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Discussion Starter #1
Who makes the best ones for less than $100? Your informed opinions please...?
And, if getting better heads is worth doing, to make cheaper bongos play better, I'd appreciate info like that.
I'm a beginner who wants to eventually double on them, say, after I'm done playing a few sax choruses and somebody else is playing...

Thanks in advance!

PS: I destroyed a cheap set of bongos trying to get the natural skin heads to come up to the pitches that I heard Jack Costanzo or someone like that recommend... Was that because it was the wrong heads, or because the rings that hold the heads on were cheap? The rings got all deformed before I noticed what I was doing... and I never did bring the pitch up high enough for that "snap" I was trying to get.
 

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I don’t know what the current offerings are, but some years ago when I bought bongos for my daughter, I got a pair made by LP for Musicians Friend. The particular model had some very good features and wasn’t available elsewhere. I’m still using them. (Daughter almost never used them, and now now longer even plays drums.)

So check out the MF and Sweetwater, etc and see if there is something similar currently available.

Wait, I just did, and the ones I got are still available, although they cost $200 now I see:

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/dru...os-with-chrome-hardware?rNtt=LP bongo&index=5

Or try the aspire line from LP. Or their middle level Matador line.
And I see now an even lower level: city.
Lpmusic.com
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey thanks. Those look pretty nice.
I think the reason the tuning rings deformed on mine is that the bongos cost about $39.
Hopefully these would allow me to come up to the right pitch.
 

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I know this thread is about bongos, but any recommendations on congas? I've been in two bands where other horn players had all this auxiliary percussion- the most bring is a cabasa. It looks fun, and I think I could learn to do basic rhythms, the only thing is that all that stuff would make for quite a lot of work with set up and tear down time.
 

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I know this thread is about bongos, but any recommendations on congas? I've been in two bands where other horn players had all this auxiliary percussion- the most bring is a cabasa. It looks fun, and I think I could learn to do basic rhythms, the only thing is that all that stuff would make for quite a lot of work with set up and tear down time.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that auxiliary percussion is "easy and quick" to pick up. It's easy and quick to buy some stuff and sound like poo, but these things are real musical instruments too and it takes practice to avoid poo sound.

As to congas, aside from the fact that they are big and heavy and expensive, they really aren't for the casual user. In the right hands they can add a fantastic dimension to many charts; in the wrong hands they are obtrusive and annoying as all get out.

I don't know much about bongos but again I suspect that you'll pay more than $100 to get out of the "crappy sounding toy" category. As to playing technique, see my comment on congas.

Now that I am a bass player as well as sax, I really notice when people bring out the "Latin toys" and play them, usually way too loud and just ever so slightly off the beat, not enough for them to notice it, but enough for everyone else to feel "something's wrong, what is it? why can't the beat ever seem to jell?"

So go ahead, but PLEASE learn how to play these things correctly, and PRACTICE.
 

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PS: I destroyed a cheap set of bongos trying to get the natural skin heads to come up to the pitches that I heard Jack Costanzo or someone like that recommend... Was that because it was the wrong heads, or because the rings that hold the heads on were cheap? The rings got all deformed before I noticed what I was doing... and I never did bring the pitch up high enough for that "snap" I was trying to get.
The heads were likely too thick to ever get to pitch - and the hardware was weak.
 

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Now that I am a bass player as well as sax, I really notice when people bring out the "Latin toys" and play them, usually way too loud and just ever so slightly off the beat, not enough for them to notice it, but enough for everyone else to feel "something's wrong, what is it? why can't the beat ever seem to jell?"

So go ahead, but PLEASE learn how to play these things correctly, and PRACTICE.
Point well taken- it would be fun to attain some level of basic competence, but as I play cabasa it can be very challenging becuase I don't have the same stamina as saxophone and time suffers for sure. Makes me really respect the percussionists!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Point well taken- it would be fun to attain some level of basic competence, but as I play cabasa it can be very challenging becuase I don't have the same stamina as saxophone and time suffers for sure. Makes me really respect the percussionists!
Indeed... A main goal in music for me is to be at the level where musicians appreciate my playing, since I am one... and the ultimate goal is for me to be happy with my playing... a crowd applauding can really be meaningless if they have no ear or pulse.
Having bad technique, no stamina or energy, and a bad rhythmic sense is bound to be the drumming equivalent of the alto player I heard the other day who was 1/4 tone flat... playing along with a recording of the Star-Spangled Banner!

I have good rhythm, recordings of Jack Costanzo, Noro Morales, Pete Lockett, etc., and a Mel Bay bongo book and CD but I realize I'll have to spend time with a drummer at some point before I ever take bongos to a gig.

In the meantime, something like cabasa might be more doable. Another idea my brother hipped me to is some dimes in an aluminum cigar tube. Sort of a mini maraca to add a bit of spice and not stand around looking useless.
 

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Sounds sacrilegious but getting an electronic percussion pad saves time, space and can play many sounds,
I play with a percussionist who uses one with his other acoustic instruments.
 

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For Bongos played in a band you'd need a stand, too. There are cheap stands which only clamp the middle connection between the two drums, avoid them.
There are bongo shaped objects with tuning screws standing up next to the head - avoid them by any means!
I have a pair of Meinl Bongos, as well as three Congas from them. They were cheaper than the LPs with equal quality. Bongos have to be tuned rather high.
I doubled a lot on percussions (had lessons when I was a teenager) and found it to be the ideal supplement to playing woodwinds in a band. But my fingers got really swollen after playing a hot solo on Congas, so I avoid that today (at least this enthusiastic conga playing I did back in the days). Not great, when the next song is on flute...
If you only want to do something in songs without sax, a set of shaker, cowbell, cabasa and tambourine is the way to go
 

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Toca Synergy makes a nice dual conga and stand set that they actually pair with a set of bongos for just under three bills. Definitely worth looking in to.
 

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Did some ask about congas, in addition to bongos?

B3410B92-5332-425F-9663-C601DA4288C1.jpeg
 

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I'm contemplating getting bongos too....started playing my Conga and quickly realized (1) Wow it's fun and (2) harder to keep a steady rhythm than I expected...so now I play along with my keyboard's drum machine
 
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