A steel tongue drum instrument is something you need to try out. And it doesn’t matter whether you have a long experience in music or not.
It is a simple instrument, yet it produces some of the most beautiful sound instrument you have ever heard.
And you don’t even require years to train, or a lot of money to get one.
It is not an electronic instrument. It is mechanical, yet it is quite epic.
And this inspired me to write a guide on them. And perhaps you will find one right for you in the reviews that follow.
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What is a tongue drum (AKA tongue)?
A steel tongue drum instrument is also referred to as a steel drum or steel drum, is a concept that started in 2007, inspired by the hang instrument.
It is a percussion instrument that features in the idiophone group. And so you know, idiophones are a musical instrument that produces their sound through the vibration of its sound material. This means it does not require strings, membranes of external resonators.
It is one of the most melodic percussion sound instruments you will find on the market. And for this reason, it has been highly appreciated for the relaxing sound notes it produces and how easy it plays.
You don’t require any particular skills or technique to play the steel tongue drum instrument. It is something just anyone can pick up and begin playing.
Note that the number of slats or ‘tongues ‘is equal to the number of notes you get from your steel tongue drum. And you can use your hands or mallets to play if you are the ‘hands-on’ type. And if not, you can still use mallets. Mallets are as good as real hands.
Even though the mallets idea was started as a serious thing in 2007, the mallets’ history dates back to the old days. It may have been forgotten until a few years ago, where it seems to have come back with a vengeance.
This particular interest is inspired by the propane tank versions, which are DIY. You can easily cut off the bottoms to two tanks and weld them together. Then cut out the tongues in different lengths on one side.
Which tongue drum is made for me?
As stated above, you can make your own steel tongue drum instrument with specifications that meet your needs with Meinl sonic energy. But for more advanced options, you will have to buy.
There are steel tongue drums with varying tones, including major scales, minor, Akebono, and pentatonic, among many others.
Choosing among these scales can be very overwhelming. You cannot have them all, which means you have to sacrifice all others for one. Hence, it takes long and deep thoughts to purchase. Besides, this is an instrument you will own for years.
Hence, finding the right steel tongue drum is pretty much a matter of preference. However, you consider one in terms of scales. Picking only scales means you will not have anything else in your musical life unless you buy several.
It was traditionally built that way anyway until Beat Root introduced their revolutionary tunable steel tongue drum. This changed everything, and I think it fits caters for all needs.
The Beat Root tunable tongue drum
Beat Root has become a revolutionary brand for the steel tongue drum. They introduce the first tunable and electro-acoustic steel tongue drum in 2018.
This device combines six scales in one place. The steel tongue drum features an innovative tuning system that lets you switch from one scale to another with ease.
And for this reason, you don’t have to think too much about choosing only one scale. The Beat Root tunable steel tongue drum has got you covered. Whenever and wherever you want to play, you will always find the right scale with Meinl sonic energy.
6 Best Steel tongue drums Reviewed in 2020
Steel Tongue Drum
The Beat Root Multi-Scale steel tongue drum is one of the best choices out there. It comes with an incredible tuning system that allows the player to choose between six varying pentatonic scale.
As stated above, this is a revolutionary steel tongue drum. It uses a base cut and magnet to change the pentatonic scale.
Also, it features a built-in microphone and a ¼ inch jack connection. Hence you can use it with an amp, live shows, or for recording.
It comes with impressive sounds and overtones. Also, its looks are quite attractive. The producers have included a high-quality carrying bag.
If you don’t want to be selling your steel tongue drum every time to get another, then consider this versatility of this item. The built-in piezo microphone lets you use an amplifier.
You can do so much with this instrument.
Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum
Asmuse 10-inch steel tongue drum represents the best balance between quality and price. It is a beautifully created drum that offers a reach tone with quality tuning.
It is tuned to the F major pentatonic. It does not give you great versatility as the Beat Root above, but it sounds wonderful for the overtone of a quality steel tongue drum.
This offers a great styling choice. It is a traditionally shaped steel tongue drum that focuses more on functionality than visuals.
Apart from the quality, it also comes with several accessories. They include a pair of rubber mallets and a beautiful carry bag. This carry bag and mallets are of top quality.
Pearl Pmtd9lyd690 9 Note Tongue Drum Lydian
Who doesn’t know Pearl in the music industry? The brand has become a household name due to the quality of the drums and accessories they produce.
They don’t only produce acoustic drums and percussions, but steel tongue drums too. Considering the company’s reputation, you can expect the best from this steel tongue drum.
It is crafted from sterling steel and carries nine tones/tongues. It is the Lydian mode that separates it from the rest.
And if you are not familiar with music theory, the Lydian mode is a great example of just how much difference you can make with one tone. Even though it is set on a major scale, it has a raised fourth degree, which adds a special taste.
Moukey Mini Steel Tongue Drum
This steel tongue drums carry a total of eleven tones D major. It comes with a versatile tuning that will meet your drumming needs. And this versatile key lets you play along with popular music.
At ten inches, it is relatively large; hence you can expect a strong output. Also, it comes with mallets. Hence you have the option of using these mallets or relying on your hands.
You will love its great sound. It is among the most popular option in the market today. And the fact that it is highly affordable makes it a great choice altogether. The whale drum, invented by Dennis Havlena, creates an amazing sound.
Tongue Hand Pan D Celtic Minor
If you are looking for high-quality steel tongue drums for yoga meditation, then this choice is for you. It is handcrafted in Russia, and it comes bearing premium quality steel.
But most importantly, it’s sound notes characteristic is incredible. It may sound almost like some hand drums sound.
The D Celtic Minor key offers excellent tones. It is perfect for more traditional and spiritual sounds.
Apart from the excellent sounding, you will be impressed with the craftsmanship that created it. It looks very impressive and sounds even better. And thanks to its slightly distorted shaped and attractive tongue pattern, you will enjoy playing this tongue drums.
The only limitation may be its price. But if you consider its quality, then it will all make sense.
These tongue drums are very popular with many enthusiasts. It is truly and value-for-money product.
Guda Drum Freezbee
These tank drums come with some unique features that separate it from many other tongue drums instrument. Instead of beginning entirely practical, this one has added an aspect of beauty.
The designers used a lot of effort and time to create the beautiful circular patterns on this tongue drum steel. They have also included a beautiful rope decoration than makes it look amazing.
But that is not all. It offers an exotic scale too. You can say it is a great combination of beauty and quality sound.
The styling inspires its sound notes. It is tuned in what they call the ‘Arcane’ scale, which produced a unique sound expression. It is particularly useful for orient sound and such styles.
What are the differences between a Hang Drum and a Tongue Drum?
There is no denying that the timbre of steel tongue drums is similar to that of Hang Drums. And it is very easy to confuse these percussion hang drum instruments. And some people have even failed to tell the difference.
But there is something that sets them apart – the manufacturing process. Hang drums are produced by hammering.
I can understand where the confusions come from. In fact, the steel tongue drums are also called ‘hand drum,’ a name that comes from the combination of ‘tank drum’ and ‘hang drums.’
Hand drums are, however, very expensive, this makes them rare – they are not even mass-produced. You have to sign a waiting list and wait for months before getting hang drums. On the other hand, products like the Beat Root tongue drums are readily available for purchase.
A steel tongue drums are a great addition to a percussionist’s collection. They offer an excellent addition to a variety of sounds you need. And if you love drumming for fun, I would recommend you get a Beat Root tongue drum.