Tambourine Buying Guide

Welcome to my Tambourine buying guide.

The tambourine, a timeless instrument with roots stretching back through centuries, offers a unique blend of rhythm and melody to any musical composition or performance.

Whether you're a professional musician, a classroom teacher, or someone looking to add a bit of rhythm to your next gathering, selecting the right tambourine is essential for achieving the sound and experience you're aiming for.

This guide delves into everything you need to know about tambourines, ensuring you make an informed decision that resonates with your musical aspirations.

Understanding Tambourine Types and Materials

Types of Tambourines

Tambourines come in a myriad of styles, each suited to different musical genres and playing techniques:

  • Handheld Tambourines: Ideal for dynamic playing, these offer versatility in sound production, suitable for live performances.
  • Mounted Tambourines: Perfect for drum kit setups or as part of a percussion ensemble, providing a steady rhythm without the need for direct handling.
  • Tunable vs. Non-Tunable Tambourines: Tunable models allow you to adjust the tension of the head for various tones, while non-tunable ones offer consistency and ease of use.

Materials and Their Impact on Sound

  • Heads: Synthetic heads offer durability and resistance to weather changes, whereas natural skin heads provide warmer, more traditional tones.
  • Shells: Wood shells produce deep, rich sounds, while plastic or metal shells are preferred for their durability and brighter, more cutting tones.
  • Jingles: The material (bronze, brass, steel, or copper) and the number of jingles significantly influence the tambourine's timbre and volume.

Choosing the Right Size and Shape

Tambourines range from compact, high-pitched models to larger, deeper-toned ones.

The size affects not only the sound but also the playability, especially for younger players or those with smaller hands.

Consider the ergonomics of the shape as well—some tambourines feature curved edges for comfortable grip during extended use.

Additional Features to Consider

Grip and Comfort

Ergonomic handles or grips can significantly enhance playability and reduce fatigue during performances. Look for models with padded grips or those designed to fit naturally in the hand.

Jingle Configuration

The arrangement and number of jingles can vary, influencing the volume and tone complexity. More jingles typically result in a richer, more vibrant sound.

Accessories and Customization Options

Some tambourines come with cases or mounts, while others offer interchangeable jingles for customized sound. Consider what accessories or options might enhance your tambourine experience.

Exploring Tambourine Playing Techniques

To fully utilize the potential of your tambourine, understanding various playing techniques is crucial. Here's a brief overview of methods that can enhance your performance and bring diversity to your sound.

Holding and Striking Techniques

  • Traditional Grip: Hold the tambourine in one hand and strike the frame with the other hand's palm or fingers for basic rhythms.
  • Thumb Roll: Wet your thumb slightly and roll it along the edge of the jingles to produce a sustained, shimmering sound.
  • Shake Roll: A rapid, controlled shaking motion that creates a sustained, rolling sound, perfect for building intensity.

Advanced Techniques

  • Knee Tap: Tapping the tambourine against your knee or hip allows for a softer sound and hands-free playing during complex performances.
  • Finger Snaps: Snap your fingers on the head of the tambourine for a unique, subtle effect that adds texture to your music.

Incorporating these techniques can significantly broaden your musical expression, allowing for more dynamic and engaging performances.

3 Roles of Tambourines in Different Musical Genres

Tambourines are not confined to a single musical tradition; they play a versatile role across numerous genres, each bringing out different facets of the instrument's character.

1. Folk and World Music

In folk traditions around the globe, the tambourine serves as a rhythmic backbone, often carrying the tempo with its jingles and head strikes. Its earthy, resonant tones complement acoustic instruments beautifully.

2. Rock and Pop

From the subtle jingle in a soft ballad to the driving force in a rock anthem, tambourines add brightness and energy to modern music. They're often used to accentuate choruses or bring a song to its climactic finale.

3. Classical and Orchestral Music

In classical settings, tambourines contribute to the color and texture of the music, providing emphasis and rhythmical complexity to compositions. Their use requires precision and subtlety, showcasing the instrument's dynamic range.

Selecting Tambourines for Educational Purposes

Educators seeking to introduce percussion instruments into their curriculum will find tambourines an excellent choice due to their accessibility and the instant rhythmic gratification they provide. Here are a few considerations for choosing tambourines for educational settings:

Durability and Safety

Opt for tambourines with robust construction and safe materials, especially for younger students. Synthetic heads and rounded edges can prevent wear and injury.

Ease of Play

Choose tambourines that are easy to hold and play, particularly for smaller hands. Lightweight models with comfortable grips ensure that students can focus on learning rhythm and coordination without strain.

Sound Diversity

Incorporating tambourines of various sizes and materials can enrich the learning experience, allowing students to explore different sounds and techniques. This diversity encourages creativity and helps students find their own musical voices.

By integrating tambourines into music education, teachers can foster a love for rhythm and ensemble playing, laying a foundation for lifelong musical exploration and enjoyment.

Care and Maintenance Tips

Proper care can extend the life of your tambourine.

Avoid extreme temperatures and humidity levels, clean the instrument regularly with a soft, dry cloth, and consider using a specialized cleaner for the head and jingles if necessary.

For tunable models, check the tension regularly to ensure optimal sound quality.

My Top 5 Tambourine Picks

Now, let's take a closer look at five outstanding tambourines that cater to a range of preferences and budgets.
tambourine buying guide - Musfunny Tambourine for Adults

Musfunny Tambourine for Adults

Price: $16.99

10-inch adult tambourine with melodious metal jingles, made of birch and Polyester leather, perfect for parties and musical education.
This 10-inch tambourine is a versatile addition to any musical gathering, designed with metal jingles for a harmonious sound. Crafted from durable birch wood and featuring a Polyester leather drum head, it combines quality with ease of use. Its portable design and easy-to-hold shape make it ideal for enhancing the rhythm in parties, concerts, and educational settings.
tambourine buying guide - Remo TA-5210-70 Fiberskyn Tambourine

Remo TA-5210-70 Fiberskyn Tambourine

Price: $30.95

10" Remo Fiberskyn Tambourine in Quadura Black, featuring 8 pairs of jingles, lightweight and pre-tuned for all music styles.
The Remo TA-5210-70 Fiberskyn Tambourine, in an elegant Quadura Black, measures 10 inches in diameter and comes equipped with 8 pairs of jingles across 2 rows for a rich, resonant sound. Crafted with the renowned FIBERSKYN 3 drumhead film, it ensures durability and a high-quality tone, suitable for any musical setting. This tambourine's lightweight design and pre-tuned nature make it a versatile choice for musicians of all levels.
tambourine buying guide - MuitoFeliz Tambourine Hand Held Drum 8 Inch

MuitoFeliz Tambourine Hand Held Drum 8 Inch

Price: $13.90

8-inch hand-held tambourine with metal jingles, made of wood and PE, non-toxic and includes a maraca. Ideal for all ages and settings like churches and parties.
This 8-inch tambourine blends exquisite design with quality sound, featuring a wood construction and a waterproof PE drum head, suitable for both adults and kids. Its eco-friendly materials ensure safety without compromising on sound quality, offering a crisp and pleasant ringing that enhances any musical performance. Portable and easy to handle, it comes with a bonus maraca, making it a perfect percussion gift for various occasions, from church gatherings to KTV parties.
tambourine buying guide - EastRock Double Row Tambourine

EastRock Double Row Tambourine

Price: $15.45

EastRock Double Row Tambourine with metal jingles, includes egg shakers, made of durable ABS and stainless steel. Easy to use, suitable for all ages and various musical settings.
The EastRock Double Row Tambourine offers a crisp, pleasant sound with its durable, environmentally friendly ABS construction and stainless steel jingles. Designed for comfort and ease of use, its semi-circular shape and non-slip, wear-resistant handle ensure a firm grip and safe handling. This tambourine is perfect for musical beginners and can be enjoyed in diverse settings from classrooms to parties. Package includes 1 tambourine and 2 egg shakers, offering great value and versatility for enhancing musical experiences for both children and adults.
tambourine buying guide - Soulmate Tambourine Metal Jingles Hand Held

Soulmate Tambourine Metal Jingles Hand Held

Price: $12.99

Black half-moon tambourine with single-row metal jingles, made from durable ABS and stainless steel. Ideal for adults, suitable for KTV and parties.
This high-quality, single-row tambourine features a durable, environmentally friendly ABS body and stainless steel jingles, ensuring longevity and a crisp sound. Its unique semi-circular design and ergonomic, non-slip handle make it easy to play, even for beginners with no musical background. Versatile and fun, it's perfect for adding rhythm to parties, concerts, and family gatherings. Comes with a commitment to excellent customer service, including a replacement for any serious damage.

Conclusion: Finding Your Perfect Tambourine

Selecting the right tambourine is a personal journey, one that should be informed by your musical style, preferences, and the context in which you'll be playing.

By considering the types, materials, sizes, and additional features discussed in this guide, you're well on your way to finding an instrument that will bring joy and rhythm to your music for years to come.

Remember, the best tambourine for you is one that feels right in your hands and resonates with your musical soul. Happy playing!

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