Percussion instruments round-up: the best in the world today
This is a constantly updated gallery of the best percussion instruments on the planet - from congas and bongos to cowbells and cajons, there’s an instrument or accessory here to suit every drummer.
All the percussion products here are hand-picked from the buyers’ guide pages of Rhythm magazine following a gruelling test process. So, have a browse and be sure to click through to read the full review for an in-depth look at each instrument.
Best congas: Gon Bops Alex Acuña Series Congas
Weather Report drummer and percussionist Alex Acuña has had his favourite hand percussion instruments given the signature treatment, and truly beautiful they are, too. Alex’s first congas were actually Gon Bops, and these North American ashwood congas are old-school in look and, with DW behind the revamped company, you know they’re gonna be classy.
If you like Gon Bops’ Alex Acuña Series Congas, you’ll also like:
LP Galaxy Giovanni Congas - (BUY: Thomann)
Best timbales: LP Tito Puento Series
This company sets the standard when it comes to timbales, and El Rey’s extensive signature range is available in brass, ‘commemorative’ bronze or stainless steel, all with a quality stand and cowbell mount. You can choose between 12" to 16" timbale sets, 15" and 16" Thunder Timbs or 9.25" and 10.25" timbalitos.
4 out of 5
BUY: LP Tito Puento Series Timbale: Thomann
If you like LP’s Tito Puento Series, you’ll also like:
Meinl Luis Conte Signature Series Timbales - (BUY: Thomann)
Meinl Amadito Valdes Timbales - (BUY: Thomann)
Pearl Marc Quinones Steel Timbales - (BUY: Thomann)
Best cowbell: Rhythm Tech Metal Percussion Cowbells
Pete Engelhart is a serious artisan who has quite literally forged a reputation as the most prolific producer of handmade cowbells (among other wonderful otherworldly creations such as the popular ‘ribbon crasher’) and all with distinctive, musical tones, shapes and designs that take the realm of metal percussion into the future.
If you like Rhythm Tech’s Metal Percussion Cowbells, you’ll also like:
Pearl Horacio Hernandez Signature Cowbell - (BUY: Thomann)
Latin Percussion Salsa Series Cowbell - (BUY: Thomann)
Best cajons: Gon Bops Alex Acuña Series Cajon
Weather Reporter Acuña has put his name to this versatile, beautifully-made cajon from newly-revamped company Gon Bops. Snares lie diagonally across the top corners giving a wide choice of sounds, plus it has more adjustable screws than most cajons meaning more control over snap and resonance. A work of art, and hats off to the craftsmen that produced it.
FULL REVIEW: Gon Bops Alex Acuña Series Cajon
If you like Gon Bops’ Alex Acuña Cajon, you’ll also like:
Sonor Standard Cajon - (BUY: Thomann)
Best djembes: Remo Key-Tuned Djembe
Easy to tune and available in five sizes, from 10" to 17" in diameter and 24" to 28" in height. Constructed entirely from man-made materials, the djembes are fitted with Remo’s strong Advanced Acousticon shells and new SkynDeep Black FiberSkyn Mondo drum heads, featuring the ‘straight-wall’ construction method which elevates the heads away from the rim. A revelation!
FULL REVIEW: Remo Key-Tuned Djembe
If you like Remo’s Key-Tuned Djembe, you’ll also like:
Remo Paulo Mattiolo Signature Djembes - (BUY: Andertons Music Co.)
Remo Designer Series Djembes - (BUY: Thomann)
Best bongos: Gon Bops Alex Acuña Series Bongos
As with the matching congas, these are solidly made, affordable professional instruments that are traditional in appearance, a joy to play and a fitting tribute to such a brilliantly versatile musician. These natural lacquer-finished ashwood drums come as a 7" and 8.5" set, boast a striking tiger-stripe pattern and sound awesome.
4 out of 5
If you like Gon Bops’ Alex Acuña Series Bongos, you’ll also like:
Latin Percussion Giovanni Galaxy Bongos - (BUY: Thomann)
Best shakers: Meinl Spark Shakers
These relatively new inventions are easy to play and, with an intriguing array of sounds, it’s no surprise that these tactile little fellas are a standout choice. The metallised disc-shaped basket fits beautifully into the palm of your hand and is easy to mute.
4 out of 5
FULL REVIEW: Meinl Hand Percussion
Best auxiliary percussion: Meinl Samba Range
Meinl’s Brazilian percussion range includes wonderful wood or aluminium surdo drums on legs, articulate lightweight metal or wooden repiniques and the choice of single, double or even triple aluminium samba shakers. Meinl’s authentic designs and highly durable build quality means that these drums will last.
FULL REVIEW: Meinl Samba Series Percussion
BUY: Meinl Standalone Surdo: Thomann
If you like Meinl’s Samba Range, you’ll also like:
Pearl Tombourine - (BUY: Thomann)
Liked this? Now read: The best drum kits in the world today
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