The new Tama Star Series is the showcase for every advance the Japanese brand is able to offer. Faithful to its long history with bubinga wood and its prestigious hardware engineering, Tama had no problem with stepping back and rethink some paradigms from the past, such as the rounded bearing edges and thin shells. The results are impressive and, as we’ll see, snare drums from the Tama Star Series also bring some innovations that will put them among the most technologically advanced.
Drumkits from the Tama Star Series come in maple or bubinga wood plus one or two plies of cordia. The same goes for snare drums that come with both kits: a solid central core 2 mm. thick surrounded by 1.5 mm. cross-laminated layers in the case of maple, with 5 plies in total. For the other choice, we find 5 layers of bubinga plus another one made of cordia (with another external one as an option), with a total thickness of 4.5 mm. Reinforcing hoops from maple are 5 plies of 5 mm. and bubinga ones are 9 mm. thick.
However, the collection of Tama Star snare drums is larger. Besides offering a wide range of sizes and thicknesses for both maple and bubinga, it is also possible to acquire solid shell snare drums (made out of one piece) and stave shell snare drums. Solid shells can be from maple or mahogany, and stave shells consist in 16 segments 10 mm. thick of ash or walnut wood.
To begin with snares, Tama has redesigned the snare bed, which now is wider and has a flat bottom, so that contact with snare coils is more even and consistent. Sensitivity is highly increased and there’s a more immediate, articulate response. The snappy snare itself has suffered some changes. It is now made from a new Hi-Carbon steel alloy and features a specialized plate and winding pattern for the wire coils. Tama says this will increase sensitivity and good response from the snares.
Snare drums form the Tama Star Series have only 8 tension rods instead of the usual 10. Double-hole lugs have a new, very elegant design. The bridge construction and the low number of tensors reduce hardware weight and produce an open tone, with more resonance. As with the rest of Tama Star’s hardware, the brand has made an effort covering every detail for avoiding direct contact between shells and metal, so everything is filtered by rubber.
For the strainer system, Tama has included its Linear Drive strainer, which provides the mechanism total isolation from the drum shell, as you’d have expected from Tama. The lever operates in a real linear motion movement thanks to a clever ratched system underneath that prevents loosening and allows the drummer to micro-adjust the tension. While other Star Series drums (rack toms, floor toms and bass drums) have a single air hole, snare drums have three vent holes around the shell, topped with stylish rings of darker wood.
Regarding drumheads, this time Tama has left out the traditional Evans and has incorporated Remo for all the range. So for Tama Star snare drums, we find a Remo Coated Ambassador as batter and a Remo Snare Ambassador for the bottom.
Snare drums in the Tama Star line show a whole set of innovations offered by the great Japanese manufacturer. It is really hard to beat the amount of attention to detail put in here, and the same goes for the rest of the Series, including hardware. As shown in the following videos, the sound is fantastic and they have a very dynamic response. Tama is again half step further than the other brands when adding elements that make a difference. Or rather they should. Will customers think all these little innovations to be really effective? In any case, there’s a lot of them and they are everywhere. Every aspect gets better, and the sum of these aspects has an influence in the sound, which is really superb.
This post is also available in Versión en Español.