It's 12.30am and the neighbours have all gone to bed, the children are fast asleep and your life wouldn't be worth living if you woke up your better half. Suddenly a flash of inspiration hits you and you've got to shed some new ideas on your timbales and congas before they're gone forever. This tricky scenario is now possible to resolve without upsetting those around you.
"The Practice Pro is filled with a dense foam material that reduces volume, but leaves enough to hear what you're practising"
After many years as a first-call percussionist to an impressive list of music legends, Daniel de los Reyes has joined forces with Drum Workshop to create his unique and highly portable 'Practice Pro' concept.
The Practice Pro is essentially a highly muffled 11"x5" metal drum with many radically different striking surfaces on which to play. The first thing that strikes you is just how solid it is with its red 'vented' shell complemented by a pair of black metal rims that are reassuringly solid and look the business.
The five-lug conga side is tightened on the opposite side with an included wrench and tensions a synthetic quinto-sized Remo head. The timbale side has a drum-key adjustable V-clamp housing a rod that attaches a unique twin cowbell practice pad.
Both the height and position of these bells are fully adjustable. The playing surface of the timbale has the majority of its surface covered in thin, hard rubber which simulates the higher tension of the smaller Macho drum whilst the smaller portion on the left side features a thicker, spongier response simulating the lower pitch of the larger Hembra drum.
This difference in feel when coupled with actual differences in pitch really helps when practising Afro-Cuban rhythms but could also be used for all sorts of rudiments, etc.
The two contoured cowbell pad areas each have two tones so you can simulate the sound and feel of the mouth and neck of the bells. Pitch and feel are adjustable to your liking and you can practise conga techniques extremely quietly because the inside of the Practice Pro is filled with a dense foam material that reduces volume, but leaves enough to hear what you're practising.
One of the best features is the raised rim on the timbale side, which means that you can work on cross-stick patterns, rimshots and the all important 'abanico' rolls that feature in the cha cha cha.
The Practice Pro is surprisingly addictive. The conga feels great to practise on and the dual timbale pad is quickly removable if you want a lighter alternative; perfect for travelling and backstage warm-ups.