Tama Drums Best to Worst: The Definitive Guide

December 15, 2023

In this article we’ll explore Tama drums best to worst.

From the top-tier STAR series, celebrated for its craftsmanship, down to the practicality of the Cocktail-JAM series. Each series has its own rhythm and reason, designed to meet varied drumming desires. 

Whether you’re a pro or just starting, this guide will strike the right chord, helping you find your perfect Tama match.

Let’s hit it and discover the drum kit that resonates with your style!

Tama Drums Best to Worst

Star Series

Starclassic Series

Superstar Classic Series

Imperialstar Series

Stagestar Series

Rhythm Mate Series

Special Series

Club-JAM Series

Cocktail-JAM Series

Which Tama Drum Series is Right for You?

For Beginners

tama imperial star

Imperialstar Series

All-inclusive, poplar-made, bright and punchy sound.

tama stage star

Stagestar Series 

Compact, mixed woods, clear straightforward sound.

tama rhythm mate

Rhythm Mate Series

Affordable, beginner-friendly, precise tuning, stable hardware.

For Intermediate Players

Tama Drums Best to Worst

Superstar Classic Series

Maple-crafted, rich resonant tones, genre-versatile.

tama club jam

Club-JAM Series (Special series)

Mersawa/Poplar blend, warm punchy tone, portable design.

tama cocktail jam

Cocktail-JAM Series (Special series)

Birch and basswood, compact, clear punchy tone.

For Professionals

tama starclassic

Starclassic Series

Birch/Maple/Walnut, nuanced tonal variety, professional-grade.

tama star

Star Series 

Exotic woods, meticulous craftsmanship, unparalleled acoustic quality.

tama star

STAR Series

Tama’s STAR Series stands out for its exceptional craftsmanship and premium materials, making it a top choice for serious drummers. 

What sets the STAR Series apart? 

It’s all in the details. 

The series offers unique shell designs for each wood type – Bubinga, Maple, and Walnut – ensuring the maximum potential of the material is harnessed.

Here’s the deal: Each drum in the STAR series is crafted with a specialized thin shell, combined with Sound Focus Rings and precise ply arrangements, delivering unparalleled resonance and sound quality. 

This meticulous design results in a drum set that’s not just about good looks, but offers a superior sound experience.

Price-wise, the STAR Series is a significant investment. With prices ranging from $4,235 to $9,999, it’s about double the cost of Tama’s more basic series. 

But why the higher price tag? 

It’s the quality of construction and sound. 

For example, the Maple model, priced at $9,999, is favored for its warm, versatile sound, making it ideal across various music genres.

If you’re a drummer who values top-tier sound quality and exquisite craftsmanship and are willing to invest in a high-end drum set, the Tama STAR Series is the way to go. 

It’s not just a drum set; it’s an investment in your musical journey.

Drummers who play STAR Series

  • Billy Cobham
  • Peter Erskine
  • Simon Phillips
  • Robert ‘Sput’ Searight
  • Ulysses Owens Jr.
  • Joe Saylor
  • Eddy Thrower
  • Jeremy Stacey
  • Pete Ray Biggin
  • Anika Nilles
  • Kaz Rodriguez
tama starclassic

Starclassic Series

Tama’s Starclassic Series is a remarkable blend of innovation and tradition. Ranking as the second-best in Tama’s lineup, it’s a favorite among drummers who seek modern sound and versatile performance.

The secret sauce is the hybrid shell construction

Starclassic mixes woods like Maple, Walnut, and Birch, each contributing to a unique sound profile. Think of it as a fusion of the best tonal qualities of each wood.

Why not the top spot? 

Well, while the STAR Series edges out with slightly more premium materials, the Starclassic is no slouch. 

It offers Maple’s warmth, Walnut’s depth, and Birch’s clarity – a trio that’s hard to beat.

Price-wise, it’s more affordable than the STAR series but doesn’t skimp on quality. You get Maple’s bright versatility, Walnut/Birch’s deep lows, and the Performer’s rich tones.

If you’re an aspiring pro or a drummer who loves to experiment across genres, the Starclassic Series is your go-to. It’s about getting top-tier sound without breaking the bank. 

A perfect choice for the modern drummer who values versatility and quality.

Drummers who play Starclassic Series

  • Mike Portnoy 
  • Simon Phillips 
  • Peter Erskine 
  • Stewart Copeland 
  • Lars Ulrich
  • Robert “Sput” Searight
Tama Drums Best to Worst

Superstar Classic Series 

Tama’s Superstar Classic Series strikes a perfect chord between affordability and quality, placing it solidly in the third spot in Tama’s lineup

It’s designed for those who want high-quality sound without the steep price tag of ultra-premium models.

Here’s what sets it apart: Maple wood. Tama uses a special process to accentuate maple’s natural tonal qualities, giving these drums a richer sound than standard maple kits. 

The Superstar Classic Series stands out for its precise bearing edges and shell construction. 

Each shell is crafted with specific angles and thickness, tailoring its sound characteristics. This meticulous process results in a distinctively warm, resonant sound.

For drummers in the intermediate to professional range, this series is a jackpot. 

It offers the rich, full-bodied sound of maple, known for its versatility and warmth, at a price that’s more accessible than the top-tier series. 

The Superstar Classic drums are not just about affordability; they’re about providing a balanced, warm tone that’s adaptable to various genres, whether live or in the studio.

If you’re looking for quality maple drums that won’t empty your wallet but still deliver a professional sound, the Superstar Classic Series is your go-to. It’s about getting the best of both worlds – superior sound and reasonable pricing.

tama imperial star

Imperialstar Series

The Tama Imperialstar Series is a standout choice for beginners and budget-conscious drummers, ranking fourth on our list. 

Its defining feature? 

A balance of affordability and quality, making it one of the best entry-level kits out there.

Here’s why it’s a great pick: The Imperialstar uses Poplar wood, a cost-effective choice that still offers decent sound quality. 

This series is about smart manufacturing – automated processes and carefully chosen materials that ensure Tama quality at a more accessible price point.

Its sound? 

Bright and punchy. 

This makes the Imperialstar ideal for lively genres like rock and pop, offering a crisp sound that’s perfect for these styles. 

It’s a go-to series for beginners or those on a tighter budget, providing a solid foundation without a hefty price tag.

Compared to the higher-end Tama series that uses woods like maple or birch, the Imperialstar’s poplar shells provide a more focused and controlled sound. 

This is particularly beneficial in practice settings and small venues, where overwhelming resonance isn’t desired.

In short, if you’re starting out or looking for quality without breaking the bank, the Tama Imperialstar is your perfect match. 

It’s about getting a reliable, good-sounding drum kit that won’t empty your wallet, yet still keeps up with Tama’s reputation for quality.

tama stage star

Stagestar Series

The Tama Stagestar Series claims the sixth spot on our list, making its mark as an ideal choice for beginners or those needing a compact kit.

Its defining feature? 

Affordability and space-saving design.

What sets Stagestar apart is its simplified production process, focusing on essential drumming features without the complexities of pro models.

 This approach ensures a cost-effective yet reliable kit. Made from poplar mixed with other budget-friendly woods, Stagestar kits provide a practical balance of sound quality and affordability.

Its sound? 

Bright and clear, perfect for various music styles, and especially suitable for novices. Unlike Tama’s higher-end series that emphasizes tonal richness, Stagestar is all about delivering a straightforward, clear sound. 

It’s less about nuanced tones and more about giving beginners a manageable sound to learn and practice with.

If you’re just stepping into the drumming world or need a compact kit without a hefty price tag, Tama’s Stagestar is your go-to. 

It’s about starting your drumming journey with a kit that’s easy to handle, sounds good, and doesn’t crowd your space.

tama rhythm mate

Rhythm Mate Series

Another perfect choice for beginners is the Tama Rhythm Mate. 

It is one of the cheapest entry-level drum kits from Tama yet it still has the classic Tama design qualities. 

When compared with Imperialstar, this one has fewer high-quality design features which decreases its price. 

Also, the Imperialstar drum series comes with a set of cymbals while the Rhythm Mate doesn’t which again affects its overall price.

When talking about its features, Rhythm Mate has highly precise bearing edges for easy tuning which is a great feature for beginners but it also provides a wide range of tuning. 

If we take into consideration its price, which is around $800 more or less, it is a very good drum kit. 

Why, you wonder? 

Well aside from a great tuning feature, its hardware is equipped with double-braced legs. And what’s that, that’s the thing you will need to get the highest stability, which is, again, a great feature for beginners.

Another thing that I noticed is the hardware part, particularly The HT10S drum throne. 

It is extremely simple and easy to use but is still the same quality as the thrones on the high-end Tama drum kits regarding its stability and strength.

Special Series

tama club jam

Club-JAM Series

The Tama Club-JAM Series holds a special place in our lineup, celebrated for its compact size and vintage flair. 

This series is not meant for kids but is pretty small and they belong to the separate series that we have mentioned above. 

Club-JAM series is less about broad sound range and more about portability and style, a perfect fit for small venue performers or those loving a retro vibe.

Mersawa and Poplar’s woods blend together in the Club-JAM Series, crafting a kit that’s lightweight yet offers warm, punchy tones. 

Ideal for genres like jazz and blues, this series is a hit among drummers who prefer a controlled, nuanced sound over sheer power.

Club-JAM stands out in the Tama range with its vintage aesthetic and focused sound. 

Unlike Tama’s higher-end series that feature denser woods for more resonant sounds, Club-JAM’s material choice leans towards a drier, vintage sound. 

It’s perfect for those who play in acoustic settings or small venues where subtlety and nuance are key.

In essence, if you’re looking for a drum kit that’s easy to transport, has a unique style, and offers a specialized sound for jazz or blues, the Tama Club-JAM Series is your ideal choice. 

It’s about embracing that vintage vibe and portability without compromising on Tama’s quality.

tama cocktail jam

Cocktail-JAM Series

The Tama Cocktail-JAM Series, placed at the end of our list, is unique for its ultra-compact design and portability, perfect for scenarios where space is a premium. It belongs to the JAM series just like the previous one we have mentioned. 

Its specific focus on being compact limits its versatility but opens up new possibilities for drummers on the go. It is very small, yet it is suitable, especially for the very adult beginners rather than kids. 

This series is crafted from a blend of Birch and Basswood, a strategic choice that balances sound quality with a small footprint. 

The Cocktail-JAM stands out for delivering a clear, punchy tone in a significantly reduced size, making it ideal for urban drummers, street performers, or those requiring a space-saving kit.

Unlike Tama’s larger kits that offer tonal richness, the Cocktail-JAM focuses on maximizing sound in a small space. It’s perfect for acoustic sets, small venues, or street performances, offering a solid drum sound without the need for a large setup.

If you’re looking for a drum kit that fits into tight spaces yet still delivers a great sound, the Tama Cocktail-JAM Series is your best bet. 

It’s about having a practical, portable drumming solution that doesn’t compromise on quality, tailor-made for those with limited space or who are always on the move.

What Sets Tama Drums Apart?

Here are four main thighs that set Tama drums apart from other drum manufacturers.

Precision Craftsmanship and Innovation

Bearing Edge Design: Tama employs a meticulous approach to their bearing edges – the point where the drumhead meets the drum shell. 

This precision impacts how the drumhead vibrates, thus affecting the overall tone and sustain. Tama’s bearing edges are known for their sharpness and accuracy, which contributes to a cleaner, more resonant sound compared to many other brands.

Star-Cast Mounting System: Unique to Tama, this suspension system allows for maximum resonance of the drum without shell contact. 

The system enhances the natural tone and sustain of the drums, making them preferable for studio recordings and live performances where sound clarity is paramount.

High-Quality Materials

Wood Selection: Tama’s choice of woods in drum construction is a crucial aspect. For example, their Starclassic series often uses Bubinga and Birch, known for their density and sound qualities. 

Bubinga, in particular, offers a deep, rich tone with more low-end frequencies than more commonly used woods like Maple or Mahogany. This choice of exotic and high-quality woods contributes to a unique sound profile that is both powerful and nuanced.

Die-Cast Hoops: Tama utilizes die-cast hoops, which are heavier and more consistent in shape compared to traditional flanged hoops. 

This results in a more focused sound and a crisper attack, which is particularly beneficial for styles requiring sharp, precise drum strikes.

Durability and Reliability

Hardware Quality: Tama’s hardware is noted for its durability and sturdiness. From the robustness of their stands to the reliability of their pedal mechanisms, Tama invests in making hardware that withstands the rigors of heavy touring and prolonged use.

Attention to Detail: Even the smallest components, like lugs and tension rods, are designed for durability and ease of use. This attention to detail in all components ensures a long-lasting product that maintains its quality over time.

Customization and Versatility

Wide Range of Options: Tama offers a broad spectrum of drum kits catering to different levels and styles. 

From entry-level kits like the Imperialstar to professional setups like the Star series, Tama provides options for beginners, intermediates, and professionals, each with distinct features suitable for the intended user level.

Suitability Across Genres: Due to their wide range of kits and the unique characteristics of each, Tama drums are versatile and suitable for multiple music genres. 

Whether it’s the warmth required for jazz or the attack needed for rock and metal, Tama’s range has options that cater to these diverse needs.


Tama drums offer a wide spectrum of options catering to various drumming needs and preferences. Today, I made a list of Tama drums best to worst so you can easily choose the one that suits you the best.

Each series has its unique strengths, whether it’s the premium materials and construction of the STAR series, the versatile and modern appeal of the Starclassic, or the balance of quality and affordability in the Superstar Classic. 

For beginners, the Imperialstar and Stagestar series provide excellent entry points without compromising Tama’s renowned quality. The Club-JAM series, with its vintage charm, serves those looking for style and portability. 

Ultimately, whether you are a professional, a beginner, or somewhere in between, there’s a Tama drum set that aligns perfectly with your musical journey and requirements. 

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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