Best Tama Drum Sets

Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

The Japanese drum company, Tama, has been making some of the highest-quality drums in the world for decades. The company has a big reputation and many famous drummers have used Tama drum kits.

Some of the most famous drummers to play Tama kits are Mike Portnoy, Lars Ulrich, Simon Phillips, and Matt Garstka. With so many accomplished drummers trusting the drums, you know the Tama brand is a good one.

We’re going to take a quick dive into some of their best drum kits on offer. Some of them will be the top-of-the-range while others will be more affordable or suited for unique purposes. Let’s jump right in!

Quick Rundown:

These are Our top Picks Summarised For:
25th November 2021

What Makes a Great Tama Drum Set?

There’s an overwhelming amount of metal drummers that play Tama drum kits. Many of Tama’s kits tend to suit harder styles of music. However, even a jazz legend like Peter Erskine plays on a Tama set.

So, the thing that makes a great Tama set is versatility. A great Tama set will work for every scenario you put it through. Whether you’re a pro or beginner, the kit should sound good in studios and on stages.

Table of Contents

Best Tama Drum Sets

The Tama STAR drum kits are the flagship products in Tama’s line. These kits give you the best of what Tama has to offer. We’ve put the Walnut version on this list as the sound is so incredibly smooth that it arguably makes it Tama’s best kit.

The toms are incredibly punchy and they react wonderfully even to the slightest touch. The floor toms boom while the kick drum produces a bellowing forceful tone. The kick drum also produces a wonderful booming tone.

One of the best aspects of this kit is the visual aesthetics of it. The Tama STAR kits are arguably some of the most gorgeous drum sets out there. This kit will turn heads whenever it’s set up somewhere to be seen.

The toms fit securely on the mounts and tend not to move too much when tightened to cymbal stands. Tama puts Remo Coated Ambassador heads on the kit, meaning you don’t need to replace the stock heads when buying the kit as they already sound so good.

You can’t go wrong with the Tama STAR. You’ll just need to save a huge amount of money to be able to get it!

Build Quality
98%
Performance
96%
Price to Value Ratio
91%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Looks incredibly beautiful
  • Smooth tones all around
  • Sturdy tome mounts
  • Great sound out the box
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Very expensive
  • No snare drum included

While the STAR kits are the best you can get, the Starclassic Maple is the second best option that comes at a more affordable price. This kit was once at the top of the drumming world with all the pro drummers playing it.

The maple shells cater to several styles of music and the hardware fits tightly and securely while keeping the tones smooth and accurate. The great thing about this kit is that you have 3 choices of hardware to surround the drums.

The black nickel hardware gives the kit a classic look, the smoked black nickel hardware appears more modern, and the chrome hardware aims to achieve a bright appearance that will catch the eyes of many.

Starclassic Maple kits are well-known for the strong tone they produce. Many hard rock drummers use these kits as the toms produce a forceful sound that is incredibly effective in band environments.

Overall, the Starclassic kit is one of the best options out there for anyone looking for a long-time gigging and recording drum set.

Build Quality
95%
Performance
92%
Price to Value Ratio
93%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Extremely popular drum set
  • Choice of 3 different types of hardware
  • Powerful tones
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Shell pack doesn’t come with a snare drum

 


The Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch borrows many qualities from the Starclassic Maple. However, it comes at a cheaper price and has the added birch wood to change the tones of the shells. The birch is a bit more mellow, meaning the kit isn’t as forceful and powerful. In turn, you get a drum kit that suits several different styles of music, whether they’re loud or soft.

Another big difference is in the rack toms. The previous Starclassic had the toms mount to cymbal stands. This kit has the toms mount to the bass drum. Some drummers prefer this as it means the rack toms have no room to wobble as they’re tightly connected to the large bass drum.

The hardware is incredibly stiff and sturdy. It holds the drums together nicely and gives them a sleek appearance. The finishes of the Walnut/Birch kit are a bit wackier than the Starclassic Maple kits, meaning you have some interesting choices to choose from.

Build Quality
93%
Performance
90%
Price to Value Ratio
94%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • More affordable than the Starclassic Maple
  • Rack toms mount to the bass drum
  • Many wacky finishes to choose from
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • None

The Tama Superstar Classic is the intermediate drum set from Tama. On top of being very affordable, it comes in the form of either a 5 or 7-piece shell pack. The toms are fairly short in resonance while the kick drum booms. The included snare drum also has a tight crack to it and cuts easily through mixes of instruments.

The shells are made from maple, meaning they produce smooth and mellow sounds. They tend to tune very easily, meaning inexperienced tuners will still be able to get a great sound from the drums. This is a big reason to why the kit is so good for intermediate drummers.

If you’re looking to buy a large kit for just over $1000, the Superstar Classic is a great option to go with.
To know more about this kit check our full review here

Build Quality
87%
Performance
86%
Price to Value Ratio
94%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Large kit at an affordable price
  • Versatile drum tones
  • Great for intermediate drummers
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • The stock heads don’t sound the greatest

The Club-JAM is a compact drum kit. This means the shell sizes are smaller than your average sizes, making the kit easy to travel with and easy to set up and pack down. It’s a wonderful kit for playing in small venues where you don’t have a lot of space.

The biggest thing that sets the Club-JAM apart from other compact kits is the fact that you can mount your ride cymbal on the bass drum. This stops you from needing a cymbal stand and saves a lot of space in your setup.

The floor tom is incredibly shallow, causing it to produce a punchy sound with a short decay. The rack tom and snare drum have a similar sound, making the kit good for either busking or using in pop and reggae gigs.

It’s great to have as a secondary kit. The sounds may be a bit weak to use as your main kit for every situation, though.

Build Quality
83%
Performance
84%
Price to Value Ratio
88%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Good kit to use when traveling
  • Ride mounts to bass drum
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Doesn’t fit all purposes

Things To Consider:

What is the Best Tama Drum Kit?

The highest-quality kit that Tama has to offer is the Tama STAR set. There are a few different options when it comes to which wood is used for the shells, but every STAR kit is astounding and a fantastic piece of craftsmanship.

The Starclassic sets were at the top level for a long time, but Tama has knocked it out of the park with the STAR drum kits.

Are Tama Drums the Best?

The answer to this question is completely subjective. Your preference of drum kit depends on what sounds and designs you like more. Tama drums may be the best for some while others will choose a different brand.

As said previously, many metal drummers use Tama drums, so it can be argued that they’re the best drums for metal. It highly depends on the drummer playing them, though.

Which is Better Between Tama or Pearl?

Both drum companies make some excellent products. While Tama has the STAR drum kits Pearl has the Masterworks drum kits. Both are at the top of the product range for each company. Both sound incredible in any environment you put that in.

In terms of beginner kits, Tama has the Imperialstar while Pearl has the Roadshow. Both offer beginners a full package that will get them playing quickly. So, this answer to which is better is also a subjective one.

Which Tama Drums are Made in Japan?

Tama moved their production lines over to China. The company originated in Japan and has a rich history there. It’s said that the Tama STAR drum kits are currently still being made in Japan.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to get a high-quality drum kit, we highly recommend checking some of these Tama sets out. All of them sound so good and they’ll inspire you as you play. When it comes to tone, hardware, and construction, Tama has put their name strongly on the map for drummers to look into.

The Superstar is a fantastic kit for someone with a smaller budget. The STAR and Starclassic kits are for those who are looking to spend a bit more. Every kit has something to offer.

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