Choices for second kit.

Road Bull

Silver Member
Choices for second kit... Tama Artstar vs. Ludwig Maple Classic

So I have started playing in a band again. I have old nine piece Tama Grandstar kit that still is in great shape even though it would be old enough to drink at a bar. Right now, we have a rehearsal space that I have my four of those pieces at. This was my first kit that I purchased with my money while in high school. I always thought of these drums as something that I would want to hold onto. I might just be weird, but I feel like I shouldn't be dragging these drums around from rehearsal space, to shows and whatnot. I have nice soft cases, but I am getting a bit paranoid about both leaving these drums at the rehearsal space, and the prospect of dragging them to bars.

This got me thinking about getting another kit. One that I don't have too much sentimental attachment to. If I got a new kit, I would probably get a Ludwig Classic Maple in a bass, tom, floor configuration. One solid reason, (for me coming from Tama) that I would be leaning towards getting a Ludwig CM would be ease of replacing hardware should the need arise. Tamas have proven to be a PITA when it comes to replacing hardware to things that are no longer in production. If you break a lug or something, you almost have to buy a replacement to cannibalize in order to bring the broken drum back to life. Ludwig hardware does not seem to share the same problem because it largely looks the same from year to year.

Now the question, thanks for hanging in there. I found a pretty good deal on a old Tama Artstar 12,13,16,22X18 for ~$500 or so. On the one hand, it is a Great deal (if the drums aren't beat to hell) But, it keeps me going down this path of hard to find replacement parts.

Would you hold out for picking up a new Ludwig or take a good deal on an old Tama Artstar?
 
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sonnygrabber

Senior Member
Do the Artstar...will sound more like your original kit aaannndd you can lash out with the extra money on new cymbals and hardware.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I'd go with the Artstar too, which one is it? the birch/cordia shells or the latest version with the all maple shells?

The good thing is that all mounting hardware for both the Artstar and the Granstar will be compatible, providing it's the latest Artstar version, labelled as Artstar II.

Artstar 1 or Artstar 2 are top end kits from early and late 80's respectively, so they'll sound very good providing the shells are in good conditions.

I've had both of the Artstars, the maple version is still my main kit today, it's almost 25 years old and still going strong :)
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
Do the Artstar...willmsound more like your original kit aaannndd you can lash out with the extra money on new cymbals and hardware.
lol. I like the easy you think my friend. In one way it would might feel a little more at ease not having to worry about sustaining the occasional nick here and there. I guess for me it would be more a question of hoping I don't have any critical hardware failures. I know from my Grandstars that they were built in Tama'a golden age of solid hardware, but it still is hard to replace if and when it is needed.

The other thing is that the Artstars have a very cool liking green stain finish. I have no idea if it is am original finish, or refinish, as I am not very knowledgeable as to what finishes were offered back then.
 
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Road Bull

Silver Member
I'd go with the Artstar too, which one is it? the birch/cordia shells or the latest version with the all maple shells?

The good thing is that all mounting hardware for both the Artstar and the Granstar will be compatible, providing it's the latest Artstar version, labelled as Artstar II.

Artstar 1 or Artstar 2 are top end kits from early and late 80's respectively, so they'll sound very good providing the shells are in good conditions.

I've had both of the Artstars, the maple version is still my main kit today, it's almost 25 years old and still going strong :)
So it says it is the Tama Artstar Custom series. I am only familiar with the Artstar 1 and the Artstar II serie. What are Artstar Customs?
 
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BlakeN70

Senior Member
I had an Artstar kit a long time ago. It was a regular Artstar with wrap. I am guessing here, but maybe the Custom's were lacquered finished?!?!
 

John T

Member
I see the appeal but the Artstar would give you the same problem of replacing parts as the Granstar. Great kit, i would love one myself but it would cost double that here if i could find one. My issue would be exactly the same as you are finding with the Granstar, dragging it around pubs and clubs gigging and adding more mileage to the kit until something breaks and you cant get the replacements. You would then be in exactly the same position you are in now with your Granstar and thinking about buying a more modern kit.
I know if it were me i would buy it, but the Artstar is a 'must have' kit and i would be buying it for very different reasons than you.

I think the Artstar Custom was lacquered the same as the Granstar Custom.
 
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Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
So here's a couple pictures of the Artstar Custom kit. Can anybody tell me anything about them?
Artstar II ran from late '86 until Starclassics came out in '94. They then took the Artstar II shell, put die cast hoops on, and called it Artstar Custom. They stopped being produced early in the new millenium.

Original Artstar II only came in Piano White and Piano Black laquer, inside and out, with no gloss finish on the inside, then the Custom serie had a natural maple finish on the inside + a choice of colors not available to the original Artstar II. The Custom AS have slightly thicker shells than the original AS II.

The Custom serie uses the same hardware as the Artstar II & Granstar, so it will be compatible.

Here's a couple of links to the Artstar Custom and the Artstar ES series from the Tama official catalogue:

http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/anniversary/expansion.php?cat_id=142&now=7

http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/anniversary/expansion.php?cat_id=118&now=6
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
The set you already have is more than suited for your needs. And it was designed to be taken out and played in public. I wouldn't worry about parts, and I would just take out your old standbys - even though $500 isn't a bad deal. I remember my early days when I only had one kit and I dragged that thing all over the place, and I never had parts break. Your Granstars would be fine, I just think you should get your money's worth out of them and play them into the ground ;)
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
Thank you for all the responses. The Artstar history is helpful. It was my understanding that they continued to make the Artstars a little longer than the Grandstars. At any rate, it seems like a reasonable deal for what they are, providing they are in decent shape.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I'd get the Ludwig Classic Maples for your 'keep it nice, stay at home kit', and use your current Granstar for your gigging kit.

That's assuming you really want the Ludwigs. If you're just getting them to get something else, then go with the Artstars.

I don't think the ease of getting extra drum hardware would play too much into the decision.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I'm in a similar boat.

Have a sonor s-class from the late 90's...

Bought a mapex saturn for gigging.

Realized I didn't wanna gig the mapex.

Have been gigging the sonor with cases.

Realized cases just make things tedious and I hate heavy stands, now looking at a yamaha stage custom and I'll force myself not to care about nicks and scratches.

I had a play on an aqua colour artstar once btw, it was really nice.
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
I'm in a similar boat.

Have a sonor s-class from the late 90's...

Bought a mapex saturn for gigging.

Realized I didn't wanna gig the mapex.

Have been gigging the sonor with cases.

Realized cases just make things tedious and I hate heavy stands, now looking at a yamaha stage custom and I'll force myself not to care about nicks and scratches.

I had a play on an aqua colour artstar once btw, it was really nice.
Yeah, I hear you. On the one hand, I could just suck it up and say, they are just drums, and use my Grandstars for everything and get used to the idea of bumps and bruises that happen to gigging kits. But what I might do for now is get the Artstars, as they are pretty solid overall, but have a used feel to them. I can always turn around and flip the Artstars without too much of a loss. Then if I want the Ludwigs down the line, I can off load the Artstars to make room for a new kit.
 

larryz

Platinum Member
For the sake of clarity, it is "Granstar" without the "d".

I'd love to get a kit myself someday. Classics!
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
lol. You are correct sir. It is "Granstar" and not Grandstar. I am not sure why I have been typing that all along. I think I need to get my eyes checked, or pay more attention to what I am typing and swiping on my Droid. It auto-corrects like a pushy know it all. I end up saying some weird things when I don't pay attention.

Good catch. And, nice drums!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
IMO, and with all due respect, the reason you are hesitating on the Artstars (hardware breakage) reminds me of this quote:

"I've suffered through thousands of catastrophes, most of which never occurred".

I think you are suffering catastrophes. Toms and bass drums don't get cranked down that hard, why are you worried about hardware breaking?

I think the Artstars are a nice looking kit at a good price. I don't see any reason not to grab them.

A gig kit is a necessary luxury IMO.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Perhaps for the sake of variety, get a Ludwig Club Date with a matching snare. I've been impressed with those when I've heard them.
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
So I picked up the Tama Artstar Customs tonight. I just finished giving them a once over and changing out the batter heads on the toms as well as the res and batter on the bass drum. That sure is a lot of chrome to wipe down. I would say, for the most part, they are in excellent shape for being about 16 years old. There are only a few nicks here and there. I figure that I can buy a new set anytime, but the Artstars would not sit around for too much longer before someone snatched them up. I can't wait to get the tuned up and over to the practice space to put them through their paces.

I am interested to do a side by side comparing the birch Granstars to the maple Artstars.
 

john gerrard

Senior Member
Congrats on getting the kit. I think you will be more than happy with them. Tama has made some remarkable drums. I'm anxious to hear about the comparison between the two. Please keep us updated. John
 
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