Early 80's - Tama vs Pearl

csnow

Senior Member
I am looking to get another kit from the era I grew up in. I currently have a Mapex Saturn kit but I am just not into the fusion sizing and prefer the larger 12/13/16/18. I know my Saturns have better hardware, manufactured to tighter tolerances, etc - all true but nostalgia is a powerful drug and I like what I like. Ludwig is off the table because I sold my last Ludwig blue/olive classic kit from the 70's era due to poor wrap, crappy bearing edges, out of round shells, terrible hardware, quality control, etc. The drums Ludwig were making back then were pretty shoddy compared to the drums coming out of Japan in that era.

Both the Tama Superstars and Pearl maples (pre MLX) adorned with Paiste 2002s were drum sets I coveted back then but could never afford. These are on my bucket list, so I am going to pull the trigger and start the hunt. I honestly would be happy with either. What say you?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Pearl. Any hardware issues you may run into are easily addressed with Pearl. Their stuff is all but unchanged since forever ago. Also, they have been making shells the same way since forever also. The same process they use today was what they were doing 40+ years ago.

I may be biased, but my early 70s Pearl kit holds up just as well (soundwise too) as my modern Pearl kit.

Tama vs Pearl, this thread should get fun.
 

Superman

Gold Member
Comparing apples and apples. They were both solid in that era.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I think it comes down to three things: 1) Do you want birch or maple, 2) Do you want tube arms or L-arms for your mounting system, and 3) If they're power tom sizes, do you prefer Tama's 1" under square or Pearl's 2" under square mounted toms?

I have owned the Superstar successor, Granstar kit (IIs to be exact) for 31 years. I played plenty of original Superstar and the Pearl MLX kits. Both sound great. I personally prefer the L-arm much more than tube arms. But, if I needed a kit and these were the only two available, I'd take the Pearl for the shorter toms and live w/ the tube arms.
 

drummingbulldog

Well-known member
If it's in pristine shape I would go Tama. I've heard their lugs crack but I've never seen one. The old Superstars I have played were all excellent kits soundwise & hardware. Pearls are great too. I think I am more of an old 1st generation Tama guy but in those sizes you can't really go wrong. If I wasn't a Gretsch nut I would have gotten a vintage superstar kit long ago when you could still find them in good shape.
 

csnow

Senior Member
Thanks for the feedback. Birch vs maple, I would probably lean toward the maple but have owned both over the years. My Ludwigs were obviously maple and my current Saturns are maple/walnut. I owned a Tama Starclassic Performer kit in the early 2000 timeframe that I liked a lot but the hanging floor toms were annoying as hell. Outside of that, I really liked that kit. If the kit has power toms, I would prefer the smaller. Now that you mention it, I do remember the Tama power toms were massive. I just remember Tama taking the scene by storm since they were advertising like crazy in Modern Drummer back then. As silly as it may be, I just thought they had a cool vibe with that iconic badge.
 
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csnow

Senior Member
Fate decided it today - Pearl.

I went to peruse Guitar Center's used website and found an early 80s Pearl Maple in Walnut finish out of Ft Collins, CO. Sizes are 12, 13, 16, and 22. A few scrapes and nicks but a great players kit for being 40 years old. I will build this kit out to an 80s beast over time since they offered every size under the sun in this line. If someone wants a great deal on a Mapex Saturn kit in the San Antonio area, I know one that is available :)



 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
I had an early 80s tobacco burst Superstar that I never should have sold. Hardware on it was rock solid. Sounded great as well.

Congrats on the score. That pearl is in great condition for its age!
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Fate decided it today - Pearl.

I went to peruse Guitar Center's used website and found an early 80s Pearl Maple in Walnut finish out of Ft Collins, CO. Sizes are 12, 13, 16, and 22.
Great score. Pearl was way ahead of Tama (1986) and Yamaha (1991) on putting out an all maple shell.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Thanks Harry, I am stoked to get them for sure. You still have your Luddiess? I dropped off of here for years - good to see your still around.
Hey ..... welcome back ...... oh yeah ..... my Luddie 3 ply's (26, 14, 16, 18 now). Certainly one of my favorite drum sets.

From the 80's ..... I just picked up a Yamaha 8000 series (20, 12, 14) this last week ..... and about 6 months ago I scored a Slingerland Magnum 5 ply (24, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18). Too many drums ..... not enough time:ROFLMAO:
 
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csnow

Senior Member
I got the drums from Guitar Center. Sadly, they literally threw them in a box. No bubble wrap on the toms, nothing. They literally removed the tom mount hardware, hoops, et all and threw them in a box. The shells got scratched to hell and the bearing edges got nicks from them bouncing around in the UPS truck. Long story short, these drums were survivors for 40 years to meet unnecessary demise by some dumb ass entitled Millennial who doesn't have pride in their work and doesn't give a rats' ass about anything. Damn.... what happened to people just giving a shit about what they do? I would expect someone at GC to a musician and would care - obviously not. The hardware wasn't even put in a Ziploc baggie and was was just thrown in the bottom of the box. Sadly, I have to return them. I am so $@#$#@@ mad I could spit nails!
 
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Capital D

Member
Fate decided it today - Pearl.

I went to peruse Guitar Center's used website and found an early 80s Pearl Maple in Walnut finish out of Ft Collins, CO. Sizes are 12, 13, 16, and 22. A few scrapes and nicks but a great players kit for being 40 years old. I will build this kit out to an 80s beast over time since they offered every size under the sun in this line. If someone wants a great deal on a Mapex Saturn kit in the San Antonio area, I know one that is available :)




Beautiful! Nice choice, but to be honest, I was rooting for both equally. I was even going to reply and tell you "Get both!". haha!
 

csnow

Senior Member
Now you gotta get the Tamas!
I will keep an eye out but after holding these top of the line Pearls (for the era) in my hands, the fog of nostalgia kinda wore off. Next to my Mapex Saturn IIIs, the fit, finish and shell quality isn't what I remembered. Yes, they are better than my last vintage 3-ply Ludwig but that bar was set pretty low. I think I might just experiment with heads to get that warm, thuddy sound out of these Saturns. The walnut/maple vive these Saturn's have has a lot of that 70s classic rock warmth. I just need to control the sustain a bit and just keep my nostalgia to the music and not the gear.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I will keep an eye out but after holding these top of the line Pearls (for the era) in my hands, the fog of nostalgia kinda wore off. Next to my Mapex Saturn IIIs, the fit, finish and shell quality isn't what I remembered. Yes, they are better than my last vintage 3-ply Ludwig but that bar was set pretty low. I think I might just experiment with heads to get that warm, thuddy sound out of these Saturns. The walnut/maple vive these Saturn's have has a lot of that 70s classic rock warmth. I just need to control the sustain a bit and just keep my nostalgia to the music and not the gear.
Drag about the Pearls.

I'd try coated P3 batter on those Saturns ...... I've got those on two of my kits. For that warm, fat, vintage tone out of modern shells.
 

csnow

Senior Member
Drag about the Pearls.

I'd try coated P3 batter on those Saturns ...... I've got those on two of my kits. For that warm, fat, vintage tone out of modern shells.
I was looking at the Remo Ambassador Vintage Coated. Have you tried those before? What is the difference between those and the P3?
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I was looking at the Remo Ambassador Vintage Coated. Have you tried those before? What is the difference between those and the P3?
P3 is a 10 mil. (like the Ambassador, with a 3 mil. inlay (built on richie ring). The Vintage Ambassador is a two ply head, like the Emperor ..... but while the Emperor is two 7 mil. plies ...... the Vintage Ambassador is a 7.5 mil and a 3 mil. ply ..... sort of an Emperor light. I have not tried them on any of my kits.
 
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