LP Toys That Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
The title of this article might conjure up images of Gene Autry, little doggies getting along, or maybe even an imagination-filled adventure with a coveted Red Ryder BB Gun. But in this case, we’re talking the tambourine and its many variations. Maybe you’re thinking, “Hasn’t everything that can be done with jingles already been done?” Apparently not, as LP recently sent us six innovative jingle-themed instruments and accessories for both the drum set player and hand percussionist.
The Tradition Continues
First up are two new offerings that share a traditional tambourine design – the Professional Single Row and Professional Double Row models. While the names might seem self-explanatory, a few details are in order. Each tambourine is 10" in diameter, handmade from Asian Oak, and has nickel-silver alloy jingles. The Single Row has 8 pairs of jingles, and the Double Row has 16 (that’s 16 and 32 jingles total, respectively). In both cases LP set out to mimic the sound of popular tambourines from the ’60s and ’70s, so if you’re dying to unleash your inner Jack Ashford, one of these just might be for you.
While these instruments have proven popular with a number of pro percussionists, and the workmanship is undeniably high end, the retail prices might seem a little steep to casual players – the Single Row is listed at $119, and the Double Row is priced at $169. In addition, while the Single Row is a little thick, it is playable enough, but the Double Row seems a bit unwieldy, despite its included finger hole.
However, the sheer volume of these instruments enhances their playability. Both tambourines are loud, so you don’t have to work as hard to be heard over a band in acoustic situations. It would be a good idea for LP to add a tapered or form-fitted hand-grip area, as well as a foam or rubber grip. Any concessions these additions might make in tone would more than make up for improved performance and user comfort.
Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now
LP has applied the jingle concept to the feet in ways that might benefit drummers and percussionists alike. While there are a plethora of options out there for those interested in complicated and often expensive foot pedal systems or electronic stomp boxes that require amplification, the Foot Tambourine is a simple and easy solution.
It is a mini-crescent tambourine with two sets of jingles, an all plastic shell, and an elastic band. The elastic keeps the tambourine in place on either foot, even during pretty vigorous playing – it worked great while I played djembe. The Foot Tambourine can easily fit in a small accessory gig bag with some shakers and other items, but may even fit in the pocket of your djembe or cajon case, so it’s really a no-brainer to tote. With a suggested retail list price of $20 (and a street price closer to $12.99), you can’t go wrong.
LP has explored another idea with the concept of “feet beats,” creating two versions of what it calls the Jingle Kick. The Jingle Kick is a solid, high-impact ABS plastic pedal accessory that can be used as an alternative bass drum beater. It can also be mounted onto LP’s Fusheki bracket for a delicate tambourine sound without the thump of a bass drum. Each version has six sets of jingles – one with steel jingles ($25.99), the other with brass jingles ($29.99) for a lighter, more traditional tambourine sound.
While the Jingle Kick is a great idea, I did find that its shape and contact area made it difficult to perform anything fancier than basic quarter- and eighth-note patterns on the bass drum. Then again, do you really need tambourine on every bass drum beat of your band’s version of Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Birds of Fire?” Probably not, so these accessories are perfectly suited to the times when you need a little four-on-the-floor spice.
It would help if the Jingle Kick were shaped a little more like a bass drum beater to give it a feel closer to what drum set players are used to. At least then there’d be a greater chance of hearing it on the next Narada Michael Walden-inspired thirty-second-note bass drum explosion.
Click Hi-Hat Tamborine
Puttin’ On the Mitch
The “hi-hat tambourine” accessory is an idea that has stood the test of time. Many companies make a version of the miniature tambourine that can be clamped to a hi-hat stand’s pull-rod, giving each chick sound a bit of added emphasis. There are even several old photos of Mitch Mitchell using one with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and before that drummers often threw a full-sized headless tambourine right over the hats.
LP’s Click Hi-Hat Tambourine is an updated version with a neat little twist – it features a big button right in the middle of the Click that allows the player to have two different sounds: “on” and “off.” In the “on” position, the tambourine jingles ring normally with each chick, and even when the hats are played slightly “splashy” (half-open). In the “off” position, the jingles are clamped down and will not ring, although they will vibrate slightly when hit with a stick, giving the drummer yet another useful percussive effect in the form of a more dry, staccato metallic chink sound.
The Click is made from high-impact plastic and apparently can take quite a beating. It also performed flawlessly with all types of hi-hat foot patterns. It never slipped and added no discernible weight to the hi-hats, which is a really big plus in terms of not having to make any playing adjustments to use it effectively. The MSRP is about $60, but the street price is actually usually under $40, which is a great value for a well-made accessory of this type. A big thumbs-up for the LP Click Hi-Hat Tambourine!
While a few of the products in our roundup could use further development, there were quite a few winners, which is exactly what we’d expect from a company that has been at the forefront of percussion innovation for nearly half a century. If you’re looking for some new rhythmic accents with a jingly flavor, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these new instruments and accessories from LP.
Models & List Prices
Professional Single Row Tambourine $119
Professional Double Row Tambourine $169
Foot Tambourine $20
Jingle Kick Steel $25.99
Jingle Kick Brass $29.99
Click Hi-Hat Tambourine $59
Pro Tambourines: Asian Oak, Nickel/Silver Alloy Jingles
Foot Tambourine: Red ABS Plastic, Steel Jingles
Jingle Kicks: Black ABS Plastic, Steel, or Brass Jingles
Click Hi-Hat Tambourine: Red ABS Plastic, Dimpled Steel Jingles
Latin Percussion, 973-478-6903, lpmusic.com