jam blocks

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jam blocks

Postby TONE74 » Wed May 14, 2008 3:47 pm

I've been looking for bamboo to make a guagua but all I find is the thin ones so I'm thinking of buying one of those blue LP jam blocks. I have a video from Cuba in which they use it and it sounds good but I've read that they are too loud. Is this true? or does it all depend on how hard you hit them. If I have to constantly worry about playing soft then I wouldn't want one. Thanks
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Re: jam blocks

Postby ABAKUA » Wed May 14, 2008 4:31 pm

One of the timbaleros I work with has the red one, he turns it upside down and uses it like that, has a far warmer tone this way.

Here are 2 clips where if you look closely you will see him with the jam block turned upside down.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=mVp_y6l81eI

http://youtube.com/watch?v=gPlekAZ_MsM
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Wed May 14, 2008 5:48 pm

Those plastic jam blocks are loud.

As a cool alternative why not just get a regular woodblock,
I have one on a pedal and it sounds good, they come in different sizes and wood.

There are lots of companies that make them, the natural wood looks much better than
plastic, and I think they sound better, a smaller one won't be as loud.

http://www.percussionsource.com/Category.aspx?ID=398
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Whopbamboom » Sun May 18, 2008 5:27 am

The volume and sound that you get with ANY kind of block can be altered by not only how hard you hit it, but even more so by:

--what you are hitting it with (thin stick, fat stick, nylon tip, yarn ball, steel rod, etc. etc. etc. This also includes with what part of the striking stick you are using (i. e., if a drumstick, you can use the tip, the butt end, the shank, etc.)

--where on the block you hit it (i.e., the flat part, in the middle, toward the edge, on the very edge, etc. etc. etc.)


This goes for ANY striking stick, and this also goes for ANY kind of wood block, plastic jam block, cowbell, ANYTHING.

I guess what I am saying is that a plastic jam block doesn't necessarily make any one kind of sound. Experiment until you find the sound that you like.
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Joseph » Sun May 18, 2008 2:30 pm

Has anyone heard one of those LP Guiro jam blocks?

I have an old pedal I use with a nasty old bell...doesn't sound good.
Was thinking about putting a jam block on it.
This one has added versatility of guiro notches cut in one edge for guiro effects.

LP propaganda says
"....get ready for the guttural tones"
"the lowest pitched jam block"
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Guiro Jam Block.jpg
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun May 18, 2008 3:03 pm

Well those Jam Blocks are still effing loud, it only takes a little tap with a thin timbale stick,
they also sound like crap if you only lightly touch them, you don't get that hollow sound you want.

A guy we rumba with has a stand with bells, bamboo and one of these jam blocks. It's okay
but has that kind of artificial sound and can get really loud. It sure cuts through though, for sure.

I still prefer the wood blocks. Mine is pretty big, smaller ones are more quiet.
They come in several sizes, each with a different pitch and volume level.
I personally really prefer the sound, sounds like wood you know, more natural.

Here is my "Clave Machine" I put together, Big ol' LP wood block.
I have 2 beaters for it.
One is a little too soft and the other a little too hard :?
Next one will be just right :D
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun May 18, 2008 3:04 pm

pedal...
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Mike » Sun May 18, 2008 3:30 pm

This Jam block constellation works well for me, and as far as sound is concerned: it cuts, but it does not hurt :wink:
Notice the nice waste bin :lol:
LP Jam Block blue.JPG

The Mambo bell played with the footpedal? Now, THAT´S rather loud. I use it often when I play timbales, whereas the Jamblock
is sometimes my foot clave when playing congas
LP Mambo bell_288x512.JPG
Last edited by Mike on Sun May 18, 2008 3:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun May 18, 2008 3:33 pm

Dude, that hurts my ears just looking at it! :shock:
but it does match your home decor quite nicely :D
If you notice my woodblock goes with my wood floors quite nicely as well :D
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Mike » Sun May 18, 2008 3:40 pm

Yeah, thankks, BnB, I notice a good compliment when I read it :D
BTW as to the beaters: Plastic on plastic does the job well whereas wood on cowbell is darn loud indeed.

Take care.
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Joseph » Sun May 18, 2008 3:44 pm

Hey BNB
I like the one you have.
Do you know what particular wood it's made of?
Kinda looks like mahogany.

I've got lotsa pieces of assorted tropical hardwoods kicking around.
You've given me the idea to try making my own...doesn't look difficult.
Biggest engineering prob is to get it to hook up to pedal.

Would you mind sending me dimensions of blocks?
And maybe a detail pic of adapter to put on pedal?

Much appreciated if you make the effort.

~ Joseph
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Mike » Sun May 18, 2008 3:48 pm

And maybe a detail pic of adapter to put on pedal?


If I may chime in: That adapter of BnB´s looks like the LP Gajate Garcia bracket.
I have got an older version of that one with my cowbell, and the
Meinl Pedal Mount with the Jam Block.

BTW, Joseph: A woodblock can be VERY loud, too!
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun May 18, 2008 3:54 pm

This woodblock is maple, I think most are. Maple is very hard.
If you have the wood already, I think this would make a great project.

Sizes, well I reckon you can do your own research there, there are
several websites and makers.

Mine is LP, but there are others just as good.
Mine is 2.75" by 9" (inches).

Wood blocks usually come with 2 little holes in them for the attachment.

I chose it as being the best sounding one in the music store, that matched my home decor :P

Sound is important, but please follow Mike's and my example by matching the instrument to your
home furnishings. :lol:
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Re: jam blocks

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun May 18, 2008 4:00 pm

Mike, that bell simply clashes with your watebasket.
It may hurt your ears, but it is hurting my eyes.

Please allow me to recommend a Gon Bops bell finished in a
stunning red to compliment your matching red wastebasket. :lol:

Talk about a salsa bell "Es una salsa campana, muy salsa"
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Re: jam blocks

Postby Mike » Sun May 18, 2008 4:09 pm

Oh, have I already mentioned that I am colourblind? :lol: :lol:
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