Martillo Technique


The most important rhythm of the bongo is the "martillo" (hammer). It consists of eight distinct strokes and like the "tumbao" is a one-bar pattern which is repeated. The sound of "Martillo" could be phonetically interpreted as "dicky-docky-dicky-ducky".  The right hand accents the first and third beats with a sharp, muted sound played on the high bongo. The left fills in the rhythm by alternating between the thumb and fingers with a sideways rocking motion (manoteo - heel toe movement); the thumb muffles the right hand strokes. Open sounds are palyed on two and four on the high and low bongo respectively. The Martillo is effective for all rhythms from slow boleros to fast rumbas. Its function is like the ryde cymbal in jazz drumming or the tumbao of the congas. Martillo and Tumbao can be played togheter without disrupting the stability of the rhythm. 

Martillo pattern

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Martillo technique



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