What is the price of a steel tongue drum?
You want to buy a steel tongue drum but you are not sure how much you should spend on this intuitive percussion instrument. In this article we will take a closer look at the factors that influence the price of steel tongue drums and provide an estimate of the price ranges for each 'category'. Whether you are a professional, an amateur or a complete novice, this will give you a better understanding of the options available on the market and help you find the steel tongue drum that best suits your budget and needs.
The price of a steel tongue drum can vary depending on several factors
There are many criteria that can influence the price of a tongue drum. Let's take a look at the most important of these criteria, which will help you to better understand the price of this fascinating instrument.
The first factor is how the instrument is made
It is quite logical that tongue drums handmade by a French craftsman, for example, are more expensive than mass-produced models from Asia. The processes and materials used by a craftsman and those of a factory are quite different, as is the time required to produce each instrument. In terms of materials used, high quality steel tongue drums - such as the stainless steel Metal Sounds uses to make Zenko - are also more expensive than basic or reprocessed steel models.
The second element is the size and number of notes of the tongue drum
Large diameter tongue drums with a larger number of notes can cost more than smaller models with fewer notes. This is because larger and more complex models require more time and materials to make.
There are of course exceptions to these rules, as you can find small, high quality (sound quality, finish and material) drum tongues more expensive than large, low quality tongues on the internet and in shops.
The third criterion concerns the sound quality and the beauty of the range
Often tongue drums are found to be poorly tuned and/or have sound interferences that can cause problems. To get a perfectly tuned and interference-free instrument requires expertise and time. It therefore has a cost.
The beauty of the scales as well as their range can also have an impact on the price of the instrument. A common scale that can be found everywhere and offers few playing possibilities will be valued less than an original or chromatic scale for example (like the Zenko chromatic set) that allows playing in all modes.
The fourth factor is the brand and reputation of the manufacturer
Well-known brands are often more expensive than lesser-known brands, as they have a reputation to maintain and often offer longer warranties or quality after-sales service. However, it is possible that lesser known brands can offer quality tongue drums at more affordable prices than the more sought after brands.
Finally, the fifth criterion is the inclusion of additional accessories
Accessories such as carrying cases, stands, manuals or mallets can be included with the instrument. For the same quality, size and number of notes, models with these accessories may cost more than models without them.
Focus on the price ranges of steel tongue drums
The price ranges shown below are indicative and may vary depending on many factors such as the quality of the materials, the size of the instrument, the number of notes, or the type of finish. While these price ranges can be used as a reference point, it is important to note that there may be exceptions to each range. For example, large tongue drums with lots of notes can be found at a price of 250 Euros, which will be of poor quality despite their price tag - the fact that we explain that generally in this price range instruments are of good quality. It is therefore important to take into account the different criteria we have mentioned before buying a tongue drum and not to rely solely on the price to assess the quality of the instrument.
Tongue drums under €100
In this price range, you can expect tongue drums of lower quality and often smaller size. The materials used in the manufacturing process may be of lower quality and the finish may be less polished. Remember to check the diameter of the tongue drum before you buy, as some models are very small. It is difficult to play easily on an instrument measuring barely 15 cm in diameter, which is more of a toy than a musical instrument.
Tongue drum between €100 and €250
In this price range, you can expect better quality tongue drums, with a greater variety of sizes and notes. The materials used in the manufacture will generally be of a higher quality, which will result in a better sound and finish. You can also find models with additional accessories such as carrying cases or a pair of sticks.
Tongue drum between €200 and €500
Between €200 and €500 you will find well-made tongue drums, with a wide variety of sizes, notes and designs. The materials used in the manufacture will often be of high quality, such as high grade metal alloys. At these prices you start to get instruments that are handmade by craftsmen. You can also find models with additional quality accessories, such as strong, padded carrying cases or interesting drumsticks often designed to enhance the acoustics of the instrument.
In this category you will find for example the Zenko Element (diameter 22 cm with 8 notes) at 249 € and the Zenko (diameter 32 cm with 9 notes) at 425 €. Stainless steel tongue drums with a remarkable sound and finish for different applications.
Tongue drums over €500
In this price range you will find very high quality tongue drums, often handmade by skilled craftsmen. These models are usually no less than 30 cm in diameter. They are sometimes original, even unique and can be very decorative. They are sometimes used as works of art in addition to being musical instruments. These tongue drums are designed to offer a superior sound quality and are aimed at either professionals or people who want to practice on a real instrument with a perfect tuning level. To complement this, the accessories will be of the same high quality and sometimes even customised.
In the end, the amount you decide to invest will depend on the use you will make of your tongue drum, your aesthetic and musical tastes and of course your budget. But keep in mind that it is important to take into account the size of the instrument, the quality of the sound and the material, the number of notes, and the additional accessories when buying a tongue drum.
Overall, you should expect to pay between €200 and €800 for a good quality steel tongue, depending on the criteria mentioned and what you are looking for. In any case, make sure you know about the instrument you want to buy, as well as its manufacturer and the shop or website that sells it.
To go further and help you buy your next tongue drum, you can also check out our articles "How to choose a tongue drum" and "Where to buy a tongue drum".
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