On top of that, the tongue drum’s scale defines the way it sounds. Deciding on which scale to buy is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding this percussion instrument.
For example, a minor scale is the best option for meditative atmospheres, while major scales work better with playful ones.
On that note, if you don’t already know which scale to pick, go listen to some on YouTube and see which ones you like the most.
Another important thing to reflect on is the size. Tongue drums are available in many different sizes, usually ranging from 6” to 14” or more, with 12” being the standard.
As a beginner, buying the smallest options might not be the best idea thanks to your low accuracy.
On the other hand, they are way more portable and easier to understand thanks to most options being one-sided with a single scale.
With that in mind, the best option is somewhere in middle. Something big enough where your low accuracy won’t be much of a problem, but not too big to the point where it affects the portability, difficulty, and of course, price.
Another thing you should take into consideration is the design. I’m not going to suggest anything in that regard since the color and tongue shape won’t affect the performance.
As a matter of personal preference, there’s no right or wrong. Pick whatever floats your boat and most importantly, has the scale and size you’re looking for.
Obviously, the budget available limits the price you’re willing to pay for a tongue drum. Unless you want something closer to a toy than to a musical instrument, don’t spend less than $100 on a tongue drum.
Since we’re talking about the best tongue drum for beginners, spending more than $400 isn’t necessary either.
Before you can confirm you like playing one, and you see yourself playing it long term, between $300 and $400 is more than enough for a decent tongue drum.
Tongue drums can be single or double-sided. If you can afford it, always go for something double-sided. It has more sets of notes and scales, making them more fun in general.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to learn how to play on more than one scale, as it makes you a much better musician.
Some tongue drums are sold as part of a package that can include things like mallets, cases, guides, and note stickers:
- The smaller the tongue drum is, the more important it is to get a pair of mallets. Always look for a package deal if you don’t want to spend money on an individual pair of mallets.
- Cases are a great way to protect any instrument while traveling or not playing. As a beginner, a case is far from essential and the lack of it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
- Some tongue drum manufacturers include playing guides, but they are far from complete and you should only use them to learn the very basics.
- Note stickers are also not essential, but very useful, especially if you’re a beginner. The set of stickers is numbered between one and the number of notes of your tongue drum, with 1 being the lowest note.
With the basics out of the way, here’s the best tongue drum for beginners: