Best UK Bongo Drums
Update: January 2020
These are our top selections in the category of best bongo drums to buy right now in the UK.
#1 Pick: Overall Rating = 94%
#2: Top Ranked Alternative
#3: Another Great Pick
Bongo Drums: A Buyer’s Guide
Percussion can be extremely versatile! While many prefer to scale up to a full drum kit, others are more than happy to just play around with the odd set of maracas or handheld instrument. The bongo drums are, of course, iconic.
They are seemingly easy to play, but without a good sense of rhythm and a decent pair of drums in the first place, you may struggle to get the beats out that you really want.
It’s probably likely – if you’re looking to buy bongos for the first time – that you might think all bongo drums are the same! Yes – they work to the same purpose and all do the same thing – but there are major differences in builds and styles.
After all, there has to be a reason why you pay more for some bongos and less for others! With that in mind, it’s always worth you comparing and contrasting what’s out there.
In this buying guide, we’ll take a look at everything you’ll need to consider when it comes to buying your first pair of bongo drums. Alternatively, you may even be replacing your bongos, meaning you might be on the lookout for a way to upgrade your experience. In any case, you don’t have to go it alone!
At the end of the guide, we will run through a few frequently asked questions which shoppers pose when looking around.
Why Buy Bongo Drums?
Bongo drums are some of the most interesting and most exciting instruments to play. It’s easy for anyone to pick up a pair and to start drumming out a simple beat along to world music. However, they can be amazingly versatile, which means if you’re really creative, you could bring them into a host of different genres.
What you do with your own bongos, of course, is entirely up to you!
Bongo drums have a place in many world music soundscapes and are well known for being staples of Latin music over the decades. They are notable for being a compact drum system of two taut, hand-beaten cylinders.
They are traditionally played sat down, with the drums in your lap while you tap out a beat. They are fantastic fun and may even help you to learn rhythm and percussion if you are just getting started. Certainly, they might help you on your way quicker than a full drum kit might!
If you are really keen to get started with drums and percussion, a good pair of bongo drums will ease you into the process. Keeping rhythm is not as easy as it seems, which is why it is always worth keeping an open mind. You should also be looking for bongos which are well-built, comfortable for you to use, and which are obviously well within your budget. It’s surprising what you might have to look for when investing in bongos for the first time!
Therefore, don’t be afraid to shop around. It’s tempting to go for the first pair you see just because they’re cheap. However, if you are serious about really getting the most out of your drums, you might want to put a little more money behind your purchase.
Things to Consider
Yes – believe it or not, there are plenty of things you actually need to bear in mind when looking around for bongo drums! Whether you buy online or purchase from a music shop, there is a small checklist of sorts which will help you on your way. Here are the absolute basics we think you should be looking at.
Types of Bongos
Bongo drums can split into a few different types. It all depends, largely, on what they are made of. Different materials, on the whole, can produce different sounds! Modern bongo drums, for example, can be made from fibreglass. While fibreglass is strong and resilient, and will certainly take a beating, you may want to consider the sound.
Traditional bongo drums are made from wood, and fibreglass drums are thought to carry a similar sound. However, they may be more resistant and hardier over years of use and storage.
However, you can also buy metal bongo drums. These are fairly modern, and as you can imagine, they also produce quite a different sound to wood and fibreglass. Metal bongos are usually played with drumsticks and may sound a little similar to steel drums and other metal percussion in the line.
Some bongos come as one drum as opposed to the two-drum model. Either way, you are looking at the same sort of sound and rhythm!
Style of Bongos
As well as type, you are going to need to think carefully about the style of drums you’d like to play. These split into two categories, ones where everything will be ready for you out of the box, and others which will need you to stretch the drum skin over the top. The latter of these is called a flathead drum and may be preferred by some players.
It is a good way to customise your experience and to take control of your instrument. The sound of your bongos can sometimes vary depending on the tautness of the skin on top!
The material used for the drum skin or head will vary, too. Your choice of skin may vary depending on your playing preferences, as well as where you stand on animal products. You can buy skins made of rawhide, which some people prefer because they can sound authentic.
However, rawhide heads will need tuning throughout the year as it can react to different temperatures.
For many people, buying synthetic skin heads is more palatable and easier to manage.
While they may offer a different kind of sound to rawhide options, they can be cheaper to come by and are easier to maintain throughout years of play. Ultimately, your choice of skin or head is going to depend on your tastes and your performance.
Believe it or not, the size of the bongos you play really matters, too! Generally, the bigger the drums, the more complex they can be to play. However, this may not always be the case. Make sure to look carefully at what verified users and bongo players have to say about drums before you buy.
You should be able to find this out easily enough by checking online reviews, or by seeing what people have to say on social media.
Either way, it makes sense to listen to word of mouth when it comes to finding the right drums. If you can try before you buy, definitely do so! This will help you to get a good feel for what’s out there, and you may be able to find your perfect drums on a quick play alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
When buying bongo drums for the first time, it stands to reason that you will probably have a few questions that you need to ask. Here are just a few of the more commonly posed queries asked by shoppers looking at bongos online today.
What Do Bongo Drums Sound Like?
This can really vary from set to set! What changes the sound is the material used. If you buy a wooden or ceramic pair of bongos, for example, you may find you get a hollower sound than you would with metal drums. Metal bongos, of course, sound very different to most drums you will find online. This is not only as a result of their manufacture, but also due to the fact that you hit them with sticks, as opposed to with your hands.
How Do You Play the Bongos?
Playing the bongos is fairly easy, at least compared to other drums and percussion! Aside from a drum set itself, all you need are the palms of your hands. To beat out a rhythm, you will need to use both hands in turn to tap out a beat. This will naturally depend on your own internal tempo and any music you may be playing alongside. The bongos are thought to be some of the easiest drums to learn rhythm on because you need little tuition. Simply drum along with music or a beat and you will likely find your way to a fantastic sound.
How Much Do Bongo Drums Cost?
Bongo drums are amongst some of the most affordable musical instruments on the market today. Professional bongos will likely cost you between £10 and £20, however, you may need to pay more for specific materials and constructions. Shop around and see what other people look for!
The bongo drums are fun and easy to play, on the whole. Are you looking to tap out a career as a percussionist? It might be time for you to make an investment. If you can’t try before you buy, take a close look at what people have to say online, and be ready to compare materials, construction and more for the best results. Who knows – you could be a beat maestro before you know it!