Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun at the Drum Circle With the Latin Percussion Flex-A-Tone

Sometimes at the drum circle I need to take a break from the drumming, and the Flex-a-tone is a really fun and versatile percussion instrument to jam on. You can tap it along the sides with something metal, and get various different pitched sounds as you depress the metal tongue up and down and throw in a rattle or two by shaking it back and forth – it makes some amazing beautiful and even comical sounds. A really fun percussion item to get different sounds from. I use a triangle striker and sometimes a Phillips screwdriver to play it along the sides. Once you get proficient at it, you can go up and down the scale with it, and create all kinds of cool sounds.

It’s a bit more fun than a cowbell. It’s less loud, and more considerate to those sitting next to you. I keep one in my gig bag with other shakers and etc. Latin Percussion makes them. It was a little pricey but worth it. There are knock offs out there, but they don’t sound nearly as good. I use it a lot for band gigs as well.

LP stuff is expensive, I love the Giovanni congas and djembe. They are worth every penny. My flex-a-tone was about $40 back in the 80’s and it still has held up (except for the time I let an onlooker play it and they started bashing it against a tree.) One of the wooden balls went flying off, and I had to go try to find it. Much to my relief I did, and glued it back on. They make a few different sizes now. I prefer the mid-sized one.

The LP Vibra-tone is another fun instrument – a sort of round tuning fork with a thumb hole in it so you can vary the sound. Also a bit expensive, but a great sounding percussion goodie that everyone loves to play. I use both of these at drum circles I facilitate.

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