Adding bongos and congas to a kit

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Random Name 123

Guest
Anyone done this?

I mentioned in another thread earlier that I only play a three piece - I genuinely love playing a tiny kit, seeing what I can squeeze out of it, but I'd like to throw in something else to funk it up even more.

Now I know bongos can work on a kit, I've seen it done, but I was wondering what would be the best placement for a single conga. I was thinking on my far left, next to the hi-hat.

Bongos would go above the bass drum where the rack toms would normally be (although I doubt I'd be rolling down them onto the floor tom, wouldn't work), but what's the best way to fix them to the kit?

I think I'm leaning more towards the conga because unless I'm playing open handed (which I can do to a limited extent) I'd have to reach right underneath my right hand to hit the off-beats on the bongos if I wanted to keep ticking on the hi-hat.

Cheers.
 

ccsimms

Senior Member
Alot of cats like Dave Weckl have a stand placed next to the hihat and have them propped up to the left of them. If you did that you could also fit a conga below the bongos.
 
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Random Name 123

Guest
Alot of cats like Dave Weckl have a stand placed next to the hihat and have them propped up to the left of them. If you did that you could also fit a conga below the bongos.
Ah yeah I just Googled his kit after you mentioned it. I could do that. I've seen someone else put the bongos above the bass drum, now I'm wondering why.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Anyone done this?
Yep.....and placed it/them (I sometimes used 2) exactly where you're thinking of. Right next to the hats.

I didn't really incorporate them into my kit playing though. I was in an originals band and we used to do a few accoustic numbers where I'd use the congas either all the way through or in certain sections of songs.....in which case I'd put the sticks/rods down and just play the congas with my hands.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Honestly, congas aren't meant to be played with regular drum sticks. The sound is not great. If you want to have it there for your hands, then that makes a ton of sense...but if you want to use it with sticks, I'd stick to drums that are meant to be played with sticks (which includes a pair of bongos, to a certain extent).

What is your purpose in adding this stuff? If it's to use hand percussion with your hands, and move away from the kit at times, then it makes a lot of sense to me...but if you are just using them with your sticks, etc, wouldn't it make more sense to just add an extra tom or two, which are better suited to playing them with sticks?
 
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Random Name 123

Guest
Yep.....and placed it/them (I sometimes used 2) exactly where you're thinking of. Right next to the hats.

I didn't really incorporate them into my kit playing though. I was in an originals band and we used to do a few accoustic numbers where I'd use the congas either all the way through or in certain sections of songs.....in which case I'd put the sticks/rods down and just play the congas with my hands.
Cool. I'm assuming it's fine to play them with sticks though, not extra damaging or anything.
 
R

Random Name 123

Guest
Honestly, congas aren't meant to be played with regular drum sticks. The sound is not great. If you want to have it there for your hands, then that makes a ton of sense...but if you want to use it with sticks, I'd stick to drums that are meant to be played with sticks (which includes a pair of bongos, to a certain extent).

What is your purpose in adding this stuff? If it's to use hand percussion with your hands, and move away from the kit at times, then it makes a lot of sense to me...but if you are just using them with your sticks, etc, wouldn't it make more sense to just add an extra tom or two, which are better suited to playing them with sticks?
I like the bouncier sound of bongos/congas (but if congas sound rubbish with sticks then I suppose it'll be bongos) as opposed to tom-toms. I'm not really a fan of rolls down the toms, infact I only use my floor tom sporadically - it's deeply tuned and works with the bass drum for fills or ends a beat with a resonant boom.

I play a lot of shuffly beats and I'd like to bounce off the bongos/conga in between to give it a more exotic feel.
 

jwildman

Senior Member
Well Sully Erna from Godsmack has two bongos and I think two djembes behind his kit so maybe that would work. But for your playing that would sound like a good combo with the bongos above the bass and a conga next to the hats. Maybe try bongos above your floor tom.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I have a djembe on a stand with my kit. I play with hands in a couple of numbers, and incidental taps with brushes or sticks in a few others.

The drummer from a successful Aussie band, The Reels, had a pair of bongos set up where you'd expect mounted toms to be. His only tom was an 18" floor. The bongos sounded brilliant, as did every piece in his kit.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Some cat from the 70's, what was his name ....... John Bonham ...... placed bongo's ...... and later congas ...... left of his hi-hat. You might also consider roto-toms, octabons, or concert toms, which are meant to be played with drumsticks.
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
Some cat from the 70's, what was his name ....... John Bonham ...... placed bongo's ...... and later congas ...... left of his hi-hat. You might also consider roto-toms, octabons, or concert toms, which are meant to be played with drumsticks.
Congas and bongos are meant to be played with your hands; sticks will damage the heads unless you go with a very thick head. Mallets are a much gentler option. Roto-toms, octabons, or concert toms are a much wiser option if you are using drumsticks.

Instead, get a set of good quality congas (used if you are on a budget) and play them only with your hands. I have about 30 hand drums and it is the congas that thrill me the most.

GJS
 
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Random Name 123

Guest
Thanks for all replies, most helpful.

I must add that I don't play very loudly at all so I probably wouldn't damage the heads as much as you might think (if you thought I was a thrasher).

Think I'll go for the bongos on my far left, but also save up and get a nice conga and learn how to play it with my hands.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Same here. I find that a few gentle taps doesn't make a difference to my old djembe but I can see how percussion connoisseurs would find that a turn-off.

Agree that congas sound much better with hands than sticks, though.
 
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wy yung

Guest
There are many rhythms played on congas with one hand and one stick. A stick should't hurt your conga heads at all.

I play them often with the kit. The right hand plays kit while the left plays the congas.

If you are going to play something like this with sticks you may want to try the compact congas. They don't take up as much room or weigh as much.
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
If you are going to play something like this with sticks you may want to try the compact congas. They don't take up as much room or weigh as much.
Excellent suggestion:
http://www.lpmusic.com/Product_Showcase/Congas/compact-conga.html
http://www.pearldrum.com/Products/Percussion/congas-and-bata/travel-congas.aspx
I have seen them on eBay. People try them, like the idea of playing congas, buy a high end set of congas, then get rid of their compact congas.

I am happy you are saving for a set of congas. I am saving for these:
http://www.ritmostudios.com/My_Homepage_Files/Page1.html
But would also consider these:
http://www.volcanopercussion.com/volcanopercussion.php

Take care

GJS
 
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wy yung

Guest
Geez Skulmoski, I hope you can get either. I love the Volcanos but prefer the wider belly shape of the Mathew Smith's. Either way they'll all be awesome! There's not much choice here in Australia outside of the regular brands. I've got some Pearls and Meinls. If I had the Volcanos I reckon some percussionist here would take me out and grab them himself. :)
 
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