Released in 2018, the Tama Club-Jam kit is Tama’s offering to the affordable Bop size kit. It fits in between other Tama’s shallower kit configurations such as the Superstar Classic NEO-MOD & the Club-Jam Flyer.
Tama offers the kit in 4 different finishes: Aqua Blue, Charcoal Mist, Galaxy Silver & Satin Blonde (+$100).
The Tama Club-Jam kit excels above the competition in many areas. For starters, the sound quality is excellent — the combination of poplar and mersawa wood develops a rich and cutting sound.
The bass drum sounds very punchy due to the shallower depth. In comparison to a Gretch Catalina (14×18 bass drum), the Club-Jam kit bass drum can cut through a band regardless of the genre without losing warmness.
The Gretch Catalina excels when tuned higher, producing a warmer sound, but when tuned lower, it feels weaker than the Club Jam kit.
Following the line of Tama’s Hyper-Drive, the short stack toms give tons of attack and get out of the way of the mix.
Heads up — tuning shallower shells might require a little more time and attention than most toms because heads interact quicker. Finding an appropriate head combination is vital to make the Club-Jam kit sound quality.
Currently, my Club-Jam kit is outfitted with a double-ply coated on the batter side and a single-ply coated on the reso side.
The Club-Jam kit looks are stunning, especially the Aqua-Blue finish. The detail of the bass drum wood hoops gives a classy vintage look.
Also, the curved bass drum spurs add up to the look. Continuing with the bass drum, the Club Jam kit includes a cymbal mount. In my experience so far, it’s very sturdy. I mount a 20″ ride and, at times, a 16″ stacker (china/o-zone crash).
Priced at $399.99, the only full size (not kids size drums) competitor at the same price point is the Ludwig Breakbeats. In comparison to the Ludwig Breakbeats, the ClubJam kit offers a bigger size bass drum (18″ vs 16″) and bigger floor (14″ vs 13″).
On the other hand, the Gretch Catalina Club offers similar drum shell sizes (18″ bass drum, 12″ tom, 14″ floor tom and matching snare), but it is priced at $699.99.
If you are looking for a more affordable option, Tama offers the Club-Jam mini 2-Piece shell pack. The Club-Jam mini is priced at $269.99. It includes a bass drum and snare.
To me, the most valuable feature of the Club-Jam kit is the portability. For a working drummer, being able to have a big sound with less gear is key.
As a working musician in New York City, I have been able to play with bands, and ensembles cutting thought the mix with no problem.
I can fit the complete set in the trunk of my four-door sedan and not have anything exposed in the back seat. The Club-Jam kit is light, and Tama also offers a set of bags for protection and portability.
Although the Club-Jam kit offers great features, it falls short on others. The bass drum legs and cymbal mount does not come with memory lock.
To a working drummer, it’s essential to be able to set up quickly. By not having memory locks on the spots that support the most weight of the drum is an issue.
Any 7/8″ memory will make your Club-Jam kit experience much better.
The ClubJam kit also falls short on the lugs count. All drums have six lugs. It is okay for the 10″ tom to have six lugs, but on the bass drum, snare & floor tom, it feels like an oversight from Tama.
Having eight lugs on the bass drum, floor tom & snare makes tuning more accurate.
For comparison, the Ludwig Breakbeats does have eight lugs on the bass drum, floor tom, and snare even though they are smaller sizes.
Aside from the most common upgrades such as heads, Tama offers a set of add ons for the Club-Jam Kit. One of the offerings is the Standard Series 3 Piece Drum Bag Set ($99.99), a three-piece bag set (bass drum, floor tom/snare combo & tom) that fits the Club-Jam Kit perfectly.
It is made out of waterproof polyester, which protects the kit. The bag includes the classic Tama’s T logo, red stitching, and shoulder strap for the tom & floor tom/snare bag.
The Tama Classic Hardware Pack ($279.99) is the perfect hardware solution for the Club-Jam Kit. The Classic Series Hardware was created in collaboration with Peter Erskine, offering a sturdy but lightweight hardware.
It includes two straight cymbal stands (in combination with the Club-Jam kit bass drum cymbal mount accommodate three cymbals), hi-hat stand with adjustable spring tension, snare stand and snare stand.
It also comes with a hardware bag that matches the Standard 3 Piece Drum Bag Set.
And lastly, The Classic Pedal ($99.99). With a sleek design, its best feature is the ability to adjust the tension from the top of the pedal rather than the bottom like most pedals.
The Classic Pedal also allows changing the angle of the footboard independently to the height and angle of the beater.
About the Author: Harold Agosto is a Drummer & Music Educator based in New York City. Harold is the host of the podcast Drums: En Español (available on all major podcast platforms), the only drumming podcast in Spanish. His YouTube channel offers gear reviews, tips & best practices for drummers and drum lessons.
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