Yamaha Live Custom Hybrid vs. Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch

Treverer

Junior Member
Let me start by saying that I like both of these shells a lot, from the tone to their looks.

As I can't really decide between these two kits, I'm hoping for some "objective" reasons/opinions two purchase one or the other (also, I can't afford this kind of investment right now, I have some time to spare, at least till the end of the year^^).

For this I will provide some context:

- intermediate drummer looking for a kit that lasts him years and years to come without the need to upgrade again or replace crucial parts
- atm this kit will be played in a practice room, but down the line there will be live gigging and all that comes with it
- never say never, but I'm not seeing myself playing jazz or lots of ballads anytime soon. This kit will be used mainly to annoy loud guitarists with long hair or cover the occasional pop song
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
.... I'm hoping for some "objective" reasons/opinions two purchase one or the other ....
Biggest objective reason to go for the Tama set is that it's half the price of the Yamaha.

If you were comparing the Tama to the older Live Custom or Oak Custom,
it would come down more to sound and wood type rather than price.
 

Treverer

Junior Member
Biggest objective reason to go for the Tama set is that it's half the price of the Yamaha.

If you were comparing the Tama to the older Live Custom or Oak Custom,
it would come down more to sound and wood type rather than price.
Excellent point, I forgot to mention that: While the Tama is cheaper, here in Germany the difference seems to be much smaller. I can get the Yamaha for close to 3000 Euros, the Tama for around 2300.

Do you think the difference reflects actual build quality etc.? During my limited time with these kits I didn't feel that way, both seemed to be incredible well-build upper class kits.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Excellent point, I forgot to mention that: While the Tama is cheaper, here in Germany the difference seems to be much smaller. I can get the Yamaha for close to 3000 Euros, the Tama for around 2300.

Do you think the difference reflects actual build quality etc.? During my limited time with these kits I didn't feel that way, both seemed to be incredible well-build upper class kits.
Put both kits in front of someone who knows nothing about drums, but can recognize quality craftsmanship.....they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Tama and the Yamaha, even though it costs twice as much.

Both kits are great for the type of music you play. Personally, I think you should get the Tama. It sounds much better IMO. They're LOUD (in a good way), the drums really give back to you.

The Yamaha isn't exactly brash, but lets just say it's more brash than most other kits. It's better for louder environments only, relatively speaking. The Tama is better at all dynamic ranges IMO.
 

Treverer

Junior Member
Put both kits in front of someone who knows nothing about drums, but can recognize quality craftsmanship.....they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Tama and the Yamaha, even though it costs twice as much.

Both kits are great for the type of music you play. Personally, I think you should get the Tama. It sounds much better IMO. They're LOUD (in a good way), the drums really give back to you.

The Yamaha isn't exactly brash, but lets just say it's more brash than most other kits. It's better for louder environments only, relatively speaking. The Tama is better at all dynamic ranges IMO.
Thank you for your answer!
As I am obviously not a native speaker, what do you mean by "brash" here? That you have to play it hard and loud to make it sound good?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Thank you for your answer!
As I am obviously not a native speaker, what do you mean by "brash" here? That you have to play it hard and loud to make it sound good?
Brash means rude, harsh, or noisy...so they wouldn't be as good in quieter environments, and they don't have much "warmth" to their tone. Warmth basically means "pleasant".

I played the Tama Starclassic Birch/Walnut kit at Guitar Center...I was very impressed.
 

Darubba

New member
Put both kits in front of someone who knows nothing about drums, but can recognize quality craftsmanship.....they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Tama and the Yamaha, even though it costs twice as much.

Both kits are great for the type of music you play. Personally, I think you should get the Tama. It sounds much better IMO. They're LOUD (in a good way), the drums really give back to you.

The Yamaha isn't exactly brash, but lets just say it's more brash than most other kits. It's better for louder environments only, relatively speaking. The Tama is better at all dynamic ranges IMO.
+1
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Excellent point, I forgot to mention that: While the Tama is cheaper, here in Germany the difference seems to be much smaller. I can get the Yamaha for close to 3000 Euros, the Tama for around 2300.

Do you think the difference reflects actual build quality etc.? During my limited time with these kits I didn't feel that way, both seemed to be incredible well-build upper class kits.
Germany - yes that makes a difference.
Here in the US at one popular store, a 5 pc. Live Hybrid is $3949.99:

and a 5 pc. Tama W/B is $2199.99:

I haven't owned either set, but I'd say the quality is probably pretty comparable.
I normally have a preference for Yamaha, but some of their prices are getting out of hand.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
The Yammies have “synthetic phenolic resin core” in their shells? And some trick mass/weight distribution in their bass drum? This sounds over-engineered to me, or its lame marketing spin, but I’ve never tried one of these kits (I play Tama).

I suggest you take a close look at the hardware that both companies offer. As you progress in your endeavors, you’ll be surrounding yourself with hardware and you’ll want to manipulate it easily to get drums, cymbals and cowbells (for that guitarist) positioned just the way you like.

Make sure you try the pedals both companies offer. You want to be so comfortable with the pedals that they virtually disappear while you play. I really dig the Tama “Lever Glide” hi hat, and their “Rolling Glide” Iron Cobra pedal, but everyone’s preferences are different.
 

Treverer

Junior Member
The Yammies have “synthetic phenolic resin core” in their shells? And some trick mass/weight distribution in their bass drum? This sounds over-engineered to me, or its lame marketing spin, but I’ve never tried one of these kits (I play Tama).

I suggest you take a close look at the hardware that both companies offer. As you progress in your endeavors, you’ll be surrounding yourself with hardware and you’ll want to manipulate it easily to get drums, cymbals and cowbells (for that guitarist) positioned just the way you like.

Make sure you try the pedals both companies offer. You want to be so comfortable with the pedals that they virtually disappear while you play. I really dig the Tama “Lever Glide” hi hat, and their “Rolling Glide” Iron Cobra pedal, but everyone’s preferences are different.
To be honest, I like this "overengineered" vibe in all the things I do with a passion, and as I said earlier, I heard both kits in person (under less than ideal circumstances unfortunately) and I liked them both very much. But I get your point here, these gimmicks are not everyone's cup of tea.

I have no idea whose hardware is better, that's one of the reason this thread exists ;) Maybe you have some more input here?

When it comes to pedals and hihat machines I'm set for the moment, one of the first things I upgraded to the high end stuff I liked best.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I would definitely go Tama : better style (colours, chrome HW) ; better sizes (16 deep bass and deeper toms). Tama hardware is as good as Yamaha, but the SC BB has die cast hoops that some may prefer. The video I watched on the Yam, it always seems very cutting, powerful but dry to my ears. Matter of taste.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
Tama makes the best mounting system you can get. The hardware and finish are top notch. Sound is great.
Some would argue the same about Yamaha.

I don't however see what you actually get for the huge price difference between the two kits mentionned by the OP.

Honestly, a used previous generation live custom would, in my opinion, be an excellent choice. I think you can still find them new in some shops.
 
Yamaha seems to be playing the Apple game of "let's price it higher so people will think it's better", and it seems to be working.

Now, I'm sure the Yamaha is a really good kit, and I do like the sound of Oak, but their prices are getting out of control and you'll lose a lot on resale.

The Tama W/B is a solid kit and probably my next purchase.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I have no idea whose hardware is better, that's one of the reason this thread exists ;) Maybe you have some more input here?
Why, yes I do! Thank you for asking. 🤓

In the 1990s I bought a Sonor Force 3000 birch kit and loved its sound. However, it had the toms mounted on the bass drum and 1) they were never in the most comfortable position for me and 2) the 13” tom tuned very nicely off the mount, but sounded choked once it was hung on its mount. Strike 1.

Then and now, I position my bass drum angled to my right (for foot & leg comfort) and this placed the two toms too far to the right. I didn’t bother putting a tom on a snare drum stand ‘cuz I didn’t like the look.

Fast forward a few years and the body of the hi-hat clutch developed a hairline crack. The Sonor design was brilliant, IMO. The hi-hat rod was hexagonal and the clutch had a hexagonal opening and it used two threaded nuts to lock the top cymbal in place. The play in the top cymbal would never change when removed/replaced, and it never loosened during play. Nevertheless, I was shocked and dismayed that it cracked.

I take it to my local drum shop, an authorized Sonor dealer. They inquire about a replacement. It takes the distributor a week to respond with: US$180 and 3-month wait (it’s coming from Germany). I bought an inexpensive Ludwig hi-hat stand as a temporary replacement. Strike 2.

About 4 years later, the main body of the tom mount cracked and the 13” tom fell to the floor. Strike 3. Buh-bye Sonor.

(I’m not hard on my gear, I baby it. I never toss anything around, not even sticks. I don’t blame Sonor either, but it was time to move on.)

I asked my local drum shop and, during travel for work, I ask a few other shop owners: who has the best hardware? Who has the best parts availability? Who has the smartest design that’s not over-engineered?

Their answer was: Tama. They all agreed that Pearl and Yamaha had great drums, too, but Tama’s Road Pro line was what I was looking for.

My logic was: at the price point I was looking at, the drum shells all sounded great. Some were maple, some birch, some maple/poplar/maple. But if the hardware fails, it doesn’t mater how good the shell sounds.

Then, a drum set came into the shop that dazzled me with sexy glitter and a “virgin” bass drum. Hello Tama Starclassic Bubinga!

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Treverer

Junior Member
Thank you for this extensive answer!

And you mention a point I never considered: virgin bass drum! While I like the Yamaha mounts, a virgin BD would be nice indeed...
 
Thank you for this extensive answer!

And you mention a point I never considered: virgin bass drum! While I like the Yamaha mounts, a virgin BD would be nice indeed...
The Tama is only virgin if you get the 3 piece. Also, that kick is 22x14 (vs 22x16 non virgin on the 4 piece)

Me I love virgin shallow kicks so it's win win all around.
 
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