How To Play Bongo Drums

If you’ve ever experienced a decent acoustic guitar player riffing around a late-night campfire, odds are you’ve wondered how to play bongo drums. There is nothing like adding some primal rhythmic beats while slapping some tightly-stretched animal skins firmly planted between your knee-caps. Knowing how to play the bongo drums can help you be a rock star at beach fires, Renaissance fairs, and mass-transit entrances no matter where you live.

To play bongo drums you will need:

  • Bongo Drums
  • At least some semblance of rhythm
  1. Start slow. Place the bongo drums between your knees and begin tapping. Start with mastering a simple pattern and vary the accents from there. Once the basic pattern is mastered, you can move on to the left-right-left-left, right-left-right-right alternating pattern. This basic rhythm will easily lend itself to any cover songs from Bob Marley to John Mayer.
  2. Once you have the basic pattern, experiment with accents. Play whatever the vibe calls for. Remember, the bongo drums are primarily an African tribal and white-hipster beatnik instrument, so play it accordingly.
  3. Learn to complement the main player. Once you’ve accomplished alternating solid rhythms between the different pitches of the bongos, you might be daring enough to go solo. Don’t! People like a drum solo from time to time, but smart money says you need to be an accompanist. More than likely, you’re just going to be a subliminal accent to the guitar. 
  4. Practice makes perfect. Take your bongo drums everywhere. If you cant, practice slapping anything in front of you to the music in your head, and soon you’ll transfer that over to playing the bongo drums. You may never become an expert, but you'll have a lot of fun playing!
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