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Bongo question
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 04, 2003
Posts: 226
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Posted: 2007-05-27 12:46 pm   Permalink

Jack Costanzo in Harem Holiday:



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DJ Terence Gunn
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 20, 2005
Posts: 250
Posted: 2007-05-27 1:30 pm   Permalink

Although experimenting with tuning is, indeed, the way to achieve that distinctive mid-20th Century bongo pitch, do keep in mind that a great deal of bongos that one hears on the Exotica albums, as well as soundtracks from the 1950s and '60s, are being played with drum sticks. Playing bongos this way will immediately give a higher, sharper pitch. I prefer playing bongos with my index and middle fingers closer to the rim of the head, which also produces a higher pitch. Depending on the complexity of the rhythm, pressing down on the head whilst striking the bongo with the index finger will also deliver a sharp pitch.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 6161
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2007-05-27 8:03 pm   Permalink

EXCELLENT LINKS Unga....ahhhh...those were the days. That is quite a snazzy shirt that Jimmy is wearing...

I recently purchased a set of LP Matador Congas and Bongos. Just got them to help me gain some rhythm knowledge (so I can apply the skill to my vibraphone). Thanks so much for posting about how to adjust the skins.

"Oh waiter, another cocktail please!!!"

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Mouse Art
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2006
Posts: 180
From: South Bay area L.A.
Posted: 2007-05-27 11:29 pm   Permalink

Great stuff on here everyone. Thanks! Heres a "Bongo Tidbit" for ya. Since I was a kid I would tune my bongos over a stove burner. Hold you bongos about 2ft. above a med. flame. Keep tapping on the skin w/one or two fingers. You will soon hear the tone rising. When it hits a pitch you like?...your done! I have also tried this on skinned tambourine's from various countries and it works quite well.
Using sticks has been mentioned already, & that is really cool to do in certain situations. A variation on this is to use felt mallets. Try it sometime, you will be amazed at not only the tone, but the rolls you can achieve. Hope this helps....................Remy
"You have the right to chant...use it"

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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 4090
Posted: 2007-05-28 10:29 am   Permalink

Yikes! You guys dug up one of my old posts from 4 years ago!!

My bongos sound fine now. It's just a matter of really getting the pitch up there so tight that there is no "Play" in the head. It has to sound like a nail hitting a hammer. But, I won't use sticks on them, nor will I heat them over a stove!!! Sounds a bit risky on that last one!!

Anyway, that was four years ago. Since them, I have used them on many recordings, and they always sound great to my ears. Fiberglass.

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