Best Mid Priced Conga drums??

Drums&Beer

Senior Member
Hey all,

I am looking to acquire some congas in the next 3 months or so, actually just one to start off with. I'll add more drums as I improve. I have been playing drum set for over 25 years but I want to branch out into hand percussion, take some lessons on technique and such.

I am hoping for some recommendations on what to purchase and what not to purchase. While I am sure they're fantastic, I really don't want to spend 700.00 dollars & up on a single drum from Isla, Matthew Smith, Timba, Moperc, Volcano, etc. At the same rate I don't want to purchase bottom end drums and out-grow them in a couple years either. I have played LP Matadors, and they sound fine to me, as do LP Classics. That said, I throw this question out there to experienced conga players - Are these two LP models ones that you outgrew quickly or do you still find them to be serviceable drums several years into playing? Are there any other makers out there that I should check out that make conga drums in this price range?

thanks,

Chris
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Matadors and up are good. Performers and below aren't quite so good.

I heard (from a local retailer) that the only REAL difference between all of the LP lines that has an impact on the sound is the heads. Of course, the hardware and finishes are different, but if you got a set of Performers and slapped some high-quality heads on them, they would sound just like the Classic line. I don't know how accurate this is, but it's interesting enough to pass it on. Of course the price difference is less than the cost of new heads, so buying the next line up is financially a wise move. That, and buying used, of course.
 

Drums&Beer

Senior Member
Matadors and up are good. Performers and below aren't quite so good.

I heard (from a local retailer) that the only REAL difference between all of the LP lines that has an impact on the sound is the heads. Of course, the hardware and finishes are different, but if you got a set of Performers and slapped some high-quality heads on them, they would sound just like the Classic line. I don't know how accurate this is, but it's interesting enough to pass it on. Of course the price difference is less than the cost of new heads, so buying the next line up is financially a wise move. That, and buying used, of course.
Interesting info to know, or at least research further.Thanks.

It definitely seems to me that there is a noticeable difference in the thickness and quality of the hide when comparing higher end LP's to the less expensive models. With my price point firmly fixed, I am honing in on Matadors or Classics, although I still have some concerns with out-growing them. I am also aggressively searching the used market.

Any other conga players, please chime in. Thanks again!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I play a pair of pro-level Remo congas, they sound awesome. If it's good enough for Poncho Sanchez, it's good enough for me. I found mine used for $350 for the pair.

I would say you could get by with any so long as you put the Remo heads on them. That's the big factor right there. Any congas with these heads sound great!
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
Consider getting a used pro-quality conga. You may even consider putting some muleskin on it if the head is factory stock or is dead. Don't be intimidated by heading it yourself. With many people, a mid level conga is an intermediate step. Many will want to upgrade in the future. So consider waiting for your dream conga. Be patient and keep a look out for Isle, Volcano or another top quality brand. Check the conga place because from time to time, its members inform the forum of sales of excellent quality used congas.

http://www.mycongaplace.com/forum/eng/index.php

Good luck! I hope you find just what you like.

GJS
 

Drums&Beer

Senior Member
Thanks for the info. I'll check out the Remo stuff. Skulmoski, thanks for the forum link. I hadn't been there before.

As of now, I think I am going to save a little more money and try to acquire a drum from the Brazilian maker Bauer.
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
Matadors and Classics are good enough to last you a lifetime. I know a lot of top-level players who swear by em'.

Toca Traditionals are awesome, solid congas which sound great and are under $300 a drum here. www.anydrum.com. I use a pair of those for contemporary gigs.

The Gon Bops Tumbao Pro, and Alex Acuna models are great drums as well. There is a set of 3 Alex Acunas for sale (used) at guitar center in Houston right now for $250 each. Probably one of the best deals online right now. You can by them and have em' shipped.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-GON-BOPS-ALEX-ACUNA-SIG-SERIES-CONGA-13--106053283-i1623594.gc?source=4WBZ4DS

Bauers are neat looking, but I've never played them. Not sure what they feel/sound like in person.

I think it is great that you are willing to spend a few extra bucks on something that is really playable. It makes a huge difference to get a decent sounding instrument. Keep us posted on what you end up with.

Skul and I both have a set of these http://www.drumskulldrums.com/en2/22/Shop_Drumskull.php?ProdID=2941&MainID=2941 only they are rope tuned. Although I am having hardware put on my quinto right now.

Lots of options. Don't get paralyzed by shopping though. By a decent set and start playing!
 

Drums&Beer

Senior Member
Matadors and Classics are good enough to last you a lifetime. I know a lot of top-level players who swear by em'.

Toca Traditionals are awesome, solid congas which sound great and are under $300 a drum here. www.anydrum.com. I use a pair of those for contemporary gigs.

The Gon Bops Tumbao Pro, and Alex Acuna models are great drums as well. There is a set of 3 Alex Acunas for sale (used) at guitar center in Houston right now for $250 each. Probably one of the best deals online right now. You can by them and have em' shipped.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-GON-BOPS-ALEX-ACUNA-SIG-SERIES-CONGA-13--106053283-i1623594.gc?source=4WBZ4DS

Bauers are neat looking, but I've never played them. Not sure what they feel/sound like in person.

I think it is great that you are willing to spend a few extra bucks on something that is really playable. It makes a huge difference to get a decent sounding instrument. Keep us posted on what you end up with.

Skul and I both have a set of these http://www.drumskulldrums.com/en2/22/Shop_Drumskull.php?ProdID=2941&MainID=2941 only they are rope tuned. Although I am having hardware put on my quinto right now.

Lots of options. Don't get paralyzed by shopping though. By a decent set and start playing!
Garvin, Good info & thanks for the leads. I would have never thought to have looked at the used selection at Guitar Center, I guess mostly because I avoid GC like the plague but that's a nice price on the Acuna's. How are the factory installed heads on the Gon Bops in terms of quality? I ask because everyone raves about the Bauer heads and how they are not water buffalo but instead high grade rawhide. It seems that a lot of players I have spoken with claim that a good conga tone has a great deal to do with the head. I am wondering if it's worth paying a little more so get a drum with rawhide heads. I don't know, maybe I am being too particular?

Nice drumskulls, I think it's a good idea getting rid of the ropes. I am sure that quinto will be transformed.
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
Heads definitely have a huge impact on sound. Factory heads on most congas are not great (almost across the board). Some are better than others, and some truly do improve as they are broken in. LP's sound bad out of the box, but once you play them a bunch they begin to warm up. The Gon Bops factory heads are definitely on the upper end of the spectrum. Again, I honestly have no experience with Bauer congas, but anything that comes with a rawhide head will sound noticeably better than the water buffalo in my opinion.

This is another reason why I'm a fan of anything with traditional hardware, It is much easier to mount skins on them than the comfort rims. You can buy a nice huge piece of cowhide, or precut rawhide from a number of places and really put your drums over the top.

Yeah, the ropes are awesome to look at, but I just couldn't get the quinto up where I wanted it. Plus I'm a tuning fanatic. The conga and tumba sound awesome, and the skins are the best I've ever felt/played.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Im the proud owner of a set LP 45th anniversary Tumba and Quinto (low and high love it) and bongo set with the Anniversary stock heads. These sound especially high tuned very nice. Thinking of getting a set of Remo Fiberskyn s but these are very very pricey so that wil be something for the future.
 

Drums&Beer

Senior Member
Well I was able to locate a Bauer dealer and purchased an 11.75 Bauer DW Classic. I had a bit more money to work with for this purchase and I am glad it did because the drum is stunning and has a nice round warm tone.

Anyway thanks for your guys' help and suggestions.
 
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