Help identify an old Tama RoyalStar?

Timmah

Junior Member
Hi all, I’m not a drummer (sorry!) but rather a bass player. I picked up a Tama RoyalStar kit this morning from a friend who had no use for it; the kit was just sitting in his garage. Gave him a couple hundred bucks for it and dropped it into my basement practice space to fool around on and to have a kit available for my drummer to use when we rehearse here. I was wondering if this forum might be able to tell me a little bit about the kit and how to get the most out of it.

Here’s what I know:
- 22”, 10-lug bass drum
- 12, 13, and 16” toms with mutes
- 5-1/2x14” snare with mute
- hardware looks original to the kit
- very dusty.

The heads are all Tama branded, with big white spots on both heads of each drum, except the snare which is solid white. I’m sure they’re old and probably not in great shape but the drums themselves seem fine.

Also included were a pair of Sabian HH 15” hi hats, a Paiste 404 medium crash, Avanti 20” thin ride, and a Zildjian splash. It looks cool and seems like it’ll be pretty good for what I need, but is there anything about this kit I should be aware of? I’d love to at least know how old it is, things of that nature.

Pic of poorly set up kit included for reference. Please excuse the state of my basement, I know it’s a horror show.
 
Last edited:

lefty2

Platinum Member
I had a set of Royalstars I'm pretty sure they were 1983 models that I bought new. They had the same lugs as yours which I'm pretty sure changed in 84. So I would say they are very close to 83. They only offered 2 finishes then, Brazilian grain and Red wood. I had the red with natural wood hoops on the kick and I had power toms also. It was a beautiful kit.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I have restored a set of royalstar long ago. It was battered and was certainly older than yours because the inside of the shell had a gray paint, Zola coat. The wrap was iced silver. Nice kit.
One thing I must warn you about: the lugs have a nice design but are very fragile !
 
Last edited:

lefty2

Platinum Member
I have restored a set of royalstar long ago. It was battered and was certainly older than yours because the inside of the shell had a gray paint, Zola coat. The wrap was iced silver. Nice kit.
One thing I must warn you about: the lug have a nice design but are very fragile !
I have seen pictures of older kits like yours, they were quite different than the one I had. It seems like they quit making them around 85. In 83 they only offered 2 finishes. I didn't have them very long I traded them to a music store for some Paiste 2000 model cymbals.
 

Timmah

Junior Member
I did some digging and found the kit in Tama’s 1983 catalog. The heads are thrashed thanks to age and temperature and whichever previous owner decided that he ought to stab the drums with his sticks instead of using normal technique- there are multiple divots in the batter and reso heads on all the drums.

Any suggestions on what heads might work well for this kit? I’ll be primarily using it for rehearsals with blues and retro-rock type bands.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I had played this kit with the ubiquitous heads of that period : the Remo CS. it did all right but not my type of sound. I played it with clear G1 and sound lively yet controllable thanks to the the shallow rack toms. I kept the remo CS on the bass drum batter. A bit dry though.
This drum doesn’t have what I will call a rich sound, not very warm. Maybe be coated heads on the bass drum and the toms would help. But for 70’s 80’s pop, it’s a good kit. Sturdy and cutting. Just take care of the lugs - again.
 

Timmah

Junior Member
I definitely will. This kit won't be getting moved very much, and probably played once or twice a week at most (unless I get addicted to it and become a drummer myself... maybe one day) so hopefully the wear on the lugs will be minimal. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into the G1s.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I did some digging and found the kit in Tama’s 1983 catalog.
Those are 10 ply shells. Philippine Mahogany with an inner and outter ply of Shina. The fact that you have a 10 lug drum ..... all the '83 and later Royalstars I've ever seen are 8 lug. So, I'm only guessing here (cause I've not been able to run down a '82 Tama catalog) but these 10 lug shells do show up in the '81 Tama catalog, in the Brazilian grain finish .....

http://www.hoshinogakki.co.jp/pdf/tama/catalog/1981Digest1.pdf

And your finish does not appear in the 80 catalog. So my guess is your kit is an '81 (possibly '82).

I have an earlier Royalstar (Zola coat interior). Mine had some Imperialstar lugs on it (same hole pattern) ..... so yes, those Royalstar boat tail lugs are not the best. I did find Royalstar replacements on eBay (for the toms, so they're correct) and moved the 4 Imperialstar lugs on the bass drum to the bottom (so they're hidden). ar

Not bad drums at all. Especially for the price you paid, and with cymbals and hardware. The Royalstar was the line directly below the Imperialstar, and above the Swingstar.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I definitely will. This kit won't be getting moved very much, and probably played once or twice a week at most (unless I get addicted to it and become a drummer myself... maybe one day) so hopefully the wear on the lugs will be minimal. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into the G1s.
Clear or coated G1 on Tom batters are not for everyone’s taste, I like lively drums, with open sound, some others may prefer heavier heads with darker, dryer sound.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Clear or coated G1 on Tom batters are not for everyone’s taste, I like lively drums, with open sound, some others may prefer heavier heads with darker, dryer sound.
I'm a big fan of 2 ply heads on my Tom's. I've got EC 2 Evans heads on them right now. Pinstripes might sound good too on those Tamas
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
The heads are all Tama branded, with big white spots on both heads of each drum, except the snare which is solid white. I’m sure they’re old and probably not in great shape but the drums themselves seem fine.
Yeah .... 40 year old heads need to be replaced. Depending on what sound you like ..... these shells will support the heads. I see a pillow or something in the bass drum. What 80's guys did. There was no EMAD.

On the bass drum, if you like thud and punch .... batter (rear head the pedals on) an EMAD or Superkick head will work great. Like a more open boom, a Remo Powerstroke3 is what I'd use. Reso (front head) ..... I use Ambassador, Fiberskyn, CS (black dot) if I'm tuning for a more open bass drum, Powerstroke3 or even Pinstripe for punch.

Toms ..... Batter (top). Pinstripes were real popular, for these drums, back then. They still work. If that's a little too much muffling, you can go with a Powerstroke3, or Emperor (2 ply) or Ambassador (1 ply) heads.

Reso (bottom) I either use Ambassador or CS (black dot) heads for my resos.

Royalstar snare isn't bad. Steel shell. Batter, I tend to use either a coated Ambassador or a Evans HD Dry.
 

Timmah

Junior Member
Thanks all for the advice and the expertise, I appreciate it.
I just placed an order for Remo Coated Emperors (tom batter heads), Remo Clear Ambassadors (tom reso heads), Remo Controlled Sound and Hazy Diplomat (snare heads), and Evans EMAD. Next adventure is to install them when they come in next week- I'll probably clean up the kit while I'm at it. Thanks again!
 

drummingbulldog

Well-known member
Those are cool. Great deal for all the stuff. When you get the drum heads go to youtube & look up bob gatzen drum tuning. It will make your kit get in the ballpark quickly. Good luck with those.
 
Top