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Catalog > Percussion > Other Drums updated November 21, 2012
Leaf study tongue drum Tongue Drum

The tongue drum is of Aztec origin. Also called log drum or tone drum. The slit drum is a similar log drum of African origin. Traditionally made from a hollowed log -- the modern version is a wooden box with tongues cut into the top, played with mallets.

Hardwood Music Tongue Drums

Hardwood Music Tongue Drums are handcrafted in Arizona by the father and son team of Michael and Joah Thiele. They use beautiful hand-selected domestic and exotic hardwoods, and tune each model precisely to a specific scale. These drums are used extensively throughout the recording industry by major performing artists. They are widely recognized as the "Strad" of tongue drums. Anything less is just a box!

Please note, while we stock an extensive selection of Hardwood Music drums, we may not have every model or every tuning listed below currently available. We may also have additional models in stock that are not listed here. Contact us for our most current selection. Also, since each drum is individually handcrafted, wood selection may differ. "Red Elm" models come standard with Red Elm tops and spruce sides. They offer great sound at an affordable price. "Choice Standard" models may be made of woods such as canarywood, shedua, mahogany, lyptus, padauk, chocolate cedar, or purpleheart. Choice Standard drums may be customized with specific woods depending on availability. If you have a specific request, let us know.

Each drum is signed by Michael or Joah Thiele, and the woods used are also listed on the bottom of the drum. Two rubber mallets are included with drum purchase. Additional pairs of mallets can be purchased for $7.00.

Hardwood Music blends the highest level of visual and acoustic excellence to create a drum of exceptional melodic quality and visual appeal. The open harmonic tunings allow the novice, as well as the veteran musician, to create new and exciting music. Their careful selection of woods and years of research have enabled them to enrich the simple wood tongue drum with a bright resonance of unmatched quality. Each drum is designed and crafted to guarantee the best possible instrument within the limits of size and pitch selection. To hear some of the tunings on these drums, visit Hardwood's website at www.hardwoodmusic.net

Here's a demo video:

A note from David Eisner, HMT owner, on Hardwood Music drums:
"There are suppliers, and then there are suppliers of instruments in Michael Thiele's elite category. Working side by side with his son, this two-man shop produces (to our knowledge) the only TUNED hardwood tongue or slit drums. Michael is careful not to use endangered hardwoods, and hand-selects each piece of wood individually. Michael has had a long time friendship with the musician Ben Harper, going back to the days when Ben was a young teenager. If you view the video "Ben Harper Live at the Hollywood Bowl," you'll see one of Michael's drums made especially for Ben being used as the encore selection. Michael and I have had our differences over the years, but they are ones that never concern his fine instruments. He is a Dodgers fan and I am a Yankees fan!"


All tongue drums come with one pair of mallets
Extra pair of tongue drum mallets -- $8.00
Red Elm Drums -- Red Elm tops and spruce sides

Snail Drum (4 notes) 11 inches in length -- $105.00

Piccolo (4 notes) 13 inches in length -- $119.00
Smallest of the melodic standards so named for its bright, crisp tone. High, bright and very musical. Four notes in the key of G.

Latin 6-Note (6 notes) 16 inches in length photo -- $205.00

D7 Bass (4 notes) 18 inches in length -- $190.00


Choice Standard Drums

To hear some of the tunings on these drums, visit Hardwood's website at www.hardwoodmusic.net/drums2.htm

Fancy Piccolo (4 notes) 13 inches in length -- $175.00
High, bright sound in fancy woods.

Ivy (4 notes) 13 inches in length -- $185.00
Beautiful undulating face design.

"Quackies" (4 notes) 13 inches in length photo -- $195.00
Keys look like baby duck heads!

Whale (6 notes) 13 inches in length photo -- $325.00
Haunting, minor tuning with an artistic design. 6 keys (2 tunings)

Leaf (6 notes) 13 inches in length photo -- $325.00
Warm mids and lows, this drum features a standard Blues progression. (2 tunings)

Pentatonic 6-Note Duet (6 notes) 16 inches in length -- $325.00
Features a bright middle-upper voice range tuned in a beautiful pentatonic scale progression present in many simple folk tunes. Tongues stem from both ends of the face.

Geo Bones (9 notes) 16 inches in length photo -- $425.00
A highly melodic midrange 9-note drum so named for the angular design of the tongues. Features one of several interesting model tunings such as G harmonic minor. (4 tunings)

10-Key (10 notes) 18 inches in length photo -- $525.00
One of Hardwood's finest drums. 10 pitches span a 1.5 octave range that welcomes playable creativity. (6 tunings)

12-Key (12 notes) 18 inches in length photo -- $650.00
An expanded 12-note scale range offers even greater variety of tunings and virtually infinite improvisational possibilities.

Baby Ben Chorded 12-key (12 notes) 18 inches in length photo -- $695.00
This drum has a slightly wider sound chamber and is tuned in a "chorded progression" in the key of C. Especially fun to play with the hands as well as mallets. The "Drumming In Memphis" tuning is especially popular on this model. See video below!


Other tongue or slit drums, both untuned and tuned, rustic and finished, are available from time to time. Please contact us.