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Bongo question
tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-05-28 09:20 am   Permalink

Hi...any Bongo masters out there?

I need help.....

I have been listening to many bongo albums, including those by Jack Constanzo, and others.

I have a nice pair of expensive Bongos, but can't seem to get them up to the correct pitch..my bongos are LP fiberglass, not the cheap ones..but no matter what, I can't get that "aerosol spray paint rattle" sound that I am hearing on records...I have tightened them up as far as I believe is safe, but still seem to be about 4-5 notes too low.

Were most of these old-school players using either smaller bongos or tri-bongos (with the much smaller high drum)?


 
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MachTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2004
Posts: 1363
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2004-05-28 11:00 am   Permalink

Maybe I can help a little. I play congas. Well... play may be too strong of a word... BASH... thit's it. Anyway, I've only been playing for a short time, but my teacher told me this about tuning hand drums: to tune the drums to eachother play the song "Here comes the Bride" (sounds silly, but it works). Hit the low tone first, That's the "Hear". Now hit the high tone three times, that's the "...Comes the Bride".

Sing along with this at a regular register. You should be able to tune to your own voice.

Next, about tuning. only tighten each nut in 1/4 turn intervals moving around the head. Then go back and tap the wrench on the skin right above the hardware. tap all the way around the head and listen for a consistant tone. Tighten or loosen nuts until it sounds the same all around the head.

Lastly, the first time my teacher tuned my congas, I was sure he was tightening them too hard and they were going to snap. As he tightened them, he kept pushing the palm of his hand into the center of the skin. He explained that there sould be just a little play. Then he told me to mellow out, because it's skin and it needs to streach out.

Hope this helps.
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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-05-28 12:40 pm   Permalink

Thanks mach Tiki!

I had the same problem, where I am tightening, and I am hearing this horrible cracking sound! I want to think that I won't snap them, but it sure sounds scary!

Plus, I would have to go about 4-5 notes higher then I am now....


Here is an example...if you have ever heard "bongoland" the lounge compilation...the first song has only bongos at the beginning...and my bongos (which are very good quality LP) seem to be MUCH lower! it's almost as though it's a smaller set that I am hearing on the song, compared to mine..I feel I could go a bit higher, but as it is, there is no "play" in the head right now! I am sure to go 4 notes higher would just totally snap the head!


 
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MachTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2004
Posts: 1363
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2004-05-28 1:08 pm   Permalink

Tiki Mick,

I know the sound you're talking about. It sounds like the bow of a ship in a typhoon that's about to hit land. Kinda like that?

Anyway, LP's site is a fantastic help for beginners like us. I found a link that is SPECIFICALLY about tuning Bongos:

http://www.lpmusic.com/Play_Like_A_Pro/Tech_Support/tuning_bongos.html

This should explain it all to ya.

P.S. Wise choice on LP's. That's what my Congas are as well. When I looked into what to buy, EVERY single hand drummer I talked to recommended LP's.

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[ This Message was edited by: MachTiki on 2004-05-28 13:09 ]


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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-05-28 2:29 pm   Permalink

Yeah! thats exactly the sound! And it is damn unerving! It also reminds me of "das boot" for some reason!

I know I can get these things higher....but what is that damn cracking sound? The lugs moving around? Or the head stretching to the breaking point? My Banjo also makes that sound, but has not exploded yet!

LP makes good stuff...these Bongos are really heavy and pro-quality..cost about 250!


 
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MachTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2004
Posts: 1363
From: San Diego, CA
Posted: 2004-05-28 2:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-05-28 14:29, tiki mick wrote:
Yeah! thats exactly the sound! And it is damn unerving! It also reminds me of "das boot" for some reason!

I know I can get these things higher....but what is that damn cracking sound? The lugs moving around? Or the head stretching to the breaking point?



Mostly it's the sound on the wood or fiberglass compressing. Which is 100% natural.

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[ This Message was edited by: MachTiki on 2004-05-28 14:56 ]


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1077
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2004-05-28 8:18 pm   Permalink

It also has to do with how you play it and how the microphone is mixed. Often on old records the technique is more like a slap than a tone. A skilled percussionist can make even a very dull drum sound sharp and slappy, if you know what I mean. I'd spend a little time experimenting with how many kinds of sounds you can get out of them - often it's quite a few.

-Randy


 
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Klas
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 04, 2003
Posts: 226
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Posted: 2004-05-28 8:50 pm   Permalink

The bongos are my secong instrument!!!



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www.thesurfites.com

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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-06-02 09:33 am   Permalink

Well, I broke down and bought a book on Bongos..it explained a few things!

it seemes that with a new bongo, you must tune it up in stages, a little higher and higher over a 2-3 day period until you get it as tight as can be. Then let it "set" for a day. From then on, it supposedly is easier to bring up to pitch. But it also said to detune it after playing.

I tried this, and then recorded the sound. It was good. Exactly what I was looking for. (specifically, I wanted the sound of "dino" from the flintstones running!)


 
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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-06-09 12:10 pm   Permalink

I love my bongos now!

I think that they are my favorite drum sound of all. I like them even more then congas or even my pro-quality dumbek!

The sound is instant exotica, in fact, you NEED bongos for exotica!

After I learned how to tune them properly, I was rewarded with that high slap sound and open tone...like a hammer hitting a nail..the "martillo" sound!

I think the secret lies in the quality of the bongos, and the quality of the head. My Drums are fiberglass american made LP...this company has some bargain brands too, like Aspire, Cosmic Percussion and Matador..and they all suck...I had a pair of the matadors and the aspire, and the tone was dull....boring...not inspiring at all!

These fiberglass bongos must weigh about 30 pounds! The heads say "hand picked" on them, and that is where they differ from the bargain brands...which are lesser quality end-cuts from the hide.

The tone is crisp, and they record very well indeed!

All in all, if you are serious about playing bongos..(which I am) then spend the extra 150 and get the fiberglass, or generation 2 or 3....and for the most top of the line, 350 will get you the Galaxy Giovanni Hidalgo signature...and those things are beautiful indeed!
I was listening to the Very cool Martin Denny double CD last night, and noticed how predominant the bongos are, out of all the other percussion used..those bongos were the show piece on so many great songs like "oro" "mau mau" and others!

I was jealously readng the euro guy's post, regarding starting an exotica band....man, I wish I could find the same thing here in SoCal!

I am down to only one band now (quit my rock band and my jazz band), the fabulous smokin menehunes...which satisfies my desire for great authentic hapa-haole style Hawaiian music....but I am "jonesing to one day start an exotica band...

it;s either that or I try to kidnap the ENTIRE Fisherman vibraphonic!!

And then NYC would hate me forever!


 
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Tiki Diablo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 1904
From: socal
Posted: 2004-06-10 01:45 am   Permalink

I bought some Bongos last week, but they are cheap ass ones. I had some from Cuba, but gave them to my uncle. So my cousin plays Skin on Skin congas and just said he "sold out and bought some "Giovanni" something or others. He's up to playing with four congas now and has even received props from Poncho himself.. I amd going on and on about my lil cousin because he started playing congas when I started carving. He tightens in a cross pattern and punched the top of my bongos to help seat them. He also put a little lotion on the skins. I know the skins will tighten up in the sun. I was on vacation and all the bongo players had a black skin on the smaller head and it had that sound y'all are talking about. Anybody seen on of these black skins? I'm on the path to bongo playing school. After a lil practice , I think I'll do a little carving on them.

 
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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-06-10 08:45 am   Permalink

Hey Chikitiki...your primo sounds like a pro conguero!

I also read about putting a little lotion on the heads...in fact, when they came out of the box, the heads were juicy and moist...

I read that a popular replacement head for the smaller drum, (the macho?) is x-ray film...they use that often in cuba and puerto rico....could that be the black head you are talking about?

The giovanni hildago congas and bongos are stunningly georgeous...made of some striped wood, with gold rims....extremely beautiful things!


 
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Tiki_Bong
Deleted

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 0
Posted: 2004-06-10 10:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-06-10 08:45, tiki mick wrote:
Hey Chikitiki...your primo sounds like a pro conguero!

I also read about putting a little lotion on the heads...in fact, when they came out of the box, the heads were juicy and moist...

I read that a popular replacement head for the smaller drum, (the macho?) is x-ray film...they use that often in cuba and puerto rico....could that be the black head you are talking about?

The giovanni hildago congas and bongos are stunningly georgeous...made of some striped wood, with gold rims....extremely beautiful things!



The innuendos in Mick's post make me ill...
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2004-06-10 10:51 am   Permalink

What? Lotion? head? Macho? hidalgo?

Which one Crosby?





"it puts on the lotion or it gets the hose"


 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5812
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2007-05-26 9:47 pm   Permalink

BONGOS!



Addendum


[ This Message was edited by: Unga Bunga 2007-05-26 22:35 ]


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