Tama StarClassic unboxing

Thursday, November 26th, 2009 | by

Tama StarClassic MapleThanksgiving is traditionally a day to remember the things for which one is thankful. I’ve found this exercise to be a lot easier when FedEx drops off a new drum kit on the day before.

Yep, this is my second new drum kit this year; the first one got sent back.

I’ve loved Tama drums and hardware since I was a kid, so when the ‘bargain’ kit didn’t work out I decided to buy the set I’d wanted in the first place. It had to be custom-ordered from Japan; between that and surface shipping, it took three days short of forever to get here. Fortunately, I wasn’t impatient or bitter, not at all. Except, well, maybe for the last six weeks. But no more than that.

IMG_0235The drums are Tama StarClassic Maple, with a lacquer finish that lets the woodgrain show through. The toms are 8'', 10'', 12'' with Tama’s incredible StarCast rim-mount system, plus a 14'' with legs. I may add the 16'' later, assuming all the clubs in Sonoma County make their stages bigger first. The bass drum is 20'' in diameter by 18'' deep, and is not drilled for tom mounts because drum cages are cool even if I don’t play in a metal band any more.

There’s no snare with this kit, because Greg Gaylord just built a custom 13'' Purpleheart segment-shell with tube lugs for me, which I’ll pick up Sunday if my head doesn’t explode first from trying to contain this much awesome.

IMG_0207The Tama drums were shipped one to a box, with minimal packaging. The toms were pre-assembled.

Each drum was tagged with the inspector’s name and an SKU card, then bagged to keep the drums clean. Taped to each bag was a packet containing an instruction sheet and a wrench. I’m not entirely sure what the wrenches are for, but now I have a lot of them.

Lug DetailTama’s attention to detail is impressive. Check out the floor-tom leg clamps. This is a two-piece assembly, with a memory lock that stays clamped to the leg when it is removed from the drum. For shipping, Tama’s backroom crew inserts a piece of clear plastic tube into the clamp to keep the pieces from rattling, and then loops the whole thing together with a silver twist-tie, then tucks the loose ends into the tube. It seems like a complex process, but it keeps the pieces together without marring the finish.

The kick drum needed to be put together. This was true of the Taye kit, too, although Tama pre-assembled the claws, which looked like they’d spent a lot of time on someone’s CAD workstation, not to mention the plating shop.

Bearing Edge ProtectionThe drum shell had both bearing edges wrapped in a protective rubber strip — a very nice touch. The lugs were wrapped in little styrofoam bracelets.

I bought a nice Roadpro “combination stand,” and a pair of separate tom mounts. I have bags of old, or should I say “vintage” Tama hardware here, and figured I could rig up the tom mounts using the bones of drumkits past. But it was an aesthetic downer to mount the new tom holders with a pair of 20-year-old multiclamps, which look like the beer-stained, road-weary pot-metal pieces that they are, when every other chunk of metal on this kit is finished in either inch-deep chrome or black nickel. Tama hardware lasts forever, so I can’t really justify the multiclamp upgrade. Maybe I’ll settle for washing off the beer stains.

IMG_0237The drums came with Evans G2 and G1 clear heads. They’re a little bongy for my tastes, but I haven’t taken the time to really tune up the kit yet. I’m saving that so I have something to be thankful for tomorrow.

See all 26 photos (at Flickr)

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Posted in Drums | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Tama StarClassic unboxing”

  1. Aaron Lyon

    November 26th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Man, you are a happy thanksgiver. I can’t believe you took the time to post this article! But thanks!

  2. chuck

    December 5th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    matt, wow! awesomely beautiful drumset. i can’t wait to hear those babys recorded. get on it!

  3. Aaron

    March 18th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    hey, nice kit man. i have the exact same kit! i was wondering if you know what the finish is called?

  4. Dave Avillion

    October 23rd, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I loved the article about sending back the bargain drums! How much did you pay for that gorgeous name brand five-piece shell pack, please?

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