Down the Docks

June 13, 2006

Conga and Tumba

Filed under: Music — ealing @ 12:32 pm

My drums arrived on Thursday. I've been having fun.

I haven't quite worked out where they're going to live while not being played – I'm going to have to do some furniture re-arrangment to accommodate them. Currently they're right in the middle of the room.

When they arrived, they were a little dirty,with cobwebs inside. The vendor said they were ten years old, and it looks as though they were used for a few months and then packed away for the rest of the time. I've applied some elbow grease to the shell and the hardware. There was a little rust and tarnish, but that's mostly gone.

Naturally the first thing I started to do was hit the drums. The firt few sounds out of them were not promising. The open tone wasn't too bad, but had almost metallic overtones. The bass and the open slap both had a lot of the open tone in them. I guessed that the heads needed to be tighter; when I took the conga along to my CityLit class, my teacher agreed. He cranked the head tension up quite a way, and the sound brightened up a lot. The volume also increased. I was pleased that he thought I'd got a bargain, since I'd taken a bit of a risk buying without getting the advice of someone more knowledgable.

So now I practice a few basic things every day. There are a couple of tone and rhythm exercises that my teacher recommended, and I've alse been trying to do a basic tumbao to accompany a CD track. What I've learned, again, is that most salsa is very fast – I can just about keep up with a chacha.

Anyway, I'm enjoying it immensely, and I haven't annoyed my flatmates too much yet.



  1. Yay!

    I found the same thing… Practicing the cascara with Gareth on Conga and another friend on bongos is getting easy peasy… jamming a guaguanco at full speed in a populated wine-bar is another thing altogether! I’m considering bionic wrists as my next investment…

    Comment by sweavo — June 15, 2006 @ 8:30 am

  2. Congratulations on your new purchase, sounds exciting. I love the sound of the congas!


    Comment by Mimi — June 17, 2006 @ 2:51 am

  3. Well done on getting some congas. I’m assuming you’ve already found this but just in case not:
    It’ll all come with practice though.

    Comment by Brendan — August 8, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

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