It took me a while to get used to these - I found I had to play with a more force than required on traditional calfskin bongos but once I got used to it I was able to get good quality sounds in both sections. This works both with single finger strokes, full hand strokes and slaps (as long as you dampen the head with the other hands). The sound resembles a set of larger bongos with relatively thick heads but with plenty of woody overtones, you can't get the very high pitched tones possible on bongos with thins heads tuned very tightly. They are slightly quieter than traditional bongos but have more bottom end, especially on the lower pitched section. The main advantage of these is that they don't need tuning. These are a perfect replacement for my traditional bongos during the winter months when it is difficult to get enough tension in the heads.
I bought this instrument out of pure intrigue and nothing else. I had hoped it would be something that I could play around with and just have as something fun, which of course I have. But... the sound it produces is very, very beautiful. I am a percussionist but I do not admit to being a talented bongo player at all but this instrument is addictive to play, it is so warm and rich in tone and all it is is a few pieces of wood! I play this instrument in live settings with just an acoustic guitar and vocals and it works perfectly, I have recorded it as well and it sounds great. My only worries or negative comments about it would be its durability because the wood is quite soft and the 4 rubber feet have all fallen off. Other than that I must admit to being massively surprised at this instrument and it is one of my favourites in my whole percussion rig. A brilliant gift for any musician.