Today’s bongo drums stick close to their roots, both in design and sound. Originally constructed from hollowed trees and stretched animal skins, the modern manufacturing techniques have served to create a more consistent look, sound and availability for the consumer. These techniques have not taken away from the warm sound and blendability of the wood shell bongo drums, and many drummers and musicians are surprised at the tonal differences between various types of wood used. However, a wood shell bongo with an animal skin head is certainly more vulnerable to damage as a result of traveling, storage and weather conditions. Both the wood shell and drum head can crack, scratch or break, and may require more maintenance than fiberglass bongos.
Fiberglass bongos with synthetic heads have become a popular option for percussionists. Whether at a drum circle or on stage, the sound possibilities with these drums are just as varied as the wooden versions. However, the difference in materials gives fiberglass bongos a crisper, cleaner tone that can be more suited to live performances. Plus, fiberglass bongos and synthetic bongo drum heads are much more durable and can handle the rigors of life on the road, storage, or weather-related issues.
Whether a hobby drummer, student or professional, the right set of bongo drum can be more than a preference for the style or sound of the drums. Bongo drums come in a wide range of styles and are manufactured from a variety of materials, making the selection of these drums a vital part of the overall sound and style of the bongo drummer.