Tama Imperialstar Review – A Beginner’s Set for Experienced Musicians

Tama is a Japanese company that has existed for 50 years and specializes in drums and hardware. It was the first company that started to produce extra heavy-duty hardware and mounting systems that don’t intrude into a shell. Tama is famous for its high quality and price. At the same time, the Tama Imperial Star drumset is thought to be the company’s attempt to create a set for intermediate-level musicians in the middle-price category. Although, its variations are used by famous brands.

Though this kit is intended especially for beginners, high quality is still a rule for Tama, so it also befits more experienced musicians. In this Tama Imperialstar review, I will talk about the beginner’s set taking into account all hardware you might need to start right away.

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Tama Imperialstar Review For Amateurs


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The manufacturer aimed to create a quality and durable set in a middle-price range. Tama Imperialstar is a full drum kit that also contains cymbals and hardware such as a drum throne, pedal, and stands.

  • Some Tama drums reviews mention the material of the shells as a flaw. To reduce the price the shells were made of poplar, this wood is perceived to give second-rate sound. Despite this common thought on poplar, the Tama Imperialstar drumset sounds fine because of the shells’ thickness.
  • The bearing edge is cut with high accuracy, as this aspect affects the tone of the drum as much as the type of wood does.
  • Tama Imperialstar drumset takes very little room, even with a few added cymbal stands. It takes about a 3’x5′ space and can be put at home without rearranging the whole space.

Tama Drum Kit

Because of such quality and durability, the Tama Imperialstar drumset is an instrument you can save for yourself when playing as a professional. I bet you’ll want to come back to its simplicity.

  • High quality in a middle-price range;
  • Basic set of drums + cymbals and hardware;
  • Takes very little room.
  • Shells are made of second-rate wood.

Unpacking Tama Drum Kit

Variations of Tama Imperialstar Drums

Tama Imperialstar Drums kit was conceived as a multipurpose. Its versatility concerns not only the number of drums but also their design. There are 7 types of various finishes, from classical dark blue to bright red or light zebrawood wrap. The Tama Imperialstar set is all about variations.

What’s included in the drum kit?

Tama Imperialstar 5-Piece Drum Kit

This kit can be modified according to your needs – the manufacturer wanted to satisfy a wide range of musicians. . Yet Tama Imperialstar is perceived as a basic drum kit, so it includes 5 drums and cymbals. Here is the list:

  • 22 x 16″ Bass Drum
  • 10 x 7″ and 12 x 8″ Tom Toms
  • 16 x 15″ Floor Tom
  • 14 x 5″ Snare Drum
  • Meinl HCS 14″ HiHat cymbals
  • Meinl HCS 16″ crash cymbal
  • Meinl HCS 20″ ride cymbal
  • Additional FREE Meinl HCS 10″ splash cymbal

It also contains hardware: a double tom holder, hi-hat stand, single drum pedal, snare stand, boom cymbal stand, straight cymbal stand, and drum throne.

Features Of The Tama Imperialstar

The type of wood shells and their thickness is 2 main characteristics that determine the drums’ tone. Tama Imperialstar is made of 100% poplar, and its shells are 8mm thick. This kind of wood is not the best for drums, but this flaw is balanced with the thickness of the shells. Thus, the sound doesn’t differ much from the birch or maple. Tama provides reliable hardware too. Tom holder provides easy positioning with both flexibility and stability. Spur brackets also proved their durability and stability.


Tama Imperialstar is a “ready to use” kit. It consists not only of drums and cymbals but also hardware and even a drum throne. Among all items, the Imperialstar kit includes the Iron Cobra HP200P kick pedal, whose design is based on the Iron Cobra 900 series pedal. Its main feature is a metal plate on the bottom, making it more stable.

FAQ About Tama Drum Sets

What famous drummers use Tama?

Many of the most famous drummers play Tama kits, for example, Lars Ulrich, James Cassells, or Jack Bevan. Yet Tama is famous thanks to a range of rock bands, even a jazz legend like Peter Erskine plays on a Tama set.

What bands use Tama drums?

Tama drums fit a full variety of genres. However, it is usually associated with harder styles of music. Tama has existed for 50 years, and during this time, a long list of bands made their choice to use the Tama drums. You can notice Tama drums on the System of a Down, Metalica, or the Pixes music videos.

How do you identify Tama drums?

Tama Maple Drums feature serial numbers that mark the date of manufacture. There are 2letters in a serial number: the first one stands for the year it was manufactured and the second means the month it was produced. Here is an example: OL is equal to 1988/May while OM is equal to 1988/June.

The Set You Can’t Overgrow

Tama Imperialstar 5 piece contains the basics you need to start and determine what kind of music you want to play. The main thing that may confuse you is the type of wood used for shells. Even though poplar is considered not the best material for drums, the thickness of the shells offsets this flaw.

Although Tama Imperialstar is supposed for beginners, it is not that kind of instrument you have to change when you gain more experience.

Are you looking for a drum set to start learning, or do you already have some skills? Please share your experience in the comments.

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