Bongo drums – ‘Bongos’ the drum pair
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January 18, 2016

Select Your Bongos

All the bongos here are made with quality siam oak or rosewood and and have similar tuning mechanisms.All the parts are accurately made and fit well toghether to ensure stability when tuned. The major difference is the drum head material, which is either synthetic or natural skin.

The synthetic head is more durable and its tone tends to be less affected by humidity and temperature, the natural skin has a sound which is preferred by the majority of the advanced players.

The Crown bongos by Remo have synthetic skins and the Tycoon bongo drums have the natural skins The other main difference between the bongos is the type of wood of the shell and its decoration or finish and color, and it’s a choice of personal preference.

Start playing your bongos

The great thing about playing the bongos is that you have two hand drums in front of you, one lower pitched than the other that you can quickly and easliy set up rhythms by playing two hands on the same head or one hand on each head and switch combinations to find more complex patterns.

Some experts advise on learning the different basic sounds you can make with the drums by striking the head in different ways and resting one hand on the head while striking it with the other hand.We suggest to tune the instrument and immediately have fun with different rhythm patterns, then as soon as you are looking for more out of the instrument start learning the 5-6 basic different tones that can be obtained.

Tuning your bongos

The present tuning system used on all bongos on sale here was invented in Cuba.

Some bongoceros (bongo players) advise tightening/tuning the bongos just before playing and releasing the drums after playing, to ensure the skin is not overstressed for a long time and retains the desired tone. However beginner players may not worry about this as more damage can result from overtightening the drum; althought it is not very easy to do.

Each bongo has four screws pulling the head tight against the shell. To tune each bongo drum turn it upside down and tighten the screws. The screws should be tightened in the sequence of one screw then its opposite, rather than ‘going around the circle’ sequence; this will ensure more even pressure and better playing tone. Do not overtighten the screws as it may damage the head skin or the tuning/base ring. Just tighten a little and then play it to hear the tone. Then tighten/slacken until the preferred tone is heard.

How to hold your Bongos

The drum is held while seated and the classical way to hold the drum is between the knees with legs slightly apart and letting the sides of the drum rest on the calves while applying medium/light pressure on the sides of the drum with the inside of the knees/tights. The larger drum rests on the right leg.

It may take a little practice to find the most comfortable position that allows you to play at length. Like most instruments it is important to keep the right posture and learn to relax all the muscles as much as possible while playing so you can last for a long time without getting tired. This happens gradually over a few sessions.

There are other ways to hold the bongos especially if you are not comfortable with the classical way described above. Bongo stands are available to hold the drums while they are being played.