28th Oct 2014

How To Choose Your Auxilliary Percussion

The Percussion Family of instruments is the most varied group of instruments imaginable. With such a wide variety of options, how do you choose which items to include in your own performance?

The first thing to understand is the genre of music you are playing and your own personality. The next consideration is gauging the versatility of the instrument. You might enjoy the simple sound of the claves but if you were playing in a heavy metal band, no one would ever hear the beautifully crisp sounds they produce.

Another consideration is whether you (or a partner) could feasibly play the instrument in question. If you are already surrounded by a full drum kit and then a variety of hand drums you might not have room, or enough arms, to add a whole set of temple blocks.

Take the time to consider what instruments will fit into your group and then begin adding to your inventory over time. Here are a few common percussion instruments and some of the options available:

WOODBLOCKS: Woodblocks like many auxiliary percussion are plucked out of the real world and are exactly what they sound like: a block of wood. Wood blocks create a very full knocking sound that resonates above most of the music. They’re offered in either a hand held form or in mounted form that can be attached to a stand. Temple Blocks, which are a line of tuned wood blocks, offer a wide variety of sounds and tone.

CLAVES: If you want a lighter more subtle sound, the claves are hand held traditional wooden sticks that have the same ability to carry their sound above the ensemble as their bulkier cousin.

SHAKERS: Shakers come in a variety of shapes and sizes each with a unique sound; and for some, they have a unique system to play like FOOT RATTLES. There are Latin MARACAS, EGG SHAKERS, and the larger SHEKERE.

RAINSTICKS: Similar to shakers are rainsticks. These hollow sticks are filled with beads like shakers but they are shifted slowly along creating a soothing sound that reminds you of pouring rain.

COWBELLS: World peace could be accomplished if everyone owned a cowbell. This fun instrument can add the extra accent to your music that can be both fun and intense. There is the more traditional Cowbell or the more synthetic sounding AGOGO BELLS. Cowbells come in different sizes giving the performer different options. They can either be hand held or attached to a stand.

CABASA: The Cabasa is a hand held instrument that creates a sound similar to sand paper being scratched however in a cool Jazzy way. It can be added for a subtle augment to the rhythm section. It can even replicate the sound of a snake for your special effect needs.

These are just a few of the options available from your friends at X8 Drums. Make your performances memorable and one of a kind by adding a distinctive piece today!