tongue drum brands

beat root tongue drum

Beat root

Made entirely in France, the Beat Root came out in 2014 and received the website Audiofanzine’s 2015 Best Value award. This high-quality tongue drum produces a deep and captivating sound that very much resembles the hang drum. Its design is modest but well-crafted. Moreover, it is manufactured less than 10 miles away from the workshop in Besançon, France, where the company tunes it and takes cares of the finishes.

Noticed by Yamaha at the 2015 Musikmesse Frankfurt music fair, Beat Root has since been available on the Japanese market. Furthermore, the company already distinguished itself from the competition with an electro-acoustic model (a tongue drum incorporating a microphone and jack plug). Additionally, in 2018, they took it a step further by producing a multi-scale model that features a simple and efficient tuning system to offer six scales!

There is no doubt that the Beat Root team will continue to make headlines, thanks to their innovative ideas, their attention to detail and affordable prices.

Different models:
After starting with the classics, the Akebono, G minor, G major and pentatonic scales in acoustic or electro-acoustic versions, Beat Root developed the electro-acoustic multi-scale tongue drum ($526).

In 2020, they launched the 432 Hz multi-scale tongue drum, which is perfect for music therapy, along with their Full Tone tongue drum, a 4-scale model most suitable for educational purposes or playing with music sheet. Both cost $526

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HAPI drum

HAPI drum

HAPI, an American brand inspired by the work of Dennis Havlena — can be considered the inventor of the Hank drum — began producing tongues drums in 2008. The company therefore positioned itself fairly quickly in the world at a time when the market was not as large as it is today.

HAPI is distinguished by the number of references available, almost 40 counting the different scales, shapes and colors and they even started to make Hang Drum!

Difficult to know where the instruments are made, they do not specify "made in USA", the low tariffs and the rather slight finishes on the models tested let think of an Asian manufacture...

Anyway we are far from the sound quality of European tongue drum like the Rammerdrum, Zenko or Beat Root, but at least there is something for every tastes and every wallets. Their price range starts at $169 for mini tongue drum up to $525 for the "UFO" model.

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Meinl tongue drum

Meinl

The German percussion giant Meinl recently positioned itself on the tongue drum niche, shortly after having positioned itself in the hang market.

Those who already know about the reputation of Meinl cymbals may have high hopes. Unfortunately, the company contracted another manufacturer, thereby leading to similarities with HAPI models, especially the identical rubber feet, and the result is rather disappointing with an unusually ugly design. Add to this an extremely limited number of models (the minor scale model comes in two colors), and you get an opportunistic and uninteresting product.

Only the prices ($337) and the brand reputation could tilt the scales to their favor.

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Melodrum

Melodrum

It's time to get back to authentic with the Melodrum!

I met an enthusiast within the first hour of a trade show, and I was immediately enthralled by the "handmade" aspect of his tongue drums. Their uniqueness exudes soul. Plus, they represent a return to their origins; each piece is different and possesses its own characteristics, qualities and faults.

They don’t have specific models, but everything is hand-painted, and many scales are available. Of course, the look will not appeal to everyone, and it can be hard to place an order without being able to test the model you like, but the brand has integrity, which is important to note.

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Pearl tongue drum

Pearl

In the path of Meinl, Pearl felt the growing interest in the tongue drums market and decided to take advantage of his immense notoriety to release his own models.

This Japanese firm has been for decades part of the big names in the drums market alongside Yamaha, Tama, DW... Unfortunately, as for their tongue drums we are not here in the presence of instruments "made in Japan" with impeccable finishes and perfect sounding, but rather with kinds of Chinese imitations of what should be a tongue drum.

You understood well: here is no magic, no craftsmanship... Pearl offers the bare minimum, an insipid design, an industrial manufacture to the Antipodes of the methods that made the instrument known, metallic and soulless sounds...

So yes, it's cheap, but with this kind of approach, all you’re going to get is a lack of artisans with real know-how, and you’ll have to say goodbye to the spellbinding sensation and pleasure of holding an instrument that is the result of painstaking handiwork.

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Rammerdrum tongue drum

Rammerdrum

Direction Italy now with the Napolitain manufacturer Rammerdrum!

Marco Tirino, the creator of the company has long worked in the metal industry (not the style of music!), his technical knowledge and his passion for music then pushed him in 2012 to design those "harmonic discs", instantly recognizable.

The Rammerdrum tongue drum has a sleek and "raw" design that is rather unique. They are both sober but have a certain character!
Everything is handmade in Italy. There are several sizes, from the 9” disc harmonic (about 22 cm in diameter) of 6 notes up to the largest 18" model (45 cm) which comprises 9 notes "tripled" and whose shape strongly recalls the hang drum. There are also intermediate models of 12" and 15". All at Rammerdrum breathes quality!

Note that Marco also manufactures very beautiful kalimbas, these thumb African "pianos but again, entirely of metal.

In terms of tariffs the prices of their tongue drum range from $280 for the 9" to $960 for the 18".

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Zenko tongue drum

Zenko

Back in France now with the Zenko from Metalsounds.

Located in Haute-Garonne, Metalsounds is a company created in 2011 that manufactures tongue drum (Zenko) but also handpan under the name of Spacedrum. In a few years they managed to establish themselves in many countries by skillfully surfing the wave of success that this new generation of instruments knew.

The Zenko is divided into 8 scales (Ionien, Penta C, Akebono, Equinox, harmony, Solstice, Pygmy, Omega) which cover the main tones that can be searched in a tongue drum.
It is made in France: the cutting part is outsourced and the tuning part and finishes take places in their workshop. This tongue drum is inspired by the shape of the hang drum, which also incorporates the principle of a central note that serves as a kind of "pivot" when played.

On the model I was able to test this central note was not of a great accuracy and overall the instrument lacked a little clarity for my taste. However, it remains a safe value and given its fairly wide distribution it is likely that you can test one in a store near you!

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The tongue drum scales