It was January 2014 when I first got my hands on a Tama Silverstar drum kit. I’d just joined the Tama family and was given the kit as loan stock.
For those that don’t know I used the Tama Silverstar for the first 4 months of 2014 with Chlöe Howl which included extensive touring in the U.K. and Europe (Ellie Goulding Halcyon Days Arena Tour 2014) and other headline shows, BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge etc. (considering how many drums kits go through the Live Lounge, I was surprised at how excited the BBC Sound Engineers were over the kick drum – hear it below).
Truth be told, I didn’t know much about this line of drums but what I did know was that it wasn’t in the “Superstar” or “Starclassic” line so I didn’t think too much of it.
I got the kit into rehearsals, changed the heads (to clear Remo Pinstripes) and was pleasantly surprised and what was coming back to me from the kit (the ambient sound). While I was changing the heads, I was confused by how beautiful the interiors of the shells were. The Birch looks exotic, quality and has character where on a lot of kits (in this price range) the interior of the shells resembles MDF more than it does an exotic wood. The quality of craftsmanship could be seen all over the kit. There’s also just something special about Tama Birch shells. As pioneers of utilising Birch wood in drums, there still isn’t anyone else who does Birch like Tama.
Truth be told; if the Silverstar had die cast hoops, upgraded floor tom legs/bass drum spurs and the Star Cast Mounting System; Tama could add this kit to the Starclassic line and nobody would bat an eyelid (that’s how good theses shells are). The kick drum is powerful (and even with stock heads) only needs minimal dampening. The rack toms project well and take full advantage of the pre-EQ’d sound that Birch drums are known for, sounding great out of the box. For me the sign of a great floor tom is when I feel depth and energy transfer ambiently (no microphones etc.) of the low end.
Check out the video below of me playing with Chlöe Howl at The Great Escape 2014 for Vevo UK. The mix isn’t great but you’ll get the idea.
Who is the Tama Silverstar for?
Let’s make no mistake about it. The Silverstar isn’t a top of the line kit and it doesn’t pretend to be… However it does offer a top of the line sound. In true Tama style, it can take a beating (both by a drummer and also the rigors of the road) and deliver every night. If there’s one downside to this kit, it’s the snare. It sounds great cranked up but is lacking in body and depth of tone; which (all things considered) isn’t so bad based on the price go the kit. With that in mind, I’d say this kit is an intermediate/advanced kit for those who are serious about drumming, need a solid kit (that won’t fall apart being with hard gigging) and those that want to take their drumming (whether in a band or just a session player) to the next level. The Silverstar won’t break the bank and it can grow with you and still deliver as you grow… I’ve played this kit in tiny venues, medium sized venues and arenas and never been able to fault it.
Growing up as a musician in the church world Pearl Export’s were always the kits you’d find in churches around the UK and even the world. As I got older the trend shifted towards Mapex “M Series” kits and to a point DDrum “Duo Fade” kits… Now the Silverstar is here I can imagine this kit being a staple in churches, colleges and other institutions because of their great finishes, ability to take a beating (without lugs breaking off and bass drum spurs failing etc.) and the clarity, purity and projection they offer at a great price point.
The truth is, there are so many drum manufacturers out there these days and it’s hard to come across “bad drums” (apart from the obvious “catalogue” kits etc.). The level of craftsmanship is high and there are loads of good kits out there but what Tama have created with the Silverstar is something great and a top contender in the intermediate/advanced range of drum kits.
- Birch shells
- Star-Mount System
- Sound-Arc Hoop
- Traditional Regular Size Toms
- Low Mass Lugs
- Slidable Tom Holder
- Claw Hook