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What's in your Aux. Percussion Arsenal?

Tony Bennett

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We are in the midst of working on a new cd and its always nice to add some different sounds for a little touch here and there. I was just curious what some of your favorite auxiliary or effect percussion instruments are. I have a small collection of various shakers, seeds, bells etc. in my arsenal which I intend to keep adding to. What's your flavor? Anything wierd or unique out there I might not be aware of?
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I use a pair of maracas taped together so I can use only one hand to play both, a tambourine, a shaker and a kids toy that makes a tick-tock sound. I also have some claves. The other night I put one of the clave sticks in a mic stand and hit it in rhythm with the second clave so I could have one hand free to play the keys.


I'd love to buy a single, stand mounted conga drum that I can add beats to also.


My band and audiences love it when they see me doing percussion with one hand (sometimes two of the above items at the same time), playing with the other hand and singing at the same time...not to mention working volume pedals with my feet.


Fun stuff!



1956 Hammond C3 with Leslie 122, Roland V-Combo, Trek II Preamp, Peavey KB 100, 1976 Natural Maple Rickenbacker 4001S bass

And yes folks, I do gig with a Casio WK 3700...So there!


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A tambourine here. By the way, playing it properly is much more difficult than meets the eye...It's mostly used for Zeppelin's "The Rover" and some Beatles tunes we play.


Haven't got to the point of managing to play it and the keyboards simultaneously, relying by now on occasional interludes in which I leave the keys alone.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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Originally posted by Andre Lower:

Haven't got to the point of managing to play it and the keyboards simultaneously

I can... :P;)


Seriously, it's a lot of fun. I do that on a bunch of tunes - tambourine in the left hand, right hand on the keyboard. The most challenging one is the Beatles soung "Birthday" because the tambourine part is a bit....umm...energy intensive.


I play all kinds of percussion live - the aforementioned tambourine, guiro, shaker, cowbell, and all sorts of electronic stuff that I trigger from my SPD drumpad and occasionally from the keyboard itself (i.e. I have handclaps on the lowest key of the setup I use to play "My Best Friend's Girl"





:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:


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Originally posted by Tony Bennett:

... What's your flavor? Anything wierd or unique out there I might not be aware of?

I once tried to record the sound of me playing the steering wheel in my car. Hitting it with the base of my hand resulted in a great bass drum type sound but I never had the equipment to capture it.


Other ideas - A Roland Handsonic run through various effects. Finger drumming or using brushes on the stove. Record the sound of tearing a piece of paper and process it, the double-click of a pull chain light switch, or the sound the lid of a CD player makes when closing. A scrub brush against a rough surface makes a good rhythm unit. Oh, and try putting a box inside of a box. The inside box should be only a bit smaller. Then you can shake it instead of a tambourine.



This post edited for speling.

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I LOVE percussion toys!


Tambourine, vibraslap, shaker eggs, afuche casaba, duck call, and a Craftsman ratcheting wrench.


After getting dumb looks from Guitar Center drum clerks for two years, I finally found a set of castanets in a small music store that repairs my saxes. Nice set (Latin Percussion) but I can't get the damn things to work at all. I've downloaded a couple lesson from the 'net, there's actually quite a repertoire of castanet tricks, but no matter how I hold mine, they hang "together", in a closed position, and no matter how I tap/rap on them, I can't get a clean sound at all.


There's a greek belly-dancing troupe here in Ogden that uses them nicely while they dance, I suppose I could get a lesson from them but, in the few times I've seen them, they now recognize me as that "guy who blushes really BRIGHT RED" whenever they dance in front of me, so I'm mad at them and won't do it. :mad:


"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will


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I've noticed that bellydancers really get a kick out of turning male audience members various shades of blush. It's happened to me, too, but I still find a way to enjoy it. ;)


I would personally love to get a good-quality doumbek. I love the sound of that instrument. Otherwise, I have some dried cherry pits (you can buy them for fuel for pellet stoves) that make a cool hollow kind of "tinkling" sound (like a rainstick) when they rattle up against each other. I still need to find a gourd or something to put them in.


I'll probably end up with a tambourine, too.

Darren Landrum
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I have a big bag full of percussions. M'bira, guiros, various shakers, cabasa, several bells, and I've destroyed a few tamburines from playing them with sticks. :D

I would love to have a drum set to play at home, but I would need a new home for that. And with a *big* place, I could include a bass marimba too... :)

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I have a goat skin sort of tambourine and a small doumbek, almost a toy that I bought both for few euros in the middle east, both with a pretty loose skin but with a lovely sound...the mini doumbeck is capable of some impressive lows right in the middle, while the tambourine allows for skin tension modulation with the holding hand's fingers. Then I use very much an egg shaker, that I find the most groovy thing of my whole set...all this is usually coupled with frequency shifting delays, some step sequenced percussive modelling done in dsp modular, and some other rythmic events done with sequenced modulation of formant filters on homemade samples of glassharmonica (wet finger on a bowl glass) or whatever presents an interesting spectrum. I also have an egyptian darbouka i bought in greece whose fast attack I use for triggering some of the above electronics through a contact mic.

I also have some latin percussions that are mostly played by other musicians and that my wife started to study, congas, bongos, an LP plastic guiro (don't like the sound, loud but uninspiring), a flexatone, cuban and african claves....

Guess the Amp

.... now it's finished...

Here it is!



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I found a really cool percussion instrument in Sedona, AZ a few years back. I don't know what it's called, but it's clearly some kind of Native American instrument. Basically it's a wooden stick about the size of a police baton. It has a leather handle, and then the rest of the stick is wrapped in rabbit fur. Around the rabbit fur are strung small sleighbells. The fur dampens the bells so they don't sound like typical Christmas sleighbells. The result is somewhere between sleighbells and a tambourine with some kind of elusive "not from around here" quality mixed in. At first I recorded it by shaking it like a tambourine, and it was hard to keep a steady and compelling groove going. Then a drummer friend picked it up and played it by beating handle the end of the stick down against his open palm so that there was a definite hit that could sit in the rhythm track. It didn't come with a manual, but that seems the proper way to play it.


Best regards,


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You can make shaker eggs out of plastic easter eggs and bb's or dried beans. I read about Aerosmith miking some packets of sugar or salt and have tried that(obviously rocking on four or five maracas looks better onstage).


I did a Latin-flavored recording and used a plastic comb and pencil for a faux-guirro.


When I was in college my percussion teacher showed us how to make some cool mallets out of wooden grill skewers and super balls.


A girl friend used to make and sell ceramic doumbeks and I lucked out and scored one.


Picked up a steel drum in a junk shop. It's not in a standard tuning, but who cares?


I keep my eyes peeled everytime I go to a flea market, pawn shop or garage sale. Sure, my house looks like TGI Friday's with percussion instuments all over the walls.


A Handsonic would be cool. Dear Santa...

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