Whether you are an experienced musician or a total novice, there are certain instruments that transport our imagination in a quarter of a second. You have been, like many others before, captivated by the sound of this amazing object and want to know more about it before embarking on the adventure? Then you've come to the right place because we are the manufacturer of the first and only electro-acoustic & tunable tongue drum (the Beat Root Multiscale). But before we tell you about us, here's the information you came for. Buckle up and follow our guide!
What is a Steel Tongue Drum?
The steel tongue drum (or tongue drum, hank drum or tank drum) is a percussion instrument of the Idiophone family (whose sound is produced by the material of the instrument itself, without the need for a string, membrane or external resonator).
The steel tongue drum is a melodic percussion instrument that is very popular because of its relaxing sounds and its very intuitive handling that does not require any particular technique or musical knowledge to play. It allows to play melodies very easily, the number of tongues defining the number of notes of the instrument.
To play with a steel tongue drum you can either use mallets or your hands.
The origin of the tongue drum is old but it has come back in force for a few years, in particular thanks to the appearance of instruments created in an artisanal way from gas bottles (tank): the bottoms of the bottles are cut out and welded between them, then one is going to "cut" tongues of various length on the higher part of the instrument in order to define the notes.
What are the differences between a Steel Tongue Drum, a Hang and a Handpan?
The sound of the tongue drum is very reminiscent of another percussion instrument, the Hang (also called Handpan). However, the manufacturing process is totally different since the Hang and Handpans are tuned by hammering
The original name of Steel Tongue Drum is “Hank drum”. It comes from a mix between “Tank drum” and “Hang”. But despite their common points it is important to keep in mind that the price of a Handpan and a Hang is much higher, making them much less accessible (Count between $1500 and $3000 for a Hang / Handpan and around $550 for a quality tongue drum).
Steel tongue drums are often available immediately for purchase, which allows you to enjoy them earlier and quickly immerse yourself in the the first melodies that you will play.
Which Steel Tongue Drum is made for me?
You can find tongue drums tuned in many keys: major, minor, pentatonic, akebono etc... It is often difficult to make a choice among all these scales because they all sound wonderful. However, you will have to choose only one.
This is why the purchase of a tongue drum is the result of a long and deep reflection, because this instrument will accompany you for many years.
Keep in mind that you will be playing the same scale for years without being able to play something different. The scale you choose will accompany you whenever you feel like playing your tongue drum and will become your faithful companion. The only way to play a different sound will be to buy another tongue drum tuned to a different scale.
Quite a commitment you might say...
But that was before we released our Multi Scale tongue drum :)
The Beat Root Multiscale tongue drum
In 2018, we officially launched the first electro-acoustic tongue drum bringing together 6 different scales with an innovative tuning system to switch between them in seconds. With our Multiscale tongue drum, you no longer have to choose a single scale for your tongue drum. The 6 scales of our Beat Root Multiscale tongue drum allow you to play introspective, joyful, meditative, warm and melancholic melodies. With our Beat Root Multiscale, no matter when you want to play, you will always have a scale to match your mood.
Look at the detailed presentation of the 6 scales here: The 6 scales of Beat Root Multiscale tongue drum
You can also see how the tuning system of our Multiscale Beat Root is working here: How to change the scale of your Multiscale tongue drum