Top 10 Best Steel Tongue Drums of 2021

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.

1. 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 a 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.

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Steel Tongue Drum - 11 Notes 12 inches - Percussion Instrument -Handpan Drum with Bag, Music Book,...
908 Reviews
Steel Tongue Drum - 11 Notes 12 inches - Percussion Instrument -Handpan Drum with Bag, Music Book,...
  • 【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

PROS:
  • Changing tuning is easy
  • Interesting tuning, 432 Hz
  • Great for groups of people, i.e., parties and drumming circles
  • Hand-crafted
CONS:
  • Targeted for music geeks
  • Pricey

2. 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!

Yinama Steel Tongue Drum Percussion Instrument 11 Notes 10 inches
615 Reviews
Yinama Steel Tongue Drum Percussion Instrument 11 Notes 10 inches
  • 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.

PROS:
  • Excellent as a student instrument
  • Extremely rich sound although the smaller form factor
  • A very big bundle of accessories
CONS:
  • Still pretty big and heavy

3. 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.

Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum, 8 Notes 10 Inch Percussion Instrument Handpan Drum Set with Song Book,...
387 Reviews
Asmuse Steel Tongue Drum, 8 Notes 10 Inch Percussion Instrument Handpan Drum Set with Song Book,...
  • ♫ Premium Material: The steel tongue drum is made of SUS304 high-quality food-grade stainless steel, withstands rust, corrosion, dents, and is built to last. Best and safest steel drum for your kids, children.
  • ♫ Excellent Craftsmanship:Our steel drum is hand-made by craftsmen and the drum body is full and round, and the drum surface sound tongue is shaped by lotus petals. It combines modern innovative design, craftsmanship, sound theory, simple shape, and easy to carry.

PROS:
  • Wonderful quality, performance, and price correlation
  • The middle ground between small and big tank drums
  • Best of both worlds: transportable and an adequately rich sound
CONS:
  • Lower build quality

4. Rakumi Steel Tongue Drum

The 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 natural 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. The 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).

Steel Tongue Drum-12 Inch 13 Note Percussion Instrument Lotus Hand Pan Drum with Drum Mallets Carry...
613 Reviews
Steel Tongue Drum-12 Inch 13 Note Percussion Instrument Lotus Hand Pan Drum with Drum Mallets Carry...
  • New Arrival-Lotus Flower Steel tongue drum style 12''-13 note with water-based environmentally friendly paint which is pollution-free and does not fade.
  • Wider Range-This steel drum 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.

PROS:
  • Finger sleeves
  • Comfortable bag
  • Incredibly rich and resonant
  • Great for big spaces
CONS:
  • Hard to transport
  • Expensive

5. Muslady 5.5 Inch – Excellent Mini Drum for Beginners and Travellers

The Muslady is a versatile manufacturer of musical instruments, accessories, and stage hardware, including some of the best radio systems, microphones, DIY guitar kits, and many more. This Chinese brand can brag about the decent quality of their products and relatively low prices.

Talking about the price, the Muslady 5.5-inch steel tongue drum for meditation is a bit more expensive than the 5.5-inch alternatives by other brands. I don’t know why the price is higher here, but the quality of the steel body is very satisfying as well as the clarity of its sound and tuning. The item comes perfectly pitched in the standard C Key. It’s very small, but all the basic 8 tongues are here, tuned at CDEFGABC, and numbered for easy navigation.

As the body is quite small, the drum has a sealed bottom for loudness. Along with the silicone bottom, it has 4 silicone legs for extra shock absorption. If you want to put the drum on a table or another solid surface, the vibration won’t cause any foreign noises.

Finally, the drum comes with a set of accessories, including high-quality mallets with wooden handles and gum heads, a straightforward beginner guide, and a convenient drum bag with a separate pocket for the mallets and an adjustable strap. It’s a good choice for beginners and for traveling.

No products found.


PROS:
  • Excellent pearl finish;
  • Finely tuned at C-major key;
  • Shockproof silicone feet and bottom gasket;
  • Small but loud;
  • Nice bag design.
CONS:
  • There are cheaper 5.5-inch alternatives, but it’s of great quality;
  • Alloy steel is of good quality but may stain if you scratch it.

6. Luvay Steel Tongue Drum – Affordable 6” Steel-Titanium Model

The Luvay is very similar to Muslady in its philosophy. You can find this brand’s products in any store around the globe, but it’s not very generous when it comes to sharing something about the company. Anyway, their 6-inch steel tongue drum really deserves your attention.

This compact buddy is made of steel-titanium alloy coated in corrosion-resistant paint. I don’t recommend scratching it to avoid rust and, fortunately, it’s not easy to do this due to the coating. The tuning of this drum is standard C, and all the notes are numbered (you may not use the stickers), so you won’t get lost when you start. The sound quality is very good as for an affordable beginner-level instrument.

In addition to the drum, you get a set of mallets, a beginner guide, note stickers, and a set of 4 fingerpicks. These make it very easy to start learning the fingerplay technique without losing the sound brightness, so I highly recommend it for beginners. The last accessory is a soft cloth pouch. It’s good enough to protect the instrument from scratches, but you will need another bag to carry it along.

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Luvay Steel Tongue Drum - 6 inches 8 Notes - Percussion Instrument - with Pouch, Book, Mallets,...
556 Reviews
Luvay Steel Tongue Drum - 6 inches 8 Notes - Percussion Instrument - with Pouch, Book, Mallets,...
  • 6 inch, modest size, portable, lotus flower style
  • 8 tongues, tuned, make wonderful music by hands, picks, or mallets

PROS:
  • Sturdy black finish;
  • Excellent starter kit (fingerpicks included);
  • It’s quite loud;
  • Removable note stickers.
CONS:
  • Lacks a carry bag.

7. Ulalov Steel Tongue Drum – Great 12” Drum with A Pro Kit

Ulalov is a dedicated steel drum manufacturer with quite a small lineup of drums but offering excellent value for the money. The brand’s 12-inch 11-tone instrument is made of a durable titanium-steel alloy with a silicone-sealed bottom. It sounds very ambient and ethereal, while the peak volume level is higher than most competitors provide.

The drum is tuned to the standard C scale and includes 11 tongues (CDBEFGABGAC). If you already are a musician, and it seems too little for you, don’t worry. This is a professional-grade tongue drum, and it can impress you with a variety of sounds you can make within such a short note diapason.

The kit includes 2 pairs of mallets and a stand for them, where you can put one pair while using the other. Both mallets have different attack brightness, which lets you be more versatile and sound softer or a bit louder if you want. Next, you receive 2 pairs of fingerpicks to play with both hands and train your finger technique. Even if you have no idea of how to apply these tools, the manual explains everything very clearly. As a newcomer, you can also use the note stickers to learn the positioning of the notes. Finally, the drum comes in a durable waterproof cloth bag with shoulder and hand straps.

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Steel Tongue Drum-12 Inch 11 Note Handpan Drum, Steel Drums, Tongue Drums for Adults with Padded...
325 Reviews
Steel Tongue Drum-12 Inch 11 Note Handpan Drum, Steel Drums, Tongue Drums for Adults with Padded...
  • 12 Inch 11 Note Steel Drum: Made of steel titanium alloy, can give a crisp, ethereal, Buddha-like sound, and with a wider natural range of 11 tones, which could be played with most common tunes. No so complicated and easy to get the start.
  • Beautiful and Durable: The surface of the protective paint not only looks beautiful but also prevents rust, abrasion, and scratching. The 3 rubber feet can prevent slipping, and make the drum sound brighter, crisper and nicer.

PROS:
  • 12 inches + 11 tongues;
  • It’s quite loud and sounds very clear;
  • Silicone bottom (removable for magnetic tuning);
  • Cool waterproof bag with 2 straps;
  • 2 pairs of mallets and fingerpicks.
CONS:
  • Isn’t stainless, so prevent it from scratching (the coating is great, though).

8. Ocarina Wind 12 inches – Fine C-major Tongue Drum

Ocarina Wind is originally an ocarina and lyre harps manufacturer that makes some of the best instruments in the category at very modest prices. In recent years, they also started to make hand pans and custom steel tongue drums.

This C-major drum has a universal design as its aim not only at ethereal sound fans but on music theory learners as well. It has a standard set of 11 tongues tuned at 440Hz, but you can use magnets to tune it at 432Hz. The whole body is cut with lasers, so the tone is very clean. I have also enjoyed the textured coating that protects the instrument from scratches really well and prevents dirt from building up on the surface.

The set includes a pair of medium-hardness mallets, tone stickers, and a bag. Although the bag is padded and very secure, it has only a hand strap and no shoulder strap. I like to travel and hike without a car, so this is a crucial thing for me.

12 inches Steel Tongue Drum Black 11 Notes,C Major,with Padded Drum Bag and Couple of Mallets,...
162 Reviews
12 inches Steel Tongue Drum Black 11 Notes,C Major,with Padded Drum Bag and Couple of Mallets,...
  • Beautifully finished: 12" hardened steel tongue drum emits pure, soothing notes. Playing a tongue drum can relieve stress and bring relaxation and peaceful energy into your life.
  • Well Tuning: 11 tongues are precision cut with lasers for perfect tuning, which have a wide range of sound and can be played with mallets or with your fingers .

PROS:
  • Laser-cut tongues;
  • Open bottom for easy magnet tuning (magnets not included);
  • Nice textured finish (doesn’t collect dirt);
  • Inexpensive 12” for learners and pros.
CONS:
  • The bag has no shoulder strap.

9. 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 from all of its competitors and has secured itself a second-pick place in this list with the tank drum it manufactures. The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Steel Tongue Drum Steel Drums Flatsons C Key 8 Notes 5.5 Inch Percussion Instrument with Drum...
298 Reviews
Steel Tongue Drum Steel Drums Flatsons C Key 8 Notes 5.5 Inch Percussion Instrument with Drum...
  • Standard C key and 8 tones, allows you to play some simple songs
  • No musical background is needed, just follow your heart to play the music

PROS:
  • Ethereal sounds
  • Small form factor
  • Great for small rooms and individual use
CONS:
  • Smaller and thinner sound

10. 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.

'OcarinaWind' 6 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum Black 8 Notes Drum with Couple of Mallets,...
282 Reviews
"OcarinaWind" 6 inches C Major Steel Tongue Drum Black 8 Notes Drum with Couple of Mallets,...
  • Beautifully finished: 6" 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 .

PROS:
  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • Very affordable
CONS:
  • Lower build quality

Metal Tongue Drum Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the right tongue drum can be quite challenging as they all look quite similar at first sight. Of course, colors and patterns don’t affect the sound. So what should you look for? Let’s figure it out.

How do I choose a steel tongue drum?

The first and the most important step is to pick up a drum model that has the right scale for your ears. It’s impossible to recommend any scale as all players have different tastes. The only true recommendation is not to buy a drum that doesn’t fully grab your attention and block it from other models in the store.

When you shop for a steel tongue drum online, like I usually do, you should do some research and find at least a couple of videos of people playing the same drum on the same scale. In most cases, the same scales by different manufacturers sound quite similar, but tonal differences can be critical too, so be attentive.

It is quite tricky to understand which scale is the best for you to start with. That’s why you should take the broadest selection possible and cross out those drums that don’t make you feel anything. One by one. You will understand which one is your when 2-3 items will remain from the initial bunch.

What does a steel tongue drum sound like?

Although steel tongue drums look a lot like hand pans, they are made of thicker steel. This leads to significantly longer sustain and smoother meditative sound. It’s comparable to a bell sound but without such a bright attack at the time you hit a tongue. Another good comparison is the sound of an empty propane tank. Actually, the original steel tongue drums were made only from these tanks, so it’s a natural similarity.

The sound of this instrument can also be described as magical, calming, ambient, and moderately loud. The thickness of metal lets you play a lot of melodies, but quick staccato tunes won’t sound as they should. Tongue drum music is always very smooth, letting you relax no matter what note sequences you play.

What is the best tongue drum?

I should mention that there’s no perfect choice that will match everyone’s taste. As for my favorite model, it’s Lomuty Steel Tongue Drum. The Lomuty is one of the most respected brands in the industry. Its masters handcraft each of their tank drums and apply the best metal cutting and polishing technologies.

I also like that its instruments are versatile and let you change tunings, depending on your mood. They can also be tuned to the 432Hz reference pitch to bring you a more transcendent musical experience. Finally, Lomuty’s steel tongue drums are beginner-friendly and have all the tongues numbered, which is very convenient for learning how to play. In addition, the item comes in a convenient soft case with a couple of high-quality rubber mallets. I can’t guarantee that it will sound the best for you, so take a look at my tongue drum reviews above.

FAQ

The tongue steel drum surprises people more than any other musical instrument. Many questions from my readers are due to its mystery as well! Here are the answers you need.

How much does a tongue drum cost?

If you search for a steel tongue drum on Amazon, Etsy, or any other popular online marketplace, you will see that the prices for the instrument vary from $30 to $250. The price largely depends on the size of the drum. For example, most 5 and 6-inch models cost from $30 to $60, depending on the tongue drum kit. Standard 12-14” models usually come for $110 – $250.

The price mostly depends on the production complexity of each drum. Some smaller drums can cost even more than that if they have complicated engravings or press on them. The price may also vary, depending on the kit of accessories. Items that come with tuning magnets, mallets, custom cases, printed tutorials, and other stuff will usually cost a bit higher. Beginner-level models can cost very low, even with all these things included, though.

What is the tongue drum used for?

A steel tongue drum is considered a percussion instrument from the idiophone family because it resonates without any additional resonators, strings, or anything else. Unlike classical drums, it’s much more suitable for solo performance. In most cases, people use these drums for relaxation on their own or in a circle with other players. Its sound is also suitable for meditations. You can concentrate on the object and play unhurried ambient sequences to reach the meditative state and unplug from the world.

These instruments are quite rarely seen in musical bands, but such application is possible. For example, Hang Massive has gained up to 50 million views on YouTube, playing their hang drum tunes along with electronic beats. I think that tongue drums can be successfully used in a similar way. Sometimes, I turn on some long meditation tracks on YouTube and improvise in the key. It’s very easy, so you should try it when you gain enough skill.

Where did the tongue drum originate?

The modern steel tongue drum is one of the newest musical instruments on Earth. Although it looks so mystical and alien, it was invented by Dennis Havlena in 2007. He took an average empty propane tank, an angle grinder, a welding machine, and a metal polishing nozzle to make it, and it turned out to be a huge success. Unlike its cumbersome predecessors (the 1990 Whale Drum and Tambiro), Havlena’s tank drum looked much more like a commercial product. Many brands have improved the original concept since then, which led to its enormous popularity worldwide.

The initial idea of the tongue drum throws us back to the Aztec civilization. Aztecs were the first who created log and tone drums with tongues. Later, similar slit drums were discovered in various parts of Africa, where tonal percussive instruments had always been a part of the culture and folk music.

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!

10 Comments
  1. Reply
    Brianne E Corbett 02.10.2020 at 21:53

    You left out the Kosmosky tank drums which are superior in every way… looks, manufacture, sound, playability. I have a 35 cm, 2 sided, Om in Sky Tricolor tank drum that excels in every significant category of comparison. You might check them out for your next review. And it took 3.5 days to go from Bryansk Russia to Buffalo NY. That is quite a good shipping performance.

    • To be honest, I have never played these drums before. After your reply, I started to dig deeper. The prices are quite high, especially considering that country of origin. I also checked their website and had to wait for a long time till I’ve seen all the drums they offer. Another suspicious thing is that I can’t find them on Amazon. I also have found lots of positive comments and reviews for these drums. They all come from Europe and some from States. Developer offers diameter in cm, not inches, and you may find it hard to decide which one you need the most. Nevertheless, I have not tried any of Kosmosky drums and can’t say for sure whether they are good or not. I hope you will find your ideal drum!

  2. Hi, I recently got scammed for a steel drum, I ordered what I thought would be a 15 inch steel tongue drum and I’ve got in the mail the tiniest 6 inches steel tongue drum. Each tongue has a different size and it came unmarked. I have musical scale stickers from 1 to 6 but I have 2 stickers 1, 2 stickers 5 and 2 stickers 6. I have absolutely no clue on which tongue to stick each of the stickers. The very small music book has very unclear pictures and the diagrams are very confusing. I was wondering whether you can help me. I keep looking online for the same king of drum but I haven’t found out the exact same design. Who knows in what kind of dodgy basment was manufactured.

    • Hi, there!
      Now, do you want to confess to me about something shameful? I can already say you have ordered this drum in some unreliable store somewhere abroad with no customer support service. Is it true? Do they sell everything besides steel tongue drums? Your luck, they have not sold you the drum made of papier-mache. Ok, I believe you’ve learned your lesson. Now, I can’t possibly guess which drum you’ve ordered.
      Do you have 6 notes on it in general? In this case, you have to check similar models and find where to place the notes. It probably means that you have only three notes range. Each of them is doubled with a slight difference in timbre. This is a common practice for tongue drums, don’t worry. Check all the tongues for their sound. Some notes may locate close to each other, others on the opposite sides. I also advise you to navigate the website you have made an order on and search for any reviews. I can recommend you to check the 6 inches drums from my reviews and try to find similarities among the stickers and notes for your own drum. If nothing works, just order the drum from a trusted developer via a trusted store.

  3. I just purchased the lomuty drum on lomuty.com and my PayPal receipt seems a little suspicious. Do you have any idea if this is a legit website? I bought it because of your product review.

    • Hey! My congratulations on your first Lomuty drum. Don’t worry, this is the legit website of Lomuty company. Yet, if you believe that your receipt is a little bit suspicious, I still recommend you to contact them. They have an email address, which is [email protected], and I recommend you to write them a letter, just in case. Perhaps, by the time you read my answer, the problem is gone.
      Anyway, they also have an active Instagram page which you may check and contact them directly through it. The last time I’ve contacted them through their account, they’ve answered me. Still, you are totally right about double-checking the information. In the era of online fraud, you can’t be too cautious. Let’s wait for an answer together. I hope that everything is alright right now!

  4. Do you have any experience with the Sonart 13 note tongue drum? Is it better than the Ramuki 13 note drum?
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi!
      Do you mean the Rakumi 13 note drum?
      I have played the Rakumi 13 note and described my experience in its review. I like the wide range of tones it provides while I am playing. Almost every note has double, which I believe is helpful for amateurs and professional drummers. I usually match these notes with each other for a unique sound and new timbre. I also enjoy the lotus-shaped design and the fact that it is 12 inches wide.
      As for Sonart, I have also played it but did not include it on my list here. They both have similar prices, and you can find both of them on Amazon. As Rakumi, this one is made of high-quality carbon steel. It can also be used for meditations. It provides 13 notes, and it weighs slightly less than Rakumi. The difference is in 1 pound, actually. Yet, in my personal opinion, Rakumi is the best. I’ve heard many complaints about wrong notes and bad sound. Still, my experience was not that awful. I have just missed the depth of the sound for this money. It is only my opinion, and you can do whatever you like. I only ask to consider all the features of both instruments.

  5. Hi, they’re good reviews that you give, and I’m wondering why you haven’t reviewed Guda drums. I’ve been looking into buying a tongue drum and had understood that Guda was a good quality drum.
    I’m a little confused.
    Kind Regards
    Jane

    • Hi, Jane!
      You are right, I did not include Guda drums on my list here. I totally agree with you about the quality of the drum. However, I tried to give you options that combine high quality with affordable prices. And Guda drums, let’s be honest, are quite pricey. Besides, you can’t find them as easy as those that I’ve mentioned. They are not available on Amazon, but you can visit their own store if you want.
      For those who do not know what Guda is, it is not a pure tongue drum. It is a hybrid, mix of tongue drum and handpan. It has the quality of both musical instruments. I think that the most similar product on my list is Ocarina Wind of 12 inches. I am not here to force you to pick those I recommend. I simply described my favorite options for an affordable price. I have tried these models myself. It is up to you which tongue drum you want to order. Just read the reviews and think about the pros and cons before you order anything.

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