Musing on Snare Drum Offerings

MikeM

Platinum Member
Just got one of these off eBay this week.

It's a mid '80s Tama 8056 (Imperialstar / Mastercraft) and it's a pretty stout 6.5x14 seamless steel shell with die cast hoops. I'm not normally a big fan of steel snares but I've heard two or three that I like and this is my favorite among them. I used one for 12 years as my #1 but sold it thinking I could find something better (which never happened). I've found plenty that I like, but this one's in a class by itself, which got me to thinking ...

Ludwig hit on a magic formula with the LM400/402s and have been cranking them out virtually unchanged for decades. Ditto for the Black Beauties. Sometimes I give Ludwig a hard time for never evolving or upgrading these legends, but in a way, changing anything about them might be going to route of "New Coke" (for those old enough to remember that fiasco): why change anything with something so successful?

So back to the Tama snare. Maybe one of the reasons the 8056 never became a legend like the Ludwigs was because of the planned obsolescence that drives Tama (like so many others) to redesign everything every few years the way car companies do. It's not like Stewart Copeland, Bill Bruford, and Liberty DeVito weren't making a mark with them. Others would have too, I'd wager, had they stayed in production longer.

Anyway, I brought this thing to practice with me Friday and it was everything I remembered it was (it's only a been a few years since selling the last one). It's so fun to play that neither my LM402 nor LB417 made it anywhere near my snare stand (they're nice snares, too, but they don't do what this thing does).

I wonder what would happen if Tama tried to re-issue them with some slick '80s retro marketing?
 

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Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Just when I thought I had you sold on a lovely bronze Ludwig to compliment the others, you go and do this to yourself?

Steel? Why the hell would anyone want an ear bleeder made outta steel? Steel is for building bridges.....and sky scrapers.....and war ships.....and train tracks.

I dunno Mike, you can lead a horse to water.........shame you can't flog it if it won't drink though!! :)

Ok seriously now, nice piece of kit mate. Do you reckon it'll permanently supersede the brass and alloy? Or is it just a case of the new babyalways gets the most attention?
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Ha ha! I think this is one of those cases where I prefer die cast hoops. I don't normally like them on snares, but I don't normally like steel, either. I think that's what makes this snare work so well - if any snare needed to be tamed the way DC hoops tame, it would be a hefty steel sucker like this one. I even put a bit of moongel on the batter (I never use anything on other snares) and its mightiness comes right out!

I don't think I'll ever get rid of the 402; it's just too amazing of a snare to let go. But the BB might be on the ropes. I sold the last 8056 and bought the Sensitone and the two seemed comparable because the Pearl had so much crack (probably due to its 1.5mm shell) but it had the brass thing going on, which is ringy like steel but warmer. Then I "upgraded" it to the BB, but at this point, I wish I could test the Sensitone and BB side by side because I could swear the Sensitone had more heft and crack, which is leaving me a little wanting as far as the BB is concerned. Heresy, I know! But I gotta call 'em like I sees 'em!

I'm not selling anything just yet, but that's not to say I won't and I doubt it will be the Tama or the 402. Maybe I'll find another brass Sensitone, then decide.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I have the same drum Mike.It's the only steel snare I have,but truth be told ,I really don't like steel snares.....except this one.I guess it's a combination of factors,that make these drums sound so good.I agree about the die cast hoops.They do tend to take some of the ring out of the beast,and give it just the right amount of focus.

Although I love the rimshots on my RK,this drum leaves the others in the dust.Rimshots with this drum are like gunfire,and could sterilize a cat at 10 meters.

Tama got it right with this drum,and should have continued to produce it,just like it was made in the late 70's.I love how Tama challenges itself to innovate and progress,but this is one case where they had an opportunity to insert a classic into the small circle of legendary drums along side of their bell brass snares,and they blew it.

The only reason I think they discontinued this design was the lugs.They look great,but the're weak,and won't stand up to higher tunings,and break as often as first generation Rogers bread and butter drawn brass lugs.I would keep it,but if you want to use higher tunings,replace the stock lugs with tube lugs.

Steve B
 

makinao

Silver Member
The Tama Stewart Copeland signature is marketed as a retro reissue, although many know the actual snare on which it is based was a modified Pearl COB Jupiter.
 
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markdrum

Silver Member
Tama put out some sweet snares back in the 70s-80s. This one looks really good. I've got a 5 1/2x14" from that period and that thing weighs a ton! It's a little too subdued at times8^). It's one of my favorites and it was cheap too!
 

Shirai

Member
MikeM, I'm glad you found the snare you were looking for. That thing looks mean. I already gave it my lunch money just to make sure it's nice to me.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
The only reason I think they discontinued this design was the lugs.They look great,but the're weak,and won't stand up to higher tunings,and break as often as first generation Rogers bread and butter drawn brass lugs.I would keep it,but if you want to use higher tunings,replace the stock lugs with tube lugs.
I've heard that before on this forum and others, but I've never seen it myself. Like I said, the last one I had I played almost exclusively for 12 years and never had any trouble with lugs. I also have a 6.5x14 Superstar (thick birch) in my garage that I've had in my possession off and on for about 20 years now. It has been seriously abused, though, and the shell is cracked in a couple spots, no doubt after some set-ending gear smashing ceremonies (by one of its previous owners), but all the lugs are somehow still in tact. Maybe it's just extreme tension that they can't handle?

Might not a bad idea to get some replacements off the 'bay while they're still out there.
The Tama Stewart Copeland signature is marketed as a retro reissue, although many know the actual snare on which it is based was a modified Pearl COB Jupiter.
I know you're right about that, and I don't know where I picked up this persistent idea that SC played one of these. Maybe he never did? Coulda swore I saw some pic with him playing one, but just did a quick Google search and couldn't come up with anything. Hmmm.

Tama put out some sweet snares back in the 70s-80s. This one looks really good. I've got a 5 1/2x14" from that period and that thing weighs a ton! It's a little too subdued at times8^). It's one of my favorites and it was cheap too!
Yeah, these things are nice, but you're right; they're not light at all. I notice the 5x14s and the King Beats go for quite a bit less than the 6.5x14s. I guess there are other drummers out there like me that just gotta have the 6.5x14 non-King Beat...

MikeM, I'm glad you found the snare you were looking for. That thing looks mean. I already gave it my lunch money just to make sure it's nice to me.
Thanks! Mean is actually a pretty good description! It's got some serious teeth to it but is surprisingly sweet for steel, which is what I love about it.

I saw a picture recently of Elvin Jones playing one (and Cherry Wine Superstars). I should find a video or recording of him playing it... I'd be very curious to hear what that would sound like.
 
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