Vintage Bongos ID

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Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Mikey14 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:23 pm

Hi all, First time poster but I've been a background lurker for many years. I was hoping to identify these unusual bongos. They are 6 5/8" and 8', staves and have wing nuts ala Cubans. I remember seeing this type of lugs before but I can't place it. No obvious manufacturer. Thanks!
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Psych1 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:51 pm

Hi Mikey, Welcome to the graveyard. As you see, there isn't much action here these days. I've been checking in about once a month but haven't seen anything interesting for a while.

But, your bongos seem interesting although I can't help you ID them. They are clearly old, likely 50's or 60's, possibly Cuban although not by one of the classic makers we have seen here. The hardware is similar to that I've seen on some cheap novelty type bongos but yours seem to be a higher quality. The shells do look like some early SONACs I've seen but not the hardware. Likely homemade by someone we never heard of.

If they were mine I'd probably just keep them as they are, not even clean them up until I could ID them. If you want to play them I'd consider some synthetic heads and keep the old heads. I would fix the cracks, easy fix with wood glue and hose clamps.

Seems some of the old group from here is on Facebook - a place I stay away from -but you may have better luck there.
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby blavonski » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:34 pm

Hey Psych1,
I too check in from time to time to see what's new here. I like to think of the Forums current state as more like a Truck Stop somewhere between Bisbee and Tucson, Ariszona at three in the morning, but not quite Tumbstone :wink:

your Bongos do have an interesting amalgam of charachteristics that raises a number of questions.
It's hard to tell what type of wood it is and if it is stained or a natural hard, exotic wood.?
Also the Hardware resembles older south American, even Asian types of design and, it's difficult to be sure, but it looks to have been Galvanized steel instead of Chrome-plated.?
I am also inclined to think that they are not Cuban in origin, but possibly early Mexican, Columbian,Guatamalen; maybe from one of the French Antilles Islands or even French or German or Italian in origin.? Given that the Crowns and bottum Rims are of proper thickness and that they are obviously well constructed, I would remove them, go over them with a medium strength steel wire brush in a drill or a hand Grinder, then Nr.00 Steelwool to remove the rust. Then, find out what type of wood it is,(that knowledge can narrow down the options for Country of origin), and like Psych1 suggest, shoot some glue into the sepparated staves bind it tightly together however you can. Wipe the Macho skin down with a damp towel remove dust and dirt and remount a new Hembra, and play it and see what happens.

Because of the Crown design, you can always have those Ear/Lug thingies modifeid so that you can use other tuning lugs. But, you gotta find someone who knows what they're doing to do that well, somebody like me.:D
At any rate, what ever road you decide to take, State or Highway, I don't think you need to bury those Bongos.
They can be brought back to life. I think I hear a bell ringing... Good Luck!
Good Vibrations,
Mr. Blavonski
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Mikey14 » Fri May 04, 2018 12:07 am

Thanks for the replies. I got them because they looked interesting, I like the unusual. I intend not to do much as I doubt that they would sound good with the lugs and wing nuts. I will clean them up and glue the staves. I'm also not a fan of facebook so the graveyard is where I'll check every so often. Again, thank you.
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Chtimulato » Fri May 04, 2018 2:57 pm

Hello everybody.

I use both : this forum and Facebook.
I jump in a little late on, but I also think the bongó is worth keeping and refurbishing.
Could it be the late brand Caribbean Rhythm, formerly from Dominican Republic ?

Have a nice day.
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Mikey14 » Wed May 09, 2018 11:37 pm

Someone mentioned to me that they believe that they're from Mexico by a manufacturer that begins with a "K", I lost the name. Yes I will keep them since they are unusual and put some work into them. Hopefully someday I'll find one that is similar with a name tag.
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Re: Vintage Bongos ID

Postby Mikey14 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:24 pm

Okay after a little research the information I received that someone whose name begins with "K" is the manufacturer is incorrect. The "K" is Kitsch which simply meanse a taste of gaudy or tacky objects as art including musical instruments. A Allee Willis had posted photos of a cheap conga and bongos set that she labeled "kitschy". Both the conga and bongos have the cheap crowns/rods as mentioned by Psych1. The search continues.
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