• Bongos are a percussion instrument made up of two drums joined together. A larger drum, a hembra, is joined with a smaller drum, a macho.


    Bongo drumming can be traced back to the late 1800s in Eastern Cuba when music styles like Changui and Son were popular.

    Playing Style

    Bongos are most widely played by striking the drum head with one's hands, particularly the pads of the fingertips. However, bongos can be played with sticks or mallets to produce different effects.


    Bongos were traditionally made with wood drum shells and rawhide tops. Modern-day bongos use more synthetic materials and plastics, as well as metal braces to affix the drums together.


    The larger of the two bongo drums, or hembra, is about seven inches in diameter. The smaller drum, or macho, is about five inches in diameter.


    Natural skin drum heads are effected by the weather and tend to need tuning more often than synthetic drum heads. If your bongos have tuning lugs, be sure to turn each lug the same amount. Natural drum heads can be fine tuned by heating (higher) or by applying small amounts of moisture (lower).


    Encyclopedia Brittanica

    Bongo Mania

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