwan, UK, or Mexico. However, one may be surprised to know, in some cases, multiple brand names are made in the very same OEM factory. (More on that another day. OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer). The questions to ask yourself: Is there anything wrong with any of those drums? Is their quality level acceptable for the prices paid? If they are so “bad” or “inferior” just because they are made in China, why do they keep selling by the truckloads?

Anyway, we at Tama chose not to go the same route. We wanted to have 100% control, we wanted to make sure that if we put our name on the product, it had to match our standards. We knew for that to happen, we had to build them ourselves. We didn’t want to hand some “hired gun” factory a blueprint and say “Here you go, build them like this, we’ll be back tomorrow with a truck, some Tama badges, and Tama boxes.” So for the most part, the decision was made to take a very bold step. We decided to build our own factory. We started this venture in 2002.

Fact: We own our own factory in Guangzhou China: We built it from the ground up, one brick at a time. We moved a number of our most highly skilled Japanese craftsmen to China to train the local workers how to build drums “The Tama way.” These Japanese craftsmen live in Guangzhou, they do not live in Japan and simply visit once in a while to spot-check. They are an integral part of the daily staff, working “elbow to elbow” alongside the local crew. They adhere to the most stringent quality control standards, the very same ones we use in Japan. You may or may not be surprised to know we operated the factory at our own expense for well over a year making blanks (test shells), before we ever shipped one drum into the market. We wanted to make sure our Chinese production quality level was an exact match to the Japanese factory standards. The same exact standards we built our reputation on.

Fact: Quality is key: The first series we made in China was Superstar. After this series was critically acclaimed and well accepted by the market, we slowly transitioned our Starclassic B/B drums to Chinese production. Originally, all B/B kits were made only in Japan. In the first year of transition, some colors were made only in Japan. Other colors were made only in China. Eventually, the entire B/B product line was shifted to China. The end result was…Uh, well… nobody noticed... Sure, a few folks asked “Why doesn’t my badge say Made In Japan anymore?” The obvious answer- Because it’s not. The big question: “Does it look and sound as good as it should as a Tama product, though it’s now made in China?” Overwhelmingly, the response has been “Yes!” Sales on B/B kits are flying! If the quality wasn’t there, and the price wasn’t right, no one would buy it… Agreed?

Fact: The economy affected us all: Once we felt the quality was 10000% the same as Japan, we decided to slowly move some of the other high-end kits to China. And in some respects, timing couldn’t have been better. Though this planned move had been discussed years before, the world’s economic shift escalated our timeline. Before we knew it, the economy had started to collapse. In some ways, we had to wonder, was this “a sign” to move forward? The end result was, we were able bring Japanese quality level drums into the market for hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size of your kit) of dollars cheaper than they once were. One might ask, is this such a bad thing?

Fact: The Tama Japan factory is not closed: By all means, the Japanese factory is still up and running! We are not closing it down. They continue to make Bubinga Elite, Omni-Tune, select Artist Kits (though many are made in China now), Limited Edition kits, Signature Palette Snare drums, Starphonic Snare drums, Tama original percussion such as Octobans, Timp Toms, Gong Bass, etc. It also remains our world headquarters, and that’s where we come up with new ideas and new product designs.

Fact: Japanese drums can still be ordered: Some of you still want the Japanese drums, made in Japan, with 2009 (and earlier) specs. They are totally available! (see page 6 of current price sheet). If you want an entire kit, or an add-on drum for an older kit, and you want the decal badge and wooden grommets, all you have to do is order it. It should be noted, as with all of our top tier drums, we make each and every drum to order. One shell at a time, by hand, piece by piece. Of course, this approach adds quite a bit of lead time to the delivery date, but most people think it’s worth the wait. We do not make “cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf” drums. Each one is hand made with TLC.

Fact: We make all add-on drums conform to the original spec: If you are adding a drum to a kit that was originally made in Japan, the add-on drum will also be made in Japan. If you are adding a drum to a kit that was originally made in China, the add-on drum will also be made in China. This will guarantee a perfect match, as we stock different parts and fittings in the two different factories.


Thanks for hearing me out! Best regards, Terry Bissette

Artstar
01-03-2011, 08:20 AM
Tama's China facility built by them, and using their people.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26877&id=124519624255765

Skulmoski
01-03-2011, 08:50 AM
For improved quality control.

GJS

Nodiggie
01-03-2011, 08:54 AM
well that's comforting to know. Thanks for the info, now I will just keep my fingers crossed that mine arrives with the correct badges.

Artstar
01-03-2011, 08:58 AM
well that's comforting to know. Thanks for the info, now I will just keep my fingers crossed that mine arrives with the correct badges.

Remember, like Terry was pointing out, you can order Japan drums if you want them. You just have to wait longer and pay some premium.

Bo Eder
01-03-2011, 09:21 AM
Very cool post. Personally, I try not to make a big deal out of where the drums are made. I just happened to buy a used kit that happened to be made in Japan. If I had to buy new Tamas, I certainly wouldn't avoid them if they had been made in China. If the quality level is the same, and from what I've seen, it is, then that's great. It sounds like a win-win situation for both the company and the consumers.

I recall being a kid when the Made in Japan moniker wasn't all that hip, either. But what worries me is this: as manufacturers keep moving to other countries to build the products that we buy, where will they go next when Chinese employees begin to demand the higher pay US employees enjoy?

The news of the OEM factory shouldn't sound too surprising. Hell, Matsushita in Japan was making everybody's VCR's and TVs except for Sony and JVC at one point!

Artstar
01-03-2011, 09:45 AM
Very cool post. Personally, I try not to make a big deal out of where the drums are made. I just happened to buy a used kit that happened to be made in Japan. !

More important, IMO, is how he lays it out about them BUILDING THEIR FACTORY FROM SCRATCH, and keeping it in-house and part of Tama corporate. They did'nt just call one of the mega factories who builds all the others.

Les Ismore
01-03-2011, 10:35 AM
Terry sells it like a pro-

The end result was, we were able bring Japanese quality level drums into the market for hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size of your kit) of dollars cheaper than they once were. One might ask, is this such a bad thing?

... and built their own factory from the ground up, brick by brick.

How is all this possible? Cheap labor, no environmental controls (pollution). I think the majority of Americans who buy a TAMA kit are OK with knowing (or not knowing) the money they save is being absorbed by low paid workers and degradation of the planet. Who cares about chinese workers, they're happy right? Pollution... that's in China, who cares right? TAMA needs to stay competitive and we need affordable drum kits! How does Japans workforce/economy feel about all this I wonder?


"... we are one of the absolute last brands to make this tough decision."-- and the first to produce their whole line of drum kits in China. The last shall be the first.

Was it really the 'decision' that took longer, or was it all the planning, building of the factory, training workers etc. before the people saw great TAMA savings on the retail floors?

There's business, and then there's reality, lets not try and mix the two and say the people benefit... the reality is 'some' of the people benefit.

Lets not make a big deal out of where and how drums are made, the less we know the better off 'we' are. All you need to know is their affordable, the quality is there and you can afford it, that's what its all about kid, now go play your drums and be happy.

How the hell did we even make it b/f drum kits were affordable anyway? Anybody remember?

harryconway
01-03-2011, 01:15 PM
But what worries me is this: as manufacturers keep moving to other countries to build the products that we buy, where will they go next when Chinese employees begin to demand the higher pay US employees enjoy? Well, it'll take a generation or two for that to happen. Chinese democracy, capitalism, and the "American Dream" won't come overnight for China. But India will be the next, to pick up the torch (they already have) .... Meanwhile ... the "bitter pill" to swallow (for the US worker) is those "higher paying jobs" ain't gonna come back. People are simply gonna have to get used to making "a little less" and getting by with "a little less".How the hell did we even make it b/f drum kits were affordable anyway? Anybody remember?Yeah, buy gently used pro gear. Last time I bought a brand new kit was 1980, when I bought my Vistalites.

GRUNTERSDAD
01-03-2011, 02:04 PM
It is money. Money from American pockets. If the corporations put customers and employees first and not share holders they would still be made in America.

keep it simple
01-03-2011, 02:54 PM
If you don't like the fact that companies that have to compete on a global level, need to operate their businesses so they can compete on a global level, buy your drums from local artisans. Even then, expect at least some of the hardware (lugs, etc) to be sourced from outside of your country/local area. There are choices out there, but going the local made route may cost you more money. If made in (insert country) is important to you, put your money where your mouth is, & go buy product made in your country. The world is full of those that complain about their favourite brand being outsourced, yet won't pay the premuim for locally manufactured product.

Let's consider the reverse scenario. Fictitious large drum company A decides to build all it's products, & source all it's materials from it's home country. Meanwhile it's competitors are reducing costs through outsourcing. Their competition reduces prices month on month. Company A's sales volumes start to suffer. As a result, they have to build in smaller batches, and their suppliers charge them higher unit costs due to reduced volume/increased inventory. Comany A's prices go up. Because their prices go up, & their competition's prices continue to reduce, company A's sales volumes reduce even more. As a result, they're forced to build in even smaller batches, their suppliers increase their costs again, etc, etc. You can see the diminishing spiral company A is now trapped in. Result = company A goes out of business.

Choose your scenario, vote with your dollars. If the bigger companies lose sales on the basis of outsourcing, they might just listen. The harsh reality is there aren't enough customers who care enough to make a difference. If local sourcing really matters to you, source local!

Edit: Just to add a general point, & that's the right to export. Protectionism is a very very dangerous tool, & one that's the automatic vote winning default of politicians. It's a double edged sword, & often results in the oppression of those least able to scratch an alternative living. Should I stop eating banana's? On a drumming level, was it a bad thing for me to buy Spaun drums & Keller shells, made in the USA? Many of our home grown drum companies owe their existence to export sales, so would it be right to prevent them from exporting their product? It's no different from preventing the importation of someone elses product. Again, as a consumer, you have a choice.

GRUNTERSDAD
01-03-2011, 05:47 PM
I understand having an option but just making a point as to where corporations have gone with their missions. Not necessarily to please customers but to please share holders. I understand the global economy aspect but I am sure if Rolls Royce decided to start making their cars in China there would be quite the uproar in England. That may be an extreme as not everyone can afford one, but the workers that would lose jobs certainly would have problems. I work at a for-profit hospital and it is the nearest thing to a retail store that you can imagine. It just rubs me the wrong way. Nothing to do with nationalism just work for the locals.

keep it simple
01-03-2011, 05:59 PM
I understand the global economy aspect but I am sure if Rolls Royce decided to start making their cars in China there would be quite the uproar in England. .Grunt, that post wasn't aimed at you, but a general lack of wider thinking, & especially the crude hammer short sighted protectionist lobby. BTW, Rolls Royce car production moved from England to Germany some years ago. As you can imagine, not a popular move, but the truth is, they're better made and more popular than ever!

Aeolian
01-03-2011, 09:21 PM
How is all this possible? Cheap labor, no environmental controls (pollution). I think the majority of Americans who buy a TAMA kit are OK with knowing (or not knowing) the money they save is being absorbed by low paid workers and degradation of the planet. Who cares about chinese workers, they're happy right? Pollution... that's in China, who cares right? TAMA needs to stay competitive and we need affordable drum kits! How does Japans workforce/economy feel about all this I wonder?

Doesn't Tama sell in the EU? If so, then they have to meet ISO14000 regulations regarding environmental controls.

I used to work for a Japanese company and have been in Chinese and other low cost sub contractors with the Japanese teams. Like any other sub-contractor, the Chinese shops will do what the customer asks. They just have to pay for it. I've seen tag teams of quality inspectors going over the same product to make sure anything one person misses gets caught by someone else down the line. In a low labor cost area, people are cheap. And there's a line outside the door of farmers kids looking to work in clean clothes. So anyone who isn't keeping up (either production rate or quality for a quality minded customer) is easily replaced. And the people are are working there know it. It's much like the industrial revolution in America when all the agg labor moved from the south to the heavy industry in the north.

The young folks I saw seemed to be happy. Much better than working on Grandpa's farm behind the ox. A generation or two and there will be a middle class used to nice things and clamoring for more. By then, things will have moved to India (which will be begining to have the same issues) Vietnam and so forth. This has already happened to Singapore which has priced itself out of the low cost labor market and now serves as a hub with the technical and management experience for distant companies to manage things in other southeast asian countries.

Where things slide is in the 3 tier and lower subcontractors. Tama may be making shells and assembling drums in a plant that is a clone of their home plant. But things like hardware are being bought from someone else nearby. Same folks that are making hardware for DW, Gretsch and other "American" lines. And these folks are getting bits from lower level subs that are probably closer to what people think of when they think of 3rd world factories. Metal foundry work is a dirty nasty job no matter how you go about it. Just ask anyone in Pittsburg from the last few generations. Of course we don't like to think about where those metal castings and extrusions we've become used to actually come from. Those 3rd generation steelworkers in the rust belt used to proud of an honest days labor. Now, folks would rather be day traders on the net from their home office hoping to hit the lottery. So there are plenty of folks in China who would prefer a few burns from splattering metal to the backbreaking work of hand tilling tiny plots of mushy dirt.

conchrandy
01-03-2011, 10:16 PM
OK, so what if I want a Starclassic maple kit made in Japan for whatever reason? Simply stated, not available, unless of course, I can live with the add on prices. For that $$, I can pick up a SONOR Delite, a GRETSCH USA or a top of the line YAMAHA. I love Tama, but I see a lot of spin here.

Artstar
01-03-2011, 10:42 PM
OK, so what if I want a Starclassic maple kit made in Japan for whatever reason? Simply stated, not available, unless of course, I can live with the add on prices. For that $$, I can pick up a SONOR Delite, a GRETSCH USA or a top of the line YAMAHA. I love Tama, but I see a lot of spin here.

A Starclassic Maple is just as nice, if not nicer, as any of those, with probably the tops in quality and finish, IMO..

harryconway
01-03-2011, 11:38 PM
OK, so what if I want a Starclassic maple kit made in Japan for whatever reason? Then whip out that wallet, and pay "extra dough". For that $$, I can pick up a SONOR Delite, a GRETSCH USA or a top of the line YAMAHA. I love Tama, but I see a lot of spin here.
No spin ... just the harsh re-ality that Tama, as a corporation (as with most corporations), follows the path of the dollar bill. Bottom line, they need to make profit. They don't care, that you, as an individual, might make the jump to Sonor, Gretsch, or Yamaha. They're betting on the whoever else's that will buy their Chinese drums and/or pony up the "extra dough" for the Made In Japan drums. When the profit margin speaks, most companies listen. The only drum manufacture that I've seen, with "any" principle at all, is RMV. RMV decided not to sell in the US anymore. From what I gather, it was because of "political" reasons. Here's a guy, that's willing to not double his consumer base, for principle. Now, I don't wanna get into the right/wrong area of it all ... but I do admire a cat who's gonna walk the walk, not just talk the talk. A guy who'd rather make X a year, and be true to his conscience, than make double X a year, and "compromise" his beliefs.

conchrandy
01-04-2011, 12:22 AM
One simple question-Why is there no Starclassic Maple Elite?

Bo Eder
01-04-2011, 12:54 AM
Then whip out that wallet, and pay "extra dough".
No spin ... just the harsh re-ality that Tama, as a corporation (as with most corporations), follows the path of the dollar bill. Bottom line, they need to make profit. They don't care, that you, as an individual, might make the jump to Sonor, Gretsch, or Yamaha. They're betting on the whoever else's that will buy their Chinese drums and/or pony up the "extra dough" for the Made In Japan drums. When the profit margin speaks, most companies listen. The only drum manufacture that I've seen, with "any" principle at all, is RMV. RMV decided not to sell in the US anymore. From what I gather, it was because of "political" reasons. Here's a guy, that's willing to not double his consumer base, for principle. Now, I don't wanna get into the right/wrong area of it all ... but I do admire a cat who's gonna walk the walk, not just talk the talk. A guy who'd rather make X a year, and be true to his conscience, than make double X a year, and "compromise" his beliefs.

Wow. A drum maker doing that? That's brave. You figure it's gotta be hard enough just declaring yourself a drum builder trying to get as many sales as you can regardless. Didn't Steve Wynn do the same thing? That's awesome.

harryconway
01-04-2011, 05:55 AM
Wow. A drum maker doing that? That's brave. ....

That's the "gist" of the story, as I heard it. RMV is a Brazilian company, drum shells made out of Bapeva. And the owner, well, I guess he gets enough business selling kits to South and Central American customers, that he doesn't feel he needs the US market ... Indeed. it is brave. And I admire a cat who looks at life and says "personal honor" is worth more than a "large paycheck". Funny, is I just scored 10, 12, and 14 inch RMV toms off eBay. I'll play the waiting game, and eventually a matching kick drum will show up.

Les Ismore
01-05-2011, 10:05 PM
A TAMA kit made in China just doesn't sound appealing to me, way too many better choices.

Americans (anyway) want the mystic, the magic, some ethereal musical connection, they want their instrument to have some type of perceived soul, imagined or otherwise and China simply ain't got it to give... no deal, won't be buying.

Stalwart_Pandora-Chris
01-05-2011, 10:44 PM
Really......... Tama what!
Your a Japanese company not Chinese! Your kits would be easier to build in Japan and moving to china's going to lose more customers! I was going to buy a Tama Superstar Hyperdrive a few months ago, but then I seen a Mapex Meridian Maple and I said "That's the kit!" Sure, it's Chinese too. But I love the kit! Moving from Japan to China won't be the same drums as I want.
Gretsch make Chinese drums too... That is... The Blackhawk series. Pretty sure the Renown and USA series kits are American. When I was working in a drum store for a week I was like "That Gretsch is nice!" One and only in UK. It was a Renown Hardwood kit, it was a beast.

Pearl don't seem to be doing well either. But Pearl use weird methods for creating drums and 73% of the drums made are birch (I think). I mean DW! 100% American, that's what I'd buy! DW and Gretsch are outstanding! Aswell as Mapex. But that's just me. Tama were stupid to move facillities

zambizzi
01-05-2011, 10:48 PM
Doesn't Tama sell in the EU? If so, then they have to meet ISO14000 regulations regarding environmental controls.

I used to work for a Japanese company and have been in Chinese and other low cost sub contractors with the Japanese teams. Like any other sub-contractor, the Chinese shops will do what the customer asks. They just have to pay for it. I've seen tag teams of quality inspectors going over the same product to make sure anything one person misses gets caught by someone else down the line. In a low labor cost area, people are cheap. And there's a line outside the door of farmers kids looking to work in clean clothes. So anyone who isn't keeping up (either production rate or quality for a quality minded customer) is easily replaced. And the people are are working there know it. It's much like the industrial revolution in America when all the agg labor moved from the south to the heavy industry in the north.

The young folks I saw seemed to be happy. Much better than working on Grandpa's farm behind the ox. A generation or two and there will be a middle class used to nice things and clamoring for more. By then, things will have moved to India (which will be begining to have the same issues) Vietnam and so forth. This has already happened to Singapore which has priced itself out of the low cost labor market and now serves as a hub with the technical and management experience for distant companies to manage things in other southeast asian countries.

Where things slide is in the 3 tier and lower subcontractors. Tama may be making shells and assembling drums in a plant that is a clone of their home plant. But things like hardware are being bought from someone else nearby. Same folks that are making hardware for DW, Gretsch and other "American" lines. And these folks are getting bits from lower level subs that are probably closer to what people think of when they think of 3rd world factories. Metal foundry work is a dirty nasty job no matter how you go about it. Just ask anyone in Pittsburg from the last few generations. Of course we don't like to think about where those metal castings and extrusions we've become used to actually come from. Those 3rd generation steelworkers in the rust belt used to proud of an honest days labor. Now, folks would rather be day traders on the net from their home office hoping to hit the lottery. So there are plenty of folks in China who would prefer a few burns from splattering metal to the backbreaking work of hand tilling tiny plots of mushy dirt.

Thank you. It's always nice when someone who is actually experienced and understands the reality of it, steps up and tells it straight. The anti-market attitude is typically filled with fallacy and outright nonsense.

Mikecore
01-06-2011, 11:42 AM
It's not like they are going to try and pass off CB 700 shells with Starclassic lugs on them. Chinese workers can make high-test drums too, y'know. I get this same nonsense about Mexican DWs or PDPs coming from Mexico and China. I don't care. The real question is: is this a good instrument or not?

The days of Phillipine mahogany/cheap filler shells with taped-on wraps are nearly behind us. Those kind of drums just don't cut it with any drummer seriously looking for a good kit. Look a a 2011 Pearl Vision kit versus the Export kit I bought brand-new in 1998. Likewise, compare a PDP X7 kit to the original Pacific drums from 2000. The X7 is rock-solid compared to those early runs (which really established a bad rep for PDP, unfortunately). Quality gear at affordable prices abounds, and Tama knows what needs to be done in order to join the party.

If your conscience bothers you about the plight of Chinese workers (or Mexicans, for that matter), remember to adjust your perspective. Re-read the post about tilling mushy dirt for a living. There's some relativity involved.

The environment? We play an instrument made out of glued plywood (logging, chemicals), with drumheads made out of plastic and aluminum (petrochemicals, mining), which are tensioned with steel and zinc parts (mining, smelting, and casting), which are chrome plated (chemicals, mining). The shells are painted or wrapped in plastic (petrochemicals) and we hit them with wooden drumsticks (logging) or aluminum (mining) or synthetic (petrochemicals, carbon) sticks.

Every one of those industries has an electric and/or fuel bill as well, so SOMETHING had to be lit on fire and burned in order for all this to come together. The modern trap drum set is a product of the industrial age. Get used to it. Even if you tried to be a purist about it, and go back to the caveman days...a tree needs to be hollowed out and an animal needs to die for its useful bits.

We are not a virus, folks. It's called life.

Anyway, I challenge anyone to spot the difference or drop-off in quality as a result of this move. I'm personally getting my drums from three places. My DW kit has been ordered (USA), my gigging setup will be DW Performance series (Mexico) and my "I'm not carrying these damn drums down a narrow, icy walkway so I'm leaving them here" kit for the practice space will be PDP X7s (China). See, instead of reading the badge on the side of the drum, I first hit it on top with a stick. If it passes that test, I'll move on to the rest of it.

wy yung
01-06-2011, 12:43 PM
I love Tama drums. But I am not a fan of the Chinese Communist party. They lock up Nobel prize winners. Communism itself is anti individual, and that to me is anti artist, anti musician. China is stomping around all over the place and empowering North Korea to shell South Korea and sink ships. China does not care to control the pirating of Western artists products and musicians are being taken for millions.

I avoid products from China. Hell I adore Sonor, but I haven't bought a Sonor drum since I found out they moved some production to China.

I am actually looking at RMV. Funnily enough. And Yamaha.

I have no interest in being another "Pig iron Bob" and handing over capital to what looks to be a future enemy.

A-customs
01-06-2011, 02:30 PM
I love Tama drums. But I am not a fan of the Chinese Communist party. They lock up Nobel prize winners. Communism itself is anti individual, and that to me is anti artist, anti musician. China is stomping around all over the place and empowering North Korea to shell South Korea and sink ships. China does not care to control the pirating of Western artists products and musicians are being taken for millions.

I avoid products from China. Hell I adore Sonor, but I haven't bought a Sonor drum since I found out they moved some production to China.

I am actually looking at RMV. Funnily enough. And Yamaha.

I have no interest in being another "Pig iron Bob" and handing over capital to what looks to be a future enemy.

Could not agree with you more. Although i had no interest in Tama even before the move.

Les Ismore
01-06-2011, 07:35 PM
The young folks I saw seemed to be happy. Much better than working on Grandpa's farm behind the ox.

So true though the people in China look at it as 'nothing more' than a job. It may be better in their minds than working on the farm, but they're not drummers/musicians taking pride in their work, just people doing another manufacturing job, that's the cheap labor force... and even though you may not be aware of it, that vibe goes into the product.- We moved a number of our most highly skilled Japanese craftsmen to China to train the local workers how to build drums “The Tama way.” These Japanese craftsmen live in Guangzhou, they do not live in Japan and simply visit once in a while to spot-check.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty- One might ask Is there anything wrong with any of those drums? Is their quality level acceptable for the prices paid?

As long as Americans/others are not aware they've destroyed their manufacturing base/economy in favor of supporting communist China to save a few bucks, then no, there's nothing wrong with the quality for the price paid.


The simple answer: To cut costs and make high quality drums at more affordable prices. Prices that the average drummer can afford and feel good about their purchase.

Feel good about their purchase? A total of 16 out of the top 20 most polluted cities are in China. ISO14000 regulations regarding environmental controls are not Chinese law. China has nearly one fourth of the world's labor force. China's ruling authorities now promote the slogan: "To get rich is glorious". China is a communist country, an authoritarian government... TAMA supports this, or their excuse is they're $imply 'keeping up with the Jones'?

JDC
01-06-2011, 08:01 PM
If you're really concerned about where your drums are made, buy used. Your dollars won't head overseas (assuming you're buying off someone in your own country) and you're not directly influencing demand on more foreign-made (or Chinese-made, if that's the issue) drums.

One could argue that by buying someone's used kit, they might take that money and spend it on a new kit, perhaps a Chinese-made Tama. Or they're going to use the money for something else - Drugs! Gambling! Donations to a politician you don't support! - but unfortunately we don't have influence over that.

Winston_Wolf
01-06-2011, 08:03 PM
What I don't understand is why Tama seems to be getting a full force sucker punch over their move to China when they're just one of basically all drum manufacturers of their size selling product made in China.

Pretty much anything with chrome plating on it has been made in China for years, yet we all play drums with lugs and hoops without a second thought. Sure, we pretend there is some kind of sonic difference between shells made from Asian maple trees and American maple trees, but I don't think anyone has ever seemed to care in what country those trees get turned into drum shells, as long as they use the "right" stuff.

But looking at the drumset as a whole DW/Pacific, Ludwig, Pearl, Sonor, Gretsch, Mapex all make or have made for them a product coming out of China.

In fact it is the Chinese-made kits that get the most recommendations around here. The Ludwig Centennials and Epics, the Sonor Force, Pacific M5 and X7, Gretsch Catalina, everything Mapex makes, and the list keeps going.

So why is Tama getting all the hate suddenly? Especially when they've been pretty upfront about the whole move, and even went to the trouble and expense of building their own factory instead of sending their specs to have Mapex build their kits like everyone else does?

I understand all of the high and mighty reasoning behind believing China is bad, I just don't understand why Tama seems to be the only one on the receiving end of it.

zambizzi
01-06-2011, 09:44 PM
The young folks I saw seemed to be happy. Much better than working on Grandpa's farm behind the ox.

So true though the people in China look at it as 'nothing more' than a job. It may be better in their minds than working on the farm, but they're not drummers/musicians taking pride in their work, just people doing another manufacturing job, that's the cheap labor force... and even though you may not be aware of it, that vibe goes into the product.- We moved a number of our most highly skilled Japanese craftsmen to China to train the local workers how to build drums “The Tama way.” These Japanese craftsmen live in Guangzhou, they do not live in Japan and simply visit once in a while to spot-check.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty- One might ask Is there anything wrong with any of those drums? Is their quality level acceptable for the prices paid?

As long as Americans/others are not aware they've destroyed their manufacturing base/economy in favor of supporting communist China to save a few bucks, then no, there's nothing wrong with the quality for the price paid.


The simple answer: To cut costs and make high quality drums at more affordable prices. Prices that the average drummer can afford and feel good about their purchase.

Feel good about their purchase? A total of 16 out of the top 20 most polluted cities are in China. ISO14000 regulations regarding environmental controls are not Chinese law. China has nearly one fourth of the world's labor force. China's ruling authorities now promote the slogan: "To get rich is glorious". China is a communist country, an authoritarian government... TAMA supports this, or their excuse is they're $imply 'keeping up with the Jones'?

As usual Les, when this subject arises, your assertions are filled with common misinformation and economic fallacy. You approach the subject with the same anti-market, anti-capitalist rhetoric that is commonly used by journalists and academics.

American manufacturing has declined roughly 40% since the late 1960's. However, this is due to automation and technological advance, for the most part. American manufacturing is more *productive*, which means it requires less manual labor. American manufacturing is still incredibly strong, tallied at around $3.7 trillion, annually. If American manufacturing alone, was stacked up to any *entire* economy in the world, it'd be the fourth largest on the planet.

I will cede to you that China has a much higher level of pollution. It's not entirely on behalf of their manufacturing base but it is a contributing factor, obviously. It has become so sudden and sharp due to the sudden, sharp increase in production there, brought out about by abnormally fast growth, spurred by cheap American credit (market subversion on behalf of the FED.) Free market conditions wouldn't yield this level of pollution because it destroys private property. China isn't a country of private property rights but rather, state-capitalism. The United States also practices state-capitalism, but with a much higher degree of economic intervention into the productive sectors of the economy. This, and the anti-market credit socialism of the FED, is why China is booming and producing while the US is contracting and unraveling. This isn't sustainable for both sides, obviously, and China is a bubble that is about to pop...but that's another story for another time.

American, and indeed many nations, have moved manufacturing to China because the communist government has taken a largely hands-off approach to economic growth, as opposed to the iron-fisted collectivism that kept them in grinding poverty for decades, under Maoism. Labor is cheaper because there isn't a pile of onerous red tape to cut through, in order to employ someone there. You seem to have a problem with Chinese workers pulling themselves out of property, by the sweat of their own labor. Why? Would you prefer that they toil on family farms and scrape by in poverty, and never see a better opportunity? Should western governments use force (interventionist policies) to destroy growth there and further artificially prop up the price of domestic labor...which would make everyone poorer? Do you think the Chinese government can magically create better working conditions and much higher pay, by writing it on a piece of paper? This is a function of the market...it's voluntary and it pulls the greatest number of people out of poverty, faster than any other method. This is how modern economies develop and become wealthy, as China is quickly doing today. Forceful intervention into this process only hampers it, not helps, and destroys economic growth.

When Tama's competitors are able to lower their prices (making drum consumers more wealthy), they must also follow or lose market share. If they lose enough market share, they will cease making drums...which means less competition...which ultimately leads to higher prices and lower quality, across the board.

Does that help clear this thread up at all?

Artstar
01-06-2011, 09:59 PM
What I don't understand is why Tama seems to be getting a full force sucker punch over their move to China when they're just one of basically all drum manufacturers of their size selling product made in China.

Pretty much anything with chrome plating on it has been made in China for years, yet we all play drums with lugs and hoops without a second thought. Sure, we pretend there is some kind of sonic difference between shells made from Asian maple trees and American maple trees, but I don't think anyone has ever seemed to care in what country those trees get turned into drum shells, as long as they use the "right" stuff.

But looking at the drumset as a whole DW/Pacific, Ludwig, Pearl, Sonor, Gretsch, Mapex all make or have made for them a product coming out of China.

In fact it is the Chinese-made kits that get the most recommendations around here. The Ludwig Centennials and Epics, the Sonor Force, Pacific M5 and X7, Gretsch Catalina, everything Mapex makes, and the list keeps going.

So why is Tama getting all the hate suddenly? Especially when they've been pretty upfront about the whole move, and even went to the trouble and expense of building their own factory instead of sending their specs to have Mapex build their kits like everyone else does?
.

Agreed.. I sure did'nt expect this sort of reaction. I was just trying to point out that as long as ALL companies are contributing to this in one way or another, and it is going to go this way to a large extent regardless... AT LEAST TAMA SETS UP SHOP to control their product, REGARDLESS of it being in China.

You want the real deal Japan product ?? Well, YOU CAN HAVE IT. They are in production as we speak.

harryconway
01-06-2011, 10:45 PM
I am actually looking at RMV. Funnily enough. And Yamaha.


Since I first laid eyes on RMV drums .... somewhere in the "early" 2000's, at a NAMM show, they've impressed me. At least their hi-end drums. And Yamaha. The Recording Customs, one of my all time fav's. Had a set, sold it, now I have "another" set. Keepers. And my 30 year old Ludwig kit, if. for no other reason than .... John Bonham played a set. Just don't tell Carmine I said that. I hear he's a little "sensitive" on that topic.

MikeM
01-06-2011, 10:49 PM
Just don't tell Carmine I said that. I hear he's a little "sensitive" on that topic. Carmine who? lol :P

20202020202020

conchrandy
01-06-2011, 11:02 PM
A TAMA kit made in China just doesn't sound appealing to me, way too many better choices.

Americans (anyway) want the mystic, the magic, some ethereal musical connection, they want their instrument to have some type of perceived soul, imagined or otherwise and China simply ain't got it to give... no deal, won't be buying.

Perfect. There's something beyond the tech, the fit and finish, the lure of cost.. Akin to CD's vs Vinyl, a hard to define intangible. Gretsch and Ludwig have it, despite the faults. Apparently Tama knows the positioning and what they have to do to remain competitive. Not blaming them, just not for me.

Big Foot
01-06-2011, 11:15 PM
I love Tama drums. But I am not a fan of the Chinese Communist party. They lock up Nobel prize winners. Communism itself is anti individual, and that to me is anti artist, anti musician. China is stomping around all over the place and empowering North Korea to shell South Korea and sink ships. China does not care to control the pirating of Western artists products and musicians are being taken for millions.

I avoid products from China. Hell I adore Sonor, but I haven't bought a Sonor drum since I found out they moved some production to China.

I am actually looking at RMV. Funnily enough. And Yamaha.

I have no interest in being another "Pig iron Bob" and handing over capital to what looks to be a future enemy.

Ya know, that about sums it up for me... but you said it better than I could have...

And that's why I jumped on these 3 shells yesterday (great price). I wanted a good kit to take out jamming/gigging but I really didn't want stuff from China. I really avoid it when I can.

droveto
01-06-2011, 11:37 PM
Americans criticizing the chinese government and system is pretty laughable considering our government set up all the trade agreements in the 70's to keep China an impoverished nation that would continue to provide decades and decades of cheap labor for consumable items in the first place.

Big Foot
01-06-2011, 11:52 PM
Americans criticizing the chinese government and system is pretty laughable considering our government set up all the trade agreements in the 70's to keep China an impoverished nation that would continue to provide decades and decades of cheap labor for consumable items in the first place.

I'm Canadian, the US has their thumb on our spineless government, so when I can say no to something, as small as it maybe, I do.

MikeM
01-07-2011, 12:11 AM
And that's why I jumped on these 3 shells yesterday (great price).THAT, is a beautiful kit. What size is that floor? (sorry for the hijack)

Big Foot
01-07-2011, 01:01 AM
THAT, is a beautiful kit. What size is that floor? (sorry for the hijack)

Thanks, the finish is pretty beat from the road but I have a buddy that wants to bring it back to it's OG finish.
The FT is 15x12 still sounds big enough. I'm used to 14" FTs on my 2 other kits. BTW the toms (other being 12x8) are '83 and the BD 22x16 is '84.

gwaco
01-07-2011, 01:30 AM
This is an interesting thread I must say. After reading through the whole thing I really am not surprised so much by the responses by the board members but am more surprised by the reasoning by Tama.
I would guess that most of the board members posting on this thread are 30 and up in age, most of us remembering how we thought the items coming out of Japan were inferior as early products were seen the same way as we look at products now out of China. But what China has goin for it that Japan didn't was what we call Global Markets. Aside from all of the political feelings about China , we as a world are now in the disposable era , we rarely keep anything until its useful life has run out , I being guilty of this myself.
So with that in mind it would make sense for Tama to have their product run out of China knowing that the consumer will most likely not buy the kit as an investment. They are in essense now building disposable drum kits.
What doesn't make sense and why i'm not buying into their statement below and why i believe the move is strickly a bottom line move is because they already have a plant(s) set up in Japan to do exactly the same thing that they are doing in China.

Why would you need to invest millions of dollars building a new plant in a communist country when you already have a fully functioning plant in your homeland. Why would they have not spent the money upgrading the existing plant in Japan if it was outdated.

It was also stated that should you want a kit still made in Japan you may still do so but the cost will be greater , Why ? again you already have everything in place to do this!
How do you even know it will actually be built in Japan ? What would prevent them from just shipping Tama - made in japan tags to China to have them affixed to the kit or that they are just assembled in Japan with the parts made in the Chinese factory!

I also did not see it stated anywhere, that all of the existing workers in the Tama/Japan factories will still retain their jobs even with the opening of the plant in China. I would be curious as to how many do loose their jobs once the China factory gets fully operational, if that has not already happened.

At this point I don't see many people buying any of the kits coming out of China and looking at them as a long term investment. Now if your putting down the cash for say a Craviotto kit ,your mindset is that your buying the kit for life! You don't really care if you get a scratch on your $400 China made Tama kit , but get that scratch on the Craviotto kit and someone is going to die !
I am banking that Tama is heading to the don't give a shit group as they will be the ones most likely coming back for a second or third round.

madidus
01-07-2011, 01:52 AM
I am really disappointed that some of the sentiment in this thread appears to be fuelled by 'negativity'. Comments like "So true though the people in China look at it as 'nothing more' than a job" and "I have no interest in being another "Pig iron Bob" and handing over capital to what looks to be a future enemy" really are beyond belief.

The fact is that to remain competitive in the global market place, companies have to make effective business decisions. The quality of a product is not determined by the geographical location of the manufacturing site or the ethnic make up of staff, but by the QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROCESSES that are put in place. Sure, there's plenty of second rate products coming out of China and India (and the USA and Australia for that matter), but that's because they are manufacturing these products for a client who is not prepared to pay for first rate QM processes.

The cycling industry is a good example: to increase their share of the market, some of the top name European bike brands are getting Chinese made carbon frames for their mid-priced models. The top of the line models are still made in Italy or wherever, but more and more of the competitively priced models are being made in China. They pay the manufacturers for first rate QM processes and as a result get a first rate product.

As far as environmental and political (ie. communist party) concerns go, the best way to address these issues is for the Chinese people to become part the global capitalistic market, both as manufacturers and as consumers. As Chinese citizens become more affluent and better educated, they will expect better safety and environmental standards and more freedom. I absolutely agree that a dictatorial communist government is a bad thing, but empowering Chinese citizens has to be better way to change such governments than anything else that's been tried in the past 60 years.

So as far as I can tell, Tama is looking to ensure its continued financial viability while taking responsibility for the quality of its products. And I don't believe for a minute that the Chinese staff at the Guangzhou factory do not take pride in their work.

For the record, I do not play a Tama kit and I am extremely unlikely to ever be in a position to be looking for sponsorships (I missed that boat 20 years ago). But if Artstar happens to read this, I wouldn't say no to a Straclassic Bubinga Elite with a Red Sparkle finish ;-p

conchrandy
01-07-2011, 01:59 AM
I wouldn't say no to a Straclassic Bubinga with a Red Sparkle finish ;-p


Just make sure it's a Bubinga Elite.

madidus
01-07-2011, 02:01 AM
I wouldn't say no to a Straclassic Bubinga with a Red Sparkle finish ;-p


Just make sure it's a Bubinga Elite.

Thanks - I have corrected my post ;)

harryconway
01-07-2011, 02:17 AM
Tama says they will keep the Japanese facility open. For now. I wonder what the plan will be 10 years from now. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.Build a plant in China. It's a no brainer. GM has plants in China. John Deere is building another plant there, to the tune of some 50 million dollars. "The new factory will produce four-wheel-drive loaders and excavators and will be located in the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA). The facility will be Deere's sixth manufacturing location in China, two of which are joint ventures."Come on...building drums is like basket-weaving, compared to auto and heavy equipment manufacturing. “The largest project under construction, by far, is the Three Gorges Dam, which, when fully completed in 2009, will include 26 separate 700-MW generators, for a total of 18.2 GW.”All one has to do is look at that project, to get an idea of what China's capable of. Making drums, is kinda like making paper umbrella's for cocktail glasses, when you compare it to the engineering of a 26 generator hydro-electric plant.

Big Foot
01-07-2011, 05:15 AM
Some things I think many of us can except is that we have to buy from china. But when it comes to things we have a passion for "made in china " just doesn't cut it. My ipod and the like ok what ever "made in China" my drums NO my bike No (I'm an old school roadie - not the music kind). (all you new or new again to biking don't count and don't get it)
This is the irksome thing - there is just no passion for, or passion built-in to, something made in China. It's just stuff that the Chinese make and enjoy the employment in making it. Passionless production.
The best musical instruments are made by musicians - a luthier can play that guitar he's fixing or making. And I bet all the cymbal makers at Ziljian, can play the drums...

Artstar
01-07-2011, 05:57 AM
And I don't believe for a minute that the Chinese staff at the Guangzhou factory do not take pride in their work.

I totally agree.

But if Artstar happens to read this, I wouldn't say no to a Straclassic Bubinga Elite with a Red Sparkle finish ;-p

Well.. You can have your pick of any Starclassic Maple or Bubinga MADE IN JAPAN. They are available whenever you want them !

Funky Crępe
01-07-2011, 05:57 AM
I won't name any names, mainly because im too tired to read over the thread again, but Americans shouldn't be saying how bad china is when the us government has had very big flaws and still does today.....if only bill hicks was alive today! The majority of governments could be doing better....but then of course china is down the bottom! :)

But i couldnt care where my shells come from as long as they sound good. I doubt the money going into the asian economy from drum parts will allow them to take over the world!

Big Foot
01-07-2011, 06:30 AM
Quote from Funky Crepe -But i couldnt care where my shells come from as long as they sound good. I doubt the money going into the asian economy from drum parts will allow them to take over the world![/QUOTE]

true - good to keep some perspective on things

Les Ismore
01-07-2011, 06:41 AM
The quality of a product is not determined by the geographical location of the manufacturing site or the ethnic make up of staff, but by the QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROCESSES that are put in place.

If we were all robots that might be true.

Take a look at the pics below, ISO14001 regulations regarding environmental controls hard at work (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1DNjJd2YfA).

No one on this forum is dumb enough to believe breathing and working in that quality of air (not even air, its a rarified gas) is not going to effect product quality, there's simply no way around it, management (believe it or not) is also exposed. This pollution impregnates not only the workers lungs/brains, it also impregnates the drums. Products from China literally stink. By who's standards are the Chinese workers showing up to work happy?



I don't believe for a minute that the Chinese staff at the Guangzhou factory do not take pride in their work.

Please... they could care less if they're making drums, or toilet paper, its just another job in a place where any job is welcome. TAMA is going to have a hard time convincing people otherwise and that's exactly why they moved there in the first place- cheap, abundant labor, not b/c the workers were skilled and take pride in knowing what they're building.

madidus
01-07-2011, 10:55 AM
I tried to avoid the word in my previous post, but this thread has degenerated into an anti-Chinese rant that, quite frankly, is racist. Some of the assumptions in the above posts are simply incredible. I will not engage further in this load of ignorant, red-neck bollocks.

harryconway
01-07-2011, 11:20 AM
Los Angeles smog.......................................

keep it simple
01-07-2011, 11:42 AM
Before this turns into an ugly nationalistic & misguided petty political soapbox, just judge the end product on it's merits, & factor in origin if it's of importance to you. If you want local, then buy locally made & sourced product. It really is that simple.

Bernhard
01-07-2011, 12:11 PM
I think Terry Bissettes points are clear and logic. I fully understand.

For us Europeans there is another point:

Made in USA, made in Japan, made in Taiwan, made in China: this all means low or very low quality.

The really quality labels are: MADE IN SWITZERLAND and also MADE IN GERMANY.

Bernhard

bobdadruma
01-07-2011, 12:57 PM
Interesting point of view Bernhard.
We still must remember that almost everything that we buy has components from all around the world.
Almost all products are sold all around the world.
Your cars components were probably made in 5 countries.
Your Mac was made in China.

gusty
01-07-2011, 01:09 PM
And I bet all the cymbal makers at Ziljian, can play the drums...

Don't be so sure...
20

Funky Crępe
01-07-2011, 03:56 PM
I think Terry Bissettes points are clear and logic. I fully understand.

For us Europeans there is another point:

Made in USA, made in Japan, made in Taiwan, made in China: this all means low or very low quality.

The really quality labels are: MADE IN SWITZERLAND and also MADE IN GERMANY.

Bernhard

And i can't remember the last thing ( apart from chocolate) that came from swizerland, or even germany

Andy@MIT
01-07-2011, 03:58 PM
Take a look at the pics below, ISO14001 regulations regarding environmental controls hard at work (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1DNjJd2YfA).

No one on this forum is dumb enough to believe breathing and working in that quality of air (not even air, its a rarified gas) is not going to effect product quality, there's simply no way around it, management (believe it or not) is also exposed. This pollution impregnates not only the workers lungs/brains, it also impregnates the drums. Products from China literally stink. By who's standards are the Chinese workers showing up to work happy?

Posting pictures of the effects of air and water pollution is a pretty stupid way to make your point. It is pretty easy to find similar pictures of places in the US during the 20th century and first-hand descriptions of similar situations in 18th-19th century England and the 19th century in the US. China is not alone in their current disregard for health and the environment.

zambizzi
01-07-2011, 04:29 PM
Posting pictures of the effects of air and water pollution is a pretty stupid way to make your point. It is pretty easy to find similar pictures of places in the US during the 20th century and first-hand descriptions of similar situations in 18th-19th century England and the 19th century in the US. China is not alone in their current disregard for health and the environment.

It's the kind of anti-market sensationalism that Les is known for. Soviet Russia was the worst known environmental abuser on the planet, prior to the collapse. When private property rights are null and void, and the state owns everything, no one owns anything. It becomes normal to destroy property without any regard to future utility, because there is no accountability. When you see these enviro-alarmist pictures of bare forests in the American northwest, with stumps littering the tattered landscape - keep in mind that these are typically government-grabbed lands that have granted permits to companies to come in and chop away...not the private property of the companies who are utilizing the resources. There is no incentive to preserve, only abuse. The US gov't remains the largest polluter in the US today, by far.

Any folks from Houston, here? I've read that the smog there is even worse than LA...saw some crazy pictures, a few years back.

JDC
01-07-2011, 05:10 PM
Any folks from Houston, here? I've read that the smog there is even worse than LA...saw some crazy pictures, a few years back.
I believe this is accurate. I recently completed a master's in urban/environmental policy and this topic came up a few times in class discussions.

Sorry to get off topic. I enjoy when economic and environmental issues come into the discussion in a forum that is ostensibly about music(al instruments).

So who here had plans to buy a new Tama but has changed their plans because of the move to China? Anyone?

Anyone still planning to buy a Tama, regardless of the move?

Les Ismore
01-07-2011, 07:32 PM
It is pretty easy to find similar pictures of places in the US during the 20th century and first-hand descriptions of similar situations in 18th-19th century England and the 19th century in the US. China is not alone in their current disregard for health and the environment.

It may be easy, but its also just as easy to find the quality of the product made then was just as low. Early-mid 20th century drums made in the USA offer some good examples, overall the quality wasn't that great. All the way through the 60's (high pollution rates) we can find many (more than today) examples of shoddy workmanship within the drum industry. Stress of the times, pollution etc. played a part, currently big factors in China today. Factor in workers just showing up to a job and under QC scrutiny, product will bear the effects.

I personally do not care to own drums made under such conditions, as I consider myself sensitive enough to be aware of the effects on humanity, the planet and my art.

Artstar
01-07-2011, 07:45 PM
So who here had plans to buy a new Tama but has changed their plans because of the move to China? Anyone?

Anyone still planning to buy a Tama, regardless of the move?

THEY STILL HAVE JAPAN PRODUCTION. If you want it.. just order it.

droveto
01-07-2011, 08:10 PM
And i can't remember the last thing ( apart from chocolate) that came from swizerland, or even germany

BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche and tons of industral and medical products you use daily that you haven't accounted for. (Billions of dollars of exports)

Swiss exports aren't great due to the depreciation of global currencies while the franc is strong.

A-customs
01-07-2011, 08:14 PM
And i can't remember the last thing ( apart from chocolate) that came from swizerland, or even germany

Damm, i thought all good chocolate came from Hersey Pennsylvania

Les Ismore
01-07-2011, 08:29 PM
Why would you need to invest millions of dollars building a new plant in a communist country when you already have a fully functioning plant in your homeland. Why would they have not spent the money upgrading the existing plant in Japan if it was outdated. -gwaco
Senior Member

The simple answer: To cut costs by taking advantage of an abundant and cheap (and hopefully proud) labor force... these people have a low standard of living, exploiting it will keep TAMA profitable/competitive.



It was also stated that should you want a kit still made in Japan you may still do so but the cost will be greater , Why ? again you already have everything in place to do this!---gwaco
Senior Member

The more complex answer: The Japanese are a proud people, they take care of their own. To even insinuate fellow countryman take a pay cut to produce essentially the same quality product (they (the proud, lower paid Guangzhou workers) adhere to the most stringent quality control standards, the very same ones we use in Japan.-Terry Bissette) would not be morally acceptable.

Expecting consumers to make-up the difference 'is' morally acceptable, its TAMA'S way of showing you they're committed to making their high quality drums even more accessible to the drummers of the world by lowering the price points. Some of you still want the Japanese drums, made in Japan? They are totally available! For a 'save face' up-charge.


We do not make “cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf” drums (in the Japan plant). Each one is hand made with TLC. -Terry Bissette

Right on! “cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf” that's reserved for the Guangzhou plant, enjoy the $avings(?).

GRUNTERSDAD
01-07-2011, 08:44 PM
I bet you have no clue as to the number of items you use every day or own in your home that are made under these same conditions. You may as well close down Walmart.

MikeM
01-07-2011, 08:55 PM
You may as well close down Walmart.What an excellent idea!

zambizzi
01-07-2011, 09:35 PM
... these people have a low standard of living, exploiting it will keep TAMA profitable/competitive.


Their standard of living is rising everyday! How do you think this happens!? How do you think that the quality of living you enjoy today came about? No one is "exploiting" them, companies are moving there and providing *far better* opportunities than existed before. Ten years ago, it was uncommon for almost any "commoner" to own a car, they were luxuries of the communist party elite. Today, the roads are packed with cars. Shops and malls are popping up everywhere, folks are buying homes...property is becoming a reality for people that were once communist feudal slaves!

Quit with the hyperbole, already. What your arguments lack in substance, you're filling in with BS.

The profit motive is a POSITIVE market trait, for humanity.

Mikecore
01-07-2011, 09:37 PM
It is pretty easy to find similar pictures of places in the US during the 20th century and first-hand descriptions of similar situations in 18th-19th century England and the 19th century in the US. China is not alone in their current disregard for health and the environment.

It may be easy, but its also just as easy to find the quality of the product made then was just as low. Early-mid 20th century drums made in the USA offer some good examples, overall the quality wasn't that great. All the way through the 60's (high pollution rates) we can find many (more than today) examples of shoddy workmanship within the drum industry. Stress of the times, pollution etc. played a part, currently big factors in China today. Factor in workers just showing up to a job and under QC scrutiny, product will bear the effects.

I personally do not care to own drums made under such conditions, as I consider myself sensitive enough to be aware of the effects on humanity, the planet and my art.

In the grand scheme of things, it's China's turn, and once they get things together, they will clean up (cleaner and smarter use of resources is a much more capitalistic idea than one might suspect; you don't want to destruct your way out of business). Then it will be India, and so on. It was England's turn in the 19th century, America's in the 20th...somebody gets to make all the smoke for the rest of us.

Fortunately, the Earth is a big girl and can take care of herself. We have been burning/cutting/digging/dumping for centuries as a way of life. In reality, not much has changed as far as the planet. We just gripe about it more because we have the time to sit around and get paranoid about it. Guys who have to live off the land day by day don't have that time.

China has improved as they adopt more Capitalist ideas. Sooner or later they will have to realize why that rubs up against Communism, or they will be headed downhill again. You can't mix food and poison and call it nutrition. I seem to recall seeing this in the USSR back in the late 80s, and what it lead to. It could happen in China as well.

Keeping them impoverished will not do much for them, or the rest of us when it creates the kind of unrest that leads to anger that leads to attack, that much I'm sure of. Make them a business powerhouse, I say. Happy people don't generally start trouble.

In the meantime, we have a few years to get some really good drums at great prices before they figure it out and raise their prices.

Les Ismore
01-07-2011, 10:16 PM
How do you think that the quality of living you enjoy today came about?

America was founded with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution.

China is a communist country, research its history, it does not want to become USA 2.0

China becoming a Constitutional Republic, a free nation b/c America buys their goods? Fantasy.

Industry is not the provider of freedom(s).

I will not support TAMA, too many better choices.

harryconway
01-07-2011, 10:34 PM
People need to think (or know a little history). China only "became" a Communist country, in 1949. 60+ years ago. One generation. Before and during WWII, they were our ally. The famous Flying Tigers flew out of China (were actually "part" of the Chinese Air Force) in 1941-1942. The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) was basically a group of mercenaries, by definition. 1937, Japan invaded China, and killed some 30+ million Chinese. And don't think that fact is left forgotten/not remembered ... in China. And now, they're the fastest growing economy. Anyone who hasn't seen this move, in the last 10 years, is just in "plain old denial". The corporate "outsourcing". Those jobs "we lost" .... they got. And I don't think they're ever coming back. People who "had" lifestyle la vida loca .... and lost it. Might just have to get used to a downscaled lifestyle now. It ain't how much money you make, that makes you rich ..... it's how you live .....

zambizzi
01-07-2011, 10:42 PM
How do you think that the quality of living you enjoy today came about?

America was founded with a Bill of Rights and a Constitution.


And these pieces of paper magically made American wealth and prosperity materialize, out of thin air?


China is a communist country, research its history, it does not want to become USA 2.0

China becoming a Constitutional Republic, a free nation b/c America buys their goods? Fantasy.

Industry is not the provider of freedom(s)


So, economic freedom doesn't produce wealth...magical pieces of paper do? I'm looking for science here, too...not just vague, lofty sentiment. Last time I checked, producing things and selling them, is what makes people wealthy.


I will not support TAMA, too many better choices.

Then don't. Tama actually operates a business and knows what they're doing, and they continue to make products of higher quality and lower prices, every year. This leaves more dollars in the pockets of their customers, making them more wealthy. Thanks to those efforts, the products you DO prefer will continue to improve.

droveto
01-07-2011, 10:56 PM
Those following China know there have been more and more factory revolts/walk outs and increasing pay over the past several years. Citizens have been given access to purchase precious metals and build their own savings. Those who don't see it haven't done enough research. There will be no USA 2.0, there's no way to exploit humans the way slavery did, but the Chinese came close and they are realizing they deserve better lives and conditions. It's just a matter of time.

conchrandy
01-07-2011, 11:33 PM
Still no answer as to what happened to the (Japan) SC maples. I keep getting "you can still order them" but did anyone tell that to the friendly GC man? Why Bubinga and not Maple in the catalogue?

Andrewski
01-07-2011, 11:59 PM
Just who are we, on this forum or any other to throw stones?

The beauty and the beast of capitalism is making money by giving the market (us) what it demands. We all want DW Collectors....but, some of us have CB-700 budgets. The result used to be we had to play CB-700's. Not anymore, I can have a kit just as nice as Johnny's...for 1/2 the price. I can't buy it at Bob's Music down the street....he starved trying to compete with GC/MF and I will have to order it...but I'll save $$$ off of what he woulda charged.

Or, I could jump in the trusty old Ford...built by some guy who never met a dog he wouldn't like to taste, fill it full of $4 a gallon gas ( that's not real gas but 15% ethanol, so why aint it cheaper)from a station with a prayer rug in the corner and drive to Atlanta and pick it up. Of course, then I'd have to pay sales tax....and dagnabbit, the Govt. gets too much of my monthly check as it is.

So, why ARE we bitchin about TAMA? We demanded that they give us a superior product for less money. They are following the business model of every conglomerate before them. We got us here....

I somehow lost the point of your post in your rather offensive story that you made up in your second to last paragraph..

jkevn
01-08-2011, 12:42 AM
The point was...we ACCEPT all these lil changes in our world and the stereotypes that go with them all in the name of saving a buck. We all kinda grumble about who owns the gas stations, who builds our cars, all the jobs are goin over seas.....while we sit back and enjoy the momentary high of saving a few bucks at walmart on stuff we didn't really need in the first place.

This whole thread has been offensive, we got ourselves into this by demanding cheaper goods and we have traded our birthright for a bowl of stew. (Some might have to look that up...) I find it humorous that someone would curse Tama for the same thing the makers of ALL the other products we consume have been doing. While typing on a keyboard made in China no less...

The post was intended to make you say: WTF did he just say....? Cheap goods are more important to America than Bob's Music Store, we'd rather pay him an entitlement check from some other guy's taxes than spend the extra on a purchase. Don't believe it? Look around your town.

Artstar
01-08-2011, 12:52 AM
Still no answer as to what happened to the (Japan) SC maples. I keep getting "you can still order them" but did anyone tell that to the friendly GC man? Why Bubinga and not Maple in the catalogue?

GC man ?? That's the last person/people you would want to ask about anything slightly touching the surface of complicated...

Here you go: http://www.dalesdrumshop.com/

audiotech
01-08-2011, 02:00 AM
I stayed out of this until now because I've been through this discussion three times before with Tama, my Five Star shop and the people who work there. There are probably not many out there that have the opportunities to directly compare and really check these kits out in person. About 6 or 8 months ago I was very interested in a Tama Starclassic Maple kit, nothing elaborate, just a four piece shell pack. I went to my favorite shop where they had two maple kits in colors that I liked. One was a kit made in Japan with the shell decals and the other was made in China with the surface mounted badges. I tried both kits and to me and the people who were with me all thought that the Japan made drums sounded cleaner and better than China's edition. The lacquer finish on the Japan made drums looked deeper and overall smoother. I decided to think about the purchase for a week or two. When I went back to the shop, the Japan Starclassic Maple kit was gone. I always gamble like that thinking that if they're sold, there will always be more. I don't know if their supplier (Hoshino) ran dry of Japan kits or what, but the shop couldn't get their hands on any.

Since I've owned their Japan made Starclassic Bubinga drums since May of 2008, I know the quality of the shells and finishes that come out of their Japan factories and they're second to none. I did not have the same enthusiasm in their China made counterparts and even less for some of the people working at Hoshino in Bensalem, PA. I'm not going to elaborate on what went on at Hoshino because it's water under the bridge. Because of this I took some one's reply to heart to a thread I made and bought something else. They cost me a bit more, but if I have any issues with them, the company's vice president is just a call away. Add on drums took about six weeks to arrive, where Tama's now quoting three to four months.

Remember, like most companies re-organizing and trying to keep afloat, Tama will tell you what they think you want to hear to be able to sell their products.

Dennis

wy yung
01-08-2011, 02:42 AM
I just want to state for the record that I am not anti Chinese. Much of my life has been spent studying Chinese history and Chinese martial arts. I love the Chinese people. One of the World's truly great people. China has an ancient history. Hell the Swiss learned how to make watches from the Chinese. Farming tools that took the West thousands of years to discover were used in China milenia before.

The Chinese are great. Make no mistake.

However, like other master/serf based social societies they rebelled through the misguided and human nature denial philosophy known as Communism. Socialism can be seen as an all embracing system provided people are honest and giving. But people are not open and giving. And it is the denial of that simple fact that makes Karl Marx an abject failue as a philosopher. And why the pety and small minded Communists eroded and then usurped the Socialist idea.

What was left was an anti intellectual, anti individual hive mind set. And any individual was slaughtered outright. Any artist not working for the state should be repelled by this idea. And as we have seen, Communism is a failure. It was a system based in fantasy and fell as such. The "people" were never represented and every Communist state became a dictatorship. Every single one!

Now we have a situation that leaves me perplexed. I have also learned Japanese history and studied their martial arts. The Japanese are also a great people who value Face. Respect. Self respect. And they demand it from others. It is a reason why they entered WWII. So how is it Japanese corporations can stomach the contempt shown to Japan by the Communist Chinese government that is taking place at this time???

Just for this $$$$$?????

I do not understand.

I am very careful not to buy Chinese made goods.

This is of course my own feeling and I do not demand it of others. Unlike the Communists who demand their people toe the line.

Kind of like Islamic states.

The poor individual really is at sea in the 21st century. Strange, isn't it?

Les Ismore
01-08-2011, 03:24 AM
Since I've owned their (TAMA'S) Japan made Starclassic Bubinga drums since May of 2008, I know the quality of the shells and finishes that come out of their Japan factories and they're second to none. I did not have the same enthusiasm in their China made counterparts...


Maybe their QC isn't all that good.

"You may or may not be surprised to know we operated the factory at our own expense (not at the expense of consumers?) for well over a year making blanks (test shells), before we ever shipped one drum into the market. We wanted to make sure our Chinese production quality level was an exact match to the Japanese factory standards. The same exact standards we built our reputation on."-Terry Bissette

There you go, an exact match in quality, but an up charge for Japan made product.
Give them a chance, they're probably still trying to instill 'pride' in their Guangzhou workers. Unless TAMA filters the air in the factory, the pollution 'is' going to effect the finish.


And these pieces of paper magically made American wealth and prosperity materialize, out of thin air?

Sounds like someone needs an education.

You measure wealth as digits on a computer, or worthless bank notes, while others measure wealth by how free they are. The Chinese government can waltz into TAMA's or any other factory in China and take it over, imprison, or eliminate all the staff/workers and the company would have no-zero legal recourse. And yes, slavery is rampant in China.


You gotta love it, someone posts a email from a TAMA minion defending their move to China and the TAMA faithful here defend it as the word of god. Its nothing but business as usual, just another cynical money grab painted over as 'for the good of the consumer'.

GRUNTERSDAD
01-08-2011, 03:42 AM
Looks fairly clean.....
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26877&id=124519624255765

If anyone can translate the banner on photo 36???

bobdadruma
01-08-2011, 03:50 AM
What a Sweatshop!
Such deplorable conditions.

gusty
01-08-2011, 03:50 AM
Fortunately, the Earth is a big girl and can take care of herself. We have been burning/cutting/digging/dumping for centuries as a way of life. In reality, not much has changed as far as the planet. We just gripe about it more because we have the time to sit around and get paranoid about it. Guys who have to live off the land day by day don't have that time.

You've got to be kidding me...yes, we have been burning/cutting/digging/dumping for centuries, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and that was the start of the downhill ride for planet Earth. You are misinformed or ignorant, or both.

jkevn
01-08-2011, 03:57 AM
Looks fairly clean.....
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26877&id=124519624255765

If anyone can translate the banner on photo 36???

Large banner reads: "Please clean ox dung from boots."

Small banner: "Whistle while you work"

Les Ismore
01-08-2011, 04:01 AM
Looks fairly clean.....
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...24519624255765


Step outside and try some fishing in the Pearl River, breathe in the air ;(

Large banner reads: 'To be rich is Glorious'

Small banner: 'TAMA pride' :)


We do not make “cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf” drums (in the Japan plant). Each one is hand made with TLC. -Terry Bissette

That's right people, 'cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf' is reserved for Guangzhou, you $ave.

Artstar
01-08-2011, 04:10 AM
That's right people, 'cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf' is reserved for Guangzhou, you $ave.

Nice try... Just like the factory for the half chinese DW Collectors ??

http://www.bentleysdrumshop.com/factory_files/shells_lots.jpg

bobdadruma
01-08-2011, 04:48 AM
Every factory stockpiles pieces.
That's how factories work.
If you look at pics of the Sonor plant in Germany, you will see stockpiled shells.

The auto manufacturers and computer plants have bits stockpiled and ready.

Frank
01-08-2011, 05:24 AM
What a Sweatshop!
Such deplorable conditions.

:)

Yes, imagine working in such a miserable place.

I used to work in a semiconductor factory in the U.S. That drum factory
in China looked much cleaner. And spacious.

wy yung
01-08-2011, 06:25 AM
:)

Yes, imagine working in such a miserable place.

I used to work in a semiconductor factory in the U.S. That drum factory
in China looked much cleaner. And spacious.

How were the wages? Were you able to have your own opinions? Were you locked up and abused (as in a famous current case) if you disliked your conditions?

Seriously, would you prefer to live in the USA or under a Communist dictatorship? You can always defect to North Korea. You may starve though.

How about Cuba? The drum teachers steal from their students while they are sleeping. Fancy that?

pcastag
01-08-2011, 07:06 AM
How about Cuba? The drum teachers steal from their students while they are sleeping. Fancy that?

Mine never did when I was in Cuba. People steal here in the USA too, all the time and on all levels. Come to think of it people steal just about anywhere on the planet. Fancy that.
PC

Aeolian
01-08-2011, 08:08 AM
Last time I checked, producing things and selling them, is what makes people wealthy.

ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. This is what the Chinese are doing. And what the Americans stopped doing. The whole idea of a "service economy" is bunk. For the most part, wealth is a zero sum game. Someone builds something, someone else buys it, wealth is exchanged. When you start with financial finagles on top of it, someone creating derivatives based on whether A will actually buy from B, you are not creating wealth. You are skimming off of the exchange between A and B, who both end up with less. Keep this up (as the western business has been doing) and pretty soon you get to the kind of skewed distribution we have now where the guy with the best finagle (credit default swaps anyone?) ends up with all the wealth, and everyone else is in the unemployment line.

As someone who's been a manufacturing engineer for the past 35 years, labor is a small component in a product's cost. In the electronics manufacturing that I do, it's typically around 7%. Less for a very high volume highly automated product. 60-80% is raw materials. The rest is overhead including amortizing the development costs. Actual factory overhead is only a couple of percent. So even if you save 50% on the labor, the actual product cost changes only a few percent. Well within the margins bargained over in virtually every music store transaction.

Where those last few percent become critical is in feeding all the leeches too lazy to do something productive and who have inserted themselves in the middle of everything skimming off the margins.

The drive to outsource (and I've spent about a 3rd of my career working for outsource manufacturing companies) is basically a result of the tax code and with the greed of the Wall St. leeches. In the good old days captive manufacturing ruled. It was the most efficient way to do things. Someone designed what to do and then hired people to make more. With outsourcing you have all these middlemen watching each other, sitting around conference rooms jawing at each other and convincing themselves how necessary they all are in their positions as subcontract manager, commodity manager, supply base manager, supply base engineer, program manager, supplier quality, production program manager and various duplicates at the outsource production company. But if you want to be vertically integrated and have captive manufacturing (where you can develop better techniques than the next mousetrap maker), then you have to invest capital. Only Wall St. doesn't care how cost effective you are over the next 5 years. All that counts is today's numbers and getting though the quarter keeping the charade going. And that capital has to be amortized over the next 5-10 years on your taxes. And for that work force (of local people) you're only allowed to deduct the cost of the fringe benefits you pay them. Their salaries come right out of your bottom line. But if you send the work to somewhere else, all those costs come out of the cost of the product and you're not taxed on it. So we shot our own selves in the foot (or allowed clever finaglers to do it for us) and now we're paying.

Okay, so building drums is a little more labor intensive than computers. But I still bet the difference in product cost is far less than the typical 15% discount plastered on the windows of the music store. If folks were just willing to pay for a 10% discount instead of the 15%, they could be buying products made by their neighbors instead of sending all their wealth to places of questionable virtue (and I do agree with Wy on this, working with China is kind of like working with the Mafia, you never quite know what is going on and when someone is going to lower the boom on you. You know something funny's going on in the back room, but you can't get back there to find out, and you're not even sure you want to.

wy yung
01-08-2011, 11:50 AM
Yep. Just ask Rio Tinto reps. One can end up in a Chinese prison on a whim. A trumpt up charge is par for the course.

If one sleeps with sharks, one cannot complain about being bitten.

China is stomping around playing bully boy. And your money is suppoirting them.

Think about it.

I know, America is also a bully starting illegal wars and suich, but at least the people can speak out and vote against it. No such right under communism. Or should I say, a communist dictatorship. Is there any other kind?

harryconway
01-08-2011, 03:37 PM
This is just too funny .... like most people here have never even met someone from China, let alone talked to someone from China. But, I understand, we only know ... what we know .... and in a lot of instances ... only believe ... what we want to believe.About 5 years ago, I met a woman from China. She was staying with a very good drummer buddy of mine. In fact, he was best man, at my wedding. Anyhow, she had a college degree, spoke Chinese, Japanese, and English. She came to the US with $250,000, roughly. She was looking for a husband. No, not my friend. During the time she was here, she started up two businesses. Never did find "the right guy", and when her Visa, she went back to China. Anyhow, now my buddy, since he's got a "Chinese" hook-up, so to speak, takes a two week vacation, in China. Takes hundreds of photo's. Goes to malls, parks, museums, a lot, alone, 'cause the ladies got a job. And what does he see. A lot of Chinese people. Doing what people do. Shopping, eating, going to parks, malls, etc..... No soldiers, no guns, no tanks ... no one asking to see his papers. In his words, it was like being in Alhambra (a city not far from Pasadena, with a huge Chinese population.) People's Republic of Alhambra. See, I know what that's like. I've been to Alhambra. I've been the "only" white guy, in a Chinese market ... restaurant ... mall ... So, for my money, I'll drive the 10 minutes it takes, to get to Alhambra, rather than fly the 18 hours it takes, to go to China.

Les Ismore
01-08-2011, 11:16 PM
Every factory stockpiles pieces.
That's how factories work.--bobdadruma
Platinum Member


Not according to Terry Bissette- "We do not make 'cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf' drums (in the Japan plant). Each one is hand made with TLC."


Also according to Terry Bissette- "We wanted to make sure our Chinese production quality level was an exact match to the Japanese factory standards. The same exact standards we built our reputation on."


So, let’s get into the nitty gritty Artstar, would you like to explain how TAMA feels that its producing the 'exact same quality' shells in Guangzhou as it is in Japan, though Japan shells cost more?

Can't be shipping costs, Japan is closer to America than China.

Maybe the 'TLC' part?

Les Ismore
01-08-2011, 11:28 PM
This is just too funny .... like most people here have never even met someone from China, let alone talked to someone from China. But, I understand, we only know ... what we know .... and in a lot of instances ... only believe ... what we want to believe.About 5 years ago, I met a woman from China. She was staying with a very good drummer buddy of mine. In fact, he was best man, at my wedding. Anyhow, she had a college degree, spoke Chinese, Japanese, and English. She came to the US with $250,000, roughly. She was looking for a husband. No, not my friend. During the time she was here, she started up two businesses. Never did find "the right guy", and when her Visa, she went back to China. Anyhow, now my buddy, since he's got a "Chinese" hook-up, so to speak, takes a two week vacation, in China. Takes hundreds of photo's. Goes to malls, parks, museums, a lot, alone, 'cause the ladies got a job. And what does he see. A lot of Chinese people. Doing what people do. Shopping, eating, going to parks, malls, etc..... No soldiers, no guns, no tanks ... no one asking to see his papers. In his words, it was like being in Alhambra (a city not far from Pasadena, with a huge Chinese population.) People's Republic of Alhambra. See, I know what that's like. I've been to Alhambra. I've been the "only" white guy, in a Chinese market ... restaurant ... mall ... So, for my money, I'll drive the 10 minutes it takes, to get to Alhambra, rather than fly the 18 hours it takes, to go to China.



Somehow I'm not totally convinced your buddy is all that experienced with Chinese culture along with the Chinese government and its ways harry.


.....................

Artstar
01-09-2011, 12:17 AM
So, let’s get into the nitty gritty[/B] Artstar, would you like to explain how TAMA feels that its producing the 'exact same quality' shells in Guangzhou as it is in Japan, though Japan shells cost more?


You want an explanation on how Tama feels ?? I don't know how they feel. I will reach out to them and let you know...

Ainulindale
01-09-2011, 06:11 AM
as a member of the DW community, i am embarassed by this thread, i thought blatant personal attacks were not tolerated in this community? we are here for open conversation, but this...

Andy@MIT
01-09-2011, 06:21 AM
So, let’s get into the nitty gritty Artstar, would you like to explain how TAMA feels that its producing the 'exact same quality' shells in Guangzhou as it is in Japan, though Japan shells cost more?

Can't be shipping costs, Japan is closer to America than China.

Are you for real?

Do you really not understand how the cost of labor affects the final cost of a product?

Japan and China are so close, distance to America is irrelevant. The fact is that it is much cheaper to ship something from Guangzhou to Long Beach or LA than it is to ship from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe or any other Japanese port because of volume and competition.

It may be easy, but its also just as easy to find the quality of the product made then was just as low. Early-mid 20th century drums made in the USA offer some good examples, overall the quality wasn't that great. All the way through the 60's (high pollution rates) we can find many (more than today) examples of shoddy workmanship within the drum industry. Stress of the times, pollution etc. played a part, currently big factors in China today. Factor in workers just showing up to a job and under QC scrutiny, product will bear the effects.

I personally do not care to own drums made under such conditions, as I consider myself sensitive enough to be aware of the effects on humanity, the planet and my art.

Hate to break it to you, but it is not just drums that are made in "those" conditions, it is a huge percentage of the goods we use and/or consume on a daily basis.

You cannot post to this thread without using technology that was produced in "those" conditions.

Andy@MIT
01-09-2011, 06:37 AM
Looks fairly clean.....
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26877&id=124519624255765

If anyone can translate the banner on photo 36???

Both banners are in Mandarin / Putonghua. The long horizontal banner -- 净化环境,提高效率 -- translates to "Clean the Environment, Improve Efficiency."

The small vertical banner -- 流动红旗 -- literally translates to "Red Flag" or "Floating Flag." However it is actually representative of an excellence award bestowed on this particular unit / group in the factory in a given period of time, somewhat similar to employee of the month awards given out in the US. However, without context, it is impossible to know what the criteria are for this particular award.

harryconway
01-09-2011, 06:56 AM
Somehow I'm not totally convinced your buddy is all that experienced with Chinese culture along with the Chinese government and its ways harry.


.....................

Like I said ... we only know ... what we know .... and in a lot of instances ... only believe ... what we want to believe. In this instance ... we're just gonna have to agree .... to dis-agree.

JDC
01-09-2011, 06:56 AM
Hate to break it to you, but it is not just drums that are made in "those" conditions, it is a huge percentage of the goods we use and/or consume on a daily basis.

You cannot post to this thread without using technology that was produced in "those" conditions.
This idea has been beaten to death. And you're absolutely right, that it's basically impossible to totally avoid products made under less-than-ideal (or worse) working conditions. But I think I see where he's coming from. Our instruments are a means through which we express ourselves. While it may not matter where some component of a computer, or any other mundane widget that makes up part of something we use on a day-to-day basis comes from, I think it's understandable that some people are more particular about their drums.

AudioWonderland
01-19-2011, 12:54 PM
Posted on behalf of TAMA's U.S.A. Division Manager, Terry Bissette...

After reading an incredible number of comments (both positive and negative) about the “Tama goes to China” topic, I feel it’s time to set the record straight. We really appreciate all the comments and passion for Tama that is being expressed here and abroad. And we also respect everyone’s opinion about this sensitive and somewhat controversial subject. That being said, if you would please allow me to explain, I would appreciate the opportunity to take you “behind the scenes.” All I ask is that you read this in its entirety so you can fully understand the dynamics and timeline of the situation. Before I start, please understand that everything I say will be based on fact. Nothing more, nothing less. I won’t be mixing in any “political spin” here. What I will tell you is the real deal. Factual information. There is quite a bit of misinformation and/or misunderstandings being posted out there in web-world, hopefully this will set the record straight. Many of you have already posted “the right answers”, and for that I thank you! But still, some things need to be clarified.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty- One might ask “Why in the world did Tama go to China?”

The simple answer: To cut costs and make high quality drums at more affordable prices. Prices that the average drummer can afford and feel good about their purchase. We wanted to make our high quality drums even more accessible to the drummers of the world by lowering the price points. With this goal in mind, fewer drummers would have to “settle” for a less than adequate instrument, based on price alone.

The more complex answer: We had to go, to stay competitive. When you take a broad look at the global drum market, we’re one of the absolute last brands to make this tough decision. Whether you know it or not, select Ludwig, Gretsch, DDrum, Pacific, Sonor, Premier, Yamaha, Pearl, Mapex, OCDP, and dozens of other brands you know and love have been made in China for the last 7 to 15 years. Not every kit in every series, mind you. But the vast majority of their lineup. A few specific series within the brands listed above are still made in the USA, Taiwan, UK, or Mexico. However, one may be surprised to know, in some cases, multiple brand names are made in the very same OEM factory. (More on that another day. OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer). The questions to ask yourself: Is there anything wrong with any of those drums? Is their quality level acceptable for the prices paid? If they are so “bad” or “inferior” just because they are made in China, why do they keep selling by the truckloads?

Anyway, we at Tama chose not to go the same route. We wanted to have 100% control, we wanted to make sure that if we put our name on the product, it had to match our standards. We knew for that to happen, we had to build them ourselves. We didn’t want to hand some “hired gun” factory a blueprint and say “Here you go, build them like this, we’ll be back tomorrow with a truck, some Tama badges, and Tama boxes.” So for the most part, the decision was made to take a very bold step. We decided to build our own factory. We started this venture in 2002.

Fact: We own our own factory in Guangzhou China: We built it from the ground up, one brick at a time. We moved a number of our most highly skilled Japanese craftsmen to China to train the local workers how to build drums “The Tama way.” These Japanese craftsmen live in Guangzhou, they do not live in Japan and simply visit once in a while to spot-check. They are an integral part of the daily staff, working “elbow to elbow” alongside the local crew. They adhere to the most stringent quality control standards, the very same ones we use in Japan. You may or may not be surprised to know we operated the factory at our own expense for well over a year making blanks (test shells), before we ever shipped one drum into the market. We wanted to make sure our Chinese production quality level was an exact match to the Japanese factory standards. The same exact standards we built our reputation on.

Fact: Quality is key: The first series we made in China was Superstar. After this series was critically acclaimed and well accepted by the market, we slowly transitioned our Starclassic B/B drums to Chinese production. Originally, all B/B kits were made only in Japan. In the first year of transition, some colors were made only in Japan. Other colors were made only in China. Eventually, the entire B/B product line was shifted to China. The end result was…Uh, well… nobody noticed... Sure, a few folks asked “Why doesn’t my badge say Made In Japan anymore?” The obvious answer- Because it’s not. The big question: “Does it look and sound as good as it should as a Tama product, though it’s now made in China?” Overwhelmingly, the response has been “Yes!” Sales on B/B kits are flying! If the quality wasn’t there, and the price wasn’t right, no one would buy it… Agreed?

Fact: The economy affected us all: Once we felt the quality was 10000% the same as Japan, we decided to slowly move some of the other high-end kits to China. And in some respects, timing couldn’t have been better. Though this planned move had been discussed years before, the world’s economic shift escalated our timeline. Before we knew it, the economy had started to collapse. In some ways, we had to wonder, was this “a sign” to move forward? The end result was, we were able bring Japanese quality level drums into the market for hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size of your kit) of dollars cheaper than they once were. One might ask, is this such a bad thing?

Fact: The Tama Japan factory is not closed: By all means, the Japanese factory is still up and running! We are not closing it down. They continue to make Bubinga Elite, Omni-Tune, select Artist Kits (though many are made in China now), Limited Edition kits, Signature Palette Snare drums, Starphonic Snare drums, Tama original percussion such as Octobans, Timp Toms, Gong Bass, etc. It also remains our world headquarters, and that’s where we come up with new ideas and new product designs.

Fact: Japanese drums can still be ordered: Some of you still want the Japanese drums, made in Japan, with 2009 (and earlier) specs. They are totally available! (see page 6 of current price sheet). If you want an entire kit, or an add-on drum for an older kit, and you want the decal badge and wooden grommets, all you have to do is order it. It should be noted, as with all of our top tier drums, we make each and every drum to order. One shell at a time, by hand, piece by piece. Of course, this approach adds quite a bit of lead time to the delivery date, but most people think it’s worth the wait. We do not make “cookie cutter, stamp them out, stack them on a shelf” drums. Each one is hand made with TLC.

Fact: We make all add-on drums conform to the original spec: If you are adding a drum to a kit that was originally made in Japan, the add-on drum will also be made in Japan. If you are adding a drum to a kit that was originally made in China, the add-on drum will also be made in China. This will guarantee a perfect match, as we stock different parts and fittings in the two different factories.


Thanks for hearing me out! Best regards, Terry Bissette

There is no truth in business, only spin and stock values