One of the great things about playing hand drums is that there are so many options to explore in the world of hand percussion. However, as drummers are inherently picky about the sound of the groove, this is also one of the things that can make deciding on a hand drums difficult. There are countless hand drum options that are popular for beginning drummers or drummers looking to make a change, and new variations of hand drums are released each year. When trying to discover which hand drum is right for you, just start with the basics, and see where you end up.
The djembe is a favorite amongst many performers and within drum circles and drum jams. The djembe is the hand drum most people think of when they think about African music. It is traditionally a goblet-shaped drum with an animal skin head. However, modern djembes are sometimes made of different materials that make them easier to store and transport. These drums are known for their deep, rich tonal qualities and are a popular instrument that have found their way into all genres of music all over the world.
The cajon is becoming a more popular instrument with first time drummers for its versatility and ease of play. Learning to play the cajon is an adventure in itself, especially considering its humble beginnings and prevalence in many of today’s acoustic grooves. The cajon is easily customized to fit the needs and style of the drummer. Cajons are also easy to make for the more adventurous and crafty drummer, and the accessories available can turn a cajon drum into a full-force drum set of awesome.
Bongos are an Afro-Cuban drum comprised of two (and sometimes three) drums. These drums are connected together, yet, still compact enough to make them easy to play and transport. Bongo drums are usually played with the hands, though they may be played with sticks or brushes to change up the sound and can be played while seated or placed on stands if need be.
Conga drums are another popular choice for first-time drummers. They are usually played in groups
of two or three, and many Latin percussionists may play the congas with the bongos as well. These drums work well to provide the foundation of the beat, with a snappy accent that is the sound of Latin music.
The benefits of hand drumming are numerous, and there is no right or wrong decision when picking your hand drums. When you fall in love with one drum, you’ll eventually find yourself gazing with adoration at the next one you want to add to your collection. As a drummer, the hand drum that is right for you is whichever one brings that smile to your face and the groove into your heart.
What was your first go-to hand drum? Tell us in the comments below!