Remo Tar Frame Drums review

Fantastic tuning and great tone help these simple designs take flight

Remo's pre-tuning system means each drum has been tuned to an optimum tone.

MusicRadar Verdict

Even though these incredible drums might not seem to fit into your immediate scheme of percussive operation, you shouldn't dismiss them, as they're all highly versatile.


  • +

    Authentic-looking skins. Great responsiveness.


  • -

    Not much.

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You can't really get a much simpler basic design concept than the unassuming frame drum, and Remo has taken a lot of time to develop a mouth-watering inventory of these fascinating instruments.

The Tar frame drum is an ancient instrument of North African and Middle Eastern origin, although similar instruments have also featured in Native American and traditional Irish music.

"The finish on the heads gives a distinct and defined 'brush' tone that can add texture and volume to whatever you're playing."


These three new models all have a comfortable 3" depth with diameters of 16", 18" and even a super-substantial 22" version. Each shell features a 'cut out' to help you hold the drum if you play standing up and is formed from Remo's Acousticon material.

This, coupled with their popular Skyndeep heads, gives the player a lightweight feel with the assurance that wood and animal skins have been thankfully spared.

The shell blends seamlessly with the head in an organic fashion and, although these are non-tunable drums, Remo's Pre-Tuning System (PTS) means each drum has been tuned to an optimum tone - so if taken care of, wind and weather shouldn't alter these drums' funky fundamental sounds!

The 16" Tar has a wonderful snakeskin graphic that is incredible in its authenticity, and all three designs feature an actual photo of the skins transferred to the head.

The 18" sports a 'Goat Brown' skin that is perhaps the most generic, with a similarly awesome graphic which, like all three, will not come off with wear.

The mighty 22" Tar is resplendent in a striking goat-stripe finish that suits the size of this Tar extremely well.


All three Tars are so responsive that you might wonder how Remo can do this, given their synthetic construction.

The pre-tuned heads are a revelation, and when playing any of the drums you feel truly connected to the entire instrument. Every subtle finger nuance or thunderous palm stroke is satisfying, to say the least, with strokes near the edge super-crisp and articulate.

All three drums have a deeply moving quality that would certainly put you in a spiritual frame of mind, while being able to convey the slightest of individual strokes with effortless clarity.

The three drums sound wonderful when played together, so a percussion ensemble will benefit greatly from these Tars as a complete unit.

The finish on the heads also gives the player a distinct and defi ned 'brush' tone that can add texture and volume to whatever you're trying to achieve.

Remo has done a fine job with both the look and feel of these Tars, the rustic finish to the outside of the shell and highly authentic-looking simulated animal-skin heads combine to give the look of an ancient instrument but with all the benefits of 21st-century construction methods.