- How to Find the Best Drum Pedals - December 8, 2021
- Best Marching Snare Drum Guide: With My Top 4 Recommendations - December 3, 2021
- Best Overhead Drum Mic Options - December 1, 2021
Steel tongue drums, also known as tank drums or greatest steel drums, are a great way to get started in music without spending hours on technical drills and practice exercises. The core of this form of percussion is that it is simple to play and has a beautiful sound.
Tank drums are a relatively new development since the initial idea for this percussion style was a whale drum. The tank drum got its name from the ease of building it out of a depleted propane tank. The bottom is removed, and the distinctive “tongues” are sliced to give different pitches.
The movement of the tongues causes the entire instrument to reverberate and intensify the sound. Such percussion has a distinct and memorable sound that makes me wonder why humanity did not invent this instrument sooner.
In any event, it’s a fun and fascinating instrument, and I’d like to share it with others. That is why I am creating this article: to assist you in beginning your musical adventure.
Top Pick: Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum
Choosing the Best Steel Tongue Drum
The majority of companies offer two drum sizes in their lineup: 16 and 20 inches. Both sizes produce a comparable sound, with the 20-inch drum being more open and providing a punchier, fuller sound. The larger drum, on the other hand, makes it more difficult to play. Other companies’ 10- and 12-pound kickplates are also appealing to us. While these aren’t the most costly drumheads on the market, they are unquestionably the best we’ve seen. These kick plates are made of 14-gauge steel and will not chip or deform. They also provide you with the option of a black or white finish. The 24-ounce steel drum is similarly made of 14 gauge steel. It features a traditional black finish and is available in four distinct finishes.
Price Range for Steel Tongue Drums
A steel drum set can cost anywhere from $30 to $1,000, depending on the style and quality.
A set of three to six steel drums can be purchased for $50 to $150. These are typically constructed of high-quality steel.
If you want a personalized steel set with any rare or exotic metal, expect to pay around $200. Steel drums in this price category are either handmade or fabricated from a single solid piece of steel.
What I Look for in Steel Drums
The choice of steel drum heads is not a simple one. I attempt to include all of the main aspects in my evaluations and a variety of additional variables to ensure that you don’t get your hopes up too high.
When it comes to product quality, the brand is a key deciding element. You will be more likely to purchase from a company that is recognized for its expertise and for making high-quality drums.
Price is also a significant consideration, especially when purchasing a kit that will last you for years. Some of the higher-priced versions are built of higher-quality materials but may not have as good a sound.
Although a smaller size drum may be more appealing, it may not be as practical for live performance. The drums don’t have to be enormous to produce a decent sound, but they should be designed to fit together so that you may play them in a variety of ways.
This is an important consideration, especially if you want to utilize the drums for performances. Choose a material that will provide a long-lasting and dependable sound that will not deteriorate after a few uses.
Another critical aspect is upkeep. If you use your drum set daily, you need to clean it regularly to keep it in good shape. Look for drum shells that have an anti-scratch powder coating.
You don’t want to get carried away and buy a massive drum just to discover that it doesn’t operate as well as you expected. It may seem stupid, and you certainly don’t want your buddies to notice but search for shock absorbers on your new drumhead.
Steel Tongue Drums I Recommend
Lomuty is a brand that is well-known for its tank drums. They specialize in the production of percussion instruments, and that is the sole product they sell (apart from singing glass bowls). Lomuty is, without a question, a true professional in their field. They state that each tank drum that they offer is painstakingly handcrafted.
You cannot and should not expect a low-quality product from such enthusiastic individuals. The brand exceeds all expectations: the 12″ Lomuty Steel Tongue Drum is on par with every other entry on our list.
The maker meticulously examines the intonation of the tongues themselves and the resonance of each chord in the C major scale. This component enables this percussion to generate clear and pure intervals that do not cancel out but rather strengthen and enhance the sound they make together.
As a bonus, you have a great set of C major scale tones with which you may play and explore to your heart’s content. Lomuty’s percussion includes an intriguing characteristic in which each note is tuned to a distinct reference pitch: 432 Hz.
What is not in debate is that the maker of this percussion instrument claims that the 11 tongues on the drum may be adjusted to modify the tune. You can use any other popular tuning, such as Pythagorean tuning, 11-TET tuning, or standard 12-TET tuning. You may even make your own tune, this is true freedom of inquiry. However, if you are not a music nerd, you may not have much luck in establishing a pleasing sounding tune.
- Changing the tune is simple
- 432 Hz is an interesting tune
- Excellent for large crowds, such as parties and drumming circles
- Aimed towards music enthusiasts
Yinama, another lesser-known company, created this percussion composition. They mostly manufacture technological and musical accessories. The Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is an excellent alternative to the previous two percussion pieces since it is an inch smaller, resulting in less weight without a significant influence on the instrument’s overall sound.
Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is handmade; the main material used in its production is a steel-titanium alloy. The use of titanium provides this percussion a particular tone that distinguishes it from the other tank drums on the list. That delightful chiming sound of this form of percussion has been kept; it is simply that using your hearing, you would be able to clearly differentiate Yinama percussion from all of the other rivals.
This percussion is ideal for beginners and aspiring drummers. Yinama is well-known for producing high-quality steel drums that enable trainees to grasp this musical instrument. This percussion instrument has 11 tongues and is tuned in the key of C major.
- Excellent for use as a student instrument
- Despite the similar size, the sound is really rich
- A sizable collection of accessories
- Still pretty big and heavy
Asmuse is the type of brand that takes pleasure in producing high-quality items on a mid-to low-budget basis. Apart from steel tongue drums, Asmuse offers a wide range of equipment for artists, including guitar effects pedals, lately popularized kalimbas, melodicas, headphones, and much more.
The Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum is an excellent beginner-friendly package. If you’re new to steel tongue drums, this drum hits the sweet spot in terms of delivering you precisely what you need from a tank drum without breaking the bank. The Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum’s low cost has no bearing on its performance or construction quality.
This percussion generates a rich, bright, and sonorous sound. Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum readily fits into the genre of meditation tank drums since the sounds it produces effortlessly induce a state of trance. This percussion is ideal for psychiatric counseling, modern art performances, meditation experiences, and religious activities.
- Excellent quality, performance, and price-to-performance ratio
- The middle ground between small and big tank drums
- The best of all worlds: portable and with a sufficiently deep sound
- Lower quality on the build
The Rakumi is a company that specializes in the creation of delicate metal things. They make anything from earrings to glockenspiels to tank drums. All of these goods need extreme precision throughout the production and quality assurance processes.
This is especially true for musical instruments such as glockenspiels and percussion pieces. In essence, a fraction of a millimeter here or there may cause the entire instrument to sound terrible and be difficult to play. Even the best musicians will agree that a low-quality instrument cannot be made to sound well.
What distinguishes Rakumi Steel Tongue from the rest of the tank drums? To begin with, it has a lovely lotus flower style: all of the drum’s tongues mimic lotus flower petals. Furthermore, the color pallet provided enhances the natural appeal. The paint is a water-based solution, which means it is perfectly harmless for the environment.
This percussion item is far larger than any of the preceding tank drums on the list. It produces a richer, more profound sound from each note played. Furthermore, a larger form factor results in a greater number of possible tones. The Rakumi Steer Tongue Drum has a total of 13 distinct tongues.
Because these tongues are all tuned to the previously specified C major scale, practically every note gets a doubling except for two. If you’re wondering why anyone would need two notes that sound identical, you’re thinking along the same lines as the guys at Rakumi.
When the two unisons are performed simultaneously, each doubled note has a slightly distinct timbre that complements the other unison nicely. The notes sound amazing on their own: a well-rounded chiming sound. When the notes combine, the overtones and harmonics that are formed are just magnificent.
This percussion piece produces a massive amount of sound. Its robust tone simply covers a large room. You should hear this tank drum for yourself to truly appreciate how fantastic it sounds.
This 12″ percussion piece is extremely hefty. Compared to the preceding entries on the list, it is not as comfortable or convenient to travel with. It is better to purchase this percussion piece if you will not be moving it frequently. This tank drum is ideal whether you merely want to use it at home for meditations or mind healing sessions or if you are a specialist in the area and want to use it to generate a meditative state for a large group.
- Sleeves for your fingers
- Exceptionally rich and resonant
- Excellent for large areas
- Hard to transport
The Muslady is a diversified maker of musical instruments, accessories, and stage gear, including some of the greatest radio systems, microphones, DIY guitar kits, and many other products. This Chinese company can boast about the high quality of their items and their inexpensive rates.
In terms of pricing, the Muslady 5.5-inch steel tongue drum for meditation is somewhat more expensive than other manufacturers’ 5.5-inch counterparts. I’m not sure why the price is more here, but the quality of the steel body, as well as the purity of its sound and tuning, are quite pleasant. The item is tuned exactly in the normal C Key. It’s little, but it has all of the fundamental eight tongues, tuned at CDEFGABC and numbered for easy navigation.
Because of the limited size of the body, the drum has a sealed bottom for increased volume. It contains four silicone legs in addition to the silicone bottom for added shock absorption. If you place the drum on a table or another firm surface, the vibration will not make any strange noises.
- Exceptional pearl finish
- Finely tuned in the key of C-major
- Bottom gasket and shockproof silicone feet
- Small but audible
- Excellent bag design
- There are cheaper 5.5-inch options, but this one is of excellent quality
- Alloy steel is of high quality, although it might discolor if scratched
In terms of ideology, the Luvay is extremely close to Muslady. This brand’s items may be found in any store across the world, but it’s not particularly forthcoming when it comes to releasing information about the firm. In any case, their 6-inch steel tongue drum is well worth your time.
This little guy is composed of a steel-titanium alloy that has been covered in corrosion-resistant paint. I don’t advocate scratching it to avoid corrosion, and luckily, the coating makes this difficult. This drum is tuned in normal C, and all of the notes are numbered (you may not use the stickers), so you won’t get lost when you first start playing. The sound quality is excellent for a low-cost beginner’s instrument.
- Durable black finish
- A fantastic beginner set (fingerpicks included)
- It’s quite audible
- Doesn’t have a carry bag
Ulalov is a specialist steel drum producer with a modest product line but outstanding value for money. The 12-inch 11-tone instrument is built of a tough titanium-steel alloy and has a silicone-sealed bottom. It has a highly ambient and ethereal sound, and the peak volume level is higher than most rivals.
The drum has 11 tongues and is tuned to the conventional C scale (CDBEFGABGAC). Don’t worry if you’re already a musician and this seems insufficient. This is a professional-grade tongue drum that will wow you with the range of sounds it can produce in such a short note diapason.
- 11 tongues + 12 inches
- It’s extremely loud and very clear
- Bottom made of silicone (removable for magnetic tuning)
- It’s a cool waterproof bag with two straps
- Two mallets and Two fingerpicks
- Because it isn’t stainless, protect it from becoming scratched (the coating is great, though)
Ocarina Wind began as an ocarina and lyre harp maker, producing some of the greatest instruments in the category at extremely reasonable costs. In recent years, they have also begun to produce hand pans and bespoke steel tongue drums.
This C-major drum has a general design that is aimed not just at ethereal sound aficionados but also at music theory students. It comes with a normal set of 11 tongues tuned at 440Hz, but magnets may be used to tune it at 432Hz. The whole body is laser-cut, resulting in a very pure tone. I particularly like how the rough covering protects the instrument from scratches and keeps dirt from accumulating on the surface.
- Tongues with laser-cut edges
- Magnet adjustment is much easier with an open bottom (magnets not included)
- Excellent textured finish (does not accumulate dirt)
- 12″ for beginners and professionals at a low cost
- Travel bag doesn’t have a strap
This tank drum is manufactured by Flatsons. Although this firm is not well-known, it stands out from all of its rivals and has earned a spot on this list as a second-choice with the tank drum it creates. The Flatsons make a broad variety of musical instruments and musical instrument accessories.
Not to discount the other Flatsons items, but the Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is one of the company’s best. It is highly strong and long-lasting. When you touch it and feel it in your hands, you will immediately see that it is composed of high-quality materials.
The Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is just 5.5″ in diameter, making it exceptionally tiny. 5.5 inch tank drums are typically the smallest size available. If it were any smaller, the noises it would create would be incredibly faint, silent, and unsuitable for meditation.
The Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum, on the other hand, may generate some amazing chiming otherworldly sounds. This percussion track is fantastic for you to use at home for Zen, meditation, and sound healing! It won’t take up much room and will fit nicely on almost any cupboard.
This percussion piece’s main material is an extremely powerful and sonorous metal alloy. The alloy is finished with a sleek metallic/pearly coating that protects it from corrosion. The tank drum comes with the standard accessories, including a pair of drumming mallets, a drum traveling case, and a book loaded with various musical compositions. One thing must be mentioned: the carry-on bag has a really unique appearance that is quite appealing to the eye.
In addition to being ideal at home, the Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is relatively light (when compared to other tank drums). Thus it is also quite convenient to travel with. So, wherever you are in the globe, you may connect with your inner self and explore the magnificent woods of this instrument.
This percussion piece is in the key of C major. The drum has eight steel tongues that generate seven distinct notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The sole note that repeats is the scale’s tonic – C.
- Sounds that are ethereal
- The form factor is small
- Ideal for compact spaces and solitary-use
- Thinner and smaller sound
Last but not least, OcarinaWind Steel Tongue Drum is an excellent choice. This company makes tank drums as well as genuine ocarinas. They are well-known for attempting to keep prices as low as possible in order to share the joy of musical instruments with as many people as possible.
This percussion has the same tiny form factor as the previous one, making it conveniently transportable. This little tank drum, like the other on the list, is tuned to C major pentatonic. The fact that OcarinaWind percussion is created with the accuracy of precision laser cutters to ensure flawless tuning is what separates the two percussion instruments.
There are 8 tongues that provide the whole open pentatonic vibe. This percussion is quite versatile since it may be used in various settings, including music instruction, meditation sessions, psychiatric treatments, and more.
- Small size
- Very reasonably priced
- Lower Quality build
This one-of-a-kind instrument is ideal for everyone, whether musically inclined or simply looking to try something different in terms of tone and playing abilities.
It is crucial to remember that specific traits distinguish steel tongue drums from one another. Buying the first one, you see may not necessarily be the greatest selection for your purposes.
Steel tongue drums with tiny note ranges and sizes are great for beginners or younger children since they are portable and simpler to learn and maintain. Most tiny drums may also be played with both hands and mallets, and the scales to which they are tuned are common in nature and easily recognized.
If you want to delve into more experimental playing, a bigger, intricately designed, or even tunable steel tongue drum is the way to choose since they have a deeper tone and are better suited for the more advanced or experienced musician.
My all-around top pick for beginners and pros would be the Asmuse Steel tongue drum. It has exceptional quality without being out of a beginner’s price range. It has precise sound perfect for meditation experiences and can put you in a trance. The Asmuse is in the middle for sizing, so it is diverse enough to keep at home or outside connecting with nature.
One of the most significant advantages of purchasing this tank drum is that it is entirely handcrafted. Every percussion piece is one-of-a-kind. Of course, this implies that some drums may be off-pitch. Nevertheless, Asmuse is a reputable brand that will send you a replacement if there are any manufacturing flaws with the equipment you purchased.
Answer: The origins of the tongue drum may be traced back to the Aztec civilization. The Aztecs were the first to invent tongue-driven log and tone drums. Similar slit drums were later unearthed in many regions of Africa, where tonal percussive instruments had long been a part of the culture and traditional music.
The contemporary steel tongue drum is one of the world’s newest musical instruments. Dennis Havlena designed it in 2007, despite its mysterious and otherworldly appearance. He made it using an ordinary empty propane tank, an angle grinder, a welding machine, and a metal polishing nozzle, and it was a big success. Unlike its bulky predecessors (the Whale Drum and Tambiro from 1990), Havlena’s tank drum seemed to be a marketable product. Since then, several companies have expanded on the original concept, leading to its great global appeal.
Answer: A hand steel drum is classified as an idiophone percussion instrument because it resonates without any extra resonators, strings, or anything else. It is significantly more appropriate for solo performance than classical drums. Most people use these drums to relax, either alone or in a circle with multiple players. Its sound is also appropriate for meditation. Focus on the item and play slow ambient sequences to achieve a meditative state and disconnect from the outside world.
These instruments are rarely used in musical bands, but they can be used in this capacity. Hang Massive, for example, has amassed up to 50 million views on the internet by combining hang drum sounds with techno rhythms. Tongue drums, I believe, can be used successfully in a similar manner. You can play some long meditation tracks and improvise in the key. It’s quite simple, so you should give it a shot once you’ve mastered the basics.
Answer: If you look for a steel tongue drum on Amazon or any other prominent online marketplace, you’ll find that costs range from $30 to $250. The cost is mostly determined by the size of the drum. Most 5 and 6-inch sizes, for example, range in price from $30 to $60, depending on the tongue drum set. Standard 12-14″ models typically cost between $110 and $250.
The price is mostly determined by the intricacy of each drum’s manufacture. Some smaller drums might cost considerably more if they have intricate carvings or press work on them. The pricing may also vary based on the accessory kit. Items that include tuning magnets, mallets, bespoke cases, printed instructions, and other accessories are generally more expensive. On the other hand, beginner-level versions can be relatively inexpensive, even with all of these features included.