Tama Imperialstar | The ultimate drummer’s guide (2021)

tama imperialstar drum kit

The Tama Imperialstar is seen as one of the best starter drum kits available. For a budget drum kit, it sounds good and is of great value. 

In this guide, we are going to talk you through all of the features that come on the Tama Imperialstar and what is new for 2021.

Who is the Tama Imperialstar for?

The Imperialstar is the budget drum kit offered by Tama. Its price point makes it ideal for new drummers who are looking for a good sounding kit to learn on. 

Although this is the budget model, it is still packed full of features you may not expect to find on an entry-level kit.

Since this is the case, the Tama Imperialstar often lasts drummer beyond the early years and can become a good touring kit. 

This is why the Imperialstar stands out against many of the budget drum kits available on the market.

What are Tama Imperialstar shells made from?

The shells on the Imperialstar are made from 100% poplar wood. 

When compared to other woods commonly found in drums such as maple and birch, poplar is a cheaper option.

That doesn’t mean it is bad though. Poplar creates a warm tone with a medium attack. 

The shells are made up of 6 plies of 8mm poplar.

To make an affordable drum kit poplar wood is a great option as it pushes down the costs without the need to use a wood blend. 

Tama Precision Bearing Edges

The final thing to note about the Imperialstar shells is the Tama Precision Bearing Edges. 

Bearing edges have a big impact on the sound of the drum. It can affect the tuning, how the drum rings and the response.

Tama’s advanced edge-cutting process provides extremely precise bearing edges making the most out of the cheaper poplar wood. 

The result is a drum that has a full ring, a wide tuning range with sensitivity and response.

What hardware comes with the Imperialstar?

As well as their incredible drums, Tama is known for making great hardware.

Unfortunately, the Imperialstar doesn’t feature any of the latest innovations but that is to be expected. 

There is nothing wrong with the hardware found on the Imperialstar though. It has classic features that have stood the test of time.

Tom Holder

The bass drum mounted dual tom holder features the L-rod ball socket holders. 

These holders allow you to make the smallest tweaks to the tom positioning. If you like to have your toms placed over your bass drum, you will be able to get the placement just how you like it with these holders.

Spur Brackets

The spur brackets on the bass drum are very sturdy to ensure maximum stability. This is very important as the bass drum is also holding your toms. 

Stage Master Stands

The Imperialstar comes with stands included. The stands are from the Stage Master range. 

The Stage Master range features double-braced legs for extra stability and quick-set cymbal mates for quick cymbal changes.

tama stage master hardware

The Tama Imperialstar comes with:

  • Hi-hat stand
  • Boom stand
  • Straight arm stand
  • Snare stand

Remaining hardware

The kit also includes a standard single pedal and a throne.

There is nothing special about these but they will be fine for any drummer starting to learn.

What finishes are available?

The Tama Imperialstar is available in 6 different finishes. These finishes are all wraps. 

These look nice and there is a good variety to meet everyone’s tastes. 

The wrap finish helps keep the cost down to make the kit good value to you whilst looking nice.

Brand new finish for 2021. The Natural Zebrawood Wrap has been added newly for 2021. This is a great looking wrap giving the kit an exotic wood look. 

tama imperialstar kit finishes


  • Black Oak Wrap (BOW)
  • Natural Zebrawood Wrap (NZW)
  • Vintage White Sparkle (VWS)
  • Candy Apple Mist (CAM)
  • Hairline Black (HBK)
  • Hairline Blue (HLB)

Tama Imperialstar kit configurations

The Tama Imperialstar is available in 4 different configurations to match the style of drumming and budget you have. 

Each kit comes with all the hardware mentioned above.

The kits are available with or without cymbals. 

If you are starting to learn drums and don’t have cymbals yet it comes with Meinl HCS bronze cymbals. These are as good as any other entry-level cymbal and are of good value when purchased with the kit.

6 piece kit with 22″ kick (IE62H6W)

This configuration is the most expensive and comes with the most drums. If you are looking for a bigger set this is the configuration for you.

Drums included:

  • 22″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 16″ x 15″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 22″ kick (IE52KH6W)

I would class this as your “standard” drum set configuration. You are getting a 5 piece kit in the standard sizes you would expect. 

Drums included:

  • 22″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 16″ x 15″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 20″ kick (IE50H6W)

If you are looking for a kit with a slightly tighter sound this kit could be the one. It comes with a slightly smaller bass drum at 20″ and a 14″ floor tom rather than a 16″. 

Drums included:

  • 20″ x 16″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

5 piece kit with 18″ kick (IE58H6W)

If you are looking for a kit for a child this configuration is the better option. The 18″ bass drum allows you to place the toms lower whilst still maintaining a good tone.

Drums included:

  • 18″ x 14″ bass drum
  • 10″ x 7″ tom
  • 12″ x 8″ tom
  • 14″ x 13″ floor tom
  • 14″ x 5″ snare

Individual drums

If you have purchased a Tama Imperialstar drum kit and you are wanting to expand it you can purchase individual drums. 

The size selection is decent as long as you aren’t picky when it comes to the depth of the drums.

Bass drums

  • 18″ x 14″
  • 20″ x 16″
  • 22″ x 16″

Floor toms

  • 14″ x 13″
  • 16″ x 15″
  • 18″ x 16″


  • 8″ x 6.5″
  • 10″ x 7″
  • 12″ x 8″
  • 13″ x 9″


  • 14″ x 5″
  • 14″ x 6.5″

Are Tama Imperialstar drum kits good value?

There is no doubt that these drums are of great value. If you are a beginner or an intermediate player this kit is an amazing option.

Tama has had to cut areas of the kit to lower the price but it has done this in areas that will have minimal impacts on the sound.

For example, the hardware and finish have been cut back to allow the shells to be the best they can for the price.

The only thing you will want to replace on this kit is the heads. Drum heads can be expensive so cheaper Tama branded heads come with the kit. These are single ply so they won’t be that durable and they will be a bit harder to tune. 

Ideally, you would switch these out for a two-ply head such as the Evans G2s or Remo Emperor.

This does push up the cost but there is nothing wrong with playing the stock heads while they last. 

Where can I buy one?

Luckily for you, the Tama Imperialstar is available from nearly all online music stores or from your local drum shop. If you are looking to order online, here are our top picks.

Frequently asked questions

Are Tama Imperialstar drums good?

If you are a beginner the Imperialstar drum kits are perfect for getting started. They are one of the best sounding drums at this price and will last you for many years until including when you are at an intermediate level.

Should I buy a used Tama Imperialstar?

If you are wanting to save more money a second head kit is a good option. The Tama Imperialstar has been around since the 1970s so there are plenty of second-hand kits around. Like when you buy anything pre-owned, make sure you inspect the kit before purchasing. Looks for any cracks in the shells and damage to the hardware.

What is the difference between a new or vintage Tama Imperialstar?

The main difference is the wood the shells are made from. The vintage Tama Imperialstar drums from the 1970s and 1980s were made from Luan with a heavy speckled Zola Coat on the interiors rather than poplar with a natural internal finish like on the new kits.
Luan is a cheap wood like poplar. They have many similar characteristics but the sound of luan is preferred by some drummers.

What are our thoughts?

If you are buying your first drum kit this is one of the best options. There are cheaper entry-level drum kits available but this kit will see you beyond being a beginner well into intermediate levels. 

It sounds good and it is built to last. 

If you are looking for an alternative at this price point we recommend checking out the Pearl Export. If you are looking for an entry-level professional level kit from Tama, check out the Tama Starclassic Performer.

Have you owned a Tama Imperialstar drum kit? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Tama S.L.P. Snare Drums | Brand new additions for 2021

Tama SLP snare drums new for 2021

The Tama S.L.P. snare drums have become a staple for many modern drummers. The Tama S.L.P. range has a diverse selection of different types of snare drums that sound great and won’t break your bank.

Let’s take at the new additions for 2021. 

What are Tama S.L.P. snare drums?

The Tama Sound Lab Project (S.L.P.) snares have been designed to give drummers a wide range of snare drums with professional-grade features at an affordable price. Much like the Tama Starclassic Performer drum kits.

These snares aren’t your average snares though. They feature exotic materials not always found on snare drums and come in a range of different sizes. 

These snares stand out and there is bound to be something that will pique your interest. 

New snare drums for 2021

Every year Tama is mixing up the options available in the great line of S.L.P. snare drums. 2021 is no different. Let’s take a look at the new additions for this year. 

Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze 14″x4.5″

Let’s start with this eye-catcher. The aged patina finish makes this snare stand out from in bronze counterparts. Due to this finish, each snare is unique. 

Tama S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze

The combination of a shallow drum (4.5″) and a thick shell (1.2 mm) gives you a snare that has a strong attack with a firm crack yet a lot of sensitivity. This makes the snare very dynamic and great for a range of musical applications. 


  • Size – 14″ x 4.5″
  • Shell – 1.2mm bronze with an aged patina finish
  • Hoops – Die-Cast Hoop (8 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Starclassic Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

Have a listen to what Tama has to say.

Tama S.L.P. Maple Snare, Satin Figured Maple 14″ x 4.5″ 

This is a beautiful maple snare that features a satin figured maple finish, allowing the natural grain of the wood to shine through. 

Tama S.L.P. Maple Snare, Satin Figured Maple

This features everything that drummers love about maple snares combined with Super Sensitive Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires. This gives you a full-bodied sound with a crisp and fast response.


  • Size – 14″ x 4.5″
  • Shell – 7mm / 7ply Maple + 1 outer ply Figured Maple
  • Hoops – Die-Cast Hoop (8 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Super Sensitive Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

The last thing to mention is that these are being produced in limited numbers. When they are gone they are gone!

Tama S.L.P. G-Maple Snare Drum w/ White oak outer ply 14″ x 7″

With the S.L.P. G-Maple snare you are getting a thick and deep drum with a classic snare look. This drum features an outer ply of white oak that looks stunning.

Tama S.L.P. G-Maple Snare Drum w/ White oak outer ply

This drum features plenty of attack with plenty of power when hitting rimshots. 


  • Size – 14″ x 7″
  • Shell – 10mm, 11ply Maple + 1 outer ply White Oak
  • Hoops – 3.0mm Ultimate Steel Mighty Hoop (10 holes)
  • Snare wires – 20 strands Starclassic Hi-Carbon Steel Snare Wires

This snare is also being produced in limited quantities. When they are gone they are gone.

Final thoughts

I am a huge fan of these Tama snare drums. Especially the S.L.P. Dynamic Bronze, this is a real standout. 

If you are looking for a new snare the S.L.P. range from Tama is a great option. Amazing snare without the massive price tag. What else could you want?

Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits | New model for 2021

Tama starclassic performer drum kit

The Tama Starclassic Performer drum kit has become a favourite amongst drummers in the past ten or so years. It is easy to see why. You are getting a pro-grade acoustic drum kit for a fraction of the cost when compared to the premium kits. 

Let’s find out how Tama have improved the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit for 2021.

What wood is in the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The 2021 model of the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit is a hybrid shell consisting of maple and birch. To be specific:

  • Tom toms/ Floor toms/ Snare Drums: 6mm, 4ply Birch + 2 inner ply Maple
  • Bass Drum: 7mm, 5ply Birch + 2 inner ply Maple

This combination gives you the warmth of birch with the clarity of maple.

Previous Tama Starclassic kits have used combinations of wood such as bubinga/ birch and walnut/ birch. 

What hardware comes on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The hardware the comes on a drum kit can make an undeniable difference to the end sound. Lets have a look at what comes on the Tama Starclassic Performer.

The hoops

The Starclassic performer comes with Tama’s professional line die-cast hoops. These are made from zinc and are formed by injecting the molten metal into moulds. 

Die-cast hoops come with a great range of benefits:

  • Easier tuning
  • More consistent tuning
  • Crisper attack
  • Clear resonant sound
  • Powerful rim shots 

The mounting system

The Star-Cast Mounting System is what you will find on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit. This is the go-to choice for all of Tama’s professional kit lines. They offer maximum resonance and stability whilst allowing you more options to place your toms where you want them.

What finishes are available on the 2021 Tama Starclassic Performer?

The 2021 model has four different lacquer finishes available to choose from. All of them are beautiful but there is one standout. Caramel Aurora. It won’t be for everyone but wow, what a finish.

Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit finishes
Credit – Tama Drums

Here are all the finish options available:

  • Molten Steel Blue Burst
  • Caramel Aurora
  • Dark Cherry Fade
  • Piano Black

Which one would you pick? Let us know in the comments!

What does the 2021 Tama Starclassic Drum Kit sound like?

So how do Tama describe the kit? Here a quote from them.

offer drummers a complex, powerful and expressive sound

Tama drums

To be honest that is a pretty spot-on description. The Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits offer you the modern drum sound we all love. A full-bodied tone with punch and dynamics where you need them. 

Here is a great demo of what the drums sound like.

Just incredible.

What configurations does Tama Starclassic Drum Kits come in?

The Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kits come in two standard configurations. A four-piece or a five-piece. Neither of which come with a snare so bear that in mind when purchasing. 

Four Piece Kit (MBS42S w/ Chrome Hardware)

The sizes of this kit are very much that of a traditional drum kit. This kit consists of:

  • 10″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x9″ Tom Tom
  • 16″x”14″ Floor Tom
  • 22″x16″ Bass Drum
  • Double Tom Holder (Bass Drum Mount)

Five Piece Kit (MBS52RZS w/ Chrome Hardware)

This kit comes with shorter size tom-toms for an even punchier stand. This kit consists of:

  • 10″x7″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x8″ Tom Tom
  • 14″x12″ Floor Tom
  • 16″x14″ Floor Tom
  • 22″x16″ Bass Drum
  • 2 x Single Tom Mounts

Individual Drums

If the preconfigured kits don’t meet your tastes you can also order individual tom-toms, floors toms, bass drums and snare drums. These can be used to enhance one of the preconfigured kits or to create something truly unique. 

Bass Drums


Floor Toms


Tom Toms


Snare Drums


Why is the Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit so cheap?

There is no doubt that with the Tama Straclassic Performer you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. There are still some differences between the Tama Starclassic Performer and the more expensive Tama STAR kits.

The main differences are:

  • The wood of the STAR lines is just one material and don’t use any form of hybrid.
  •  The shells on the STAR range feature a unique and more complex bearing edge shape.
  • The hardware on the STAR range features the latest Tama patent technology.

All of these differences lead to a drum the costs more to make due to the time-consuming shells and more expensive hardware. 

All this doesn’t mean you aren’t getting a professional level kit with the Tama Starclassic Performer. Far from it. Tama is always pushing the boundaries with there kits and much like with technology, you pay a premium for the latest innovations.

Where can I buy a Tama Starclassic Performer Drum Kit?

You can get purchase the Tama Starclassic Performer from you local drum store that suppliers Tama. Or if you are looking to order online, here are our recommended websites.

OR have a look on Gear4music

Frequently asked questions

What heads come on the Tama Starclassic Performer?

The Starclassic Performer comes with Evans Heads on the kit.
EVANS® G1 coated batter and TAMA clear single-ply Power Craft II resonant heads on the toms.
EVANS® clear EQ4 batter heads, Tama resonant head with muffle ring on the bass drum.
EVANS® G1 coated batter heads and EVANS® 300 snare-side head on the snare drum.

What are our thoughts? 

If you are looking for a professional sounding acoustic drum kit at a good price the Tama Starclassic Performer is a great choice. You are getting an amazing sounding kit with the premium price you get on the very top range kits. 

It is easy to see why it has become a favourite among so many professional drummers, such as the incredible Anup Sastry.

The Tama Starclassic Performer drum kit is renowned for delivering exceptional kits with undeniable value. The 2021 version certainly continues the reputation. 

If you are looking for an alternative kit at this price point, check out the DW Design Series or the Pearl Session Studio Select.