Tama Superstar Classic Review: Is It worth the Price Tag?
Tama has always been used in the same breath as the top brands in the drum industry, as they are known for their excellent build and overall quality of sound. With their Superstar Classic shell pack, Tama delivers on their reputation, with a striking mix of form and function.
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While this set its just the drum shells, that shouldn’t deter you from learning more about them, as they can provide you with a high-quality foundation that is suitable for many styles of music.
Read on to learn more about this gem from Tama.
At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts
We love this kit. Not just for how it looks, but also for how it is built, its flexibility, and how it accommodates different styles of playing and genres.
The shells look beautiful and will please anyone for that feature alone. Due to their maple construction, you get a high-quality wood that is a huge step-up from most drum kits, returning a lot of volume and resonance with each strike. Additionally, we think the inclusion of 2 extra toms on the rack and floor will allow you more variety in your playing, as you can create some memorable fills and rhythms with a wider range of tones.
If you are looking to upgrade your shells or building a high-quality kit from scratch, this entry from Tama is a great place to start.
What’s in the Box?
The box contains a shell pack of all-maple drums with impeccable craftsmanship. Most standard kits employ a 5-drum configuration but Tama takes it up a notch, giving you 7 pieces that you can bang away on.
The beefy 22” x 18” bass drum provides excellent low end, and a 14” x 6.5” snare drum projects nicely with some classic snare sounds.
The provided toms are where these maple shells give you a bit more bang for your buck. Rack-mounted to the bass drum are two toms – one 10” x 8”, and one 12” x 9”. Tama throws in a third rack tom measuring 8” x 7” for extra flexibility. However, this drum needs to be attached to a cymbal stand, as there is no way to connect it to the bass drum or the rack toms. Tama includes this attachment hardware for you. The rack toms are spaced evenly across the kit, and they allow you to position them to your preference while retaining their expressive characteristics.
Down on the floor, Tama provides two additional toms – one measuring 14” x 12”, and a 16” x 14”. With 5 toms to choose from, it’s a fun kit to play that also makes for a wider ranger of tones and combinations to create.
How Does It Stand Out?
A key feature that can be attributed to the great sound of these drums is their construction from 100% maple wood. Maple is a material that lends to an all-purpose kit, meaning they can perform well for various styles of song. Slightly warm lows with even mids and highs are what you will get from this type of wood, and the dense composition of it means you will have a heavier drum on your hands. Maple was the go-to wood for many years and is still one of the top choices, mainly reserved for high-end kits due to their even sound, warm tone, and excellent projection.
Crafted With Care
Tama really put some thought into the creation of these shells. One look at them and you can see the level of care, with the high-gloss lacquer finish giving them an immediate, eye-catching appearance. The maple wood is usually reserved for high-end kits, so its use is a further testament to Tama’s commitment to delivering quality in these drums.
Mounting the toms is Tama’s star-mount system, which helps increase the drums’ resonance while providing 4-point support that you can dial into the perfect position. The 8” x 7” tom has a 3-point mounting system which means you can get it physically close to the second tom, making for easier performance. Additionally, the tom holder system that mounts them to the bass drum offers a lot of flexibility and stability.
Musicians are always searching for new sounds that can inspire their writing and performance, and with 7 drums to choose from, you will have no shortage of inspiration with this kit. An extra rack tom, as well as a second-floor tom, means you can expand your musical pallet, and have fun doing it. You can be more inventive with your fills, or simply get some heavier bottom-end to your sound.
The heads used are Tama’s Powercraft II series, and they lend to a big sound, with good range and punch. Save for the snare drum, all heads are clear, and tuning them just above the mid-range seems to be where they excel most.
Create Your Kit
As these are just shells, it gives you the opportunity to create a kit of your very own. You can not only pick the stands, cymbals, throne, and pedals to suit your individual needs, but you can also upgrade the stock heads that come with the shells, for a true custom kit. There are many options to choose from when you are building out your kit, so doing a bit of research beforehand will pay off in the long run. Many drummers will “fine-tune” their cymbals and drum heads, choosing models that sonically match their musical style.
Our Final Thoughts
Tama has hit a home run with this kit. It is designed well, crafted impeccably, and sounds great right out of the box.
The price tag can be off-putting to some, but we think it is very reasonable for the quality you are getting, and if you think of it as a long-term investment, its almost a no-brainer.