Tama superstar shell construction

Xcelerationrules

Junior Member
Can anyone tell me which year all birch shells were replaced by the basswood and birch?
Much difference between the versions?
I have a superstar birch set and a hyperdrive set.
Cant compare them as the hyperdrive shells on the toms are shallow.
I know they are birch and basswood.
I like the tama superstars as they are easy to aquire used,and have great hardware.
Thanks.
 

roncadillac

Member
Can anyone tell me which year all birch shells were replaced by the basswood and birch?
Much difference between the versions?
I have a superstar birch set and a hyperdrive set.
Cant compare them as the hyperdrive shells on the toms are shallow.
I know they are birch and basswood.
I like the tama superstars as they are easy to aquire used,and have great hardware.
Thanks.
Not sure on those specifics (and don't they have maple superstars out now as well?) But I owned a Tama kit that used those same shells (mostly basswood with birch inner plys) and I absolutely loved them! Great middle ground between the punch and volume of birch but the light weight and light price tag of basswood. Don't let wood species turn you off, I currently play a Tama club jam mini with 100% poplar shells and it not only sounds great but I constantly get compliments on how good it sounds, usually from sound guys at large festivals who are on their 15th hour of working and have already run through 12+ bands that day. Some of the most sought after vintage drums have garbage shells by today's standards and most of those 'stencil kits' that the jazz guys love to buy cheap and gig with are barely a step up from cardboard and wood pulp lol.
 
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Xcelerationrules

Junior Member
I've looked through all the catalogs.
My serial numbers don't jive with the catalogs.
The shells must be made and badged before the actual production, which leads me to believe, they share shells with other kits.
I just like the die cast hoops and hardware on the superstars that I buy under $500 used.
I'm not a fan of wraps, prefer wood grain and a laquer finish..do these wraps last?
Thanks
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Can anyone tell me which year all birch shells were replaced by the basswood and birch?
1986 is when Tama rebranded, so to speak. It retired the Royalstar, Imperialstar, Superstar names. Crestar (for 1 year), Granstar and Artstar.
Somewhere between 2003 and 2008 (from catalog info.) is when the Superstar name was resurrected. Tama wanted a drum set in between the Starclassic and the Rockstar line.
 

roncadillac

Member
I've looked through all the catalogs.
My serial numbers don't jive with the catalogs.
The shells must be made and badged before the actual production, which leads me to believe, they share shells with other kits.
I just like the die cast hoops and hardware on the superstars that I buy under $500 used.
I'm not a fan of wraps, prefer wood grain and a laquer finish..do these wraps last?
Thanks
They are basically this decade's version of what the rockstar drums were 10 years ago for the exact reason you said: heavy duty pro level hardware and solid shells for $500 or less used. Tama, pretty much all modern drum companies really, have gone a long way with wrap finishes but not to say they are all perfect. If I find a drum that is really bubbled up then I just know the wrap will come off very easy when I refinish it haha. If you are looking at a model with the high tension long lugs (similar to rock stars) they really help mask any small imperfections in the shells.
 

Xcelerationrules

Junior Member
It's not something you see often.
The pics I see under the lights are outstanding..especially with Pink Floyd in the background..LMFAO.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Wow ! I didn’t like this finish until I saw under stage lights.
i used to own a superstar (birch / basswood) normal depth : 22 10 12 13 16 plus snare. The best middle class kit I owned or tried ! very good sound, great hardware, nice amber fade lacquer, great stock snare Drum.
Really a goto on the secondhand market.
 
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gdmoore28

Gold Member
. . . Don't let wood species turn you off. . . Some of the most sought after vintage drums have garbage shells by today's standards and most of those 'stencil kits' that the jazz guys love to buy cheap and gig with are barely a step up from cardboard and wood pulp lol.
I couldn't agree with you more on the wood species remark. I think we've all noticed that the historical "gap" between the sound of wood species is rapidly disappearing, and I believe that it all comes down to the incredible modern adhesives and shell-making machines now in use. Even for those companies that still use shell machines manufactured in the 1940s, the quality of the glues used now - I believe - have made modern shells (regardless of species) a much different product than those produced through the history of the drum.

I may be totally off base here, but it seems to me that modern shells are denser, tighter, and heavier (due again to the adhesives????), and I think those qualities have made the "lesser" wood species sound much closer to the heritage hardwood versions. The plies used to form a drum shell are very thin, and I can't help but think that once they absorb the glues they become harder and more consistent.

Thoughts?

GeeDeeEmm
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I couldn't agree with you more on the wood species remark. I think we've all noticed that the historical "gap" between the sound of wood species is rapidly disappearing, and I believe that it all comes down to the incredible modern adhesives and shell-making machines now in use. Even for those companies that still use shell machines manufactured in the 1940s, the quality of the glues used now - I believe - have made modern shells (regardless of species) a much different product than those produced through the history of the drum.

I may be totally off base here, but it seems to me that modern shells are denser, tighter, and heavier (due again to the adhesives????), and I think those qualities have made the "lesser" wood species sound much closer to the heritage hardwood versions. The plies used to form a drum shell are very thin, and I can't help but think that once they absorb the glues they become harder and more consistent.

Thoughts?

GeeDeeEmm
I agree.

Pearl has referenced their proprietary glue in their past consumer ads. Strangely, no other shell manufacture (Keller, Tama, DW, Yammie, big & small workshops/factory, etc.) mentions a word about the chemical compound used for adhesion. Either each company has their own secret sauce and want to keep it off people's radar or they don't think it's worth mentioning. I think it's the former and they know it affects the sound of the shell in the ways you allude to and they don't want Average Joe Drummer figuring it out, so they keep it off the marketing radars.

Edit: A way to tell is to perform side-by-side comparisons between a ply tom, kick snare and their single-ply steam bent sibling, of the same wall thickness.
 

roncadillac

Member
I couldn't agree with you more on the wood species remark. I think we've all noticed that the historical "gap" between the sound of wood species is rapidly disappearing, and I believe that it all comes down to the incredible modern adhesives and shell-making machines now in use. Even for those companies that still use shell machines manufactured in the 1940s, the quality of the glues used now - I believe - have made modern shells (regardless of species) a much different product than those produced through the history of the drum.

I may be totally off base here, but it seems to me that modern shells are denser, tighter, and heavier (due again to the adhesives????), and I think those qualities have made the "lesser" wood species sound much closer to the heritage hardwood versions. The plies used to form a drum shell are very thin, and I can't help but think that once they absorb the glues they become harder and more consistent.

Thoughts?

GeeDeeEmm
Well said, totally agree. It's also cool because instead of 'cheap' drums sounding 'bad' they just have their own tonal properties that while different from say birch or maple are not necessarily less desirable. Many pro's tour with exports or rockstars.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Many pro's tour with exports or rockstars.
OK, you have my curiosity peaked here, Ron.

I keep seeing that statement over and over again, but I'm not aware of a single "pro" that does that. Just because I'm not aware of any, though, doesn't mean it doesn't happen - I'm just not aware of any. But I'm not aware of a lot of things. So . . .

Assuming that when we say "pros," we are talking about widely-known professional drummers, can somebody point them out? Remember, we're looking for professional, well-known drummers who use Tama Rockstars or Pearl Exports as their touring kit.

(This probably should be a separate thread, huh?)

GeeDeeEmm
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
OK, you have my curiosity peaked here, Ron.

I keep seeing that statement over and over again, but I'm not aware of a single "pro" that does that. Just because I'm not aware of any, though, doesn't mean it doesn't happen - I'm just not aware of any. But I'm not aware of a lot of things. So . . .

Assuming that when we say "pros," we are talking about widely-known professional drummers, can somebody point them out? Remember, we're looking for professional, well-known drummers who use Tama Rockstars or Pearl Exports as their touring kit.

(This probably should be a separate thread, huh?)

GeeDeeEmm
I recall seeing Dave Weckl playing a Stage Custom during a promo video (for cymbals I think?). That's not really the same thing as touring with it though.

I pay attention to every drummer I see on stage and in videos...I vaguely recall seeing mayyyybe one person playing an Export...but it wasn't for a big name artist IIRC.

Eric Moore plays the DW Design Series on tour. I'm not sure if he's under contract by DW to play them specifically or not, but he seems to like them. They aren't exactly in the same budget category as Exports though either.
 
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