Should bearing edges look like this?

MHeld

Junior Member
I recently purchased a set of Tama Superstars and while I know that they're far from top of the line I'm wondering about their quality control. While changing out the stock heads for better ones I noticed a tiny bit of wobble on the table which led me to test the bearing edges. I set up a testing bench with a mirror painted black, put a light inside the drum, and taped off the perimeter of the drum to verify that the substrate would be the same as I turned the drums 25%. This is an example of one drum but is pretty consistent with the rest of them.
By the way, I've sent these pics to Hoshino USA and they say they are within spec.
Again, maybe this is how all drums are but I'd like to be sure before my window to return them closes.
UPDATE: I sent Sweetwater the pics and they sent out a replacement kit. Unfortunately the new kit exhibits the same bearing edge issues as the first one. I guess this is the level of quality control Tama gives this level of drum.
 

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MHeld

Junior Member
DrkPhx I can't confirm that the glass is 100% flat but my research says that it's one of the flatest surfaces you can use. Also, if the glass had any variation and the bearing edges were completely plumb those variations in the glass would be the same as the drum was rotated on the glass.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I would say that unless you have issues getting the drums in tune, I wouldn't worry about it that much.

If you absolutely had to, you could build a sanding table with a piece of MDF and sheets of self-stick sandpaper - 2 grits, heavier on one side for taking off the material, and one with lighter grit for smoothing. Then, you'd need to carefully reshape the edge using a block by hand.

Or, if you have a router table and a chamfer bit (preferably 45 degrees, but 60 degrees will work too) you could sand the edges true using the sanding table, and then re-cut them on the router table. I don't know what equipment you have or how handy you are.

Or, like I said, if the drums are tuning up ok, leave well enough alone.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
Personally wouldn't worry too much about it. You will probably find that heads you fit will be out a lot more than those shells ;)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I recently purchased a set of Tama Superstars and while I know that they're far from top of the line I'm wondering about their quality control. While changing out the stock heads for better ones I noticed a tiny bit of wobble on the table which led me to test the bearing edges. I set up a testing bench with a mirror painted black, put a light inside the drum, and taped off the perimeter of the drum to verify that the substrate would be the same as I turned the drums 25%. This is an example of one drum but is pretty consistent with the rest of them.
ugh. This looks wrong. Can you slide a single sheet of paper through the gap?

By the way, I've sent these pics to Hoshino USA and they say they are within spec.
Very disappointing. One can only conclude that it's "good enough". Did they specify any type of slop tolerance? Maybe ±0.5mm?

Again, maybe this is how all drums are but I'd like to be sure before my window to return them closes.
Try new heads on the 12" and 14". If you struggle, return 'em.
 

CompactDrums

Silver Member
I'd return them if I had that option. I'm sure they are within spec, but they wouldn't meet my expectations. If they were a beginner kit Like StageStar or SwingStar I'd be OK with it.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
MHeld said:
..This is an example of one drum but is pretty consistent with the rest of them..

I see that the problem stays the same, also when you turn the drum upside down..

And since you say that the problem is basically with all the drums pretty consistent, my guess is that the surface underneath is just not completely 100% flat..
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
glass is the best surface to use.. but you could try using something you know is 100% flat to confirm the table too.

At the end of the day I have had kits with bad edges sound just fine and tune up no problem.

If it was new and they were not good id return it. Or you could get someone to redo them if you didn't buy it new.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
By the way, I've sent these pics to Hoshino USA and they say they are within spec.
Again, maybe this is how all drums are but I'd like to be sure before my window to return them closes.
Well that is interesting.. if it is true.. maybe that is how Tama makes sure these don't perform too close to the Starclassics.. LOL I've only seen/heard STELLAR reviews of these shells so this is surprising.

THESE DUDES in this vid below test EVERYTHING regarding shell build on their review kits.. they LOVED this kit.. gave high marks : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixYin5CotMI
 

Tone Laborer

Senior Member
I spent around $70 on a set of precision straight edges from Stewart-Mac. I bought them for guitar set up and luthier work. There are very few truly flat surfaces and they don't come cheap.
 
This is normal with most manufacturers in the sub $1000 price bracket. It's basic tolerances... Part of the reason you can buy your kit for the price you paid (Though I completely understand your side of things and I would return it if you're unhappy).

I'm pretty sure there's semi pro kits including starclassic performers that don't have perfect edges. If you're looking for perfection, be prepared to spend over $2000. Not saying all kits are like this, but you get the gist.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
DrkPhx I can't confirm that the glass is 100% flat but my research says that it's one of the flatest surfaces you can use. Also, if the glass had any variation and the bearing edges were completely plumb those variations in the glass would be the same as the drum was rotated on the glass.
Thinner glass is never a decent flat surface, & can vary significantly, but I agree, if the deficiencies seen were solely down to the glass, they would remain consistent on rotation. That said, unevenness in the glass can exaggerate the result. A meaningful check would be made on a ground reference plate, but of course, few have access to such a thing.

All variables aside, I'm surprised Tama believe this to be acceptable. To reply they're "within tolerance" is strange considering they have no consistent way of measuring that from photo's alone. I would ask them for their tolerance specification.

In the real world, from a basic manufacturing perspective, there's no excuse for this. It's really not difficult to get it right. This level of deviation either means a step was removed from the finishing process, or the wood used has moved in shipping / storage. Of course, if they tune up & sound ok, that's the real test, but I'd still be concerned about the lack of attention to the basics.

This is a fairly low value kit, so cost cutting is to be expected. Compared to retail price, the production cost of the shell pack is likely sub $250, so don't expect optimum construction. If it gives you some comfort, I've seen far far worse on drums 5 x the cost of these Tamas, & then there is zero excuse to offer.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I have owned a couple vintage kits, from the days when they hand cut the edges, and they varied wildly. But they sounded amazing, so who cares. I have a 67 SG and the frets are a disaster, but it is the most amazing playing and sounding guitar, so I have no urge to replace them.

You never once mention how the drums sound. We live in this strange world where music has become about perfection. Quantitized drums and auto tune vocals have become the norm. Instruments are made on CNC machines and spat out of factories in the far east alongside shoes and televisions.

Put some nice heads on the kit and play them. If they sound good, and do what you need them to do keep them. If the bearing edges effect the tone, and they dont sound good then send them back. Go buy a used kit that has been played and loved and that sounds good to your ear. Forget about specs and perfection and make music.
 

Ron_M

Senior Member
You could check around at some of your local manufacturing facilities or machine shops; they should have some granite inspection tables you could use to check the edges. Get a set of feeler gauges to measure the gaps, and see if they actually are in spec. Like Andy said, how do they know the edges are in spec without a measurement. Get those specs from Tama.
 

Soulfinger

Senior Member
This is why I never check my drums for things like that. If they sound good, I have no urge to know if the shells are level or not.
Because if they aren´t I´d start obsessing over it. :)
 
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