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TAMA Artstar ES - Japan / Taiwan


Hi all,

I'm Dan, a drummer since 1989 & this is my first post here.

I'm wondering if any TAMA boffins can help me:

I have an Artstar ES kit that I bought in 1993.

Recently I purchased another Artstar ES (reportedly from 1994) for the purpose of transferring a few chrome parts to my original kit that had worn down a bit after years of gigging.

Both kits have the usual TAMA / Made In Japan badges, but I was surprised to find when I took both kits apart that my lugs and mounts were engraved inside with "JAPAN", yet my 2nd matching bass drum that I purchased the same year had lugs engraved with "TAIWAN", and were slightly lighter in weight. The recently purchased Artstar ES was not engraved with any country at all, but matched the casting and weight of the Taiwanese lugs from my 2nd kick.

Overall it's a little bit disappointing to find this out, because the Japanese lugs feel heavier, sturdier, and appear to be chromed more nicely. So I won't be swapping any lugs off my original kit. They aren't too bad anyway, and I've moved them around so that any really bad ones are in the least conspicuous places, like on the bottom of the bass drum.

My main question is - does anyone know much about the Mighty Hoops, and if they too may have been manufactured in different factories?

Some of the hoops on my recent purchase are in nicer condition, but I have a slight apprehension that they may be Taiwanese too.

Any thoughts or info greatly appreciated :)


Posted on 5 years ago

Welcome to the forum.

There are some Tama experts here, I'm sure someone can help you. If not, I suggest you also join some Tama Facebook groups. Lots of knowledgeable people there as well.


Posted on 5 years ago

The ES were originally Rockstars with Artstar hardware - 9ply/9mm Phillipine Mahogany shells with a inner Basswood ply.

Tama 'upgraded' the shells (theres essentially a Mk1,Mk2 and Mk3 Artstar ES) in 1996 to replace the inner Basswood ply with Birch for the inner ply as well as the outer ply on painted models.

Perhaps when the Swingstar/ Rockstar production moved to Taiwan they started producing hardware for other series there as well

2000 saw the shells upgraded again, this time to thinner 7mm shells with 6 plies Phillipine Mahogany and 3 inner plies Birch. These last ones are probably the pick

Posted on 5 years ago

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what happened to the official Tama forum? I used to visit there but can't find it now.

Posted on 5 years ago

Thanks Dukekamaya, that's very interesting info :)

Posted on 5 years ago

This was about the time TAMA stopped looking like TAMA and started trying to be another Gretsch clone.

I like Drums...
1963 Ludwig Downbeat Champagne Sparkle
1964 Leedy (Slingerland) Blue n Silver Duco
1964 Ludwig Club Date Sparkling Silver Pearl
1966 Ludwig Super Classic Sparkling Silver Pearl
1968 Gretsch round badge modern jazz orange stain
1972 Slingerland 85N Pop outfit Light Blue Pearl
1976 Ludwig Vistalite clear
1981 Gretsch SSB Gran Prix Rosewood
1987 Yamaha Turbo Tour Custom Mellow Yellow
1991 Pearl Export Ferrari Red
Posted on 5 years ago
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