Tama Drums, (from Japanese: 多満 (Kanji), タマ (Kana), read as tama) is a brand of drum kits and hardware manufactured and marketed by the Japanese musical instrument company, Hoshino Gakki. Tama's research and development of products, along with production of its professional and most expensive drums, is done in Seto, Japan,[1] while its hardware and less expensive drums are manufactured in Guangzhou, China.[2] Hoshino has several offices around the world for marketing and wholesale distribution. Drums destined for the U.S. market are assembled and stocked at Hoshino (U.S.A.) in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The U.S. subsidiary also contributes to Tama's market research and development.

Tama Drums
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1974; 49 years ago (1974)
ProductsDrum kits
Tenor drums
Snare drums
ParentHoshino Gakki


Hoshino Gakki began manufacturing drums in 1961 under the name "Star Drums".[3] Hoshino, the family name of the founder, translates to "star field," thus the selection of the "Star Drums" brand name. The drums were manufactured at Hoshino's subsidiary, Tama Seisakusho, which had opened in 1962 to manufacture Ibanez guitars and amplifiers. While the production of guitars and amps was moved out of the factory by 1966, the production of drums there continued to grow. The two higher lines of drum models, Imperial Star and Royal Star, were introduced to the American market and were successful lower-cost drums competing against more expensive American-made drums offered by Rogers, Ludwig, and Slingerland at the time.

By 1974, Hoshino decided to make a concerted effort to make high-quality drums and hardware and start marketing its drums under the Tama brand. Tama was the name of the owner's wife, and is also a homophone with the Japanese word meaning "jewel". "Star" continues to be used in the names of Tama's drum models to this day.

Tama and Drum Workshop (DW) jointly bought the bankrupt Camco Drum Company. As part of the deal, DW received the Camco tooling and manufacturing equipment while Tama received the Camco name, designs, engineering and patent rights.

At the time, Camco was producing what was thought to be the best drum pedal on the market. DW continued production of the pedal using the original tooling, rebadging it as the DW5000. Tama began production of the same pedal under the Camco name. The Tama version of the Camco pedal is commonly referred to as the Tamco pedal to distinguish it from an original Camco pedal. Tama integrated all the engineering from Camco into their production process and the overall level of quality of their drums increased virtually overnight. The original plan was to market the low-end Tama drums to beginners and use the Camco brand to sell high-end drums to professional musicians. However, even the professionals were starting to use the Tama drums because of the low cost of the Asian-made drums with the (now) high quality of hardware.[citation needed][4]

Tama was one of the first companies to offer super heavy-duty hardware, and drum mounting systems that did not intrude into the shell like most brands in the 1970s. They also invented unique tubular drums called Octobans. Octobans are 6-inches in diameter and are manufactured in eight different lengths (hence the prefix "octo-") up to 600mm (23.62 in). They vary in pitch by using different shell lengths, rather than widths.

Notable artistsEdit

Musicians that use or have used Tama drums include:


  1. ^ Hoshino Gakki Mfg. Co., Ltd. profile
  2. ^ Guangzhou Hoshino Gakki Mfg. Co., Ltd. profile
  3. ^ "TAMA Drums | 1961 Star Drum". Archived from the original on 2019-08-10.
  4. ^ "TAMA Catalogs". Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  5. ^ Billy Cobham on Tama star drums
  6. ^ Peter Erskine on Tama star drums
  7. ^ Dave Lombardo on Tama website
  8. ^ Ulrich on Tama
  9. ^ Charlie Benante on Tama drums
  10. ^ Randy Castillo equipment on Drummer World
  11. ^ Stewart Copeland on Tama Drums
  12. ^ Mike Portnoy on Tama website
  13. ^ Neil Peart by Scott Fish on Modern Drummer magazine
  14. ^ Nick Menza: a tres años de su partida

External linksEdit