The company we know today as Tama was first introduced by Hoshino Gakki in 1965 as Star Drums (Hoshino is “star field” in Japanese). The drums were manufactured at Hoshino's subsidiary, Tama Seisakusho, which had opened in 1962 to manufacture Ibanez guitars and amplifiers. Though 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.
By 1974, Hoshino had decided to make a concerted effort to make high-quality drums and hardware and resolved to start marketing the company’s drums under the Tama brand, named for the owner's wife, which means "jewel" in Japanese. In keeping with its heritage, "star" continues to be used in the names of Tama's drum models to this day.
Tama's high-end line of drums is called the Starclassic series, and is usually made from maple or a birch/bubinga combination. Starclassic series drums come with a more streamlined version of Tama's Star-Cast mounting system, made from aluminum, air-cushioned floor tom legs, "Hold Tight" washers (which keep the tension rods in place), die-cast hoops, and Evans drumheads as standard equipment.
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