NAMM 2024: “The purest snare sound ever achieved…” Tama’s 50th Anniversary Mastercraft Bell Brass puts the snare drum behind Metallica, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine and more back on the market

Watch Gojira’s Mario Duplantier put the Tama 50th Anniversary Mastercraft Bell Brass through its paces

NAMM 2024: Tama is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, and as such we’ve been hoping for some special gear to mark the occasion. Well, it turns out that the wait is short, because the Japanese drum giant has unveiled its first release of 2024, and it’s a reissue of one of the most sought-after snare drums of all time: the Mastercraft Bell Brass.


The Tama Bell Brass requires little introduction – hammered by Lars Ulrich for the cavernous backbeats of Metallica’s Black Album, flammed halfway to death by Dave Grohl on Nirvana’s Nevermind, and employed by Brad Wilk to groove his way through RATM’s Evil Emipire, the Tama Bell Brass is the backbone of ’80s and ’90s rock. 

Originally introduced in 1980, the Tama Mastercraft 14”x6.5” Bell Brass snare is made from a 12mm cast, hand-turned to a 3mm bell brass shell, (a slight misnomer that causes debate, given that it’s actually made from bronze alloy similar to our cymbals).

The 2024 version of Tama’s most sought-after snare drum harks back to the first run of Tama Bell Brass drums, with its brushed, raw finish presenting the snare with a dark patina. This is joined by a period-correct Tama Superstar badge and 10 Superstar lugs.

Hardware wise, the Tama Bell Brass reissue is fitted with Tama’s Roller Action Strainer — which offers a full-contact fit of the 18-strand, edge-to-edge snare wires —as well as detailed fine-tuning of the snare wires’ buzz and sensitivity.


Elsewhere, Tama has fitted the Bell Brass with 10-lug, die-cast hoops. Plus, there’s the inclusion of its One-Touch tone control, giving us an internal dampener for muting overtones at the turn of a knob.

In recent years, Tama Bell Brass snares — and cast drums in general —have seen a resurgence in popularity. This is, of course not the first time that Tama has reissued the Bell Brass, however used examples from any era command high price tags. 

While we’re yet to receive official pricing information, Sweetwater has the Tama 50th Mastercraft Bell Brass listed for pre-order at $3,999, while European retailer, Thomann is currently offering it for £3,333.