Bongo Mania!






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Bongos are traditionally held between the legs, with the macho up against one thigh and the hembra down against the opposite calf, as in this photo:

leg positioning

Most right-handed players place the macho in the upper left position, as the basic "martillo" pattern focuses on the macho. Lefties can do whatever works best for them.

Always strike the drums with the pads of your fingertips, never with the knuckle-joints behind them. Striking with the bony joint will make a louder sound at first, but you will injure your hands that way, and risk causing or aggravating arthritis in your fingers. Practice striking with the pads, using a "snappy" wrist motion, and you will develop the crisp loud sound you want.

You can use any part of your hand to mute the drum heads for different tones. The next page will show how to use the base of the thumb, but holding your palm or fingers against different areas of the head (with different amounts of pressure) will bring out a wide range of voices when you strike with the other hand. You can even raise the pitch by pressing firmly in the center of the head with the tip of your thumb or middle finger.

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