My TAMA Swingstar (1980)

Everyone has to start somewhere and I started with Tama‘s cheapo but solid “TAMA Swingstar” kit (in metallic blue) way back when, including some decent Paiste and Zildjian cymbals. This age-old photo here already has an upgrade present, an excellent Sonor bass drum (who cares about the color) and two additional Sonor toms.

Tama Swingstar (original 1980 Tama general catalog).

The interesting thing about the photo in the header though is that it was taken in my old room, on the top floor of our old place on Vestagervej in Copenhagen. UFO, Scorpions, Saxon, Van Halen and Judas Priest record covers on the wall, an old “Dual” plastic stereo in the back, and even some old tape cassettes on the shelf. I slept on the floor behind my drums, which were only up in my room for a few weeks that summer (because my parents were away and couldn’t lament the fact). Grand times, as shown by the photo in this post which falls squarely into those weeks.

In the future, there will be more on drums, my old TAMA Swingstar and my new Roland V-drums, Stormbringer II and the rest of the mad circus that was in perpetual and erratic motion around myself and the other borderliners in the beginning 80s .

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Note: The smaller photo above was taken from the original 1980 TAMA general product catalog. © TAMA, 1980. At the moment, you can find all the old TAMA catalogs on their website. This photo is in the 1980 general catalog.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

  1. Looks good! You prefer to have a twin or a tom-tom pair high up. Colourwise the blue tom-toms resemble a bit like the Ludwig drum kit that I think Mr. Watkins (music teacher at CIJS/CIS in early 80’s) had in the basement of CIS at Kgl. Kongevej. Whatever happened to Mr. Watkins – must of been 83-84 – is still a mystery to many since he suddenly vanished from the school without a word. Funny that I recall these events just by seeing the picture and reading your note.


  2. Jan,

    thanks for dropping by again. Yes, at that time I had everything set up pretty high (and steep), today I prefer a tighter and “flatter” setup.

    Because you mentioned drums at CIJS/CIS, two observations:

    a) I sold my (double-bass … as I still had and used the blue Tama Swingstar bass drum as well, which isn’t on the photo) kit to CIJS/CIS for a half-decent price. It was depressing to have to part with it at the time, but I couldn’t have taken it along to Germany (let alone set it up anywhere). I’m quite sure they kept it around for quite some time, although I always forgot to ask when I came around for a visit (at that time, several times a year).

    b) When I had lessons with Ed Thigpen, CIS had invested a smaller amount of money into this great “miniature” set (with blue oil Evans skins, as far as I recall), which was set up in some basement that hadn’t been taken over by fungus and humidity. As far as I remember, it was a home-grown Slagtøj-Centret (Frederiksberg) kit that actually had a damn good sound (when tuned-up properly). It consisted of a small bass drum with quite some “whack” and these tiny (elongated) toms with a sh*tload of resonance. I loved playing that set (which looked dirt-cheap) … although the cymbals sucked.

    When I first met Ed, I tried to be “cool” and said that that set wasn’t really worth anything. Ed made me blush in deep red colors when he sat down and played a wonderfully melodic and a dynamic as well as technically brilliant solo. When done, he smiled and taught me my first lesson: “It’s the drummer that makes the sound, not the kit”. God, I cringed at my stupidity.

    Jan, do you still play?
    If yes, what do you have or use?
    Let’s turn the comment area of this post into a drum geek one. 😉

    BTW: Lots more drumming stuff coming up.



  3. Harald Hofmann23/09/2014 at 10:07 pm

    Looks like the picture I took ages ago with my old Agfamatic 300 Sensor 😉 And you also forgot to mention that I – being your little helpless brother next door that was trying to listen to his Abba records on his plastic Phillips record player – was the one who suffered the most!

    🙂 Harald


    1. Hello, little one, 😉

      yes, that would be a photo you took, I guess. Let me remind you though that you only suffered one or two weeks one summer holiday when I moved the kit into my room. The rest of the time, I made the living/dining room above me vibrate by pounding away in the basement (to the enjoyment of that Brazilian dude behind our house who, as far as I recall, asked our mother if she had also heard “that strange rumbling sound around our houses). 😀

      Thanks for stopping by.


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