Buyers Guides - Concert Percussion

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Concert Percussion

Author - Woodwind & Brasswind

From complete concert drum sections to individual snare drums, toms and bass drums, plus all the concert percussion accessories and learning resources, this Buying Guide will provide you with information to choose the best concert percussion and accessories.

Concert Drums

Bass

From Ludwig and Pearl to Yamaha and Majestic, the biggest names in drums and percussion specialize in concert bass drums that are designed for competitive-level performance situations. The other great news is that many of these bass drums are reasonably priced to suit most school budgets. Models like the Ludwig Concert Bass Drum or the Pearl Concert Bass Drum would make exceptional additions to any high school band room.

Snare

A top-notch concert snare drum should have a wide frequency response and warm sound quality. For this reason, it's often recommended that you find a concert snare with a maple shell. Some popular concert snare drums include the Yamaha CSM Series Concert Snare Drum and the Black Swamp Pro 10 Maple Concert Snare Drum.

Toms

Having a quality set of concert toms on hand is a terrific way to add versatility to a percussion ensemble. While concert toms were originally known as "single-headed" toms, double-head concert toms are available as well. An excellent set of concert toms should have a warm, full-bodied sound and the Majestic Double Headed Prophonic Series concert toms are a huge hit with educators and performers alike.

Timpani

The tone of a first-class timpani will boil down to many factors, including how a student is holding their mallets, the quality of the mallets and the type of music being played. Truthfully, the right timpani for you will depend on whether or not you want a player to cut through or to blend with your ensemble. Bowl type is definitely an important characteristic to consider as well. Parabolic bowls create a darker sound, chambered bowls are more clear-cut and hammered bowls are perhaps the most superior-sounding of all. Since there's a good chance a high school timpani player will continue with the instrument after graduation, try to find a model like the Yamaha Professional Series Hammered Copper Timpani or the Adams Professional II Hammered Copper Timpani. Both models have sleek designs and their tone quality is nothing short of stunning.

Bongos and Congas

These two Cuban drums have origins in Africa and are performed with the palms and fingers - however, their sounds are quite different. While bongos produce a high-pitched tone, congas are more on the bass side of the spectrum. Bongos and congas would spice up any concert percussion ensemble, and both LP and Meinl specialize in models that boast a high level of workmanship.

Concert Cymbals

Crash

Unlike a standard drum set, crash cymbals in a concert or orchestral setting come in matched pairs and are played by holding one cymbal in each hand and hitting them together. It goes without saying but you'll obviously want crashes that are comfortable to hold, easy to control and produce a shimmering sustain. For that, check out the Zildjian A Classical Orchestral Medium Light Crash Cymbal Pair.

Suspended

Orchestral cymbals that are played individually on a stand are called "suspended" cymbals. For a dark sound that's low-pitched and has an immediate response, go with the Zildjian 18'' K Constantinople Suspended Cymbal.

Other Concert Percussion Instruments

Xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones are three instruments that have a lot in, but they certainly have their differences too.

Xylophone

Of the three instruments mentioned, this one has the highest range (2-1/2 to 4 octaves). Their bars are typically made of wood and they're played with rubber or plastic mallets.

Marimba

Featuring wooden bars that are similar to a xylophone's, the marimba typically has a range of 3 to 5 octaves and contains tube resonators underneath its bars to amplify the sound.

Vibraphones

Basically a variant of the marimba, the vibraphone has metal bars for additional sustain and most standard models cover 3 octaves.

Woodwind & Brasswind has a wide range of xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones to check out from top manufacturers like Adams, Yamaha and more.

Bells/Glockenspiel

Unlike its name suggests, orchestra bells aren't really bells as much as they are tuned sets of flat metal pieces attached to a frame. Played with mallets, bells create light yet cutting pitches. Versions of this instrument are also known as glockenspiels, and Woodwind & Brasswind has plenty of models that are perfect for high school concert bands.

Chimes

Also called "tubular bells", chimes create a church bell-like sound that ring loudly over an entire ensemble. For a solidly-built chime set that delivers a beautifully rich sound, try top brands like Adams, Yamaha or Treeworks.  

Hand Drums and Shakers

They may not be as large or impressive as the drums, cymbals and percussion instruments mentioned above, but filling your band room with concert hand percussion instruments will make certain that everyone can be a part of the music. Companies like Black Swamp, LP, Grover, Meinl, Ludwig and Epstein are all committed to designing hand drums and shakers of the highest quality, so keep those brands in mind when you're on lookout for:

  • Tambourines
  • Triangles
  • Maracas
  • Wood blocks
  • Claves
  • Cowbells
  • Castanets
  • Temple blocks
  • Sleigh bells

Sticks, mallets and other concert accessories

Concert snare drumsticks

For a full tone and top-notch response, it's recommended for high school students to use a medium weight stick that features a rounded bead. There are more than enough options on today's market to choose from. A good choice is the Vic Firth Symphonic Signature Snare Drum Stick - Tim Genis.

Xylophone mallets

Today's top drum stick and mallet manufacturers have plenty of hard rubber mallets with strong birch handles. A mallet with these characteristics is also terrific for orchestra bells, temple blocks and wood blocks.

Keyboard mallets

There are a wide range of keyboard mallets to choose from, but anything with a solid birch handle and soft yarn will provide a student with more than enough strength and power to deliver an excellent performance. Advancing students should have a matching set of four keyboard mallets.

Timpani mallets

These come in a wide range of styles, but a medium-hard felt timpani mallet (that's "staccato" indicated) can handle most percussion music.

Nylon/Wire brushes

Although they're usually used in jazz-style bands, brushes are sometimes seen in concert bands as well. Regal Tip has a solid reputation for their brushes, and the (583R) - Telescoping Rubber Handle brushes are perfect for any high school concert percussionist.

Other accessories

In addition to the drumsticks, brushes and mallets just mentioned, every high school concert percussion student should have a working lead pencil with an eraser. Timpani players will also need a pitch pipe or tuning fork, and snare drummers will definitely benefit from owning a drum key.

Concert Hardware

A comfortable percussion performance will depend greatly on the quality of the hardware that's supporting the instruments. This will include (but isn't limited to) the following:

  • Bass drum stand (or suspended bass drum stand)
  • Tom stand
  • Snare drum stand
  • Xylophone/marimba/vibraphone stands
  • Suspended cymbal stand or arm
  • Cymbal cradle
  • Timpani throne
  • Drum throne
  • Orchestra bell and table stand
  • Trap table stand
  • Cases or gig bags (to ensure the percussion instruments are safeguarded when they're not being played.)

Woodwind & Brasswind's concert hardware catalog has respected names like Pearl, Sabian, Meinl and Yamaha and many more to explore.

Note: It's crucial that stands for drums like the snare are capable of being adjusted. Not only is proper posture important for any musician, but most students put on a better performance when their drum is set at waist height.

Trust Woodwind & Brasswind

Whatever concert percussion you select, Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means you have 45 days to be sure it's right for you. If it's not, just return it for a full refund.* Don’t worry ab out paying too much, either!  Our 45-Day Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find the same percussion instrument or percussion accessory advertised for less elsewhere, we'll make up the difference. When you buy percussion from Woodwind & Brasswind, you can buy with complete confidence.


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