You may not know this, but bongos are one of the widely used musical instruments in the world. It is only that they go unnoticed most of the time. If you pay close attention, you can hear them in almost any musical genre.
The most obvious ones are found with Latin music, flowing all the way to other genres like the mainstream pop to other styles. Bongos always add value to the rhythm of a song.
Where you are a drummer searching for something new and percussive, a beginner searching for a better pitch, the instruments will serve you the best.
Best Bongos Review in 2020
For those interested in playing Cuban music, you must know about bongos. But sometimes they are seen as not so serious instruments.
Perhaps it is because there is a wide range of bad ones sold.
In this guide, I will be introducing you to the best decision between good and bad.
Let’s get right in…
The Basics of Bongo
I am sure many of us know the bongo simply as a drum set instrument. But there are many things you may not be aware of.
Before you choose any music instrument, it is always good to learn as much as you can about it. So, how much do you know about bongos?
No one knows the exact history of a bongo drum. But the first documentation came from Cuba, which is also why it is best known for Cuban moves. It has its roots in central and west African drums.
It is important to note that the bongo is one among many Afro-Cuban percussion families. Its European aspect comes from the beat, while the African and Caribbean styles dealt with the offbeat syncopations.
For those who like funk, dance, pop, and any other music genre that forces the body to move, you know what Afro-Cuban polyrhythms entail. These are rhythms you will never play without shaking your body a bit.
Three elements make up the structure of a bongo. The first one of the shells/center block material which is made from wood or fiberglass.
The second element is the hardware. Here you will find the rims, lugs, and steel-reinforced bearing edges on some of the highest models.
The last and most important aspect of a bongo is the drum head. This is the part you hit to produce that sweet sounds bongos make. The head can either be made from animal hide, or synthetic material.
The big drum in a pair of bongos is called the hembra, which is Spanish for females. The small one is macho or male.
It is easy to guess the opposite. But that is not important, as long as you know how to play them.
Bongos have become very popular with modern drummers. They don’t only sound good, but they are also very sweet to work with.
What are the best bongos to buy?
Now that you know what bongos are, you may still be wondering what the best ones are. Go online, and you will find a wide range of these instruments.
But many of them are not of good quality. And if you don’t pick the right one, you will never enjoy their sound. Perhaps you will even hate using them.
Those who have been in the industry for long understand the importance of picking the right bongo. If you are new, here is a list of 10 quality bongos.
One of the best approaches to picking the right instrument for excellent music is considering the brand. There are so many manufacturers for bongos today that will not give you the best service.
Meinl is a renowned name in the drum and accessories industry. The brand is well known for its sound quality, durability, and aesthetic appearance.
The HB100VSB bongo is a line that has received a lot of recognition. They are made from handpicked buffalo heads that are easy to tune in a way that makes you feel comfortable. It also comes with eight millimeters tuning lugs, and black powder-coated rounded rims. These features make them extremely comfortable.
You will enjoy exceptional durability, which is good for heavy hitters. The shells are made from eco-friendly rubberwood.
- Excellent sound
- A reputable brand
- A bit costly
I have never found any issues with Remo drums, and definitely not the Remo RH-5600-00 bongo drum. This is an excellent choice that offers both high and low drumhead pitch that taps into your creativity.
The product features an exciting and appealing rhythm club graphic. It is built from a black molded rubber base that makes it very durable. The acoustic on shells proves on the perfect construction, helping you play it for many years.
The product is useful for both beginners and experienced drummers. For those seeking a transition into world music genres, this bongo could be a great solution.
Because it comes with a plastic head, you can sleep soundly, knowing no humidity, and temperature changes will affect your bongo.
Here is another bongo drum from Remo that will change your drumming experience. For most of us, entry-level products, especially drums, are not the best.
However, Remo is a reputable company known for making high-end drums and accessories. The Remo KD-5400-01 bongo drums is an entry-level series that has completely transformed the industry.
When it comes to playability, the bongo offers an experience of higher-end products. It is made with a Skyndeep pre-tuned drumhead that allows for easy tuning both high and low.
The physical appearance of the drums is quite appealing too.
- Easy tuning
- Value for money
- Not recommended for professionals
The Latin Percussion Aspire Jamjuree Bongos could easily be the best bongo drums you will ever have. It is one of the top products on the market right now.
Latin Percussion is known for producing high-quality percussion instruments, so you can expect great service from this one.
It is made with premium jamjuree wood shells known for delivering punchy and bright tones. And they come from a company that makes fine instruments for top musicians.
The first thing that will strike you is the build quality. At their low-intermediate price tag, you will love the resonant quality tones.
At first, I thought they didn’t sound very well. But after using it for a while, I changed my mind. Their construction quality could be the reason behind their sound.
- Bright and resonant tones
- The value for money
- Excellent construction.
Here is another product from Latin Percussion that has received a lot of attention. It is a perfect solution for working musicians who need professional-quality sound at affordable prices.
They feature a siam oak shell. They are paired with genuine rawhide that produces life-filled tones from the macho and the hembra.
The hardware of these drums is incredibly durable. The tuning lugs, sleek backing plate and plated cast aluminum bottoms are all made from solid and high-quality materials.
- Very expressive
- Professional quality and affordable
- Rawhide does not seat very easily
The Meinl Headliner Range Bongos are among the most affordable bongos on the market today. But despite the low price tag, they produce natural and warm sounds that you will really enjoy.
The hardwood shells come with good-construction. The heads are made from handpicked buffalo skin, offering an authentic feel, and playing response.
The hardware and innovative rounded rims on these bongos make them a good budget-choice. I find them high quality, looking at the clean resonant tone. They pronounce rhythms with an excellent melodic note.
- Lively and musical sound
- Best budget
- Some users have complained about hard tuning macho
- The hardware is not the best quality
Bongos made from Siam Oak are considered the best sounding. And these LP City Series Siam Oak Bongos offer the best of this world. They are attractive bongos, crafted from Siam oak, and include six and 7-inch rawhide heads that make them a slightly smaller set of bongos.
The LP City series is a great selection designed for discerning musicians who want high-quality sounds at an affordable price. The bongos come complete with black-coated hardware and available in a wide range of range finishes.
They are constructed with high quality. And the solid build adds some weight in them. They are, without a doubt, high-quality bongo.
- Good quality
- Value for money
- Array of colorful finishes
- A smaller set
- Rawhide does not seat in quickly
8. Toca Synergy
Are you looking for a low budget bongo that sounds great? Look no further. Toca Synergy bongos come in a few different colors; they are made of rawhide and a body of plywood.
They feature a 6″ male drum and 6 ¾” female drums.
In terms of build quality, these may not be the best drums for hard hitters. Hence, you should not expect them to serve for long. But at this price level, there are ok.
I did not like these drums the first time I saw them. They look more like a kid’s toy drum.
However, the sound was surprisingly great. And if you approach them with proper playing technique, you can be sure to get something useful from them.
- The cheapest bongo drums
- Sleek and colorful design
- Comes with a tightening tool
- Plywood does not offer a lot of resonance
- More for kids
Finding a good bongo on a budget is not easy. It takes a lot of effort and time. And the ones you get may not even be good.
Instead of going through all that trouble, try out these drums that feature shells made of hickory and heads from natural rawhide.
The smallest drum is 6″ while the bigger one is 7″. They are, therefore, a bit smaller than most cheaper models.
They come with a tuning wrench for tightening the tunable heads. Put simply; this is a great budget bongo drums you may want to try out.
Tycoon Percussion Ritmo Bongos are among the highest-quality options on the market. If you have the budget for something more functional, these are great options.
They are a bit basic, though, compared to expensive options. But they are still excellent for beginners seeking to experience the overall feel of bongo function.
Tycoon Percussion features among the top manufacturers of best-quality entry-level bongos. These particular products come with high-quality construction and better sounds.
- Excellent quality
- Value for money
- A reputable brand
- A bit basic, compared to other expensive choices.
Frequently asked Questions
What makes a good bongo drum?
Two main materials are used for making Bongos: wood fiberglass.
Wood is the best choice for those who need the original feel. It is an organic material that is weather sensitive, offering warm and deep sound.
But it depends on the type of wood. The best models are made from Siam Oak.
Fiberglass, on the other hand, delivers a bright and resonant sound. It is ideal for live performances or playing with amplifiers. It is lighter, tougher on the weather.
All these materials are good. The choice depends on personal preference.
Is it easy to learn bongos?
There may be no wrong or right answer to this question. Bongos are just like any other percussion instruments, where learning and usage depend on personal interest.
This means it can be either easy or hard. But if you can play any musical instruments, you will find nothing hard playing bongos.
What size Bongo’s should I get?
A typical bongo drum head measures 6″ by 7″ on the macho and 7″ by 8″ on the bigger drum. These are the best sizes if you are looking to get the best sound. However, some of them are much smaller. You should choose the size depending on what you want to play and portability.
Bongos are amazing percussion instruments. But you will only get the perfect experience by choosing the right product.
I have shared a comprehensive list, with an introduction to bongos that I think should be helpful.