Tama experts-need some help!

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
What's with all the the different lines having "Star" in their names? It's always been a point of confusion for me ever since the 80's Neil Peart days. Imperialstar, silverstar, starclassic etc...
What are the different product line names in order of build quality?
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
Hoshino Gakki began manufaturing "Star Drums" back in the mid 60's i believe. The name "Hoshino" means "star fields" so the "Star" became a stigma. In 1979 manufacturing began under the name of "Tama" which was the name of his wife, and means "Jewel."
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
The whole star things comes from the original company's name "Star Drums". As for all of the different star lines, we could be here all day. I know they have produced, at various times:

Star - Newest line of handmade drums. Top of the Tama line
Starclassic - Previous top of the line Tama. Pro level drums in Maple/Birch/Bubinga/Steel
Superstar - Semi-pro birch drums.
Silverstar - Same at Superstar, not sure why a new line was created
Rockstar - Precurser to superstar. Intermediate level drums
Imperialstar - Entry level basswood shells
Grandstar - Discontinued intermediate level drums (birch I think)
Artstar -
Stagestar -
Swingstar -

I am sure there are more I have missed. Some with carbon fiber and poly shells I think.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Thanks for all of that. It helped.
Incidentally I just listened to some of the new Star line of Bubinga drums, very impressive and very expensive!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
And to further confuse matters, Superstar was the top of the line back in the 70s and 80s and Imperialstar was also considered top of the line but came in a wrap and the insides were coated (built for he road, I suppose). Granstar came later and replaced the Superstar with the Artstar becoming the top. Starclassic came in the 90s replacing the Artstars and Granstars and Superstar and Imperialstar were re-introduced as intermediate kits which are actually quite good. But yeah, a bit confusing to keep up with and more like fashion ;)
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
The whole star things comes from the original company's name "Star Drums". As for all of the different star lines, we could be here all day. I know they have produced, at various times:

Star - Newest line of handmade drums. Top of the Tama line
Starclassic - Previous top of the line Tama. Pro level drums in Maple/Birch/Bubinga/Steel
Superstar - Semi-pro birch drums.
Silverstar - Same at Superstar, not sure why a new line was created
Rockstar - Precurser to superstar. Intermediate level drums
Imperialstar - Entry level basswood shells
Grandstar - Discontinued intermediate level drums (birch I think)
Artstar -
Stagestar -
Swingstar -

I am sure there are more I have missed. Some with carbon fiber and poly shells I think.

The Vintage 70's Fiberstars were fiberglass shells.

The 86 only,limited edition Beatstars. were a two wood hybrid only Tama knows I think.

Vintage 86 Crestars replaced the Superstar line and were 6 ply/7 ply all Japanese birch

The 70's early 80's Superstar series were Tamas top of the line till they were discontinued in 86.They were at first 4 ply all birch,then 6 ply all birch.Played by Neil Peart,Elvin Jones and Lenny White just to name a few.

The vintage 70's 80's Imperialstar series were also pro level drums and Tamas second line.
Thye were 9 ply mahogany with zolacoated interiors.Played by Stewart Copeland,Frank Beard and Liberty DeVito .

The Superstar and Imperialstar NAMES,were revived by Tama and are NOT the same drums as their 70's/80's predecesors

Steve B
 
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opentune

Platinum Member
And to further confuse matters, Superstar was the top of the line back in the 70s and 80s and Imperialstar was also considered top of the line but came in a wrap and the insides were coated (built for he road, I suppose). Granstar came later and replaced the Superstar with the Artstar becoming the top. Starclassic came in the 90s replacing the Artstars and Granstars and Superstar and Imperialstar were re-introduced as intermediate kits which are actually quite good. But yeah, a bit confusing to keep up with and more like fashion ;)
I think its very silly what they did with Imperialstar. I mean were they not pro level ...Stewart Copeland and others used them? (no doubt making older ones sought after) and now its down to near entry level? Not good corporate sense.

I wonder at Tama what they will name their next series of 'stars' ...... megastar? darkstar? Kingstar? Wish-upon- a-star?
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
I think its very silly what they did with Imperialstar. I mean were they not pro level ...Stewart Copeland and others used them? (no doubt making older ones sought after) and now its down to near entry level? Not good corporate sense.

I wonder at Tama what they will name their next series of 'stars' ...... megastar? darkstar? Kingstar? Wish-upon- a-star?
"Death Star" for the metal heads.
 

Ian Ballard

Silver Member
Silverstar - Same at Superstar, not sure why a new line was created
Not the same. Totally different lug (which is really cool, btw), triple flanged hoops instead of die-cast, a different iso-mount system and a different interior finish. Now, the Superstars only come in the "hyperdrive" shallow-tom sizes and X-tra deep bass drum (I think). Personally I would have rather they just call the Silverstar SUPERstar and ditch the high-tension lugs. Honestly, who tunes toms high enough anymore using TAMAS to need high-tension lugs that kill shell resonance? The classic Superstar drums were separate lugs. Anyway, the Silverstars are AMAZING drums for the price and I picked them not because they were relatively cheap but because, to my ear and technique, they sounded and felt "just right" to me. I could have plunked down the $700 on layaway for a B/B Performer or something "pro"-grade but I honestly liked the response, crispness and tone (with the crappy stock heads, mind you) from the Silvers. The bearing edge is interesting. The peak is nearly in the middle of the shell, so the head has more contact with the shell and these things resonate REALLY nicely compared to drums with the peak at the end of the shell (DW's others like them). You're getting more shell-tone, in my humble opinion than a lot of drums priced 5 times as much.

Anyway, that aside, I like Tamas. I like that they haven't been through 50 different ownerships over the years and kept a strong market hold and have a quality line all the way through the pricerange. The new Imperalstars are actually very nice-sounding drums. Their Chinese factory is 100% controlled by Hoshino and all workers are extensively trained BY Hoshino drum craftsman and quality standards are very high. The shells are manufactured with the exact same processes and wood-curing/drying process as their premium Japan-made drums. I didn't find ONE flaw in any of the bearing edges or parts when I received my kit. I found more flaws and issues with the $4000 DW kit a good friend of mine recently bought. One of the bearing edges was badly cut, so bad he returned it and got a replacement that was fine. I like the marketing "Star" name. It gives them a distinct identity, rather than lame generic names like, "Maple Classics" or "Vintage Customs" or whatever the neuvo-US companies call their drums.
 

AZStickman

Senior Member
Not the same. Totally different lug (which is really cool, btw), triple flanged hoops instead of die-cast, a different iso-mount system and a different interior finish. Now, the Superstars only come in the "hyperdrive" shallow-tom sizes and X-tra deep bass drum (I think). Personally I would have rather they just call the Silverstar SUPERstar and ditch the high-tension lugs. Honestly, who tunes toms high enough anymore using TAMAS to need high-tension lugs that kill shell resonance? The classic Superstar drums were separate lugs. Anyway, the Silverstars are AMAZING drums for the price and I picked them not because they were relatively cheap but because, to my ear and technique, they sounded and felt "just right" to me. I could have plunked down the $700 on layaway for a B/B Performer or something "pro"-grade but I honestly liked the response, crispness and tone (with the crappy stock heads, mind you) from the Silvers. The bearing edge is interesting. The peak is nearly in the middle of the shell, so the head has more contact with the shell and these things resonate REALLY nicely compared to drums with the peak at the end of the shell (DW's others like them). You're getting more shell-tone, in my humble opinion than a lot of drums priced 5 times as much.

Anyway, that aside, I like Tamas. I like that they haven't been through 50 different ownerships over the years and kept a strong market hold and have a quality line all the way through the pricerange. The new Imperalstars are actually very nice-sounding drums. Their Chinese factory is 100% controlled by Hoshino and all workers are extensively trained BY Hoshino drum craftsman and quality standards are very high. The shells are manufactured with the exact same processes and wood-curing/drying process as their premium Japan-made drums. I didn't find ONE flaw in any of the bearing edges or parts when I received my kit. I found more flaws and issues with the $4000 DW kit a good friend of mine recently bought. One of the bearing edges was badly cut, so bad he returned it and got a replacement that was fine. I like the marketing "Star" name. It gives them a distinct identity, rather than lame generic names like, "Maple Classics" or "Vintage Customs" or whatever the neuvo-US companies call their drums.
Great post Ian!!...... Lots of good info there..... Thank You...... Terry
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I think its very silly what they did with Imperialstar. I mean were they not pro level ...Stewart Copeland and others used them? (no doubt making older ones sought after) and now its down to near entry level? Not good corporate sense.

I wonder at Tama what they will name their next series of 'stars' ...... megastar? darkstar? Kingstar? Wish-upon- a-star?
If you ever get a chance to plat a 70's,early 80's Imperialstar kit in standard sized,you should do so.

They are nothing like the Imperialstars of today.,who's shells are I believe basswood.

Those vintage drums were deep and punchy,and were a favorite of Copelands.Liberty DeVito also used the concert tom line of Imperialstars live and in the studio,and much of the mid 70's Billy Joel music ,has those drums on the tracks.

Steve B
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Not the same. Totally different lug (which is really cool, btw), triple flanged hoops instead of die-cast, a different iso-mount system and a different interior finish. Now, the Superstars only come in the "hyperdrive" shallow-tom sizes and X-tra deep bass drum (I think). Personally I would have rather they just call the Silverstar SUPERstar and ditch the high-tension lugs. Honestly, who tunes toms high enough anymore using TAMAS to need high-tension lugs that kill shell resonance? The classic Superstar drums were separate lugs. Anyway, the Silverstars are AMAZING drums for the price and I picked them not because they were relatively cheap but because, to my ear and technique, they sounded and felt "just right" to me. I could have plunked down the $700 on layaway for a B/B Performer or something "pro"-grade but I honestly liked the response, crispness and tone (with the crappy stock heads, mind you) from the Silvers. The bearing edge is interesting. The peak is nearly in the middle of the shell, so the head has more contact with the shell and these things resonate REALLY nicely compared to drums with the peak at the end of the shell (DW's others like them). You're getting more shell-tone, in my humble opinion than a lot of drums priced 5 times as much.

Anyway, that aside, I like Tamas. I like that they haven't been through 50 different ownerships over the years and kept a strong market hold and have a quality line all the way through the pricerange. The new Imperalstars are actually very nice-sounding drums. Their Chinese factory is 100% controlled by Hoshino and all workers are extensively trained BY Hoshino drum craftsman and quality standards are very high. The shells are manufactured with the exact same processes and wood-curing/drying process as their premium Japan-made drums. I didn't find ONE flaw in any of the bearing edges or parts when I received my kit. I found more flaws and issues with the $4000 DW kit a good friend of mine recently bought. One of the bearing edges was badly cut, so bad he returned it and got a replacement that was fine. I like the marketing "Star" name. It gives them a distinct identity, rather than lame generic names like, "Maple Classics" or "Vintage Customs" or whatever the neuvo-US companies call their drums.
+1000 Ian.Even though the "new" Imperialstars aren't what their older cousins are,they are very good sounding drums..

Tama does have a heritage of building excellent drums,while still manageing to be competitive

Tamas workmanship and build quality has always been excellent.

As I type this though,I'm reminded of a current thread on wrap bubbling on a set of Silverstars..according to that OP.

In my experience,that would be a rare exception in Tama QC.Like I've said before,it can happen to anyone.....even Rolls Royce.

Tama dosen't know how to build crappy drums.

Steve B
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I think its very silly what they did with Imperialstar. I mean were they not pro level ...Stewart Copeland and others used them? (no doubt making older ones sought after) and now its down to near entry level? Not good corporate sense.
It drives me crazy that Tama and Yahama have started re-using older names.

As for Imperial Stars, to be fair, yes the 80's version were marketed as a semi-pro/pro set and used by various big name drummers. But by today's standards, those same drums sold today would be considered entry level. Note that Tama never ever disclosed what wood was in the original Imperial Star line, further the shells were coated on the inside, and wrapped on the outside to make it impossible to know what wood was in there. Other than the hardware, there never seemed to be a difference between the Imperial star and the Swingstar of the 80's.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
SC Performers are birch shells (or birch/bubinga), with the same hardware as the rest of the SC lines. Performers also have bass drum mounted tom mounts, all of the other SC lines have virgin bass drums. I believe this is a recent change though, my 2007 SC maples had the bass drum mount.
 
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Les Ismore

Platinum Member
It drives me crazy that Tama and Yahama have started re-using older names.

As for Imperial Stars, to be fair, yes the 80's version were marketed as a semi-pro/pro set and used by various big name drummers. But by today's standards, those same drums sold today would be considered entry level. Note that Tama never ever disclosed what wood was in the original Imperial Star line, further the shells were coated on the inside, and wrapped on the outside to make it impossible to know what wood was in there. Other than the hardware, there never seemed to be a difference between the Imperial star and the Swingstar of the 80's.
The early IMPERIALSTAR/SWINGSTAR were 9 plys of commercial grade mahogany with re-rings, the difference between the lines 'was' the fittings/hardware and I believe some sizes. Both lines had wrapped finishes with some different colour options. The TAMA FIBRESTAR line could have been considered genuinely 'seamless'.

TAMA also sprayed the insides of the IMPERIALSTAR metal snare drums (that they advertised as 'seamless') to hide a well finished seam. Guess they could've also claimed IMPERIALSTAR tom/bass shells were 'seamless' too, since you can't see the seams under the coating.
 
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tamadrm

Platinum Member
Besides my King beat,I also had an Imperialstar 6.4x14 for a few years,and the interior had no coating at all,and it was a seemless shell..

Steve B
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Besides my King beat,I also had an Imperialstar 6.4x14 for a few years,and the interior had no coating at all,and it was a seemless shell..

Steve B
Really, do you have pic's, or can post some pic examples?

And how was TAMA supposedly making 'seamless steel' shells, stamping them out, deep drawn, cast?
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Really, do you have pic's, or can post some pic examples?

And how was TAMA supposedly making 'seamless steel' shells, stamping them out, deep drawn, cast?
Those drums have spun steel seamless shells.Later drums like the Swingstar that have thinner steel shells...are welded,but they are a different vintage.

I would also ask of you the same thing,

Please privide pic of an UNALTERED,period correct Imperstar steel snare drum,with a zolacoated interior.

Also,why just coat the Imperialstar badged steel snare? Why not the Powerline,Kingbeat and Swingstar,who all used EXACTLY the same spun steel shell?

I don't have a photo of my drum,which as I indicated was sold years ago,................but,if you go the gear>drums section,there is a Thread entitled Tama Imperialstar steel snare drums,toward the top of the page.

In that thread ,is a VERY clear pic on a 6.5x14 Imperialstar steel snare,and you can clearly see inside the shell ,there is NO coating inside the shell.

Why would Tama openly talk about zolacoating Imperstar toms and bass drums,and exclude that info about snare drums? Sounds very cloak and dagger to me..

Conversly,a steel snare drums with zolacoating inside?Really?

Such a drum would be historical for two reasons; it would be a monumantal failure because of the fact that it would be a first,and because it would sound..........terrible.

If there is any "coating" on the inside of that era Imperialstar steel shell,its unpolished chrome.

Take a look at the interior of a COA supra,the interior appears to be just about the same as a steel Tama snare of that period....dosen't it?

Steve B
 
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