looking after your percussion

Posted: 10 November 2020

The maintenance of percussion instruments is something which is often overlooked but something that is important to any percussionist. Keeping your percussion instruments in good shape is key to getting and consistently maintaining the sounds you want.

bongos and congas 

Bongos and congas are usually pretty durable in terms of wear thanks to their thick skins and heavy duty outer shells meaning they actually require very little maintenance. However, there are some important things you can do to keep them in top shape.

 

Check for any warping

Warping can often be caused by humidity and temperature changes. To check to make sure that your drums aren’t warped you’ll need to loosen the drumhead by untightening all the lugs. Once the head is loose take a close look at the rim; it should sit evenly across the rim of the drum with no dents or warping. If you notice any of this, you may want to think about getting the head replaced for a better and more consistent playing sound. When retightening the drumhead make sure to evenly turn the lugs to ensure that all tension is evenly distributed across the surface. You’ll know when the drum is tight enough as you should be able to play a crisp, loud tone.

Cajons

Originally from Peru, the Cajon drum is a rectangular box-shape instrument that is hit with the players hands, palms or fingertips to create sound which escapes through a small hole that is on one of the sides of the drum. With careful care and attention a Cajon can last for many years. Some key maintenance tips include:

Make sure that the drum is stored inside

This tip does sound obvious but keeping your drum in a stable temperature will help you to achieve a consistent the sound. Any sudden changes in condition may cause cracks or warp the drum’s shell. Cajons, unlike Bongos or Congas, can be quite fragile so using a protective casing when transporting them is always recommended.

Watch more

Take a look below at Natal artist Joy Joseph put our Fuego Congas through their paces, and tell us about her love of the drums and percussion.