Hand percussion drum kit

ExitMusic_

Junior Member
Hey guys. Was looking for some advice on a unique drum kit.

My friends and I have had a casual band for a while, and I've pretty much just been using my Djembe. We have a clean, acoustic sound. My singer once described it as the jam of Dispatch, or DMB, with the folk rock of Simon and Garfunkel. This summer we've been given the chance to go into a studio, owned by a friend of ours, and record 5 or 6 original track demo. Now, even if this band goes no where, it's something I've always wanted to do.

What I want to do is expand the percussion, but not use a tradition acoustic drum set. I want to build (almost) an entire kit from hand percussion. I was thinking using a cajon as a bass drum, I've seen kits set up with a cajon off to the side being playing with a remote bass pedal, but what about using one as if it WAS the bass drum? I had other ideas on substituting my djembe for the snare.

Any other suggestions on how I could pull something like this off?
 

brady

Platinum Member
I once saw a little percussion based jam band similar to what you describe. The drummer had a set of bongos as his rack toms, a conga for a floor tom, and his drum stool was a cajon. Of course, he got several different sounds out of all of these. In addition, he had a regular snare and an 18" bass drum. It seems like a djembe was in there somewhere too. Experiment with different additions and see what you can come up with.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Hand and stick percussion built around a bass-snare-hats-ride core. Left hand does djembe patterns while right hand plays snare/hats/ride whatever. This used to be my set.

 

zakhopper316

Silver Member
you will probably want a real bass drum and hi hats, you dont have to use sticks, just keep time with the hi hat foot pedal and use the bass drum pedal, that would be sweet.

i have a hand drum setup i did on my electric kit, i mess with it all the time. a lot of fun
 

ExitMusic_

Junior Member
Deathmetalconga: That's a pretty sweet setup. Something like that is what I was shooting for, just wasn't sure how to pull it off.

And brady, I'm diggin' the idea of using the cajon as the throne.

Thanks for the input guys! Guess I better get to work and see what I can find.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Deathmetalconga: That's a pretty sweet setup. Something like that is what I was shooting for, just wasn't sure how to pull it off.

And brady, I'm diggin' the idea of using the cajon as the throne.

Thanks for the input guys! Guess I better get to work and see what I can find.
I had to make most of the mounts myself, bending, cutting, welding, etc. You just aren't supposed to do this with drums and percussion so off-the-shelf equipment isn't going to cut it.

I know Remo makes a rimless snare for hand playing. You can also cut the rim section off a triple-flanged hoop with a Dremel and covert any snare into a hand drum snare, although you won't be able to do rimshots.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Here's a link to one that is commercially available:
http://www.mountainrhythm.com/

Also, when you talk about using a cajon as the bass drum, be careful. Most cajons are more fragile than you would think, and can be damaged by pedals. Here is one specifically meant to be used like you are talking about, though (scroll towards the bottom, to the one called the "Bass Cajon"): http://www.schlagwerk.com/english/cajon/cajon.php

Scroll down further on that page to see the "BC Booster Set," another acoustic kit that is already out there. You can take these ideas and build from there.

One thing I have thought about doing was using a floor-tom to bass-drum converter to set up a djembe like a bass drum, and build the rest of my hand drum set up around that, with the cajon as the throne.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
There's an endless array of tools to use. You can set a djembe up as a kick and have things like repiniques, surdos, tambourines, bells and what not as a kit.

A drum I play and that I can take in place of a drum kit is the amazingly versatile pandeiro. http://www.pandeiro.com/ It is not an easy instrument tp play but there is alway practice and you will get there.

I play ethnic percussion as well as drum kit so I have a decent amount of gear to use for this sort of thing. Due to the fact there is so much choice, I recommend you have a look at a list of percussion instruments online and decide what you might like to hear.

Believe me, the world of ethnic percussion is huge. way way bigger than drum set and as a consequence you can spend a LOT of cash. Find a list and see what takes your fancy.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Pearl used to make an adaptor for Djembe to bass.

Are you staying with hands or thinking about sticks and brushes too?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Hey guys. Was looking for some advice on a unique drum kit.

My friends and I have had a casual band for a while, and I've pretty much just been using my Djembe. We have a clean, acoustic sound. My singer once described it as the jam of Dispatch, or DMB, with the folk rock of Simon and Garfunkel. This summer we've been given the chance to go into a studio, owned by a friend of ours, and record 5 or 6 original track demo. Now, even if this band goes no where, it's something I've always wanted to do.

What I want to do is expand the percussion, but not use a tradition acoustic drum set. I want to build (almost) an entire kit from hand percussion. I was thinking using a cajon as a bass drum, I've seen kits set up with a cajon off to the side being playing with a remote bass pedal, but what about using one as if it WAS the bass drum? I had other ideas on substituting my djembe for the snare.

Any other suggestions on how I could pull something like this off?
Just save up for a nice set of congas. The path for integration into a band for djembe is limited, primarily because the djembe is designed to be a lead/soloist instrument in its traditional environment, where it is usually accompanied by dun-djun's and other instruments similar to congas as well as bells and shakers. It is versatile enough to play a basic boom bap, but will be limited in the long run, especially if you start layering bass drums on it. Congas can easily play tumbawow grooves, not in a lead role.

Also, I would recommend building a set playing standing. If you want foot pedals get a cowbell and or wood block, skip the hihat. The hihat is quite expensive, and you won't get full value out of it unless you play with sticks, besides most congas are quite expensive.

If you want to do hand and stick playing, I would recommend a repinique or timbale.

One thing to keep in mind is your bands approach to gearing up. If they are your typical rockers they will probably show up with a bigger amp and effects, so you might need to think about finding new buddies.
 

Ned Lyons

Junior Member
Please look at my set up. The drums are ALL cajons (mic-ed) and cymbals
are normal. with small 30 watt amp the balance is perfect. Ned Lyons
 

motleyh

Senior Member
Two items you should know about:

1. Check out (and join) the Facebook group "Hybrid Drum Kits". You'll find a lot of people who are doing what you have in mind, some of whom are professional players, and plenty of advice and ideas:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/217228871795256/

2. (Shameless self-promotion) We've recently introduced a snare line designed for hybrid kits and players who mix western and world percussion. It's called our Asheville Series, is designed to change sounds quickly, be played with sticks/brushes or hands (without injury), and not overpower the world percussion instruments. Size is 7x12, with a few shell choices. Here's a photo of one, and more information is available if you shoot me a PM or email.
 

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Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I put together a neat little percussion kit for gigs.
It started with a 10" Djembe on a big Gibralter Djembe stand. I clamped a Bong stand to the back so now the two bongs sit over the Djembe (Like a Snare & two Toms).
Then I added a 16" Kick and Hi Hat like a regular drum kit would be set up.
It's great. I've done some session recordings with it and also a couple of acoustic gigs.
 

motleyh

Senior Member
or build callouses on your hands instead of buying a new snare...
Nothing wrong with callouses, but it's not a question of friction. Hitting your finger and hand joints against narrow strips of metal produces painful bruises, swelling and difficulty moving those joints. This prototype for this design was produced for, and in consultation with, River Guerguerian, who is an internationally recognized world/fusion artist. http://carolinadrumworks.com/guerguerian.htm Those hoops are shaped with a purpose.

Drumming isn't a contact sport. The idea that you need to injure yourself to earn your street creds doesn't lead to career success -- it just leads to a shorter career. Sorry if I'm ignoring the humor in your post, but I keep seeing online posts from young players to the effect of "look, I played so hard I drew blood," and there are a lot of them reading this, too. Broken blisters and swollen knuckles are signs of bad technique or bad (or inappropriate) gear, not badges of honor.
 
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