Percussion instruments that can be added to a set up reviews

It's time to discuss drum accessories.

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Dale
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Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:31 am

For those who may be interested in adding some percussion colours to a set up, here are some I have either used, or own and have used. Most instruments have been used on recordings, so I have had a chance to hear them not only live, but in the recording context as well. I'll try to focus on instruments that can be added directly to a kit. But will also look at other popular instruments that can be overdubed later, or that can be used without a kit.

I'll use ***** through *. 5 being the best.

Each instrument will get its own post. (Simply so that I don't get cut off and lose my text.)

Tambourines. Tambourines are often at the top of the list when drummers want to add additional colours to a set up. They are easy to set up, as well as being an instrument that transfers itself well to a drummer's thinking and techniques used to play it.

Over the years there have been a couple that have sold well and have been popular. The two main types are the Rhythm Tech Professional model and the Latin Percussion Cyclops. But others have come along to challenge them. First let's look at the first two.

Rhythm Tech Professional mounted tambourine.
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Rhythm Tech's blurb says: The Rhythm Tech Drum Set Tambourine
The DST was the first tambourine designed specifically for the drummer!

It mounts securely on any stand with a rod or tube 1/4” to 1/2” in diameter (with optional DSM2 Universal or DSM Quad), or on the rod of a Hi-Hat.

A unique polymer Edge widens the playing surface, reduces stick noise and withstands an incredible beating.

Other features include a quick-release wing screw and improved mount for “easy-on / easy-off” and increased stability.


In my opinion, what is said here is pretty spot on. In the early days it was necessary to buy a clamp and affix it to the hand held tambourine. This was, at least to me, a nightmare! The damned clamps would loosen during a gig and simply couldn't be relied upon. So many times during a song I'd have to try and fiddle with the damned thing while playing in order to get it somewhat near its playing position. I was really pleased when finally a tambourine was built for the specific purpose. It might seem like a simple and obvious idea now in hindsight. And it always was. But man, we older guys had to wait a while for it.

So how does this instrument stack up in the big scheme of things? It's great! The Rhythm Tech's were always strong. I used my old white model on many loud gigs and the sound always carried across the stage and could be heard in the mix. Whether or not it was picked up by the drum mics or across the stage through the vocal mics. It was always there.

The body on this tambourine is also very strong. The old white one I mentioned earlier, spent about 10 years touring with me. It never cracked or developed any faults either through playing or being transported in a fully stocked traps case. This is pretty cool when I think back on how loud many of the gigs and rehearsals were, as well as the fact that more often than not it was being struck with 2b size sticks. Mine had stainless steel jingles. I've not used the brass Rhythm Tech model live. But listening to it on its own it sounds great.

Rating. ****
I'd give it 5, but want to allow for further improvements.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:06 am

LP Cyclops mounted tambourine

I own 2 LP Cyclops tambourines. I have a mounted steel jingle and a hand held dimpled brass jingle version. Let's have a look at them.

Image

LP's blurb says:
Most ergonomically designed, comfortable, and durable tambourine ever produced

Unique patented shape has been designed especially for natural arm and wrist motions to offer greater playing ease in all situations


Available in hand held or mountable models; the rounded edges provide extra durability for drumstick hits

Last up to five times longer than other tambourines

Nickel-plated steel alloy jingles produce a bright sound that projects; brass jingles deliver a distinctively warm, yet cutting sound

Model with dimpled brass jingles produces a distinct, crisp sound

Patented jingle pinning system keeps the jingles in place

Mountable models use LP’s forged eye-bolt assembly for secure placement on 3⁄8" diameter rods or hi-hat stand pull rods

Patented


Well, in my opinion, some of the above is accurate. If talking about the hand held version, it is not the most comfortable or most ergonomically designed tambourine. In fact I find it lacks considerably in the balance and comfort stakes.

But what about the mounted version? First of all, this is a lovely sounding tambourine. The jingles on all the models are high class and have crisp and distinctive sounds. The brass models in particular record very nicely indeed. So do the steel, but to my ears, I prefer brass jingles. Just as I prefer K cymbals.

LP says these tambourines last up to 5 times longer than other tambourines. I can't comment on that except to say that I doubt my LP's will outlast the old white Rhythm tech. The plastic does not seem as strong. But as yet has not broken. So we wait and see I suppose.

The jingles are, as mentioned, high class. In fact I think these are the best jingles on any mounted tambourine I've played. This matters when you start recording. I cannot fault these jingles at all. Mine are still in place, so LP may be right in what they say about the pins holding them.

The real point of criticism I can level at this instrument is the eye bolt. They just don't last! And with the way LP price their instruments and spare parts, replacing the damned things gets very expensive indeed. The eye bolt costs nearly as much to buy separately as the tambourine in the first place! At least where I live.

I rate this instrument at ***1/2.
My reasons for this are the balance issue in the hand held model, and the poor quality eye bolt.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:47 am

Pearl has started to get heavily into the world of percussion lately. And with pretty fine results. I have many of Pearl's percussion products and I'll try to cover as many as I can in these reviews as time goes by.

When it came to developing a mounted tambourine, Pearl decided to release a model with a head; the TomBourine (PTB-10).

Image

How does it stack up? Let's have a look.

Pearl's blurb says: This may look like a normal 10” headed tambourine, but it is far from it. First off, it is Drumkey Tunable, so you do not have to use those screwdriver type tuners that are always falling off. Next, it comes with Pearl’s Exclusive Quick Draw mount, which makes it convert from mountable to handheld in seconds. Accessorize your percussion kit, or add it next to one of you tom-toms on your drumset. Our 10” head can easily take the abuse of sticks or brushes, and offers a unique “tom” sound with a hint of jingles for a unique effect.


Is this a suitable tambourine to use as a hand held model? In my opinion, NO! There are a couple of reasons for this.

1: The most obvious being that the shell is too deep. Unless one has huge hands, there is no way to play this unweildy instrument while controlling the head to dampen grace notes.

2: Weight. It's far too heavy. Not everyone has forearms like Conan the Barbarian. Especially slightly built females. Trying to play this thing over an extended period would be an effort worthy of a Grammy award!

Simply put. This is a set up designed instrument. It's sold with a mount, and that's how it's meant to be used; i.e. mounted.

I'll say one thing here, this is a well built, strong instrument. The body is very solid and the tuning system is very high quality. This thing wont break in a hurry unless abused.

The mounting system is also very well built and strong. The eye bolt, unlike the poor LP equivalent, is strong and stays tight when positioned. But I have to wonder at the wisdom of the overall design. Why have it feature this mount when its hand playability is limited? Perhaps the idea to begin with was good, but as it was developed it was discovered that in order to keep the tambourine in its cradle, the shell's depth had to grow. But why then persist? Only Pearl could answer that question.

The jingles are very good. They have a lovely crisp sound that cuts and they appear to be very strong. I think Pearl should fit a better head to this. I am not happy with the plastic head that came with it. It's a single ply type that sounds a bit thin to me. My instrument improved when I removed this head and replaced it with a REMO Fibreskin.

Okay, so it has a head, but is a head necessary for most drummers who will mainly be playing it for the jingle sound? Probaly not. For those guys I'd recomend the Rhythm Tech model reviewed above.
But for someone who wants to play it by hand using pandeiro like techniques and slaps, it is a pretty decent addition to a set up.
For that reason, I can recomend it. But certainly not as an instrument to be used as a hand held model.

***1/2.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:14 am

Meinl hand held and mounted tambourines.

Over the last few years I've really grown to be a fan of Meinl. Like many drummers of my vintage, I always tended to equate Meinl's quality with the early Raker cymbals which were on a par with Pearl cymbals; i.e. not great. My thoughts now are quite different. Of course there is often an element in their quality control that sometimes doesn't reach the dizzying heights of LP or Rhythm tech. Such as poorly finished bearing edges on the occasional Ibo drum that cut through the head. "Grrrrr" But for the most part this company is as good as any.

Meinl tambourines come in steel, brass and aluminium models.

So how do the tambourines stack up against the others? Pretty damned well!

Let's have a look.

Meinl mounted steel jingle.
Image

I do not own a mounted version, but I do have a hand held model. The only issue that could become a concern is the actual bracket. It is long and as a result could suffer from repeated attack in a loud enviroment. But as I said, I can't comment. But judging on the strength of the hand held model, I'm willing to give this instrument the benefit of the doubt.

With that in mind, I'll focus my review on the hand held model. First of all, take a look at it and note the design.
Image

Note that unlike the Cyclops by LP, the grip is extended in toward the center of the instrument. This is similar to the Rhythm Tech model. This design gives a sense of balance to the instrument and improves playability considerably. Whereas the LP feels like it extends too far away from the hand, the Meinl seems to secure itself to the hand and become one with it. Even moreso than the Rhythm Tech model. There are also no sharp corners. This is also true of the edge, which feels soft and maleable, but is strong. The edge of this tambourine is very comfortable. This is something appreciated when one has to play loudly and over extended periods.

Meinl's blurb is simple, clear and very accurately describes these fine instruments.

These ergonomically shaped tambourines are available as hand held or mountable versions. The durable ABS frame allows hard hitting and energetic hand playing. Nickelsilver plated steel jingles produce a bright sound that projects well.

Material
Jingles: Nickelsilver plated steel Frame: ABS

Features
Ergonomic design
Available as hand held or mountable versions
Guiro style playing surface
“Sandwich” construction

Colours
BK = Black
R = Red


As for "ergonomic design", LP could take a few lessons from Meinl.

The jingles are also very good, whether brass, steel or aluminium.

I rate the hand held model at *****.

At this point, not having a mounted version, I will hold off on a rating. But as far as a plastic frame type tambourine, this is the best I've found. I highly recomend it.

All the above tambourines donated courtesy of my wallet.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:37 am

Okay, so we've mounted a tambourine to our existing set up. But what about if you want a shaker close by? They tend to roll off speaker cabinents. So what to do? The obvious answer is a percussion table.

As with the reviews above, I will only review models that I own and have experience with.

Let's begin with the LP Percussion Table

Take a look at it.
Image

Image

Big, isn't it. But be warned, virtuous young and perhaps naive drummer. It isn't sold as a complete unit. You have to pay extra for the additional table tops that extend beyond the borders of the frame. Please believe me when I say, "This gets pretty bloody expensive!"

Having said that though, this table is great. It's sturdy, comes with its own carry bag, and you can fit quite a lot of gear to it. I've had no trouble with mine. Check out LP's blurb.

Ideal percussionist’s work station for live and studio performances

This versatile table can hold dozens of percussion instruments within easy reach

22" W x 19" D height adjustable table can be used with all varieties of LP hand percussion items including tambourines, shekeres, claves, shakers, güiros, maracas, and many others

The rubber padded playing surface protects the instruments, and makes for quiet handling

Raised back edge of the table keeps instruments from rolling off

Two height adjustable, tiered cross bars provide up to 24 possible mounting locations for use with 3⁄8" diameter mounting rods

Six rods and three triangle hooks are included with each table, and additional rods are available separately

Collapsible for easy set-up and portability

When disassembled, the unit measures 26" W x 20" H x 3" D and fits neatly into its nylon carry bag


That's all pretty accurate. But is it suitable for a drummer? Probaly not. It may be a little overkill. But if you also play percussion and want a table that'll last and cover the gig, you wont go wrong with this beast.

Rating *****.
Last edited by Dale on Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:49 am

Rhythm Tech The Mountable Gig Tray.

Image

Okay, this thing is well made, sturdy and is a good design. There's just one problem. IT'S MADE FOR HOBBITS!

With all fairness to Rhythm Tech, their blurb gives the true dimensions. And note, it is not called a table. It's called a "tray". Which is what it ultimately is.

The Mountable Gig Tray a/k/a MGT is a clamp-on percussion tray which attaches to any stand in your set-up.

Made of tough powder-coated steel and measuring 13 1/2” wide x 7 1/2” deep, the MGT has a soft, silent, no-slip Neoprene surface which keeps noise down when picking up and putting down instruments.

The tray also has two "quick-grab" utility hooks for hanging tambourines and other extra accessories.

You can use the MGT for holding everything from drinks to drum machines and percussion.

And ... it's great to attach to your singer's mic stand!


For what it is, it's a fine piece of equipment. If you, as a drummer, wish only to hold a shaker or two and maybe a cabasa. This'd work just fine.

Although it might be wiser to hold off for the next reviewed item.

As a small tray, I rate this at *****

As a table ***. (It isn't a table!)

Of course Rhythm tech never claimed it to be a table. Actually I find Rhythm Tech to be an excellent company producing some very nice instruments. My only problem with them is that their range is too small.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:17 am

Pearl Percussion Table

Okay, this is the table I recomend for the drummer who wants a table to hold percussion items. It's a decent size; about 3 times the size of Rhythm Tech's tray. And it secures easily to any cymbal stand or tom holder. Have a look.

Image

The base has a type of carpet on it so that replacing instruments on it is quiet. It has raised edges so that shakers and the like wont roll off. And it is priced cheaply for what you get. Believe it or not, it's about the same price as Rhythm Tech's tray. Pretty decent really. I was so impressed, I bought two.

Pearl's blurb simply states:
Shelf area for percussion accessories A great place to place sticks and percussion effects, comes complete with clamp for stand mounting
Stick cutouts table features cutouts to keep sticks from rolling off


That is all true and correct. Like any of Pearl's hardware, it's well made, sturdy and wont fall to bits.

There really isn't much to add. It is what it is.

Rating *****
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
Dale
session drummer
session drummer
Posts: 537
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am
Location: Aus

Post Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:38 am

Triangles.

Triangles are a fairly cheap extra to add to kits. I own a few triangles, three smaller standard size and some gigantic triangles which are not used for kit application. So I will focus on the 3 more suitable for our purposes.

LP Pro Triangles

The reason I chose the LP Pro series is due to their good sound coupled with the fact they have three size options. LP also have a set released under their Aspire line. These are also good, but more along the lines of a lower priced cymbal compared to a top level cymbal.

Each of the Pro series traingles are well made and has excellent sound. They are bright and rich and have a tone and timbre that cuts. They record very clearly, whether hand held or suspended.

I checked out triangles made by other companies such as Toca and Rhythm Tech. What made me choose LP was the fact that they offer size options. There is not a great deal of difference between the Rhythm Tech and LP in terms of sound quality. The downside for Rhythm Tech in regards to my purchase was the lack of sizes. The Toca sounded more along the lines of the Aspire level and was not what I was after.

Rhythm Tech do offer a triangle sold with its own holder/stand that can be placed on a table. This is quite a useful instrument. I have played it, but do not own one. It's certainly a viable option if you only want one triangle.

Here's a shot of the LPs.

Image

LPs blurb.

Designed with the recording percussionist in mind

An integral part of all styles of music

High alloy steel that has been carefully heat tempered, polished, and chrome plated

Pure shimmering sound

The three available sizes, 4", 5", and 6", range in pitch from high to low and fit
any musical situation

Two strikers – a thin version for delicate playing and a larger diameter version for louder playing – included

Nylon hanging string included


Prices in USD.
LP311A
LP Triangle
4"
List US - $28.00 LP311B
LP Triangle
5"
List US - $30.00 LP311C
LP Triangle
6"
List US - $32.00

For a comparrison, here is the Aspire price list.



LPA121
LP Aspire Triangle 6"
List US - $18.00 LPA122
LP AspireSupreme Triangle 8"
List US - $22.00 LPA123
LP Aspire Supreme Triangle 10"
List US - $25.00

For my money, it is worth paying the little extra for the Pro's. The sound is better by far.

I rate the Pro triangles at ****
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
- Papa Jo Jones
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Post Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:30 am

I just bought a triangle and want to add it to my set. I was wondering if you had any advise on how to set it up. Should I just hang it from a fishing line loop on a cymbal stand? I don't want it to spin so much also. Where can I put the metal stick for easy access?

Thanks
Pearl/Sabian/Vater