Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

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Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby ChuckG » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:55 pm

Hello everyone,
I am a brand new bongo player. My wife bought me bongos a couple of weeks ago for my birhtday, and since then I have been watching instructional videos and using the Ted Reed. I can do the Martillo, and I am working on maintaining it for longer periods and increasing my speed. I am also experimenting with some variations in the Ted Reed book.

I am also interested in the congas and have been watching some videos to see the technique. I found a used conga for $80, its an LP. I'm not sure of the model, but I think its an Aspire. It looks to be in good shape, the head looks like it was not used very much, I didn't see any damage in the wood. There looked to be somethin on the tuning bolts, it wasn't rust, but it looked like it might be built up dirt. My first question is: Is this a good price for a used conga? My main question is: Am I just being an overly enthusiastic beginner? Should I wait to try a differnt drum until I've had more experience learning the bongos? Any thoughts will be appreciated.
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby roberthelpus » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:05 pm

Wow, a couple of weeks and you're ready to move on. Maybe you might want to go for another couple of weeks and save your money up for something a little better than an Aspire. :wink:
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby ChuckG » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:14 pm

Thanks Robert. I tend to get carried away sometimes. I think I just needed some perspective.
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby roberthelpus » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:23 pm

You're just being enthusiastic, which is great. But there are folks on here that have been playing all their lives and are still learning. After a couple of weeks you're just scratching the surface, Hang out here and read and you'll be surprised at the depth that is in this music. Things that you aren't even aware of now. Hint = Clave.

Meanwhile 80 bones for an Aspire ain't bad and for that money you could hang it on the wall as art or make a planter out of it. They are inexpensive drums that are undersized and not much love for them around here. I started out on the CPs that eventually were renamed Aspires and replaced them as I waited for good deals on better drums.

I don't know about the Ted Reed book but I would recommend The Bongo Book by Trevor Salloum if you are looking for a book. There is some good stuff on youtube too. But watch out as there is some awful stuff on there too. Fortunately it's usually flamed pretty good in the comments. Of courese an actual teacher, if a good one is available in your area is best.
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby JohnnyConga » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:09 pm

First I would tell u to play 'any' instrument 'properly and in it's proper context takes years of practice and study..Now if u just want to 'fool around' with the instrument...have fun..IF you really want to learn properly ..find a 'mentor' that has a 'teaching history'..not everyone that plays, teaches...An Aspire conga is for children..and LP Matador middle of the line conga drum is what you need IF your going to learn to 'really play' the instrument...videos on youtube, can mess you up if you dont know who to watch and to see who is a 'real player' versus a 'hobbyist'.(some hobbyist's can play, but in very small numbers)..or some guy making it up as he goes along...that has not been 'taught' to 'really play'...and there is a LOT of that on youtube...If you need instruction I am an Online Teacher thru Skype..email me if interested in ONLINE INSTRUCTION..at johnnyconga@live.com...Thank you!...
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby bongosnotbombs » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:45 pm

Don't buy the aspire, buy something better. I got my first conga after about 6 months of learning the bongos. But I really don't see anything wrong with learning them concurrently, though the techniques are very different. Once you learn the techniques it all becomes rhythm. I practice my congas much more than bongos, but eve if I don't play the bongos for 2 weeks, I don't really feel like my bongo playing suffers as long as I'm still playing on the congas.
However I'm not a bongos specialist, though I can play the instrument fairly well, a specialist that practices everyday on the bongos would certainly have better technique and musicality than myself.
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby ChuckG » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:54 am

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll keep practicing the bongos. I'm really enjoying them!
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby jorge » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:48 am

First decide what kind of music you want to play and what instrument you want to learn, then learn it. Lots of great conga players started on bongo, including Tata Guines. Many great players in Cuba learned mainly on their own, without being systematically "taught to play". The main thing is that you truly enjoy the music, hearing it, singing it, dancing to it. Really wanting to play makes a big difference. Enjoying playing and learning to play well enough that you love to play will come with time and practice.
If you live outside Cuba, which you probably do, you would probably benefit from hiring a good teacher. Not all teachers who can teach well and explain and demonstrate clearly can actually play well, and like JC said, not everyone who can play well can teach well. Hopefully you can find someone in your area who can do both, otherwise there are several online options including JC and other online teachers like Congamasterclass.com, as well as selective YouTube clips if you really know what you are looking for. There are lots of great players and lots of terrible players on YouTube. You can learn a lot from YouTube clips, although that is probably best for more advanced players who can really tell the difference.
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby rhythmrhyme » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:11 am

Or, you can just not over-think things and go get yourself a drum, or two. Definitely get a better quality drum though - it makes learning more enjoyable, and arguably, a bit easier.

I had congas for years before I really sat down with a Cuban and started studying them. I always had fun with them and found that having a decent set of drums around gradually led me to wanting to learn how to play them for real. How can you know it interests you in a manner that will occupy some of your time every day unless you can get your hands on some? Everyone has their own path - if you got the cash, what does it matter. Play on, buy some fancy end tables! I even saw a bathroom sink that used a conga for the base - looked great LOL :mrgreen:
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby ChuckG » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:08 am

Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of the advice I have received on this forum. Everyone has been really supportive. I am going to enjoy learning from all of you!
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Re: Is it too soon to learn another type of drum?

Postby pavloconga » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:50 am

I'm a bit late coming in to this but I think Aspires are perfectly fine for a beginner to learn on.
My reasoning is this: if you get better drums you usually can't appreciate the difference until you develop good technique. I still have the Aspires I bought 2nd hand years and years ago. I've kept them because they make you work harder to develop your technique.

Some of the congas I saw in Cuba made the Aspires seem quite luxurious yet the players over there were still getting amazing range of sounds out of some beat up old congas with slack skins.

There are certain gigs or jams where I will still use the Aspires. I also own a complete set of LP Palladiums, 80's LP fibreglass and a beautiful set of 3 wood Gon Bops.

Learn good technique on conga and bongo from a good teacher if you can.
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