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Affordable Small Percussion Instruments

By Edited May 18, 2015 1 1

Buying new musical instruments can be expensive and sometimes frustrating.  It can be hard to tell how to get the best instrument that fits your budget.  If you are looking to enhance your sound without spending too much money, consider a hand held percussion instrument.  They can add to your music without breaking your budget.  Here are three small percussion instruments that will both fit your budget and sound great too.

Cowbell

The small percussion instrument known as the ‘cowbell’ originated from a type of bell herders used to keep track of their cattle.  Today, the cowbell is played by striking it with a drumstick or mallet.  It can b

Latin Percussion Black Beauty Cowbell
e held or mounted on a stand to be played.  There are a couple factors that go into exactly how a cowbell sounds.  First, size does matter.  The sound of the instrument changes with the size of the bell.  Also, the sound drastically varies depending on what part of the cowbell is hit.  This instrument is very popular in Latin American music, particularly salsa.  It can be used outside this genre as well, as an interesting edition to songs in popular music.  When it comes to buying a cowbell, there is a wide variety of types offering a wide variety of sounds.  The Latin Percussion Black Beauty Cowbell is considered the gold standard of cowbells.  It is 9 inches long and has a higher pitch and brighter sound than other bells.

Tambourine

The tambourine is a very basic hand held percussion instrument: metal jingles called ‘zils’ are attached to a wooden or plastic frame.  Typically they are circular, though shape and size can vary.  Usually, a drumhead is mounted on the top, but that is not always the case.  This small percussion instrument is extremely versatile, being featured in a plethora of musical genres from Greek to Italian t

Latin Percussion Tambourine with Head Double Row
o Motown.  The tambourine has been in use for centuries: decorative pots from ancient Greece picture people playing the instrument.  Tambourines are also very versatile in the way they can be played: struck on the hand, the leg, shaken, or hit with a mallet.  They can even be mounted on a stand to accompany a drum set.  Tambourines can be used to highlight the beat of a song, often used to highlight accents.  They can add a fun, bright sound to music.  If you are looking for a tambourine with a head to achieve the drum sound while playing, consider the Latin Percussion Tambourine with Head Double Row.  Latin Percussion is a renowned producer of percussion instruments.  This tambourine is great and will fit your budget.

Claves

Another small, hand held percussion instrument is the clave.  Claves are 2 small wooden rods that, when struck together, produce a loud, clacking sound.  They are generally around 8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.  Traditionally they are made of either rosewood or ebony, though presently they can be made of fiberglass or plastics because these materials are more durable.  There is a definite technique to playing claves.  Right-handed players lay one rod (the male) loosely in their cupped left hand, resting it between the fingertips and the heel of the hand, using the thumb as support.  Cupping the hand allows the palm to be used as a resonating chamber; essentially, you want the clave to resonate when hit.  The other rod (the female) is used to strike the male in the center.  Just as all claves do not sound alike, all the spots on a clave do not sound alike either.  Some spots, called sweet spots, sound better and more consistent when struck than others.  Also, some claves are carved hollow to produce an amplified sound.  Claves are very important to Afro-Cuban music but can be used as an interesting addition for any musician looking to spice up their sound.  The Latin Percussion White Wood Clave is a great bet for a good pair that will still fit your budget.

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Comments

Jan 26, 2012 3:47pm
valerieviolet
Thank you very much, Multiman! A picture of the clave is a good idea, actually. Thanks for the input.
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