different types of drums a guide

A Brief Guide Into The Different Types Of Drums

The drum family is made up of an assortment of elegant and distinct variants with different types, sizes, and even genres.

Depending on the occasion or event, there will be a specific drum set that’ll truly shine when the time is right!

Drums have come a long way, and some types are conventional and archaic. Today, there are modern drums for every kind of occasion out there.

As you are taking a drum lesson in Singapore, you need to know the different types of drums you will play. Even if you start with the standard type of drum set – being aware of the variety will help you explore various drumming styles you may want to take in the future.

Continue reading to learn some of the most popular types of drums!

Popular Types of Drums in the World

hand drum or handpan

Hand Drum

It is as it says – the hand drum also known as handpan doesn’t require the use of sticks, mallets, hammers, or any other type of beater. You only get to use your own bare hands to create music.

conga or tumbadora


The conga drum belongs to the percussion instruments category that also goes by the name, Tumbadora. It originated from Cuba and is a tall, narrow, and single-headed drum.

In the past, most people would only play a single conga – but now, it’s a lot more common to play two or three congas together.

It’s able to play all sorts of sounds from the open tone – a clear, resonant tone with a distinct pitch, the bass tone – producing a low muted sound, to the slap tone – a loud and distinct ‘popping’ sound.

bongo drums


Some drums come on their own but for the bongo, you’re going to have to work with a pair.

The bongos have Afro-Cuban originality and comprise different sizes of open-bottomed drums. In Spanish, the smaller bongo is known as the macho (male) while the bigger bongo is known as hembra (female).

Together, the duo produces high-pitched sounds as compared to conga drums. You may have seen Bongo in a band or during a concert or orchestra performance.

frame drums
Image By Ratomir Wilkowski, Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Frame Drum

A frame drum is described as a type of drum with a drumhead width larger than its depth. Typically the single drumhead comprises rawhide or man-made materials.

It’s known to be the first skin drum to have been created; earning its title of being one of the most ancient musical instruments around!

bodhran irish drum
Image By Hinnerk R, Hinnerk Ruemenapf, Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0


Known as the iconic Irish drum – this drum ranges from 25 to 65 cm in diameter. Meanwhile, its sides range from 9-20 cm deep, and also features a goatskin head.

A Bodhran is made from a round wooden frame, embellished with synthetic or animal skin stretched out across the top. There’s a special type of stick known as a ‘tipper’ that is able to rhythmically beat the skin.

It makes a ‘dull’ and ‘hollow’ sound and is mostly used in Irish music.

dayereh persian drum
Image by Bertramz, Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0


Take one look at Dayereh and you’ll think that it’s only cut out for classical music; however, that is not true at all! It’s also suitable for popular music as well.

It’s a type of medium-sized hand drum with jingles. It originates from Iran and is made by attaching a skin cover onto a wooden ring using cloth ties and glue.

Unlike a Bodhran, a Dayereh produces loud, rapid, and sharp sounds by striking the edges and hitting the center of the drum. Its sounds are phenomenal and it stands out as a solo instrument.

djembe african drum


If you’re interested in taking up African drumming, you must have heard of the Djembe at least once in your lifetime.

Djembe is one of the drums that originated from Africa with a skin-covered goblet that you play using a rope tune. For you to play this unique instrument – all you need are your bare hands.

These days, Western music has been making use of this instrument and is seen in many modern artists such as Paul Simon. Despite its size, it is versatile and can produce loud sounds – starting from low, medium to a high pitch by using three basic sounds – bass, tone, and slap, respectively.

ashiko african drum
Image by Freddythehat at English Wikipedia


Ashiko also belongs to the African drum family which takes the form of a tapered cylinder. It generally has a goatskin hide and is made of hardwood material.

It is also considered a ‘talking drum’ as its long ropes fixed on the head to the drum make it possible for the drummer to change the pitch of the drum by playing with the ropes.

The sounds produced by an Ashiko are similar to a Djembe but some percussionists have said that it has more ‘middle tones’ in comparison to the Djembe.

taiko japanese traditional drum
Image By Taiko-Kaiser-Drums, Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Taiko Drums

Taiko is the general definition of Japanese percussion instruments which consists of wadaiko and kumi-daiko.

The shape of the Taiko is similar to a barrel covered with animal skin on both ends and played by hitting a pair of mallets in a rhythmic pattern.

Taiko is often played in the Japanese ceremonial such as during harvest season.

a traditional acoustic drum set

Acoustic Drums

An acoustic drum is a collection of different drums put together to produce varied tunes. The acoustic drums have to be the most popular variant available today when it comes to drum lessons in Singapore.

As shocking as it sounds – the entire set of drums; consisting of the snare, bass drum, toms, floor, cymbals, and hi-hats; needs only one player to control. It may sound a tad tough, but once you’ve got a hold of it during your drum lessons – you’re going to rock the stage!

electronic drum kit

Electronic Drums

An electronic drum set is the modern version of the traditional acoustic drum which uses digital technology to produce and deliver the sounds.

An electronic drum set also consists of a snare, bass drum, toms, floor, cymbals, and hi-hats but in the shape of a cushion pad connected to a trigger function and delivers the signal to the sound engine to produce each drum sound.

The electronic drum kit has become more popular in Singapore nowadays, due to its portability, features, and affordable price range.


These are only a few out of the many drums out there! By now, we hope you have a better idea of the different drum family members.

Although learning with a drum set is what is commonly seen when attending drum lessons – we hope we’ve opened your eyes to the world of drums. There’s more than meets the eye and once you get the hang of a standard drum – you can take your drumming skills to greater heights by exploring other drumming styles.

Note: If you need advice on choosing your first Electronic Drum Kits, feel free to reach us by filling out the form below because our team has vast knowledge of this category.

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