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Guide to Bongos

Bongo : What is it?

Bongos

Bongos or bongo drums are made up of two small drums attached to each other. Their bodies are usually made of wood or ceramic with metal tunings. A layer of animal hide is stretched on top of each drum. The two dums do not have the same size—the smaller one is called macho and the larger one is called hembra. They are held between the knees when playing. They generally produce a high-pitched sound when struck by the fingers or palms. 

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Types of Bongos

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Kinds of Bongos include the following:

Wooden bongos

  • Wooden bongos are the traditional bongos.
  • They are popularly used in Cuban music.
  • They can have a painted or a natural finish.
  • Their skin heads are tunable.


Ceramic bongo

  • Ceramic bongos are made with ceramic bodies and goatskin or rawhide skin heads.
  • They are known as tbila in Morocco.
  • They are also used in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.


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Choosing Bongos (Buying tips)

Plates:  Choose bongos with interior backing plates for strength and durability.

Skin:  To get great tonal quality, choose bongos with buffalo skin heads. They should have a good bouncing quality and a full sound when tapped.  

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