Congas, bongos, timbales, tambourine, cowbells and shakers– in addition to the popular Cajon there are quite a few percussion instruments which you can use to enhance the sound of your band or ensemble. The rhythm is denser and more varied with small additional patterns and even without a drummer you can play a unique groove using the appropriate instruments, for example during acoustic sessions. Below are some suggestions to help you get started.
Congas, are a classic in nearly every percussion ensembles. Their woody but also very distinctive Cuban sounds, are recognizable in countless rock, pop and jazz formations around the world. You usually start with two drums, the Quinto and the Conga, which is a configuration most Conga sets are offered in. With a third drum, the tumba, advanced players are able to create a setup with even more varied sounds. Those who would rather play the Congas standing, should acquire the matching Conga tripods such as the Pearl PC-2500.
Bongos, known as the small siblings of the Congas, are mainly responsible for sharp and more powerful sounds. Their skins are either made of plastic or thick leather and like the Congas can be individually tuned. Both bongos are traditionally, clutched between the knees and played in the sitting position. But there are also suitable tripods (Millenium MXB699 Bongoständer) in order for you to comfortably play them while standing.
The goblet-shaped Djembe comes from West Africa. In addition to its rich bass and penetrating slap sound, it is very accessible making it is extremely popular, especially among drum groups. These African instruments are traditionally made from a tree trunk and are usually headed with goatskin, but there are also models with weather-resistant plastic skins.
Shakers provide that extra bit of sound to the grooves. The egg shakers are inexpensive and easy to play, and a studio shaker provides even more sound facets. For an even denser sound you have the cabasa and with a tambourine, you can for example, double the snare drums, or rhythmically shake it in one hand while striking the accents with the other hand.
Different woodblocks and templeblocks give you the possibility to play melodic patterns. A cowbell – or more – is compulsory, for example in nailing the famous Cha-Cha quarters. If you want to be inspired by a more exotic sound, then take a look at the vase-shaped Udu. Furthermore, a set of Timbales is highly effective in responding to drum solos.
A percussion set, whether large or small, provides you with the most popular percussion instruments at a more attractive price, and with a matching percussion table you will always have your instruments at hand.