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Identifying Your Vintage Superstars
aje_drum
#1 Posted : 11/21/2010 4:29:04 AM
aje_drum

Groups: Newbie
Joined: 2/16/2009(UTC)
Posts: 1,953
Location: Straya
Thanks: 155 times
Was thanked: 313 time(s) in 256 post(s)
If anyone has anything to add or correct please let me know...If you have a good pic of your set in Piano White that you think is truly representative of the finish that you would like to have included in this article as the 'colour swatch' shot, PM me :)

Introduction

Congratulations on the recent acquisition of your Vintage Tama Superstars, the drums that put Tama on the map. If you are here digging around you are probably looking for some information on your new pride and joy. Have a look through this topic and see if your questions have already been answered. The regular contributers of this forum are happy to answer your questions, but if your answer lies within, you will probably get redirected here :)

What Timber Are They Made From?

Birch.

Unless your drums are a custom manufactured set, of which there are no public records available, all vintage Superstars are made of birch. There is a mention in a 1978 catalogue of them being made of maple and in the same cataloge it also says made of birch. It is generally considered that this was a stretching of the truth, and that they were always birch. The finish 'Super Maple' is pointed at by some as being eveidence of maple being used, perhaps even if only in the outer veneer. 'Super Maple' is simply the name for the finish, the same as 'Super Mahogany' has no mahogany outer veneer and 'Piano Black' contains no pianos.

The only production run maple drum to bear a Superstar badge was a snare called the MEGA8 Maple. It was (you guessed it..) an 8x14 drum in natural blonde finish that utilized left over Camco maple shells after Tama and DW's buy out of that company. It looks for all intents and purposes the same a pre Mighty Lug 8" snare, utilizing all the same hardware. The tell is that the Camco shells had vertical seams and the Japanese made Tama shells had a diagonal cut seam. Diagonal seams were used on all Japanese made versions of the Superstar shells, including the early thin shell with reinforcing hoop versions.

There was a limited run of special veneer finishes around 1979-80. The info on these I have never seen any documentation on, and Tama have no catalogue or so much as an advert advertising them on their website. Mick Fleetwood famously used a set with Rosewood veneer inside and out and black hardware in that era, of which there is stacks of youtube footage. Given that most of this footage is converted from video cassette, it is a little hard to see their beauty, and in most cases they simply look brown. The shells of that kit came up for auction on eBay in 2011, so there is a pic available here.

As to all of the different finishes of these specal veneer kits, I'm quite keen to gain any more info on, so feel free to PM me thru this forum if you have any. From what I can glean, there seems to have been the Rosewood, Koa, and perhaps Walnut, and possibly even more. In the 1980 Modern Drummer with Simon Phillips on the cover, he talks of wanting Tama to make him one of the Walnut kits...

Determining Year Of Manufacture

Tama did not keep records of serial numbers to make this an exact science. Whilst they can be helpful in narrowing it down, there are also many other clues to look for. When this information is looked at in conjunction with the serial numbers, a pretty accurate date range can be established.

There are two distinct families of vintage Superstars. The first is a thin shelled version with covered finsihes in 1976 (the 9500 series) and a satin stain finish from 1977 to 1979 (the 9600 series). At some stage in 1979 the second family emerged with a thicker shell, as well as the high gloss finishes that would go on to become a Tama hallmark. These drums were made until 1986 (the 9800 & 9900 Series) and are the drums most are refering to when they talk about vintage Superstars. There was some crossover of specifications, such as a thicker shell with a satin finish, although these hybrids don't turn up very often. The author for one has never seen a factory gloss finish on a thin shell.

It should be noted also that just because a drum was manufactured in a particluar year, it does not mean it was sold in that year. At the very least it s reasonable to conclude that drums made at the end of one year may still be in the shop awaiting purchase at the beginning of the next year, causing some overlap of particular details.

1976 - 9500 Series. 4 ply 6 mm shell with reinforcing hoops. Covered finishes available 'Hairline Chrome', 'Pink Champagne', 'Metallic Red', 'Metallic Blue', 'Platina' (in some catalogues Plantina, and probably both were intended Patina). These drums are very uncommon. Big 'T' Superstar badges. Serial number and hardware features are likely the same as the 9600 introduced in 1977, though the cataloge is very scant on information. This coupled with the outright rarity of the drums themselves (I've never seen one, despite looking for many years) makes it difficult clarify hardware features or serial number format of the first drums bearing the Superstar name.

1977 - 9600 Series. 4 ply 6 mm shell with reinforcing hoops. Satin stain finishes available 'Custom Maple' or 'Natural Maple' & 'Natural Walnut' or 'Custom Mahogany' depending on which cataloge you look at, as well as the covered 'Platina' and 'Custom Black' that is unclear if it is a stain or covered. 'Custom Black' is not in the catalogue released late in 1977. Five or six digit serial numbers, stamped onto long rectangular badges on concert toms and stamped into the big 'T' badges mounted opposite tom holder and on the lower half of the shell (closer to resonant side) on double headed toms. Version one internal damper (tone control) on double headed toms and floor toms. Version one (smooth) tom holder mounted on bass drum. Tom holder brackets with small 'key' hole in underside to accept memory lock on toms and floor toms leg brackets. Floor tom leg brackets the same as tom holder brackets. Floor tom legs have threaded spikes. Version one bass drum spur brackets (smooth diamond shaped design), with spurs the same thickness as floor toms legs and the same threaded points beneath the same rubber tips. Smooth bass drum 'T' handles.

1978 - 9600 Series. Same as 1977

1979 - early examples same as 1978 9600 Series. From some point in 1979 the new 6 ply 9mm unreinforced shell was adopted, the 9800 Series, and the 9600 discontinued. Drum hardware features the same as 9600 Series. New gloss lacquer finsihes available 'Super Mahogany', 'Super Maple', 'Super Sunburst', 'Super Aqua Marine'. Serial number, badge, damper and hardware features same as 1978.

1980 - 9800 Series. As of Jan 1980 there are numerous hardware changes. Internal dampers no longer standard, badge moved closer to batter side of the drum on double headed toms. Tom brackets no longer have the hole for the early memory lock as a new design memoery lock has also come along. Floor tom leg brackets no longer the same as tom brackets, they now have a direct friction screw tightening against the leg as opposed to the eyelet on earlier incarnations. Floor tom legs no longer have threaded tips, simply rubber feet. Bass drum 'T' handles now have a smooth outline with a rougher texture to the handle portion. Discontinuation of 'Super Sunburst' (except Japan). Discontinuation of 'Gong Toms' and 'Gong Floor Toms'.

1981 - 9800 Series. Same as late 1980, with the introduction of deeper 'X-Tras' sizes (9900 Series) which at this time are available only in 'Super Mahogany' and the newly added 'Cherry Wine' finishes. 'Super Aqua Marine' changed to simply 'Aquamarine'. Version two bass drum spur brackets (arrowhead shape) and heavier duty (but shorter) spurs that have a larger rubber tip. Version two bass drum mounted tom holder (chunkier, taller, 'rough' finish).

1982 - 9800 & 9900 Series. Same as late 1981, with the introduction of a new serial number method. Serial numbers are '82-XXXX' format. It is likely that badges with this format may have continued to used until they were all gone, leaving the possibility of some being added to drums in later years, or at least into 1983.

1983 - 9800 & 9900 Series. Same as 1982 with new serial numbers being of '83-XXXX' format. Discontinuation of 'Super Sunburst' finish (in Japan) and 'Aquamarine' (except Japan). 'X-Tras' sizes now available in all current finishes.

1984 - 9800 & 9900 Series. Same as 1983 with new serial numbers being of '84-XXXX' format.

1985 - 9800 & 9900 Series. Same as 1984 with new serial numbers being 8 digits, dropping the year at the beginning. Early 1985 serial numbers follow the format 1630xxxx, while late 85 follow 1360xxxx *. Slight badge redesign with the silver 'T' on the badge now being slanted. Badges are now located in the 'Display' positions, adjacent to the tom holders rather than opposite them, as had been the case previously. Some kits have badges on both adjacent panels, but only one with the air hole grommet, the other badge being tacked in the corners. Some original buyers have said that the secondary badges and pins were given to them at the time of purchase to install themselves if they desired. Enough of the badges withough grommet holes turn up on eBay to back this up. Redesign of bearing edge to a sharper profile. Wing nuts and wing bolts used on tom holders, spurs and floor tom leg brackets redesigned, with a pronounced ear to each wing and 'Tama' written on them. Much easier on your fingers. Introduction of 'Candy Apple Red', 'Piano White' and 'Piano Black' finishes, all of which are 'Solid', non transparent finishes, in contrast to all the previous finishes.

1986 - 9800 & 9900 Series. Same as 1985, except serial numbers. Early 1986 numbers follow the format 1540xxxx, while late 86 follow the format 1450xxxx *.

What Sizes Were Available?

Listed as Diameter x Depth...the most important dimension first :) Then followed by the Tama Part Number of the popular 9800 and 9900 Series (the thick shell, gloss lacquer). Not all sizes were available in all finishes. The list below pertains primarily to the more popular 9800 and 9900 Series. The 9600 Series (satin stain, thin shell) was the same sizes with the exception of all X-Tras sizes, no double headed toms smaller than 12", no 20" floor tom or timbales. Part numbers are the same except wiht a 96 prefix rather than 98. X-Tras Concert Toms appear only in the 1986 Japanese cataloge, after Super Sunburst had been discontinued. The author for one has never seen an X-Tras Concert Tom in any finish apart from in that catalogue.

Bass Drums
18x14 - 9818
20x14 - 9820
20X16 - 9920 (X-Tras)- not catalogued but known to exist.
22x14 - 9822
22x16 - 9922 (X-Tras)
24x14 - 9824
24x16 - 9924 (X-Tras)

Tom Toms (Standard)
8x8 - 9808
10x8 - 9810
12x8 - 9812
13x9 - 9813
14x10 - 9814
15x12 - 9815

Tom Toms (X-Tras)
8x9 - 9908
10x9 - 9910
12x11 - 9912
13x12 - 9913
14x13 - 9914
15x14 - 9915

Floor Toms
14x14 - 9834
16x16 - 9836
18x16 - 9838
20x18 - 9840

Concert Toms
6x5½ - 9856
8x5½ - 9858
10x6½ - 9860
12x8 - 9862
13x9 - 9863
14x10 - 9864
15x12 - 9865
16x14 - 9866

Concert Toms (X-Tras)
8x9 - 9958
10x9 - 9960
12x11 - 9962
13x12 - 9963
14x13 - 9964
15x14 - 9965

Gong Toms
12x8 (13 Head) - 9892
13x9 (14 Head) - 9893
14x10 (15 Head) - 9894
15x12 (16 Head) - 9895

Gong Floor Toms
16x16 (18 Head) - 9896
18x16 (20 Head) - 9898

Gong Bass
20x14 (22 Head) - 9850
22x14 (24 Head) - 9852

Timbales
13x6½ (14 Head) - 9803
14x6½ (15 Head) - 9804

What finishes were available

9500 Series : Covered finishes - Hairline Chrome, Pink Champagne, Metallic Red, Metallic Blue, Platina
9600 Series : Satin stain finihes - Custom Maple/Natural Maple (same finish), Custom Mahogany/Natural Walnut (same finish)
9800 Series (standard depths) : High gloss lacquer finishes - Super Maple, Super Mahogany, Super Aqua Marine (or Aquamarine post 1981), Super Sunburst (until 1982), Cherry Wine (available from 1983 in Non X-Tras sizes), Candy Apple Red (from 1985), Piano Black (from 1985), Piano White (from 1985)
9900 Series (X-Tras) : High gloss lacquer finishes - Super Maple (from 1983 for X-Tras), Super Mahogany, Cherry Wine, Aquamarine (from 1983 for x-Tras, Japanese catalogues only), Candy Apple Red (from 1985), Piano Black (from 1985), Piano White (from 1985)

What Are They Worth?

What did you pay?

There is no way to accurately guage what any vintage anything is worth, other than to compare it to similar examples sold recently. Many different forces are at play, but ultimately it is the market itself that will determine what their value is on any given day. This forum does not allow the buying and selling or advertising of drums (or hair straighteners...) so your best bet is to have a study of eBay. Over the course of a month you will see plenty...if they sell then that is what they are worth that day.

How Rare Are They?

Generally speaking, not very...it's very hard to apply the term 'rare' to drums that appear in catalogues. Certain finishes are uncommon, such as the 'Super Sunburst' finish which anecdotal tales insist was not available in the USA, but enough have surfaced to prove this untrue. Although not mentioned elswhere in this article, stray drums drums and the very odd complete kit in the distinctive Billy Cobham black/red/yellow triburst surface from time to time. Some were Billy's, but others obviously weren't. What isn't obvious for the ones that weren't his is whether they were produced by the factory or not. If they weren't then some of them are very well done. Some uncatalogued sizes turn up on occasion such as 20x16 'X-Tras' bass drums. 14x14 and 20x18 floor toms are few and far between. Certain size/finish combinations are seldom seen such as 'Aquamarine' in 'X-Tras' sizes, as the finish was discontinued the same year the deeper sizes were made available in colours other than 'Cherry Wine' and 'Super Mahogany'.

How Can I Tell If My Drums Have Been Modified?

The most common modification is the conversion of Concert Toms to Double Headed Toms, by getting a bearing edge cut and adding the necessary hardware. The badge is usually the first give away...the Concert Tom rectangular badge is rarely removed and substituted for the 'Big T' badge. Even when it is, the tacks that hold the rectangular badge to the shell are spaced far enough apart that the Big T won't cover them. The spacing of the lugs from the bearing edge is often (but not always) further on concert toms also, to the degree that the lugs cannot be placed in line with one another for the bottom head on 12 and 13 inch toms if the same distance is mirrored for the bottom head. The 8, and 10 inch concert toms were shallower than their double headed versions, and the lugs must be offset to fit them on the shell. There was no 16 inch double headed mounted tom.

Refinishing is another mod, though fairly seldom seen. All stained and lacquered finishes, with the exception of 'Super Sunburst' have shell interiors finished in the same colour as the outside, though without the clear coats (gloss) and not as deep a stain. The interior finish can be inconsistent from year to year and perhaps even from drum to drum, but it is always there. If you have a drum that is a different colour on the outside to the inside, then it has been refinished.

Cutting down the depth of X-Tras toms is also occasionally done. Give aways are that it is not possible to cut them to the same depth as the standard toms and still be able to utilize the existing holes for lugs. Either the lugs will be an inappropriate distance from the bearing edge (not matching the top) or there will be extra holes. This modification is nearly always performed on the resonant side, as cutting anything from the top will make the tom mount and badge change its position relative to the batter side, making the hack obvoius. If enough is cut off to eliminate the existing bottom holes completely, then the tom ends up being substantially shallower than the standard depth toms. There are enough standard toms getting around the secondhand market that performing this major surgery shouldn't really be necessary.+

One modification that I have done to my own drums is substituting shell hardware such as wing bolts, tom holders and spurs. My reason (justification?) is to make all the hardware match on drums that are from different years of production. All the hole patterns are the same across all years (including spurs and bass drum mounted tom holder) so no irreversible changes are made, and probably nobody except a few would ever notice, let alone care.

What About Snare Drums?

Snare drums have deliberately been left out of this article. Tama manufactured many different snare drums that bore Superstar badges that had nothing to do with the actual Superstar series, such as the Bell Brass and Gibraltar 'Mastercraft' series snare drums. The compiling of all the variants would detract from the core of this article's intent. Even the snares that use the same shell and are colour matched to the kit finishes have model numbers that are not consistent with the Superstar series. These specific snares were available in the following sizes - AW455 14x5, AW456 14x6½ and AW458 14x8. There were slightly different hardware appointments over the years, but the model numbers remained the same. A Superstar Era snare drum compilation may be available at a later date...or maybe not :)

Conclusion

The information in this topic is intended as a guide to help those wanting to know more about their drums. It is compiled from Tama's catalogues, both US and Japanese. It is accurate to a point, but certain anomolies may appear. Tama, during the time of the Superstar series, was well known for making just about anything the customer wanted, so genuine oddballs come along, such as the previously noted 20x16 bass drums, or special endorser finishes (Billy Cobham had many...see the cover of his 'Warning' album). The author is happy to be corrected and this article updated as long as the information can be verified. A credit for the information will be given if requested.

Supplemental Information

* - Clarification of 1985 and 1986 serial numbers contributed by forum user ed427vet...Cheers :)
+ - Cut down tom information contributed by forum member RoyalstarFan...Thanks :)

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Top Left : Early badge with 6 digit serial number - 1976 to 1981
Top Centre : Slanted T badge - late 1985 to 1986. 1540xxx designates it as early '86.
Top Right : Concert tom badge
Bottom Left : Non-grommeted badge
Bottom Centre : Double badging. This is sometimes seen on toms with their grommeted badge in one 'display' position, and the non-grommeted in the other. It is doubtful that this was done at the factory, as not all display badged toms have got it. A keen eye will also see that the badges on this drum are at different heights, another indicator of non-factory. Some original owners of late model kits have said that the dealer gave them the non-grommeted badge to put on themselves if they wished.

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Left : Version 1 Bass Drum Tom Holder Bracket - 1976 to 1981
Right : Version 2 Bass Drum Tom Holder Bracket - 1981 to 1986

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Left : Version 1 Bass Drum Spur Receiver - 1976 to 1981
Right : Version 2 Bass Drum Spur Receiver - late 1981 to 1986

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Left : Version 1 Bass Drum Spur - 1976 to 1981. Note it's smaller diameter if you are buying some for your set, it's for the picture Version 1 Bass Drum Spur Receiver above.
Right : Version 2 Bass Drum Spur - 1981 till 1986. Thicker daimeter.

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Left : Version 1 Floor tom leg with threaded spike tip - 1976 to 1979
Right : Version 2 Floor tom leg - 1980 to 1986

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Left : Version 1 Bass drum T handle, note the smooth handle - 1976 to early 1980
Right : Version 2 Bass drum T handle - late 1980 to 1986

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Left : Version 1 Tom Holder Bracket with notch on the underside for memory lock. Also used for floor tom legs - 1976 to early 1980
Right : Version 2 Tom Holder Bracket, with no notch. - late 1980 to 1986. Note different wing nut, as used from late 1985. This wing nut and it's sister wing bolt were used for all drum hardware fixtures from this time.

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Floor tom leg holder, used in place of the regular tom mount - 1980 to 1986

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Left : Version 1 Bearing Edge - 1976 to 1984. Ignore the late model wing bolt on the leg holder...I swapped them. Easy to tell from the later one as it still has the lacquer.

Right : Version 2 Bearing Edge - 1985 and 1986. No lacquer, the outer contour is less rounded, and the apex is positioned slightly closer to the outside.

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Pictures courtesy of eBay user club-date, used with permission. Thanks Ray :)

Custom Mahogany or Natural Walnut depending on what catalogue you look at. This kit is a nice example of the satin style finish of the early 9600 Series drums. Unusually though, this kit has the thicker 9mm shells of the 9800 Series, indicating it's production at the time of the crossover between the two series. There are a few of these kits getting around, but certainly the drums you usually see with the satin finish are the 6mm shell with reinforcing hoops. There are none in any catalogues like these ones pictured.

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Super Sunburst - Catalogued from 1979 to 1982 in Japan, until 1981 elsewhere. Many insist it was unavailable in the USA at all. While enough kits have turned up in the US to refute this, it seems dealers were reluctant to carry what would have been a 'finish for special tastes' at the time. The Canadian distributor at the time is known to have said that the finish was no longer available after the first few kits were sold. Funny how bursts or fades nowdays outnumber solid finsihes in Tama catalogues :) Two of the drums in this kit have badges with the slanted 'T', indicating manufacture after 1985. So evidently the finish was still available for special order well after it had been offically discontinued.

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Super Aqua Marine, later changed to simply Aquamarine. 1979 to 1983 in US catalogues, but available in Japan for the life of the 9800 Series, and even continued into the Starclassic series in 1996. Pretty wild variation is common in this finish, everywhere from flat out green to the turquiose seen in this pic. You never see green ones in Tama promo pics.

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Picture courtesy of forum member dmenace, used with permission. Thank you :)

Super Maple - 1979 to 1986, the life of the 9800 Series. This set is in remarkable condition.

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Top : Super Mahogany - 1979 to 1986, the life of the 9800 Series. This finish is occasionally confused with Cherry Wine, although Super Mahogany is definantly more dark amber than red. Confusion is probably due to the colour swatches in the cataloges not being so easy to tell apart, and that most other manufacturer's versions of mahogany are much more red than Tama's. Note that the bass with the mirror head has non genuine spurs.

Bottom : Picture courtesy of forum member ed427vet, used with permission. Thank you :)

Here we have a rare, uncatalogued 20 x 16 Bass Drum, belonging to Ed. Again, Tama would make one off's on request, as long as the request accompanied by an appropriate payment :)

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Pictures 1 and 2 courtesy of forum member RoyalstarFan, used with permssion. Thank you :)
Picture 3 courtesy of forum member docmacnab, used with permission. And thanks to you too :)

Top Left : Without using the camera's flash
Top Right : With flash...and some more toms :)
Bottom : Outside in the sunlight.

Cherry Wine - 1981 to 1986. Originally only offered in X-Tras sizes (according to catalogues, but they'd have done it special order) and then also standard sizes from '83. This is a 9900 Series X-Tras kit. The top two photos serve to show why, in the right (or wrong?) light, this finish can be hard to tell from Super Mahogany. If shot with a flash, there is no way you could make the mistake, although it makes the finish look more lairy than it really is. The photo at the bottom gives the most faithful example of the finish, a shot in the sunlight with appropriate film (!) Another big kit in a Peartish configuration owned in the mid 90's by docmacnab, who no doubt like the rest of us, is kicking himself for being a former owner :) You don't see a whole lot of standard depth tom kits in Cherry Wine. Nice.

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Photo courtesy of forum member cloth, used with permission - Thanks :)

Piano Black - 1984 to 1986. Introduced towards the end of the life of the series, along with Piano White and Candy Apple Red. Prior to these three colours, all finishes had been semi transparent revealing the grain of the outer ply. These three are 'solid' finishes. Another uncatalogued 20x16 bass drum here and a desirable 14x14 floor tom. I want this kit :)

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Photos courtesy of forum user Stranjluv101, used with permission - Cheers :) Massive set...

Candy Apple Red - 1984 to 1986. As with Piano Black and Piano White, this finish came along towards the end of the Superstar reign. And as the other two, it is a solid, non transparent finish. The CAR finish has a subtle sparkle effect created by having a silver basecoat, and it really makes the red 'pop', as the close up reveals. Neil Peart famously had a set in this finish (although it was a Superstar badged Artstar prototype), making it extremely popular. I think it looks great even if The Professor didn't use one :)
Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
5 users thanked aje_drum for this useful post.
pit_s_xroad on 9/19/2012(UTC), satinmaplesupes1980 on 10/6/2013(UTC), PJTremblay on 12/3/2013(UTC), thundar351 on 7/30/2014(UTC), zenyattanc on 9/29/2014(UTC)
dmenace
#2 Posted : 11/21/2010 4:49:57 AM
dmenace

Groups: Newbie
Joined: 6/27/2008(UTC)
Posts: 229
Location: Netherlands
Wow! Very funny also. Great piece of information! Can't wait for the snare drum thingy.
aje_drum
#3 Posted : 11/21/2010 5:03:35 AM
aje_drum

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dmenace wrote:
Wow! Very funny also. Great piece of information! Can't wait for the snare drum thingy.


I was gonna let you compose that one, being as you own nearly all of them :)
Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
dmenace
#4 Posted : 11/21/2010 5:14:39 AM
dmenace

Groups: Newbie
Joined: 6/27/2008(UTC)
Posts: 229
Location: Netherlands
I do own a lot, but I don't know as much as you do. I just collect them, you study them. And my English is too poor to write a decent story as well. And my last excuse is that it's impossible to complete. They've made so many snares. Every time I deny existence of a snare, a new catalogue pops up with pictures and specs. When I started out I thought that there were 6 Mastercraft snares. Now I took a second morgage and still I do not own all of them.
Northup747
#5 Posted : 11/21/2010 11:25:42 AM
Groups: Newbie
Joined: 11/19/2010(UTC)
Posts: 13
Man
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Aje- you rock. I cannot thank you enough. I will print this and file it for my travels.
'78 Mahogany Superstars- 14x24, 16x18, 8x12, 10x14
Mega 8 Maple snare - in Super Maple. 8x14
'82 Super Maple Superstars 14x24. 16x16, 8x12, 9x13, 10x14
All lovingly restored- now to hunt down the Aquamarines I passed up for the cherrywines in '81...
RoyalstarFan
#6 Posted : 11/22/2010 11:43:36 AM
RoyalstarFan

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Excellent article, Aje - thanks! Here's some stuff to add that I can think of...

1 - The Super Sunburst was definitely available in North America. I recently spoke to someone who purchased one brand new here in Canada in 1980 and had it for sale recently (see other post).

2 - Another point of interest is how to easily differentiate CW and SM finishes - a lot of the pictures and names on Ebay are quite misleading, with one finish being confused for another. The best way is to look at the inside of the drum - SM is light brown, CW is red.

3 - Version 1 bass drum spur holder was different not only in that the finish was all smooth chrome, but the spur diameter was smaller (not mentioned in the spur picture but quite obvious). A good thing to know if you have the spurs and are looking for the holders (or vice versa).

4 - Thanks to Ed for the clarification on 1630/1360 and 1540/1450 8-digit serial numbers. I have a few of these an always thought it was the other way around (numbers with the 5 were for 85, number with the 6 were for 86). Another interesting point of these drums, other than the modified badge, is that the bearing edge is cut differently and after finishing, leaving it on the bare wood, and seemingly sharper and more precise than the pre-1985 drums. This can often lead people to thing think the bearing edge were re-cut, while in fact they are factory original.

5 - Another common modification is the reduction of a Xtras depth to a more-or-less standard depth. This is usually done by shifting the bottom lugs up by the distance between the screw holes (1-1/2", if memory serves me correctly) and cutting a new bearing edge along the line of the old lower screw holes. This results in a drum that may be smaller than standard depth (a 9" tom will come out 7.5" deep rather than 8") and there are tell-tale signs such as the badge and tom bracket being off-kilter vertically, and the bottom hoop being closer to the lugs than the top one. Keep an eye out for this on Ebay postings!

6 - I know you're not covering hardware, and it's hard to date a kit from the tom holder and these are easy to interchange, but the "Tama" logo on the OnmiSphere tom holders was flat from 1980 to 1982, and on a raised block from 1983 to 1986. Prior to 1980, it was the ratchet type, and most Superstar kits from 1983-1986 came with the Omni-Lock bass drum tom mounts, which had adjustable offset angle between the mounts and one-touch lever tightening.

Good Stuff!


ed427vet
#7 Posted : 11/22/2010 8:08:04 PM
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RoyalstarFan wrote:
Excellent article, Aje - thanks! Here's some stuff to add that I can think of...

1 - The Super Sunburst was definitely available in North America. I recently spoke to someone who purchased one brand new here in Canada in 1981 and had it for sale recently (see other post).

2 - Another point of interest is how to easily differentiate CW and SM finishes - a lot of the pictures and names on Ebay are quite misleading, with one finish being confused for another. The best way is to look at the inside of the drum - SM is light brown, CW is red.

3 - Version 1 bass drum spur holder was different not only in that the finish was all smooth chrome, but the spur diameter was smaller (not mentioned in the spur picture but quite obvious). A good thing to know if you have the spurs and are looking for the holders (or vice versa).

4 - Thanks to Ed for the clarification on 1630/1360 and 1540/1450 8-digit serial numbers. I have a few of these an always thought it was the other way around (numbers with the 5 were for 85, number with the 6 were for 86). Another interesting point of these drums, other than the modified badge, is that the bearing edge is cut differently and after finishing, leaving it on the bare wood, and seemingly sharper and more precise than the pre-1985 drums. This can often lead people to thing think the bearing edge were re-cut, while in fact they are factory original.

5 - Another common modification is the reduction of a Xtras depth to a more-or-less standard depth. This is usually done by shifting the bottom lugs up by the distance between the screw holes (1-1/2", if memory serves me correctly) and cutting a new bearing edge along the line of the old lower screw holes. This results in a drum that may be smaller than standard depth (a 9" tom will come out 7.5" deep rather than 8") and there are tell-tale signs such as the badge and tom bracket being off-kilter vertically, and the bottom hoop being closer to the lugs than the top one. Keep an eye out for this on Ebay postings!

6 - I know you're not covering hardware, and it's hard to date a kit from the tom holder and these are easy to interchange, but the "Tama" logo on the OnmiSphere tom holders was flat from 1980 to 1982, and on a raised block from 1983 to 1986. Prior to 1980, it was the ratchet type, and most Superstar kits from 1983-1986 came with the Omni-Lock bass drum tom mounts, which had adjustable offset angle between the mounts and one-touch lever tightening.

Good Stuff!




I would like to add to a few of your points.

#2 Not all internal SM finishes are light brown. In the early drums from 1980/81 it was a darker, smoother finish. Then around the time they started using the 82/83/84 type serials it was a light brown, rougher finish. Also during the last stretch with the 1540/1450 serials it was dark again and smooth but not as dark as the beginning. These are the ones with the redone bearing edge and repositioned badge.

#4 Aje did mention the modified edges. These started happening somewhere mid to late 1985. They also did this with the Cordia Artstars in exactly the same manner.

#6 I do not think (but I could be wrong) that the raised block tom holders ever came in 1-1/8 inch down tube. The raised block holders are smaller and made to fit into stands or multiclamps. The largest downpipe I have seen is 7/8 inch. I have seen people stick them in bass drums and tighten them up (they will work) but they clearly were not intended for that.

The more info in this thread the better.


1983 Superstar Super Mahogany: 6,8 concert, 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14x13, 15x14, 14x14FT, 16x16FT, 18x16FT, 20x18FT, 20X14BD, 20x16BD, 24x16BD(2), 13 timbale, matching 14x8 snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 10 ply snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 12 ply snare, 14x5 Rosewood with Kingbeat strainer ( John Panozzo's snare from Styx), 14x5 Aquamarine snare (was told it is Lenny White's)
1984 Artstar Cordia: 22x16BD(2), 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14X13, 16x16ft, 18x16ft, matching 14x6.5 snare
aje_drum
#8 Posted : 11/22/2010 11:22:08 PM
aje_drum

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Thanks for the positve feedback guys...as Ed says, the more accurate we can make this the better.

I've added the cut down tom info.

For clarification...tell me if you agree.

I only mention about Super Sunburst being hard to get in North America because I have heard from a few people that when they tried to order the finish they were told by the dealers that it was unavailable. I've also heard this of Aqua and even of Super Maple. We've seen enough sets for sale on US eBay to know that it wasn't really the case. Ed's brother still has the Aqua set he purchased new in the early 80's, as noted in another thread. My guess is that it is some dealers were telling customers it was unavailable, so as to sell the stock they had on the floor, so as not having to do a special order. The set that was in Canada recently kijiji (that is no longer listed) is proof enough for me that you could get Sunburst in North America, so I might delete those bits. To my reckoning that was a 79/80 kit as the rack toms were drilled for dampers :)

I'll post some pics of the different edges when I have some of the sharp ones. I could use a photo of my Artstar Cordia bass drum edge as it is the same shell thickness...but not a Superstar. But they are my gigging drums at the moment...I'd have to take the head off etc...excuse...etc...

I've deliberately not covered the tom holder trees as it is not Superstar specific information, and they are all easily substituted. I've got the two versions of the Omnishpere here (the raised block and the not...) both with 1-1/8" downtubes as well as an early ratchet style in a double tom stand 7/8". So the only one I don't have here is an Omnilock. But I really think there is enough information in the article to be able to date the drums without having to add it.

I've mentioned with the pic of Ed's Super Mahogany bass drum that there is sometimes confusion about SM and CW finishes, as well as a possible explanation. Ultimately, having owned both, you could not put them side by side and confuse the finishes unless you are actually colour blind. And in fairness, they are colours that those genuinely colour blind do get caught with. Whilst a photo with a flash makes them both look lighter then they really are, especially the CW, it certainly takes the guesswork out :)

Keep the info coming guys :)

Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
ed427vet
#9 Posted : 11/23/2010 10:45:04 AM
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Once again I think Aje is right on target.

I know with Tama you could get anything. It would just take some calling and order and money. Basically it would take work on the part of the dealer/drum shop. Not every shop went out of there way. As a business owner I understand it can be a pain to special order and wait to get paid when you can sell off the floor for immediate profit. So it makes sense that some items "became unavailable". My brothers Aquas were bought from the Long Island Drum Center around 1981. But I have also seen the deep Aquas in the US in 1986/87. I was told they were custom ordered and since they were available in Japan (I didn't know at the time) it would have been easy for Tama to fill that order.

The same could be with the Sunburst. I have never seen a set other than the pics of Cobhams up until recently.

However, on Craigslist recently I had seen a set of sunburst for sale. And it was not the same color as Aje's set. It was yellow in the middle fade to red on the outside. Now the pics looked genuine and the kit looked original, not custom painted. There are certain things I will look for and specific tip-offs that can show a custom job. This kit had none of that so I was pretty convinced. The kit will show up again I'm sure and I just want people to be aware of it. If its the real deal, its very rare.

Its probably more accurate to say certain sets were not offered in the US but were available upon request.

In the 80's Tama was a great company to deal with. I'm not saying they are not now, but I haven't bought anything new since the 80's. But at the time they were very responsive. I only wish I had more money back then. I would have ordered lots more. So I'm making up for it now.............
1983 Superstar Super Mahogany: 6,8 concert, 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14x13, 15x14, 14x14FT, 16x16FT, 18x16FT, 20x18FT, 20X14BD, 20x16BD, 24x16BD(2), 13 timbale, matching 14x8 snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 10 ply snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 12 ply snare, 14x5 Rosewood with Kingbeat strainer ( John Panozzo's snare from Styx), 14x5 Aquamarine snare (was told it is Lenny White's)
1984 Artstar Cordia: 22x16BD(2), 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14X13, 16x16ft, 18x16ft, matching 14x6.5 snare
RoyalstarFan
#10 Posted : 11/23/2010 11:15:39 AM
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Interesting stuff... I re-read the article more closely and noticed that some of the information was already in there (my bad). I am by no means an expert, but I am learning more and more all the time. All my Superstar stuff is post 1980, so I have no information on the first-generation thinner-shells-with-re-rings. It's hard enough just to get the 80's stuff around here. I once saw a 5-inch Super Maple snare with the old parallel strainer at a local store, that's as rare as I ever saw.

Color Variance:
One thing I noticed about the Super Mahogany color (both inside and out) - there is clear variance even sometimes within the same set and same year. This was a common problem on Aqua Marines, but I find on Super Mahogany as well. I got my kit from the original owner, all badged 83 and purchased on the same day, and the 15" tom and one of the 24"X14" is clearly one shade darker, both inside and out. I noticed the same thing from the 1982 10" and the 1985 6" I added on later. Cherry wine kits are more consistent - I never saw any variance - but I found that even the darker SM insides are hard to confuse with the red CW insides. It's hard to distinguish SM for CW on some auctions, but from the inside it's easy to tell.

5-digit serial numbers
I also checked my correspondence with the owner of the Super Sunburst kit, and his badges were 5-digit serial numbers. Also, he bought it new in 1980 from a store in Ottawa, and as far as I know, it was not a special order. I have kept pics from that ad (including the 5-digit badge), which I guess would be public domain since I got them from Kijiji :)

Raised-lettering Omni-Sphere kick mounts
I am quite certain that the raised-block "Tama Omni-Sphere" kick drum posts (1-1/8" by 13") were available, since I got 3 of them :). However, I got one from my 84 Royalstar kit and 2 as leftovers. These were NEVER sold with the Superstars. From 1980-1982, they came with the flat-lettering tom holders (as on the Super Maple pic above), them in 1983, all Superstars came with the "Omni-Lock" which was an entirely different design (I got this piece of information and many others from TamaHistorian's excellent new book on Blurb.com). Raised-block lettering mounts from 83-86 were only available on the Swingstars and Royalstars, which had a 1-1/8" pipe on the kick.

More on Hardware...
I'm digressing into harware here, outside the scope of this article, sorry, but it could be useful information... I have seen three different types of Omni-Spheres dual holder heads, mounted on all 4 sizes of pipes - 3/4", 7/8", 1" and 1-1/8". The older ones that were used for 3/4" and 1-1/8 inch were the same, the pipe was just fitted outside rather than inside for the kick mount. The ones with 1" pipes came with the Titan straight stands, sometimes mounted on tapered pipes, sometimes straight. The ones with the the 7/8" pipe came either from the Titan Telescopic Boom or the smaller Stage Master single-braced tom stand. Then at some point, I noticed that they made the flange thinner so that you could fit a 7/8" pipe inside, or a 1-1/8 pipe outside. I assume this was done to simplify manufacturing, and the fact that there was not much need for a 3/4" pipe on Titan hardware (or that they had stopped using tapered pipes by then).

It gets very confusing to have to mix-and-match the old hardware if you want all of it to match on your kit. Only when you take the holder part off can you tell what pipe you can fit in. All 3/4" will fit a 1-1/8" on the outside, but some 1-1/8 will only fit 7/8" while others will only fit 3/4" on the inside. The 1" fitted with a non-tapered pipe will usually not accept anything else. I wanted all the mounts on my kits to match and to be period-authentic (flats on the 82, raised on the 83 with no Omni-Locks) so I had to reconficure a few of these. I racked up 16 of these suckers and I'm still looking for a flat one that will accept a 1" non-tapered pipe :).
ed427vet
#11 Posted : 11/23/2010 1:50:06 PM
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I'm happy they made this thread a sticky!!

Ah the color variations.........

I know very little about the satin drums or anything about the early Superstars from the 70's except what probably everyone else knows. They did make a colored covering on Superstars from what I remember seeing in the catalogs

Yes, the SM shades differed on the inside and outsides. The early Super Mahoganys with 6 digit numbers were a shade darker most of the time. The 82/83/84 badged were more burnt orangey. And they varied within themselves but only slightly. When all together they still look great.

The Aquas were very different. Some are just green. Others are very blue. Next to each other they are different drum colors. Luckily my bros set is matched almost perfectly on the blue side.

The Super Maples also vary widely. More so than the SM's but not as much as the Aquas.
1983 Superstar Super Mahogany: 6,8 concert, 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14x13, 15x14, 14x14FT, 16x16FT, 18x16FT, 20x18FT, 20X14BD, 20x16BD, 24x16BD(2), 13 timbale, matching 14x8 snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 10 ply snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 12 ply snare, 14x5 Rosewood with Kingbeat strainer ( John Panozzo's snare from Styx), 14x5 Aquamarine snare (was told it is Lenny White's)
1984 Artstar Cordia: 22x16BD(2), 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14X13, 16x16ft, 18x16ft, matching 14x6.5 snare
aje_drum
#12 Posted : 11/23/2010 5:16:33 PM
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Did the green Aquas look green back in the day, or have they just faded and deteriorated? The greenest one I have seen was severely neglected and sun faded.

I think colour variation within a particular finish is a fact of life when you are using semi transparent finishes. There was a lot of talk recently about inconsistencies in the Nightfall Green Cordia finish on the Starclassic Elites. A semi transparent over a timber that has highly contrasting grain colours...You never hear any of this kind of stuff with Piano Black :)

The raised block Omnisphere - another reason I haven't put it in is it's pretty unreliable for dating, unless the owner has had it since new...in which case we shouldn't need to date it :) I have owned 8 different Superstar kits over the course of time (3 of which I still have in my basement) not counting one off drums. One of the Cherry Wine kits I had was a very late model with the double badging, but still came with an Omnisphere instead of an Omnilock. I can't even say if the original owner bought it with a tom holder at all, being as I bought them from a shop second hand...I wish I still had that kit...That's why I think, for the sake of this article, we should stick to the drum specific hardware.

I've added the 5 digit serial number. It should have been there instead of seven...my mistake.
Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
ed427vet
#13 Posted : 11/24/2010 10:01:47 AM
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aje_drum wrote:
Did the green Aquas look green back in the day, or have they just faded and deteriorated? The greenest one I have seen was severely neglected and sun faded.


I don't know. Fading usually is not even but I have not seen enough Aquas to really know for sure. I just know the few Aqua drums and different shades that I've seen have varied widely both inside and outside.
1983 Superstar Super Mahogany: 6,8 concert, 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14x13, 15x14, 14x14FT, 16x16FT, 18x16FT, 20x18FT, 20X14BD, 20x16BD, 24x16BD(2), 13 timbale, matching 14x8 snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 10 ply snare, 14x6.5 Rosewood 12 ply snare, 14x5 Rosewood with Kingbeat strainer ( John Panozzo's snare from Styx), 14x5 Aquamarine snare (was told it is Lenny White's)
1984 Artstar Cordia: 22x16BD(2), 8x9, 10x9, 12x11, 13x12, 14X13, 16x16ft, 18x16ft, matching 14x6.5 snare
RoyalstarFan
#14 Posted : 11/25/2010 11:52:56 AM
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Excellent job everyone, I think we answered any and all questions that might arise!

One thing I have always been curious about is to establish some sort of database to correlate pre-82 serial numbers with year of manufacture, like Ed did for the 8-digit numbers. This is pretty difficult, since there are less of these drums around, and it gets harder and harder to find them still owned by the original buyer who can provide an exact purchase date. However, we could establish an approximate list of serial number/date manufactured based on known samples with discernible features.

For example, there's a satin finish re-ring tom on Ebay right now, which pegs it as 77-79 (seller says 1978, which seems bang on). The serial number is not readable, but it's clearly 5-digit. The owner of the Sunbust kit I spoke to was pretty precise about buying the kit in 1980 and all his serial numbers were 91XXX. I only have one pre-82 Superstar piece in all my collection, in the 107??? range (I'll need to confirm that). It's a high-gloss, no re-ring Super Mahogany 6.5" snare with short lugs, which would peg it as anywhere between late 79 and late 81 after the high-gloss finish started, but before the longer high-tension lugs were introduced on 6.5" snares. I've generally assumed that 5-digit numbers are roughly 76-79 and 6-digit numbers are 80-81.

Does anyone else have any 5 or 6-digit serial numbers they can pin down to a specific year?

Another interesting note, the calalogs introducing Cherry Wine and Xtras are copyrighted DEC81. Anyone ever see a Cherry Wine drum with a 6-digit serial number, or were the catalogs issued slightly before the drums were available?


aje_drum
#16 Posted : 11/26/2010 8:02:23 AM
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That could be a fun/interesting thing for us to try and do.

If he bought that kit in 1980, then of course it was in the store befor that. We know they went to the thick shell in 1979, not precisely when, but the catalogue I have that is not on Tama's site is dated May 1979, and is the first thick shelled / gloss finish catalogue. The drums in that one have internal dampers, like his Sunburst kit (his were removed but you could see the holes). The catalogue copyrighted Jan 1980 does not have the dampers, or the Sunburst finish, And the catalogue states "there are no hardware or mufflers protruding into the resonant chamber". His thick shelled kit has to be made 1979, because by Jan '80 they had no dampers. Also, It wasn't till May at the earliest that the dealer could have had a catalogue, then he has to order it, etc. I reckon there is a 6 month window for that Sunburst kit. June to Dec 79, which would have to be true of all thick shelled kits with dampers. Agree? The fact that they have 5 digit serials, whilst being true, isn't necessary to reach that conclusion.

To put it beyond doubt, the next thing we have to look for to narrow down the 5 digit serials is to see if we can find ANY drums with dampers that have 6 digit serials, or any 5 digit without dampers. I have 18 Superstar drums downstairs and all but two are old hardware drums, the other two are from 1985. Of the 16 'older' ones, none of them have dampers, but the 18" Sunburst floor tom has a 5 digit serial. Which at first thought scuttles the theory. But what is unclear is if the real early thick shelled floor toms had dampers...can't tell from the kit from Canada tha was for sale. The thin shelled ones certainly did, but all the photos in the 1979 9800 Series catalogues show floor toms from the badge side. On the thin shelled drums the damper knob was on the opposite side of the drum.

Still your 76-79 for five and 80-81 for six seems about right to me...


Something I noticed whilst looking at the catalogues again to make sure I got this right was that not all the hardware upgrades happened at the same time. The Jan 80 catalogue has the new floor tom legs and brackets and memory locks, and thereby no key on the tom holder, but not the bass drum spurs or the new tom holder block. That wasn't until Dec 81, effctively 1982 you would have to say. I've changed the article to reflect the correction.

That makes things interesting though. Most of the thick shelled kits you see with the old bass drum hardware have the tom brackets for the floor tom legs and the threaded tips on the legs. If the legs and holder changed in Jan 80, then in the same June to Dec 79 window as the damper drums, we also have to squeeze in no damper, but with threaded tips on the floor tom legs...of which I have 2 floor toms both with 6 digit serials. My 18" Aqua floor tom had new brackets with old legs, so I'd guess they weren't the original legs. But the Sunburst had the tom holder leg brackets and threaded tips...and that 5 digit serial.

Also from the early catalogues this gem that ties into the colour variations : "Wood is a natural material and being so, is subject to certain variations. While all our wood is carefully selected and our sets carefully color matched, it is impossible to insure that stained drums will always be of the same shade. We hope you feel as we do that these subtle variations add character and individuality to the instrument."

So if there is going to be variation in sets manufactured and shipped at the same time, then drums differing manufacturing dates by years are definantly going to show variation. Character :)

I'm thinking of reorganising the dating info in the article to be more of a timeline of important dates, rather than just dividing into years...maybe...
Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
RoyalstarFan
#17 Posted : 11/26/2010 10:17:41 AM
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I agree 100%. I figured if he bought it in 1980, it would be manufactured in 1979, as the features tend to indicate. His serial numbers were almost all in the 91XXX range (except for the 15", which I assume there would be less made of, so they used older stock to complete the kit):

12"- 91150
13"- 91966
14"- 91921
15"- 88479
16"- 91900
18"- 91943
22"- 91941
22"- 91938

This seems to point to 91XXX as second-half of 1979 timeframe.

My snare is 111287. It is thick, glossy shell, 6.5" deep with short lugs and standard Roller Bed strainer, so I am pretty sure it is either a 1980 or 1981. I also have a 130559 ImperialStar badge (King Beat 8805) 5" snare with parallel strainer, but these were catalogued from 1978 until 1983, so that's no help. Oddly enough, out of 29 Superstar pieces and 10 pieces of other types, those are the only 2 pre-82 items I have. I have a 1450 Royalstar in Wine Red, which would make it late 1986, which is very strange since that line is generally recognized as discontinued by 1985. I am curious on the serial number of the 78 tom on Ebay. I tried to improve the picture quelity but could not read it.

On the color variation theme - I bought my 9-piece Super Mahogany kit (9714BCS kit in the 83 catalog) from the original owner, and even with close serial numbers, the 15" and one of the kicks is clearly darker, which is hard to attribute only to the wood grain. It really looks like someone put an extra coat of stain on it, includign the inside. Also, it came with a Cherry Wine snare. The original owner swears it came that way. I have my doubts, but again, I have no reason to disbelieve him - talk about a color variation!!!
aje_drum
#18 Posted : 11/26/2010 4:24:41 PM
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On the 15", it would been hard to have any old stock of drums...given that they had only been available in thick shells for a matter of months at best. But as Ed makes the point, the badges could have been older...

Sounds right on with the snare, the Mighty Lug for the 6½ was introduced in that Dec 81 catalogue, and the Jan 80 catalogue had the Roller Bed, so it's in there somewhere...

I've just been dredeging through some old posts...some interesting stuff in there like a factory CAR Rosewood Superstar badged snare...one guy claims he was able to order an add on Superstar tom as late at 1989/90. If that's true then all we can hope to establish with serial numbers, any of them, is when certain numbers started, but not when they finished. Even if we ignore serials altogether (which I am not proposing we do), you can still narrow it down by finsish and hardware to a range of 3 years. Couple that with when a certain serial number range is known to start, we should get it down to close to a year...

Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
Red Fibrestar
#19 Posted : 1/24/2011 2:15:27 PM
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I just had one note: I know your doing a snare thing but you mention that Superstar badges on Bell Brass and carbon fibre. I have never seen a superstar badged Carbon fibre. These all had Artstar or artwood badges (after `86) The Gibraltar was Supe badged!
I also have every cataloged snare + some. I can post pictures when and if you need. I also have a few Gong toms and gong drums in gloss and matte super maple. As well as single odds like non reringed shell matte finished with tone control toms.. I also own a Birds Eye Maple superstar snare ( all maple shell) that was made for Billy Cobham in 1980 (date inside + says Proto BC) with King Beat strainer.It's not in good shape and is being restored right now (hardware only). Tama made so many cool things and still do!! they will still build things that are odd. Like 6" toms but I can't seem to break them for a 18" Bube gong drum!! I need to get myself figured out for pictures and posting.. so forgive me!!
Custom Viper red Fibrestars 14x22 12x8 13x9 16x16 22"bass drum extender
Black met. SC Bubinga 18x24 6x6 8x7 10x8 12x10 15x14 16x15 20x14 gong drum 6 painted to match octobans
Natural matte Superstar 14x24 12x8 13x9 16x16 18x16 20x18 12x8 13x9 gong toms 22x14 20x14 gong drums 8 clear octobans


Lots of snares!!well.. not so many anymore!!
aje_drum
#20 Posted : 1/24/2011 5:04:26 PM
aje_drum

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Red Fibrestar wrote:
I just had one note: I know your doing a snare thing but you mention that Superstar badges on Bell Brass and carbon fibre. I have never seen a superstar badged Carbon fibre. These all had Artstar or artwood badges (after `86) The Gibraltar was Supe badged!


Thanks for that. In the catalogue that has the CF (Power Tower one) you can't see the badge on the CF but you can on the Gibraltar. So it was an incorrect assumption that I had made, given that there has been a few CF's turn up lately with Artstar Badges. And it makes sense too, given that the CF has a thin shell, that it would bear an Artstar badge.

Just reading through the the timeline from the main article, there is allowance for gloss finish gong toms in there, around late 79 to early 80. The non reinforced matte finish sound interesting though. Is it the 4 ply or 6 ply shell? Also, on the matt finish kit that I had many years ago, the rings on the bass drum fell out, with virtually no sign that they had ever been there! So I'd say it was possible for kits with removed rings, either deliberately or not...I'm not saying your's were like that, but perhaps it's possible?
Starclassic Maple Marine Blue Fade / Artstar Cordia / 80’s Superstars Aquamarine / My Ex Tamas
Wanted Starclassic Maple MBF 20x16 BD, Artstar Cordia (or Starclassic Bubinga NCD) 20x14 Gong Bass or equally unobtainable 20x18 FT, 80's Superstar (or Granstar Custom) AQM 20x14 Gong Bass, 26x16 BD
Snares PC445H 14x5½ Hand Hammered Copper, GR958 14x8 Superstar Gibraltar, AS658 14x8 Artstar Cordia, AW628 14x8 Solid Maple, SMS55 14x5½ Starclassic Maple, Custom 14x5 Powermetal Steel, PBZ340 14x4 Bronze, AM155-10 10x5½ Artwood Maple
Red Fibrestar
#21 Posted : 1/25/2011 12:47:35 PM
Red Fibrestar

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Yeah, the `79/80 change over I think we see alot of mix and cross over. The tom I have I bought on the bay from the Billy Cobham auction from a bunch of years ago. It's the 6ply it just has the matte finish and muffler. I bought it to go with my matte Supes it looks right until you look inside and see it's the "newer" version of shell. The only snare to use Supe badges other then the birch shell snares were the BB like you said and thick shell Gibraltar, Mega8 maple and Rosewood.Also not to split hairs but in `78 `79 there were also the "special' veneer models with real mohagany veneers. there is a supplement for these and they were USA as well as covered Superstars in Platina, white and black. There was a veneer single Supe on Ebay that didn't sell for a long time due to it being one drum and finding the rest would be a lifetime search. I passed on it!! That new Tama history book has all this info and I think I have the supplements in my collection! If you search out old pictures of Mick Fleetwoods Superstars they were a Mahogany veneer kit.
PS. The early concert tom badges had no serial # on the badge!!
Custom Viper red Fibrestars 14x22 12x8 13x9 16x16 22"bass drum extender
Black met. SC Bubinga 18x24 6x6 8x7 10x8 12x10 15x14 16x15 20x14 gong drum 6 painted to match octobans
Natural matte Superstar 14x24 12x8 13x9 16x16 18x16 20x18 12x8 13x9 gong toms 22x14 20x14 gong drums 8 clear octobans


Lots of snares!!well.. not so many anymore!!
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