Best Steel Tongue Drums – My Top 6
Steel tongue drums, also known as tank drums, are a wonderful option to get into music without the need to throw hours upon hours into technique drills and practice exercises. Easy to play and gorgeously sounding is the essence of this type of percussion.
Tank drums are a very recent invention, as the earliest inspiration for the creation of such percussion was something that was called a whale drum. The tank drum received its name because it can be easily made out of an exhausted propane tank. The bottom of it is cut off, and the special “tongues” are cut to produces various pitches.
The vibration of tongues makes the whole instrument resonate and amplify the sound. Such percussion has a distinct and unforgettable sound that makes me wonder how humankind did not come up with this instrument earlier.
In any case, it is a fun and engaging instrument, and I want to share this idea with other people. That’s why I am writing this article: to help you get started on your musical journey.
A Review of the Best Steel Tongue Drums
Was your attention caught by the newly trending steel tongue percussion drums? In this article, you will find reviews of the best steel tongue drums.
Lomuty Steel Tongue Drum
Lomuty is a brand that made its name on specifically tank drums. They specialize in manufacturing percussion instruments, and it is about the only product they offer (apart from singing glass bowls). Lomuty is, without a doubt, real professionals of their craft. They specify that they lovingly handcraft each of the tank drums they put out to sell.
You cannot and should not expect a low-quality product from such passionate people. The brand completely meets the highest expectations: the 12” Lomuty Steel Tongue Drum is on par with every entry in this list.
The manufacturer carefully checks the intonation of not only the tongues on their own, but also, the resonance of each chord in the C major scale. This factor allows this percussion to produce clean and pure intervals that do not cancel each other out but rather reinforce and support the sound they produce together.
As a result, you get the amazing combination tones of the C major scale with which you can experiment and explore to your heart’s contempt. A pretty interesting feature that Lomuty added to their percussion is that every note is tuned according to a different reference pitch: 432 Hz.
In actuality, music, at its core, is just mathematical relations between various pitches (notes). So, some relations sound good, and that is why we use them. All of the music you hear in your life: on the radio, in the movies, in your favorite albums, is mathematically tuned to a particular reference pitch – 440 Hz.
Tuning to 432 Hz, on the other hand, is a recent discovery, and it is speculated that due to it, all of the notes in this tuning have simpler and purer relations. Therefore, they are transcendent, profound, and more mystical sounding. Whether there is a feasible difference, you will have to check for yourself, because this is an incredibly subjective point.
What is not subject, is that the manufacturer of this percussive instrument says that you can adjust the 11 tongues found on the drum to change the tuning. You can employ any other popular tuning, for example, Pythagorean tuning, 11-TET tuning, or common 12-TET tuning. You can even create your unique tuning – now it is real freedom of exploration. However, be advised, if you are not music geek, you may not have a lot of success with creating a pleasantly sounding tuning.
What you get if you buy Lomuty Steel Tongue Drum is the tank drum itself, a pair of drumming mallets, a book with music, a carrying bag, a set of picks, and a set of notes stickers. The enchanting sounds of this percussion will be amazing for any kind of parties, drumming circles, as well as for meditative purposes.
- 【Specifications】12-inch 11-note steel tongue drum comes pre-tuned to the Mxied C Major with 3 different octaves and 432Hz
- 【Package included 】Steel drum, Mallets, Music Book In English, bag, notes sticker, Picks
- Changing tuning is easy
- Interesting tuning, 432 Hz
- Great for groups of people, i.e., parties and drumming circles
- Targeted for music geeks
Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum – The Best Steel Tongue Percussion Drum
Asmuse is the kind of company to pride itself on delivering products of exceptional quality on a middle to lower budget end. Apart from steel tongue drums, Asmuse delivers a wide variety of products for musicians, ranging from guitar effects pedals to recently popularized kalimbas to melodicas to headphones, and much more.
Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum is an incredibly beginner-friendly package: if you are new to steel tongue drums, then this drum hits the sweet spot in offering you exactly what you need from a tank drum without breaking the bank. The budget-friendliness of Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum does not impact its performance and build quality in any way.
The sound that this percussion produces is rich, vibrant, and very sonorous. Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum can be easily put into the category of meditative tank drums, as the sounds coming out of it effortlessly put you in a kind of a trance. This percussion is perfectly suited for psychological therapy sessions, contemporary art performances, meditation experiences, as well as religious activities.
This particular piece of percussion has 8 tongues that are all tuned to different pitches of the C major pentatonic scale. It means that the only notes present in this percussion are C, D, E, G, and A. Pentatonic major scales usually have a very open sound because they have no half step intervals between any of the notes.
So, you should not worry at all about not knowing anything about music at all. Such simplicity in the note choice will not allow creating any dissonance whatsoever. This percussion piece is 10”, which lies exactly in the middle in regard to tank drum sizes. Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum is great for keeping at home for various purposes, as well as it is not too heavy to carry around with yourself.
When you buy this percussion, you also receive a pair of percussion mallets, a mallet bracket for securing the mallets, a sticker, and a travel bag made out of nylon. According to Asmuse, the 5 different pitches of this tank drum correspond with 5 different elements found within the world. That is why this tank drum is perfect for connecting people with nature.
One of the biggest pluses of buying exactly this tank drum is that it is manufactured completely by hand. Every percussion piece comes out unique. It, of course, means that some drums may turn out to be off-pitch; however, Asmuse is a trusted and respectable company and will send you a replacement if there are any manufacturing faults with the product you bought.
I have to admit that this percussion was extremely successful at calming me and my emotions, making me more positive and letting me reflect on my past actions and decisions. With the wonderful chiming timbre of Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum, you are sure to have a profound experience.
- A Resonant and Melodious Sound
- 8 Tongues in C major Pentatonic Scale
- Wonderful quality, performance, and price correlation
- Middle ground between small and big tank drums
- Best of both worlds: transportable and an adequately rich sound
- Lower build quality
Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum
This tank drum comes from the brand called Flatsons. Although this company is not very well-known, it still stands out between all of its competitors and has secured itself a second pick place in this list with the tank drum it manufactures. Flatsons manufactures a wide range of musical instruments as well as musical instrument accessories.
Not to disregard all of the other Flatsons products, but Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is one of the best products this brand produces. It is extremely durable and sturdy. As soon as you take it and feel it with your hands, you will instantly recognize that it was made of high-quality materials.
Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is only 5.5” so it is extremely small. 5.5 inches is usually the smallest kind of tank drums that you can get. If it was any smaller, the sounds that such an instrument would produce would be very weak, quiet, and not meditation-inducive.
Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum, however, can produce some incredible chiming ethereal sounds. This percussion piece is wonderful for you, Zen, meditation, and sound therapy all at home! It will not take up too much space and can fit neatly on just about any cupboard.
The main material that makes this percussion piece is a very strong and resonant metal alloy. The alloy is covered with a sleek metallic/pearly finish that gives it anti-corrosive protection. With the tank drum, you also get the usual accessories: a pair of drumming mallets, a drum transportation bag, and a book filled with various musical pieces. One thing has to be highlighted: the carry-on bag is very funky-looking, and that is extremely pleasing to the eye.
In addition to convenience at home, Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum is quite light too (when comparing to other tank drums), so traveling with it is very convenient too. So, you can connect with your inner self and explore the wonderful timbers of this instrument just about anywhere in the world.
This percussion piece is tuned to C major scale (or, more precisely, C Ionian for you, music theory geeks out there). There are 8 steel tongues that produce 7 different notes, all found on the drum: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The only repeating note is the tonic of the scale – C.
Major scales are best associated with positive feelings, relief, and cheerfulness. It is precisely what you get with the Flatsons Steel Tongue Drum. This percussive instrument will turn your personal meditation session into some quality “achieving inner peace” and “letting go of anxieties” time.
- Standard C key and 8 tones, allows you to play some simple songs
- No musical background is needed, just follow your heart to explore, and its ethereal sounds can purify your mind and soul, and makes you achieve inner peace
- Ethereal sounds
- Small form factor
- Great for small rooms and individual use
- Smaller and thinner sound
Rakumi Steel Tongue Drum
Rakumi is a manufacturer that specializes in producing intricate metal objects. They do everything from earrings to glockenspiels to, of course, tank drums. All of these products require great accuracy in the manufacturing process as well as during quality assurance.
It is especially true when it comes to musical instruments like glockenspiels and percussion pieces. In essence, a wrong fraction of a millimeter here or there can make the whole instrument sound bad and uncomfortable to play. All musicians can agree that not even the greatest of players can make a low-quality instrument sound well.
How does exactly Rakumi Steel Tongue stand out from all of the other tank drums? First of all, it has a nice lotus flower style: all of the drum’s tongues resemble the petals of the lotus flower. Additionally, the palette of available colors adds to nature aesthetic. The paint is a water-based solution, meaning that it is completely environmentally safe.
This percussion piece is much bigger than all of the previous tank drums found on the list. It results in a deeper, more profound sound coming from each played note. Also, a bigger form factor leads to a greater number of available tones. Rakumi Steer Tongue Drum accrues 13 whole different tongues.
These tongues are all tuned to the already-mentioned C major scale, so, almost every note gets a double except for two. If you think why would anybody need two same-sounding notes, then your way of thinking corresponds with that of the folks at Rakumi.
Every doubled note has a slightly different timbre that neatly accompanies the other unison when the two are played together. On their own, the notes sound incredible: well-rounded chiming sound, and when the notes combine, the overtones and harmonics that are created in the process are simply breathtaking.
The sound that is produced by this percussion piece is gigantic. It effortlessly fills a very big space with its powerful sound. You should hear this tank drum for yourself in order to fully understand how great it sounds.
This percussion piece, being 12”, is quite heavy. It is not as comfortable nor convenient to travel with when compared to previous entries on the list. It is best recommended to buy this percussion piece if you are not going to move it too much. This tank drum will be perfect if you want to use it only for your meditations or mind healing sessions at home or if you are a specialist in the field, and you want to use this drum to create a meditative state for a whole group of people.
What you get with Rakumi Steel Tongue Drum is two drumsticks, one carrying drum bag, a book of music, and (unexpectedly) four finger sleeves. The people at Rakumi care about you, so they included finger sleeves in order to protect your fingers when you are playing the drum without the drumsticks. Also, the carrying bag is exceptional: it has the comfiest silicone paddings to make the transportation of this big drum easier (as much as it is possible).
- New Arrival-Lotus Flower style 12''-13 note with water-based environmentally friendly paint which is pollution-free and does not fade.
- Wider Range-With a wider natural range of 13 tones, which could be played with most common tunes, works better than 11- tones-drum does.No musical background needed, just bring a sense of exploration and yourself.
- Finger sleeves
- Comfortable bag
- Incredibly rich and resonant
- Great for big spaces
- Hard to transport
Yinama Steel Tongue Drum
This percussion piece comes from another lesser-known company, Yinama. They mainly produce tech and musical accessories. Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is a great alternative to the two previous pieces of percussion, because this one is a whole inch smaller, resulting in less weight without a big impact on the overall sound of the instrument.
Yinama Steel Tongue Drum is handcrafted: the main material used in the manufacturing of this product is a steel-titanium alloy. The addition of titanium gives this percussion a distinct timbre that differs greatly from all of the other tank drums on the list. That lovely chimy sound of this type of percussion is still preserved; it is just that if you would be able to easily distinguish Yinama percussion from all of the other competitors, only using your ears.
This percussion is great for beginners and aspiring drumming enthusiasts. Yinama is known for making excellent and high-quality steel drums that empower students to master this musical instrument. This percussion has 11 tongues and is tuned to C major.
The overall sound that you get from this percussion is that of positivity and openness. In the package, you will receive the drum, whole two pairs of drumming mallets, a book of music, two sets of stickers, eight picks, and a carrying bag. It is quite a generous bundle to get!
- INTRODUCTIONS: 11 tongues, Diameter:10 inches, Height: 6 inches, Net weight:5 Pounds, Color: Black,D major.
- TOTALLY HAND-MADE: Hand-made of Steel-Titanium alloy, coated by green spraying-paint.
- Excellent as a student instrument
- Extremely rich sound although smaller form factor
- A very big bundle of accessories
- Still pretty big and heavy
OcarinaWind Steel Tongue Drum
The last but not least, OcarinaWind Steel Tongue Drum is a wonderful alternative to our top second pick. This brand manufactures tank drums and actual ocarinas. They are quite known for trying to bring the price down as much as possible to share the fun of musical instruments with everybody.
This percussion has the same small form factor that allows it to be easily transportable. Just like the other small tank drum on the list, this one is tuned to C major pentatonic too. The thing that distinguishes the two percussion pieces is the fact that OcarinaWind percussion is made with the precision of precision laser cutters to ensure the perfect tuning.
There are 8 tongues that give the full open pentatonic feel to experiment and play with. This percussion is incredibly multi-functional, as it can be applied to numerous situations, including music education, meditation sessions, psychological therapies, and more.
It is the most budget option when it comes to tank drums, so the build quality correspondingly drops a bit in this product. When you buy OcarinaWind Steel Tongue Drum, you will get in addition a pair of drumming mallets, a carry-on bag, and a tone sticker.
- Beautifully finished: 5.5" C Major hardened steel tongue drum emits pure, soothing notes. Playing a tongue drum can relieve stress and bring relaxation and peaceful energy into your life.
- Perfect tuning: 8 tongues are precision cut with lasers for perfect tuning, which have a range of sound and can be played with mallets or with your fingers .
- Compact size
- Very affordable
- Lower build quality
Metal Tongues and Final Thoughts
You and I have gone through a number of great tank drums. I gave you my expertise, and hopefully, you have been inspired by all of this percussion and music theory talk. Music-making should not be a chore: it should be instinctive and fun. It is the reason why I think that this kind of simple musical instruments is important.
The tank drum allows people of all skill levels to express themselves musically and can create an incredibly freeing experience for any beginner drummer. In our contemporary world of always online, always on guard, such calming experiences are very important for our mental health.
Do you agree with my opinion? Please tell me in the comments below. I would love to hear what you think. Also, did you like the reviews? Were they complete enough, or did I miss something out? Thanks for reading, and please share your ideas!