Tama has been a powerhouse drum company for decades. They produce drum kits for all levels of players and all types of music. They’re endorsed by high-profile drummers like Mike Portnoy, Stewart Copeland, and Peter Erskine.
Here’s my list of some of the best Tama drum sets that are currently available.
Best Tama Drum Kits for All Budgets
The Tama Imperialstar is one of Tama’s low-priced as well as popular kits. Included with this kit is a 14” snare drum, 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 22” kick drum. It also includes hardware and cymbals, with the cymbals being from Meinl’s HCS line.
The shells are made from poplar, giving the drums a solid tone with quick decay. Poplar is one of the most inexpensive woods, but it still makes the drums sound quite musical. The toms can be tuned easily.
The HCS cymbals are Meinl’s entry-level line of cymbals, meaning they pair up well with the Imperialstar. They have a fair bit of ring to them and will work well in different styles of music. They’re great cymbals for beginners. However, more experienced players might find them lacking.
The stands that come with the kit are double-braced, meaning they’ll hold everything together very securely. You will also be able to use them with higher quality kits in the future.
The Superstar Classic is one of Tama’s intermediate options. The great thing about this kit is that there are lots of drums. The 7-piece shell pack gives you so many options for kit configurations.
Included with the kit is a 14” snare, 8”, 10” and 12” rack toms, 14” and 16” floor toms, and a 22” kick drum. The maple shells are quite thin. This gives them a firm attack and wide projection.
Once set up, the Superstar Classic is going to give you power. The force behind it and the large number of drums make it a great drum kit for playing metal.
The kick drum sounds beefy, leaving you with a hard feeling in your chest every time you kick it. The toms have a brightly rich tone with a very nuanced low end. The snare drum is okay, sounding fine in any tuning. However, the toms are the highlight of this kit.
The pack comes with a mount for the 8” tom to attach it to a cymbal stand. Just note that it doesn’t come with a snare stand, so you’ll have to buy that separately.
If you’re looking for a large drum kit setup, the Superstar Classic is a great option.
With an 18” kick drum, the Club-Jam falls under the category of portable drum kits. Tama created this kit with club drummers and buskers in mind. It has a rack tom that is 10” and a floor tom that is 14”. The thing that sets this kit apart from other portable kits is that the floor tom is only 7” deep.
Even though this kit is small, you’ll find that it projects quite well. The kick drum has a nice punchy sound that can work in any style of music depending on how much dampening and tuning you do to it.
The floor tom lacks resonance, but that’s the price to pay for how compact the kit is. The rack tom has a clean tone that sings beautifully when tuned high.
The weak part of the kit is the 13” snare drum. Compact kits seem to always have snare drums that lack in quality. The Club-Jam snare is no different.
The kick drum comes with a cymbal arm that mounts to the right of the rack tom. This further adds to how small the footprint of the kit is since you won’t need a ride cymbal stand.
The Tama Club-Jam is a great secondary kit to have. It’s a light option to use for gigs, saving you on all the heavy traveling. It’s priced quite low, meaning it won’t break your bank anytime soon.
The Starclassic drum kits are synonymous with the Tama name. They were the flagship kit for many years, being used in high-profile gigs and recordings by many accomplished drummers. The Starclassic Walnut/Birch takes the designs of the Starclassic Maple and puts it into a product that is slightly more affordable.
The shells are made from a mixture of walnut and birch. The birch gives the drums warmth while the walnut provides heavy attack. These two woods together create a drum kit that sounds seriously good.
The 10” and 12” rack toms sing beautifully while the 14” and 16” floor toms provide warm low end. The 22” kick drum has a great amount of attack, sounding punchy and effective.
The difference between this kit and a standard Starclassic is that the rack toms mount to the kick drum. Some pro drummers may not like this. However, the rack tom mount is heavy duty and provides serious adjustability.
Although this kit is more affordable than the standard Starclassic, it’s still quite expensive. It’s a great pro drum kit that you will use for many years.
Tama’s S.L.P. lines of drums are all seriously unique in some way or another. This kit has all-spruce shells which aren’t common in drum kits. It’s the type of wood that is used to make acoustic guitars.
The shell pack includes a 12” rack tom, 14” floor tom, and 20” kick drum. The kick drum sounds surprisingly huge and the rack toms are full of resonance. The drums have a wide tuning range but tend to sound best when tuned medium to high.
The selling point of this kit is its visual aspect. The wood looks so clean combined with Tama’s chrome hardware.
If you want a great sounding kit that sounds incredible, the S.L.P. Fat Spruce is a great option.
At first glance, the wood hoops of the S.L.P. Studio Maple will catch your eye. Wood hoops are fairly common on snare drums. Having wood hoops on the toms definitely adds to the overall aesthetics of the kit.
These drums have an extremely focused sound with a quick decay. The wood hoops add warmth, making the toms sound quite round. The maple shells are thin, giving a slight vintage tone to the toms.
The S.L.P. Studio Maple works great for gigging and recording, making it a great option for any working drummer.
The shell pack includes 10” and 12” rack toms, a 16” floor tom, and a 22” kick drum. It just doesn’t come with a snare drum. Tama does sell an S.L.P. Studio Maple snare. So, you’ll have to buy that separately to complete the kit.
Things to Consider When Buying Drums
The biggest differing factor of drum kits is the type of wood that they’re made from. Every wood has a different tonal quality. The most commonly used woods in Tama drum kits are maple, birch, walnut, bubinga, and poplar.
Maple covers the biggest range of tones, sounding great when tuned low or high. Birch gives the drums a lot of attack. Mahogany makes the drums sing beautifully. Bubinga gives the drums punch and costs a fair bit more than the other woods. Poplar is inexpensive and used in budget drum sets.
Drum Kit Size
Drum sets come in all shapes and sizes. The size should depend on what style of music you’re going to play and whether you gig frequently or not. Small kits are better to travel with. Imagine setting up a 10-piece drum kit every night. Larger kits fit better in home practice spaces or studios.
However, some styles of music demand certain kit sizes. Metal drummers play on big kits so that they can match the heavy guitar riffs with different tom sounds. Jazz drummers play on small kits and try to get as much variety from the drums as possible.
If you’re not sure on what size to get, the standard drum kit sizes is 5 pieces. Most drums are sold as 5-piece shell packs. You can always add or take away drums at a later stage.
I’ve been playing on a Tama kit for a few years. I often find myself just staring at it in awe. Most of their drum kits have that effect, thanks to the fine craftsmanship and visual quality. They’re a company that knows how to make some really great drums.
The Imperialstar is great for beginners and the Club-Jam is great for buskers. The Starclassic and S.L.P. lines are intended for pros while the Superstar Classic will fit any intermediate setup.
As you can see, Tama has several kits waiting to be picked by you.