Useful tips and information
Beaters - shopping guide
Which style do you play?
In order to find out, which mallets you need for your drum, take a quick look at a few details. On the one hand you most certainly want to get the best sound out of your drum, right? For that, you will need to know what style you play (Rio Samba, Samba Reggae or Bahia Styles, Maracatu, Forró etc.), which drum you play (surdo, zabumba, alfaia etc.), which voice if there is more than one (surdo 1,2,3 or 4) and on what kind of head you will be playing (nylon, supernylon, hide head, korino, inverted nappa). On the other hand, you will probably want to use authentic playing techniques and of course not break anything. We therefore recommend, that first you find out about the details above or ask your band leader. All our beaters and mallets also have a detailed description and are marked for which instrument and head they are suitable. If you are still unsure, ask us!
When playing Rio-style Samba, the surdo is attached to a shoulder strap with 1 hook and hangs in a slightly inclined playing position at the side of your body. This is why all 3 surdo voices are played with just 1 beater. For Rio style surdos, traditionally goat skin heads are being used, which is why fairly hard beaters with a comparatively short handle are the right choice for this style. For some years now, in Rio people have started using 2 beaters on the terceira. The playing position stays slightly inclined and lateral.
If you play Samba Reggae or some other Bahia style, your surdo will be hooked onto a a hip strap with 1 or 2 hooks. Like this, the surdo is played in a straight position in front of your body. The two bass surdos are usually just played with 1 beater each. The higher voices often play variations and therefore are usually played with 2 beaters each.
There is a completely different technique for playing Maracatu, which is why there´s special beaters for this style! The beaters are made of hardwood and are not at all padded, this is what creates the typical thunder sound on the alfaias with their goat skin heads. You can get either single beaters, but would usually play with an unequal pair - the thicker maçaneta and the thinner bacalhão. The shape is always kept quite simple, due to the playing technique, there aren´t really many criteria.
For playing the zabumba you need a padded beater and a whip. With the wip, which is made of wood or some kind of plastic, is the socalled bacalhão. You hit it from the bottom flat onto the down looking head. Like this, you produce sharp and high contra rhythms. With the padded beater, the typical soft patterns and variations on the upper head (often nappa) can be played.
What voice do you play?
Surdo 1+2 (surdo de primeira and surdo de segunda, the bass corners): The most common beaters for those voices are large hardwood beaters with almost no padding, so with a hard head. The bass of the goat skin heads develops beautifully with that kind of beater. However, they are not in any case adequate for nylon or korino heads!
Surdo 3 (terceira, the high in-between-voice): Here the most common beaters are short hardwood also with very little padding and hard heads, which comes in handy especially when you use the produced rebound for playing fast and clean. The hard head again is great on goat skin heads, but not adequate for nylon or korino heads.
Samba Reggae & Bahia Styles
Fundos 1+2 (the bass corners): Most common are wood or aluminium beaters with a long grip and plenty of padding. With that kind of beaters, the bass of synthetic and korino heads sounds particularly well!
Dobras (the higher 3rd and the high 4th Samba Reggae voice): typically you´d play the 3rd voice with two and the 4th voice with 1 wood or aluminium beater. Less padding comes in handy when you want to speed up or play tight breaks.
Talking generally, for the bass surdos you´d use larger beater heads, for the higher pitched surdos smaller ones. That produces a nicer sound but also has influence in the playing technique. Try to find the ideal balance for you between the beater head and the grip in proportion to the style and instrument you play.
For nappa / korino heads
Nappa or korino heads are multi-ply synthetic layers: Artificial leather is tightened over a second layer of synthetic material similar to a regular nylon head. This construction reacts extremely sensitive to beaters which don't have the required padding. A beater with a hard head would simply dent the upper layer. Once the contact between both layers is not even anymore, the head can no longer produce a tone. The head is then broken. This is why we recommend that you use only strongly padded or at least well-padded medium beaters (e.g. our FUNDO beaters with wood or aluminium handle). For inverted korino heads, these rules aren't as strict, as here, the nylon head is on top of the nappa. Still, with larger beaters and stronger padding, you will probably achieve a better bass and less overtones. If you prefer a stronger attack on your inverted korino head, go for a medium padded option like e.g. our wood or aluminium D20 series.
There are beaters made of differents kinds of wood or aluminium.
We use the classical hardwood types like hickory or ash because they are especially rustical and in most of the cases adequate for rimshots and other show elements. In return, they weigh a little more than the lighter Brazilian Marupá wood, which lies well and soft in the hand but is not as resistant as the hardwoods or aluminium. Aluminium beaters are very long-lasting and light-weighted. With their non-slip elastomer-coated handles they are extremely comfortable to hold and have a great balance for show tossing and other show elements. Of course, your personal preferences play an important role. Do you rather prefer wood in your hand or an elastomer grip?
Rimshots, stick on stick clicks and show elements
If you like doing rimshots and show elements, where you click the sticks against each other, our medium sized aluminium beater made of thicker material is just what you want! If you prefer the sound of wood-clicking, opt for the hardwood beaters. Wood only has a limited durability if you do a lot of rimshots as it will fracture. Still, if you play carefully, you´ll probably be fine with any kind of mallet, even for rimshots and clicking. If you play too hard with hardwood or aluminium, you might take a chance of actually breaking your surdo. For tossing elements, you absolutely need well-balanced beaters. If they are too long, too short or too light, it won´t work out.
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