Whether you are an experienced musician or totally new to the subject, there are some instruments like the steel tongue drum that carry our imagination in a quarter of a second. You have been, like many others before, captivated by the sound of this amazing instrument and want to know more about it before you embark on the adventure? You are at the good place as we are the manufacturer of the first tunable steel tongue drum equipped with a microphone and jack wire (the Multiscale tongue drum). But before talking about us, here are more informations about tongue drums. Fasten your seatbelt and follow our guide!
What is a steel tongue drum?
A steel tongue drum (also known as tongue drum, hank drum or tank drum) is a percussion instrument in the idiophone family (instruments that create sounds through the vibration of the material itself without requiring strings, membranes, or external resonators).
It is a very melodic percussion instrument and highly appreciated for its relaxing sounds and ease of playing, which does not require any particular technique. Anyone can easily pick one up and start playing, with the number of slats or “tongues” equal to the number of notes it can produce. You can either use mallets or your hands..
To play with a steel tongue drum you can either use mallets or your hands.
Although its origins date back to ancient times, the steel tongue drum has come back with a vengeance in the last few years thanks to the emergence of DIY versions made from propane tanks — one option being cutting off the bottoms of two tanks, welding them together, and cutting out “tongues” of different lengths on one side.
What are the differences between a hang drum and a steel tongue drum?
One of the names for a tongue drum, “hank drum” comes from combing “tank drum” and “hang drum.” Although the timbre of a steel tongue drum is very similar to the one of a hang drum, the manufacturing process differs greatly as the latter is tuned by hammering. That's why despite their commonalities, hang drums are much more expensive and thereby less accessible. Hang drum or handpan price ranges is between 1500$ and 3000$ whereas a good quality tongue drum price is around 500$. Also you commonly have to wait several months before getting your hang drum from a manufacturer whereas tongue drums are available for immediate purchase. This means you can enjoy it sooner and quickly immerse yourself in creating melodies and songs.
Which steel tongue drum is made for me?
You can find steel tongue drums in many tones: major scales, minor, pentatonic, akebono etc ... It is often difficult to make a choice among all these beautiful sounding scales because choosing a scale means you will not be able to play all others. That's why the purchase of a steel tongue drum is always the result of long and deep thought because this instrument will accompany you for many years, just like its scale. Having only one scale means that you will not be able to play anything else during all your musical journey. You better know yourself good and truly love the scale you choose to not regret your choice after playing for some months on it. Remind yourself that you will play your steel tongue drum on this scale for years without being able to play something different. The only way to play a different scale will be to buy another one with another scale... But this was before we at Beat Root changed everything with our tunable steel tongue drum ;)
The Beat Root Multiscale tongue drum
Since 2018, we have created the first tunable & electro-acoustic tongue drum bringing together 6 scales in a single instrument thanks to an innovative tuning system allowing you to switch from one scale to another in just few seconds only. Thanks to our Multiscale tongue drum, choosing only one scale is no longer a choice to make. The 6 scales of our Multiscale tongue drum allow you to play introspective, joyful, meditative, warm and melancholic melodies. With our tunable steel tongue drum, no matter when you want to play, you will always have a scale suiting your moment.
If you want to know more about our Multiscale tongue drum, you can have a look to the the 6 scales of our Multiscale tongue drum or see how the tuning system of our Multiscale tongue drum is working