Best Hand Drum for Beginner Musicians: Choosing the Right One

Gather around all the music loving folks, because we’re going to talk about a musical instrument that is not only easy and fun to play, but also quite trendy. If you haven’t guessed what the musical instrument is from the title; it is the hand drum!

Yes, Hand-Drum is a real fun percussion instrument and it is quite easy to learn to, best for the beginner musicians.

Although hand drums could be best for a newbie to get into percussive music, choosing the best hand drum for beginner musicians could be challenging.

For one, there are a plethora of hand drums to choose from and secondly, all these hand drums have subtle characteristics that make them unique.

Last but not the least, finding your preferred groove throughout the perfect hand-drum takes a bit of a knowledge, which you will clearly find in this article.

Hand Drums in A Nutshell

The name “Hand drum” is quite self-explanatory; the drums that you play by hands. Although some of the hand drums are playable though drum mallets or brushes, which produce different type of percussive sounds.

Hand drums are usually traditional musical instruments, nevertheless they are widely used in modern music to add the folk-ish and fusion music’s flavor. Because of its raw, lively and acoustic sounds, it has become quite trendy now-a-days.

Hand Drums in Different Countries and Cultures

As I said earlier, hand drums are a form of tradition or somewhat vintage percussive instruments, therefore most regions of the world have their own type of hand drums.

There are a ton of varieties to choose from, however, some of the most prominent ones are Djembe from Africa, Conga from Cuba, Cajon from Peru, Tabla from India, Panderio (similar to tambourine) from Brazil and so one.

Among others, there are Bongos, Doumbek, Bodhran, Taiko, Hoop drums etc.

Some types of primitive hand drums are also used among the tribes in Africa and South America that are quite similar to these upper-mentioned hand drums and they produce quite festive sounds.

Why Start with Hand Drums?

I’ve known a lot of music enthusiasts who have attempted to learn a musical instrument and have given up in no time for various reasons such as – learning difficulties, maintenance problems and cost, playing difficulties, lack of additional accessories and so on.

In case of a hand drum, most of these problems are non-existent. The following points will tell you why that is.

Comparatively Simple and Easy to Learn

Hand drums are probably the easiest among the musical instruments to learn. Compared to stringed instruments such as guitar, violin or wood-wind instruments such as flute, saxophone, trumpet – hand drums might appear as a piece of cake for learning. In addition, unlike acoustic drum-sets, Hand drums are neither complex nor strenuous to play.

Anyone can learn and play these hand drums either as a hobby or in a drum circle; that’s what makes them best for a beginner.

Less Hassle for Tuning

Tuning a musical instrument could be a real pain. Guitar, Violin, even regular drum-set requires fine tuning for it to make the proper sound.

Luckily, for the hand drums, most of it are of single tune or auto-tuned and some of them are tunable which doesn’t require to be tweaked for a beginner.

Easier to Maintain

Maintenance of a hand-drum is far easier than regular drum-set or other stringed instruments such as acoustic or electric guitars or ukuleles. This makes the hand drums best choice for a beginner, because as complex maintenance makes a beginner lose motivation.

Easier to Carry

Hand-drum that we’re going to talk about in this article are quite portable, even the biggest ones in our list. A beginner who intends to join in a drum circle or musical group, or just wish to carry an instrument in their camping adventures, hand drums are the best choice.

Frivolous Sound

The percussive sounds produced by the hand drums are quite funky and very lively to be played in a party or similar type jolly environment.

Even as a beginner, you can easily get the attentions as the life of the party throughout your hand drums playing.

10 Hand Drums That Are Best for The Beginners

To save you the trouble of looking for the best hand drum for a beginner, we’ve listed 10 of the highly recommended and well received hand-drums, both by beginners and professionals. They are as follows.

Comparison Table

Hand DrumSkin typeSkin Size (Inches)Weight (Pounds)ColorTuning optionsPortabilityLoudness
Remo Fiberskyn TambourineSynthetic8”0.85Deep redNon tunableHighModerately loud
Suzuki HD-12Synthetic12”1.4Natural woodTunableHighModerately loud
RockJam Bongo 100301Natural7” & 8”5.27Red and Natural StripesTunableMighModerately loud
Meinl Bongo FWB100SNTMNatural3.5” & 4.25”2.1WoodenTunableHighModerately loud
Conga Drum 12″Natural12”25Red wineTunableModerateVery loud
Meinl Conga HC12PBKNatural12”32Phantom BlackTunableModerateVery Loud
KTÄK -Handcrafted, Hand DrumSynthetic9.6”1.23Crazy PinkNon tunableHighModerately loud
Congo Djembe DrumNatural10”5.76Multi-coloredNon tunableHighVery loud
Set of 6 Remo FiberskynSynthetic8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, 16” & 22”8.75 (total)Natural woodNon TunablemoderateModerately loud
Pyle String CajonWooden12” x 12” x 15”9.26Natural woodNon TunablemoderateVery Loud

Remo Fiberskyn Tambourine

Remo Fiberskyn Tambourine - Quadura Deep Red, 8'

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Within the musical community, REMO is very well known for making exceptionally good sounding drumheads. Their drum’s tones and tunes are of professional level due to the patented technology known as Acousticon. Accumulating these technologies, REMO has built this Fiberskyn Tambourine which is both musically sound and well designed.

This hand-drum has a sturdy frame made of synthetic fiber that makes sure the sound doesn’t resonate when played. It is also not too heavy, so it can be carried around in a bag for either professional or recreational drumming; even for educational purpose.

A lot of people have used this hand-drum in their churches or temples for their religious musical sessions and they loved it. So, you can also consider this drum for a variety of purpose.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Great value for money
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • A bit loud for some people
  • Durability issues in some cases

Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation HD-12 Tunable hand Drum

Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation HD-12 12-Inch Tunable hand Drum with Mallet

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Suzuki HD-12 is a 12 inches tunable hand-drum; it doesn’t mean that you’ve to look out for the tuning, like a guitar. It simply means you can tighten or loosen the screws to find your preferred (high or low frequency) percussive sound.

This drum has a sturdy wood-chrome build that allows you to either hold it or rest it on your leg while playing. It also comes with a drum-mallet, so that a beginner can learn to play this hand-drum both ways.

Although this hand drum is 12 inches, it is portable enough. Due to the average sound quality, it is best for educational purpose rather than professional

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Tunable
  • Mallet included

Cons

  • Its bass is quite low
  • Sound quality is average

RockJam 100301 7 ” & 8″ Bongo Drum Set

RockJam 7' and 8' Bongo Drum Set with Padded Bag and Tuning Key, Red and Natural Stripe

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Bongos are one of the most fun hand drums a beginner can get into, and this Rockjam bongo offers almost professional level sound quality at a very reasonable price.  The chrome build of the bongos look very elegant with the good quality rockjam drum-frame. It also comes with a padded bag and strap that enhances portability.

Pros

  • Almost professional quality sound
  • Solid and Sturdy built

Cons

  • Quite small for a bongo, might be a tricky for beginners with larger hands

Meinl FWB100SNTM Bongo 3.1/2-inch

Meinl Percussion Rubberwood Stave Shells, Miniature Size — NOT Made in China — Free Ride Suspension System and True Skin Buffalo Heads, Two-Year Warranty, Mini Wood Bongos (FWB100SNT-M)

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Bongos are quite popular for playing in the festivals and beginner’s favorite. So, here is another tunable Bongo named Meinl Super Natural with buffalo heads skin and rubber wood built. This bongo looks super classy and creates highly resonant sound due to its structure.

The chrome plated steel lugs provide comfort and control in playing as well as a wide range of consistent sound. That makes it best for learning to play hand drums or joining at a drum circle or festival as a beginner.

Pros

  • Highly Portable
  • Classic design
  • High resonated sound
  • Comfortable to play

Cons

  • Extra maintenance required due to natural skin drum-head
  • A bit tricky for a drummer with large hands

Conga Drum 12″ and Stand – RED Wine

Conga Drum 12' and Stand - RED Wine -World Percussion New!

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Now, we are going to look at a popular type of hand-drum caller Conga that is best for a beginner with bigger hands because of its 13.5 inches drum-head. The Conga drums are easy to learn, maintain and portable – even if they’re 28.25 inches in height.

This is also tunable so that the beginners can try out different toned drum beats if they want. Best suited for both indoors and outdoors, this hand-drum best delivers sweet resonating mid-range tonal beats.

Pros

  • Looks very classy and elegant as well as the tone
  • Easy to maintain for beginners
  • It is portable + Comes with a stand
  • Has wide range of tones

Cons

  • Longer play/practice can result in sore hands

Meinl Percussion HC12PBK-M Headliner Designer Series 12-Inch Conga with Basket Stand

Meinl Percussion HC12PBK-M Headliner Designer Series 12-Inch Conga with Basket Stand, Phantom Black

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Again, I present you with a Meinl hand-drum, which is a conga that is pretty similar to the previous one except, more elegant, compact and beginner-friendly. This Meinl Conga hand-drum has its reputation for its lightweight, warm toned, rich and full sound which enables the beginner to develop a good foundation of rhythm sense and hand-drumming techniques.

The professionals also prefer this conga because of its characteristics; so, whether you are a beginner or and intermediate hand-drummer, you can always learn and enhance your skills. Not to mention, it is tunable and comes with a stand.

Pros

  • Elegant look with warm percussive sound
  • Lightweight
  • Natural skin drum-head (buffalo head)

Cons

  • The price is a bit high for a beginner

KTÄK -The First Handcrafted, Hand Drum Percussion

KTÄK -The First Handcrafted, Hand Drum Percussion, Two-Sound Cajón Body Snare, Portable Cajon by Kandu (Crazy Pink)

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One of the best yet smallest hand drums in our list is KTAK Hand-drum that comes with a wearable belt-clip strap – which makes it highly portable and easily playable. It is made of high quality plywood that provides natural sound with high-low-mid pitched treble. It is also playable from both sides which create different flavored percussion.

Pros

  • Very portable and convenient to hold
  • Attractive design
  • Playable from both sides

Cons

  • Quite pricey for the average sound quality

Congo Djembe Drum

African Drum, Hand-Painted Bongo Congo Djembe Drum 9.5'' x 20'' Mahogany Goatskin Drumhead for Children Starter Beginners

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The African origin Djembe hand drums are very popular due to sharp sounds with various overtones that come with the playing technique on its genuine goatskin drumhead. It is non-tunable as the drum skin is tightly fixed with steel rings. The drum head is big enough to utilize various tones.

Despite its size and being carved as a one piece solid from mahogany, this Djembe is very lightweight, dense and sturdy. It often comes with a traditional design at its body to give you an exotic feel.

This could easily be a best choice of hand-drum for a beginner as well as drum enthusiasts for its versatility and portability.

Pros

  • Classy and exotic looking
  • Portable
  • Funky tone
  • Comfortable to play

Cons

  • Less Bass

Set of 6 Remo Fiberskyn

Set of 6 Remo Fiberskyn 8-22 inch Hand Drums (Teen/Adult)

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Although I’ve mentioned about the REMO-Fiberskyn single piece tambourine in the first place of our list, here I am mentioning a set of REMO hand drums – six to be precise. Since REMO Fiberskyn hand drums or frame drums are great for beginners, a set of six that are of different size (8-22 inches) and pitch would be a good approach for the hand-drum enthusiasts.

The different pitched tone and size of these hand drums would provide the beginner a non-monotonous experience and make the learning much more fun. Due to the synthetic material of the drum skin, a beginner hand-drummer wouldn’t have to worry about its maintenance due to temperature, moister etc. while at home or on the road.

Pros

  • Auto-tuned
  • Six different pitched tone
  • great durability due to synthetic drum-skin

Cons

  • Reverberating sound which might be a nuisance to some beginner

Pyle String Cajon – Wooden Percussion Box

Pyle String Cajon - Wooden Percussion Box, with Internal Guitar Strings, Full Size

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Cajon could be referred to as a compact drum-set that are mostly use for acoustic musical sessions. They are really easy and fun to play because of the wide variety of sounds it offer – kick, snare/high hat equivalent sounds of a real drum.

One can combine the traditional hand-drum techniques with conventional drum-set beats through this magic wooden box.

Due to its versatility, Cajons have constantly being best sellers – mostly for the beginners. It can be used in a range of different musical style and setting, whether you are a beginner or intermediate, playing with a band or not.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Various type of sounds
  • Compatible with band or musical groups

Cons

  • Carrying could be a bit of a hassle
  • Could take a while for a beginner to get a hold of it

Buying Guide: How to Choose Best Hand Drums for Beginner Musicians

Any hand-drum that is mentioned in the list above could be the best choice for a beginner who just wants to get started with the hand drums. Nevertheless, the buyer can find the perfect hand drum according to their special preferences, if s/he has any, which would serve their purpose the best.

The points mentioned below are the important characteristics of hand drums that would help the buyer make a sound judgment regarding the type of hand-drum really suits them best for a beginner.

Hand Drum Skin Type

This is the first and foremost, also one of the most important factors. Hand-drum skins determine the type of sound of the hand drum, the type of hands (big/small/soft/coarse) to play it, and the type of maintenance necessary. Most of the hand drums in our list has enough head surface area for a beginner to get used to, although the bongos are a bit compact and tricky for large handed beginners.

Natural

Natural drum-heads are usually made of animal skins, especially cow or goat skins. This provides a warm and natural sound with an enhanced bass. Natural skinned drumheads also need some extra care/maintenance, and affected by surrounding environment such as high temperature, humidity etc. The Bongos, Congas and the Djembe in our list have the natural drumheads.

Synthetic

Although the synthetic or artificial drumheads do not sound as warm and full as the natural skinned drumheads, they have their own unique percussive sound which is sharp, bright and resonant. Some even prefer this type of sound over the natural skinned drumhead.

The best advantage of the synthetic skinned drumhead is its durability regardless of its surrounding environment, hence, saving you the trouble and time required for extra maintenance.

All the frame-drums in our lists such as REMO, Suzuki, KTAK as well as the cajon fall into this category.

Tuning Options

Some of the hand drums in are list are tunable and others are not. This should not be a big concern for a beginner. However, if anyone wishes to explore their options, they can definitely do that.

Non-Tunable

These drums have a tone (pitch) which is fixed and it cannot be changed; highly recommended for the beginners, since tuning the drum is quite tricky. REMO Fiberskyn tambourine, 6 set REMO Fiberskyn hand drums, KTAK, Djembe and the Cajon in our list are non-tunable.

Tunable

The other hand drums in our list except the upper-mentioned ones are tunable. Tunable drums give you the option to explore different toned percussions. If you wish to explore that option, make sure that you have learned to tune your drum properly.

A smart choice would be to choose the 6 set REMO Fiberskyn hand drums; you’ll get 6 different tones without having to worry about tuning.

Scopes of your interest

After all, your musical taste, preference and motivation comes first in order to choose the perfect best hand drum even though you are a beginner.

Band group

For joining a band group, your hand drum needs to be loud and sharp enough to be heard among the other instruments. Through modern technology, any high quality hand drums could be associated in a band group. However, for an acoustic band group, Cajon is the best choice; Djembes and Congas are good enough as well.

Recreational or Drum group

All the hand drums in our list can be used for recreational purpose or in a drum group according to their preference. Smaller ones would be better in this case, because the larger ones might be a bit burdensome, rather than fully recreational.

Spiritual Practice

For the spiritual practices, drums (or hand drums in our case) that has a long sustaining reverberating tone are widely used. In our list REMO Tambourine, Suzuki or REMO 6 Set hand drums serve such purposes.

Party/festival

For party or festivals, sharp, bright and loud sounded hand drums work the best such as Bongos, Djembe, and Congas.

Drum playing position

There are 3 basic hand-drum positions for playing and you have to choose your hand-drum accordingly. The only exception is the Cajon, which we’ll get into in a moment.

Holding in one Hand

REMO Tambourine, Six Set REMO Fiberskyn, and KTAK – these drums are small and played by one hand while holding it in the other. For the bigger hand drums in this category for example REMO 22 inches fiberskyn, you’d have to vertically place it on your lap and support it with one hand while playing it with the other.

Lap-Style playing

Bongos, Djembes, Suzuki – This hand drums are played with the help of your lap. Bongos are placed on the lap, Djembes are place in-between the lap and Suzuki is played by vertically placing on the lap while supporting it with one hand – just like REMO 18 inches Fiberskyn. Bongos and Djembes could be played using both hands, whereas the Suzuki couldn’t.

On a Drum stand

Congas and bongos could be played standing by placing them on a stand. Using both hands, you can play these drum but not in a seated position.

Exception

Cajon is an exceptional hand-drum which is played by the player sitting on it, and produces the beat with both of their hands as well as feet. The wooden box structure facilitates the seating and enables to produce different type of sounds by stroking on different parts of the box.

Portability

Most of the drums in our list are portable. But still we can categorize them into two parts.

Highly Portable

The smaller hand drums in our list such as the frame drums and bongos are highly portable. The Rockjam bongo even comes with a bag and belt. Other hand-drum bags are quite available in the market.

Moderately portable

Comparatively bigger hand drums in our list such as conga, Djembe and Cajon are portable enough, however, not as convenient as the smaller ones.

However, if you have a car, then you probably won’t have to worry about portability. You can choose the one best of your preference.

Playing Environment

It is also an important factor that could be categorized into two ways.

Indoors Small Room

For playing indoors, moderate volume, full and warm sounded hand drums work best. Such as, Bongos, Frame drums etc. Cajon, Djembes and Congas could be played indoors if you can control the volume as you play.

Outdoors/Large Indoor Hall or Auditorium

For playing outdoors, your hand drums need to be loud, bright and reverberant such as Congo, Djembes, and Cajons. These can be played in auditoriums or large halls as well.

My Suggestion and Preference

Hopefully, you’ve got enough insight about which hand-drum might suit you the best. If so, then go for it, trust your instincts; you cannot go wrong if you know in what prospect you wish to have your hand drum.

As an enthusiastic hand-drummer with plenty of experience in hand drums and other musical instruments, from a beginner’s perspective, I’d go for the REMO 6 Fiberskyn frame-drums set. The reasons are:

  • 6 different pitch tones
  • Different sizes to try out
  • No tensional regarding maintenance
  • Awesome sound quality.

Although the price is a bit much, it feels so worth it. If you have a lower budget, then you can buy a single piece of REMO Fiberskyns hand-drum one at a time. And once you get passed that novice stage, you might want to go for the Cajon, because it is the best acoustic percussion instrument for intermediate as well as experienced musicians.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best hand-drum for you as a beginner. Get ready to embark on an amazing musical journey starting with your hand-drum. Hope your experience as a beginner hand-drummer becomes pleasant and memorable, just as mine was.

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Last update on 2021-06-18 at 21:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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