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Choosing a pandeiro

Finding a good instrument can be a challenging process ... even in you live in Brasil! Factory made pandeiros just don't offer the quality, light weight and sound personality that a quality handmade instrument offers. Factory made pandeiros with nylon/plastic head pandeiros tend to be satisfactory for certain things, but when it comes to a skin head pandeiro you won't find one serious or professional player in Brasil using anything but a handmade instrument.

There are very few individuals making pandeiros in Brasil. I know of about 5 or 6. Many of these guys are hard to get in touch with and I'm pretty sure that none of them speak any language other than português. So, I've decided to act as sort of an international distributor, helping them to get their instruments sold outside of Brasil.



Things to consider

The two primary things to think about when choosing a pandeiro are weight/feel and sound quality. Of course it's nice when a pandeiro is "pretty", but I've seen some very pretty pandeiros that sounded terrible. On the flip side, I've seen some ugly ones that sounded great!

In general, you'll find two different styles of skin head pandeiros being made today. One is a more traditional instrument, typically played in samba and choro situations. These pandeiros are almost always made with a thin, flat rim and a thin to medium thick skin. The other style tends to be modeled after the type of pandeiro that Marcos Suzano has popularized. These pandeiros feature a rounded rim and usually a very thick skin. The latter produces a much heavier bass sound, and is usually somewhat heavier in weight (Although I know of one maker totally dedicated to acheiving that "low sound" with a light weight pandeiro ... let's see if he gets it!). The wood that is used for the frame/body is also something that varies from maker to maker.

So, you're going to need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • How much of a factor is weight?
  • Hand size - what height is going to feel comfortable?
  • Will I be playing for long periods of time?
  • What type of music will I be playing (traditional, other ...)?

Once you've made up your mind as to the style of pandeiro you're intested in you can place your order or if you're still in doubt feel free to ask any questions you might have. There's also a FAQ page where you might be able to find answers to some of your questions.

 

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