Marco Noto

Groove Management

Tama Hat Stack (CSH5) Review

Tama’s new product, the CSH5 Hat Stack, is a great example of an idea that seems so obvious that you wonder why it took so long for it to surface.

The Idea

Tama’s Hat Stack is a minimalist approach to splash/effect cymbal mounting. Weighing in at 1.095oz, it is far lighter than other mounting options, and it takes advantage of space above your hi-hat. It fits hi-hat rods up to 7mm in diameter (in my research this appears to be a standard diameter). While I can’t provide confirmation that the device will work on your hi-hat, I can confirm that the unit works with my DW and Sakae hi-hat stands. The device is based on a substantial metal collar (sporting a plastic cover to help protect your cymbal from direct contact with metal) with a short tension rod that can be tightened with a standard drum key. Two felts and a plastic nut round out the components. Clever little piece of “kit” as my British friends would say.

Hat Stack in Use

I demoed the Hat Stack on my DW 6500 Ultralight hi-hat stand. To get the best idea of potential clearance issues I used 13 inch hi hats, figuring this size to be the smallest in general use by gigging drummers. For the splash I used a 10 inch cymbal mounted about 8 inches above the hi-hats. I had no issues with the splash getting in the way of my hi-hat use. A few observations:

  • You need to mount the Hat Stack on your hi-hat rod before you mount a cymbal on it as there’s not enough clearance to tighten the tension rod with a standard drum key once the cymbal is mounted
  • Of all the components, the plastic nut used to tighten down the cymbal might be subject to failure if you like to torque things down like Godzilla. Hopefully this isn’t a standard practice for you as it puts unnecessary stress on thin splash and effects cymbals. A metal version would add considerable weight, and I would expect that Tama’s engineers have made that trade off decision using high quality materials
  • You could use another hi-hat clutch to obtain a similar effect as the Hat Stack, but most clutches are more expensive and weigh a good deal more--I prefer the minimal effect the Hat Stack has on pedal feel and spring tension, not to mention the fact that it has a sleeve to prevent metal-to-metal contact

Putting a splash cymbal right over the hi-hats proved to be interesting from a playing perspective. I was able to execute some interesting stickings between my snare, hats and splash. Not having to get my hands to a standard splash mounting position like the area between my rack toms meant improved economy of motion (translating into better stick control and more speed). Big wins all the way around.

Bottom Line

With an MSRP of $13.50, and a street price hovering around $10, there’s really no reason not to give the Tama Hat Stack a try if you want to maximize the use of "dead" space, cut down on setup time at gigs and shed a little more weight from your hardware bag.

If you decide to try the Hat Stack, please consider sharing your experience here.