Learn to Play the Tumbao on the Congas

Posted on almost 10 years ago

Hello Salsa friends! This is Dany Joshua from ScarletMambo.com. Anthony wrote an excellent post about playing the "son montuno" on the piano. The ability to hear (and play) the "son montuno" is helpful for hearing the 1st beat of the 8-beat Salsa measure, which many beginners find very difficult to hear or differentiate from the 5th beat.

Another useful skill is hearing and playing the "tumbao" on the congas, especially for On2 dancers. After you hear this rhythmic pattern, you will see why it is called the tumbao. Actually, it should be called the "tumtumbao".

Nate Torres, a young musician from Bronx, NY, filmed a 7-part series of instructional videos that teaches basic conga techniques. Notice his New York accent.

Video 4 explains how to play the basic tumbao rhythm.

If you have taken taking Eddie Torres' class, he sometimes quotes Tito Puente saying that the On2 Salsa step is very natural because it compliments the tumbao slap on the 2nd and 6th beats.

Videos 1-3 explain how to play basic sounds on the congas. Videos 5-7 explains more intricate percussion patterns.

What Do You Think?