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Some of the most popular percussion instruments are Bongo drums. Bongos typically consist of two drums of varied sizes. Traditional bongo shells are constructed from hardwoods like siam oak or ash, and traditional bongo drumheads are typically made from organic, animal skin drumheads. The Drum Center of Portsmouth stocks a wide range of bongos and bongo drumheads made from both organic and synthetic materials, based on your specific needs. Each set of bongos has a durable finish to protect them from everyday wear and tear, but you may also want to consider protective bongo bags for safe transport of your instruments. If you have questions about any of our percussion products, talk to a professional sales associate her at the Drum Center of Portsmouth. We love to talk drums!

What are the best bongos? 

Choosing the best bongos depends on your ability as a player and your budget. Always buy the best bongos you can afford, but if you are learning, then keep it simple.

Only buy bongos you can tune. A good-quality bongo drum will have a tuning ring that fits securely into the drum shell. The best bongos also come with a tuning head. 

The Latin Percussion LP794V-ARG Galaxy Series Fiberglass Fausto Cuevas III Signature Bongos Arena Red are some of the best bongos money can buy. Steel backing plates and aluminum bottoms create a vibrant and resonant sound.

What is unique about bongos?

Bongos are made up of two small, circular drums, but one is always bigger than the other. They are never separated and always played together – it is impossible to buy them individually.

The larger drum of the two is referred to as the female or the ‘hembra’ and the smaller version, the macho, meaning male. The hembra is usually held to the right and the macho to the left.

Associated with African rhythms, Africa has played a part in influencing the bongo design, but the drum was actually invented in Cuba. The person who plays the bongos is known as the ‘bongosero’.

The bottom of the drum is left open, and it is this construction that produces the booming echo when the drum is played. Traditionally, rawhide would have been used to form the drum, although there are synthetic alternatives nowadays. 

Are bongos good for beginners?

Bongos are accessible for beginner drummers, although a small set is recommended while learning to help perfect the technique. 

Because bongos are played with hands, they can be less intimidating than mastering a set of drumsticks.

Enthusiasm for a bongo beginner will rapidly wane if the quality of the bongos is inferior. Cheaper starter bongos that are of poor quality may have a head stretched and tacked into place, which means you won’t be able to tune them.

Better quality bongo sets will have a tuning ring that fits snugly against the drum shell.

Bongos are the most popular hand drum and offer a varied and fulfilling journey that many beginners are not aware of when they start playing the bongos.

For the best selection of bongo drums suitable for all levels and budgets, plus expert guidance, visit the Drum Center of Portsmouth.

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Buying drums should be fun. At Drum Center of Portsmouth, our goal is to have the most unique and vast selection of boutique drum sets, snare drums, and cymbals, and to cultivate long-term relationships with our customers and clients.