My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

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My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby ABAKUA » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:26 am

So I just spent 6 months in Cuba, only just got back home.
I headed down to Atare district one hot sweaty afternoon, down Calle Monte, passed Cuatro Caminos, into Los Sitios in Havana Vieja and dropped in to see Joaquin who made me a Requinto last year and a Bata set for my bro.

We bounced ideas off each other and he ended up agreeing to make me a set based off my design. Wood of choice was finally decided by Joaquin who explained the best sound would be achieved by using Almendra (Walnut). Couldve been almost any choice of wood, most choices were available, from Cedro, to Caoba, etc

So the specs.. Solid one piece Almendra (walnut) Shells, 11.75" Macho (with Alma fitted), 13" Hembra. Barrigonas (wide belly), Stainless steel crowns with traditional hardware. 7 lugs per drum. Nice thick Cuban cowhide skins.
These babies are a "one off" design with no other like it in the world.
Adel Gonzalez saw the drums once completed and ordered a set of 5 off Joaquin, however they will be with the regular standard 6 lug design and not with the greater sized belly, how Joaquin normally makes them.

Beautiful sound, no overtones, no ringing, very warm tones, great projection, loud, slaps come out crazy, open slaps are out of this world, base tones, baqueteo etc come out loud n clear. Every tone played comes through beautifully.

The drums made their official debut with Adalberto Alvarez y Su Son, the conga player is a very close friend of mine. I played with them regularly during my stay. Adalberto commented how he loved their sound, so much better than the Lp Patatos used normally.
We jammed on after the gig with musicians from Los Van Van, and played rumba til close to 5am at this little sandwich bar, Yoelito (Van Van's new conguero) absolutely loved my drums.

Ive played LP drums for close to 20 yrs and have played almost every mass produced drum out there, and they hold nothing to these drums. I am extremely happy with these drums and when I return to Havana, I will be getting Joaquin to make me another 2. They are not a perfect finish pretty drum like you will find with most mass produced brands, these drums do have their visual aesthetic flaws, but they sound awesome, are handmade custom to my design, and are the real deal in terms of Cuban style drum.

Anyone travelling to Havana and looking to have drums made, Joaquin is the man, he makes bongo, bata and tumbadoras, from rough backstreet style rumbero drums, right through to professional level and finish style drums. His workshop is frequented by the best of the best from Havana and everyone praises Joaquins drums. He even has a photo with Giovanni Hidalgo on one of his many trips to Cuba, Gio loved Joaquins drums.

A friend of mine also travelled to Havana, he spent 3 months there and also had a set similar to mine made, he got them made with a centre band (decorative). I liked the look originally and also had mine made with the centre band. Later on I decided I no longer liked it and had them removed. Due to lack of resources in Havana, finish colour/stain is limited, I plan on refinishing them later on in a clearer stain to more appreciate the solid shell.

Enjoy!

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Joaquin jamming rumba with my bro Dominic
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby Omelenko1 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:55 am

Tremendisimas timbas acereko. From "Los Sitios" (barrio de rumberos), that's where Patato and Totico are from. So you spent 6 months in my country of birth, en la semilla de la rumba. Cuantas mulatas ricas te tirastes?

Abrazos,

Dario
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby ABAKUA » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:08 pm

Omelenko1 wrote:Tremendisimas timbas acereko. From "Los Sitios" (barrio de rumberos), that's where Patato and Totico are from. So you spent 6 months in my country of birth, en la semilla de la rumba. Cuantas mulatas ricas te tirastes?

Abrazos,

Dario


Que bola mi Kobio! Brother, thanks for the compliments, estos jicamos truly are awesome. I would often remember you during my travels and walks through Los Sitios, Jesus Maria & your barrio El Cerro. As for las Mulatas, brother far too many women for any man to handle! 8) :lol: :twisted:
Mongo's old house if just down the road from my Padrino's house in Gloria, Jesus Maria.
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby Congadelica » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:49 pm

Hey I missed you Abakua I was in Havana for three weeks end of November /December. did you go to Egrem to see Rumberos de Cuba I did some study with those guys and other. I dont frequent this forum much these days so sorry for not maybe hooking up. another time maybe, I will be returning it was a life changing time for me too bro. Those Drums look serious. nice we studied at bemcomos place near Cuatro Caminas another drum fixer builder and supplier of the best skins.

Ache

Marco
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby KING CONGA » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:18 pm

ABAKUA Welcome back. No doubt that you had "ANOTHER" unforgetable experience in Cuba :P .
Those Tumbadoras look nice. How long did it actually take to make them? What did they think of your RITMO drum?
Cheers.
K.C.
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby tigre77 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:56 pm

Abakua those congas have an Epic finish to them with a capital E, especially the teardrop black stained one. Tremendo viaje! Thanks for sharing the trip with us, that was really cool. What a way to start this twentieth day of April. :idea:

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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby pcastag » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 am

Nice! How much does it cost to bring those back to Oz?
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby ABAKUA » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:00 am

Congadelica wrote:Hey I missed you Abakua I was in Havana for three weeks end of November /December. did you go to Egrem to see Rumberos de Cuba I did some study with those guys and other. I dont frequent this forum much these days so sorry for not maybe hooking up. another time maybe, I will be returning it was a life changing time for me too bro. Those Drums look serious. nice we studied at bemcomos place near Cuatro Caminas another drum fixer builder and supplier of the best skins.

Ache

Marco


Hey Marco, what a shame brother, wouldve been good to meet up. Regards to Rumberos de Cuba, great rumba group. I dig their formula, its a good show aslo.

KING CONGA wrote:ABAKUA Welcome back. No doubt that you had "ANOTHER" unforgetable experience in Cuba :P .
Those Tumbadoras look nice. How long did it actually take to make them? What did they think of your RITMO drum?
Cheers.
K.C.


Sup King! Definately unforgettable and nothing short of mind blowing. Truly amazing experience.. Again!! hahaha.
Start to finish I got them in about 2 and a half weeks. There was a delay with getting his hands on some good stainless steel for the rims/crowns. The brother works fast!!! I decided not to take my Ritmo requinto as I planned to return with 2 congas from Cuba o my own set of Aña (Sacred Bata.)

pcastag wrote:Nice! How much does it cost to bring those back to Oz?
PC


Hey PC, didnt cost me anything to bring them back. I packed the Macho into my suitcase, and the Hembra went into an old LP military style bag which I hade traded my other suitcase for. So my 2 main luggage pieces were how I returned with the drums. With clothes n stuff I returned with, both pieces weighed in at 25kg each. Good thing I left alot of clothes and shoes behind to friends of mine in Havana.
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby Gallichio » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:07 am

Very Nice drums.
All the Best!
Mike Gallichio
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby pavloconga » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:35 am

Hey,
Amazing looking drums, I bet they sound awesome!
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby pcastag » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:16 pm

Yeah, just like in any country gotta watch for he scammers, remember the thing in Cuba is "inventos" and the ability to "Resolver", their sad economic condition, which is why many try to hustle, You're not gonna get robbed as a tourist, it's a really safe place, but man they will definitely try to hit you up for whatever! Always best to hang with good peeps.
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby Bongobilly » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:33 pm

Those are beautiful drum's ! May you enjoy! Theres nothing like a solid wood drum.
It's Mofongo Time!
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby Thebreeze » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:13 pm

For anyone interested....there is a beautiful three conga set of African Solid Shell Drums with "Stainless Steel" hardware being sold currently on Ebay and they are difinitely worth looking into for anyone thinking about solid shell drums. The Shells come from Africa, and the Stainless Hardware from "Drumskull" of the U.S.A. Here is the link to the ebay listing....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Conga-Congas-Ha ... 4d0088f15e
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby ABAKUA » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:10 pm

Since being back Id had a few bongo gigs round town, but finally last night I got to debut my new tumbas at this fill in gig with my old Salsa band, man, they came alive! Loving the sound, I got a few of my friends up to have a play in a few tracks, everyone is digging these drums. I'll try and post up a vid in the next few days, see if i can capture the sound ok...
Now if only I had 2 more.... :twisted: All the reason to hurry up and head back! :lol:
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Re: My new Cuban Congas - Solid shell, custom made.

Postby GuruPimpi » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:10 pm

Well done Abakua! Beautiful drums and very colourful experiences. You should start writing a book ;)
Take care and keep posting the pics and videos with those drums, i sure want to hear them sing!
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