Help with 3 congas

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Help with 3 congas

Postby estragon » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:35 pm

Hi everyone, a couple of questions on 3 drum settings - I'd really appreciate hearing your answers thanks! -

I'm a technically a RH player (although try to develop as much ambidexterity as possible and can play all of what I play both ways round). I like to play afrocuban, roots music and jazz.

My setting for 3 drums is:

Tight triangle formation, pointing at me - conga directly in front of me, quinto at 11 o'clock, tumba at 1 o'clock.

Question 1 - Does anyone else play like this?

I've not seen anyone do this (although there aren't many congueros where I live). Most seem to favour the quinto in the centre with conga left and tumba right. I can't see what the advantage is of doing that.

Question 2 - what is the advantages / disadvantages of quinto centre vs conga centre?

My reasoning for my way is:

- I like to play on the conga as my main drum.
- For tumbao this position makes it easier play on conga / tumba (rather than having to reach over the quinto to get to the conga and tumba, afterall a lot of time is spent playing tumbao / variations!).
- Having the quinto at 11 o'clock means it's easy to reach for ostinatos / bell patterns with either hand (obviously slightly easier for the left hand but it's close for both).
- Again, the quinto at 11 o'clock allows easy access for both hands for solos etc. My understanding is the quinto is a soloing intrument.

I'd be reassured to know I'm not the only player who plays this way!

Question 3 - are there any of you or any other pro players using the drums set the way I do?


Looking forward to hearing your comments!
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Re: Help with 3 congas

Postby Kaban » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:46 am

Great question!

I am interested as well to hear about this set-up.
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Re: Help with 3 congas

Postby burke » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:36 pm

Apologies if you already found this, but here is an old discussion of the topic that went on for many pages:
It seems there are a lot of quinto in the middle players ... but also a few [including one of the moderators who is a big time pro] who use your set up ... which to me actually seems extremely logical.

I experimented a bit with three but went back to two ... no judgement ... just didn't thrill me all that much using three.

"(although try to develop as much ambidexterity as possible and can play all of what I play both ways round)"

Absolutely agree with the importance of that! I don't do EVERY pattern both ways but I do practice marchas both ways and my [I am also right handed BTY] my right palm tip is just as good now as my left ... and also my left slap is just as good as my right. I often do adapt rhythms to substitute a left PT for a right when in makes more [in my opinion] ergonomic sense than a pattern written out with all the PT's in the left hand. Tomas Cruz actually gives an example of a marcha played that way in one of his books ... so if someone thinks its wrong ... go tell Tomas :)
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