Steel Tongue Drum Buyer’s Guide
Steel tongue drums, like djembes, are very popular within drum circles, spiritual healing and yoga meditation. Steel tongue drums are similar to hang drums and they belong to the idiophone family of musical instruments. They produce calming and ethereal sounds and they are very easy to play thanks to the fixed tuning of the tongues.
You do not need years of training or countless hours of practice to create wonderful sounds with a steel tongue drum! This makes them perfect gifts for children to help allow them to explore their creativity.
Steel tongue drums are also very unique with their timbre and resonance. You do not hear an instrument like this very often, and the melodies of a steel tongue drum are always met with surprise and awe.
What To Look For in a Steel Tongue Drum
Steel tongue drums vary in price, size and sound. You can buy an affordable alloy steel tongue drum for relatively little money, or you can purchase a beautiful handcrafted instrument that will cost significantly more.
The sounds of an expensive steel tongue drum will be smoother, more accurately tuned and the quality of the instrument itself will be far better.
As is the case with most musical instruments, you can expect what you pay for. A cheaper musical instrument will compromise on quality and features compared to a top of the range instrument.
But you can certainly achieve a balance with quality mass-produced models such as the Meinl Sonic Energy and Pearl Awakening Series tongue drums; which both deliver beautiful and expressive melodies and are well-made instruments.
What Tuning Shall I Choose?
When buying the best steel tongue drum, you’ll be investing in an instrument that has a fixed tuning range, and will have a selection of notes in a particular key.
This makes them very enjoyable and easy to play, no matter what skill level you possess. But it is also restrictive to what you can play.
My best piece of advice is to listen and explore the sounds of a steel tongue drum, and choose the instrument you like the sound of the most. Listen to the notes in the key and the timbre and resonance of the instrument, and see what’s most appealing to you!
I personally love the steel tongue drum in the key of Celtic D Minor. I think it has a very mystical and melancholic sound that I’m really drawn to. It produces beautiful harmonics and the notes resonate magnificently together.
A steel tongue drum is perfect for solo recitals, recording music, performing live, spiritual drumming, meditative practice and much more. They’re definitely one of my new favourite instruments that produce calming yet captivating sounds.