Tama Superstar Drums--What kind of shells do I have?

by Gary
(Cape Cod)

I have an older Tama Superstar natural finish kit but don't know what type of wood is used. Inside the shell is an "S" stamp. Any help is appreciated, thanks!


Hi, Gary!

I'm not sure how old "older" is, but here is some information that may be of help to you:

I was able to find pages from the Tama catalog from 1976--the year that the "Superstar" set was first built. It was very interesting!

In 1976, the shells were Birch. I could not find any information to indicate that the wood was ever changed--even in the '80s when maple was being used for some drum kits like the "Art Star".

Here is what the online catalog says about the construction of the new "Superstar" series:

"Our highest priority feature when developing the Superstar series was sound. Superstar shells use birch for the main inner ply for strong projection and aggressive open sound. To enhance Superstar's great looks, basswood, with its excellent consistency and regular grain patterns, is utilized for the inner ply on all Superstar shells as well as the outer ply on Superstar Custom SL. Precisely cut bearing edges bring out the great response and powerful resonance of these superbly crafted shells."

So--it looks like BIRCH is still the ticket! If you want a complete history of Tama drums, this is cool: Tama History

Hope this helps. Thanks for the question--I had fun with it!


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Apr 03, 2015
by: Bud

I've been all over the web and still can't get a answer. Are Superstars wrapped? Just got a 3 piece for $250 that are the wine red? With red interior. But, they are wrapped not stained. All birch shell? Help!

Mar 04, 2015
me too
by: Daniel

I have the 9 piece 2x kick version myself in wine red.
Adding to the info given here they are an 8 ply shell. Definitely birch. Punchy on the high end, dark on the lower sound.

Nov 13, 2009
by: Menno

Hi! The S on the inside indicates the original (or vintage) Tama Superstars from the seventies/eighties. These were indeed Birch shells, eventhough one color was called Super Maple. This created a lot of confusion about the wood type, but Birch it is. Great sounding drums!

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