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Choosing REMO Tubanos for Your Classroom
By Jennifer Winegarden
11/6/2012 9:27:00 AM

As the Hand Percussion Consultant for West Music, I frequently get calls from teachers inquiring about which kind of REMO Tubanos to buy for their classroom.  With a variety of options, and limited funding, choosing drums can be a daunting task! I’m hoping to help dispel some of the mystery behind choosing the right drum and to help you get the most bang for your buck!

Essentially, there are four options when choosing a Tubano: the 100 Series Key-Tuned, the 50 Series Pre-Tuned, the Festival, and the Not So Loud. As the Not So Loud Tubanos are in a new family of instruments with a distinctly different application, I will discuss them separately in a future post.

One fantastic thing about all REMO Tubanos is that the body of the drum is made with 99.9% recycled wood fiber.  This means that they are incredibly tolerant to climate changes, accidental spills, and the exuberant playing of your students!  For example, your drums will be unharmed staying in a un-air conditioned school during the summer.  Or, if the spirit so moves you, you can take the drums outside to jam without worrying about the body or the head of the drum getting dirty because you can wipe them off with a damp cloth!


Remo 100 Series Key-Tuned TubanoFirst, we have the REMO 100 Series Key-Tuned Tubanos.  These are the drums that comprise the popular World Music Drumming A, B, and C classroom kits, as well as our West Music RT-West classroom packages; they are a time tested best quality option!

The head of Key-Tuned Tubanos is REMO NuSkyn, and will provide the best sound quality of all the Tubano options.  They are tunable, which means that you can change the pitch, and can maintain a specific sound for the drum virtually forever.  As the drum is still a non-pitched instrument, it shouldn’t be tuned based on a specific tonality, but you will want all of your 10” drums to be at the same high pitch, your 12” drums to be the same mid-range pitch, and your 14” drums to be the same low pitch. 

Key-Tuned Tubanos have feet, so that they sit directly on the floor, no holding or stands are required! Each drum comes with a tuning key, and has a handle on the side for easy transportation. All Key-Tuned Tubanos are 27” tall and are available in a variety of finishes.


Remo 50 Series Pre-Tuned TubanoNext are the REMO 50 Series Pre-Tuned Tubanos.  They are very similar to the Key-Tuned version, but as the name suggests, they aren’t able to be tuned; this makes them more affordable in cost.

The head is REMO FiberSkyn, and can be replaced with another Pre-Tuned head (these drums cannot be converted to being key-tuned).  Like the 100 Series, they are available in 10”, 12”, and 14” sizes, giving you the opportunity to create the high, mid and low tones; each is 25” tall.  However, Pre-Tuned drums of the same size may not have the same pitch. Additionally, over time the pitch will change, and the head of the Pre-Tuned drum will not hold its quality of sound as long as the 100 Series drums.

Pre-Tuned Tubanos have a handle on the side for carrying, and are lighter weight than the 100 Series Tubanos, as they don’t have the tuning mechanisms. Again, there are feet on the bottom, so no holding or stands are necessary.  They come in Tropical Leaf finish.


Remo Festival TubanoFinally, we have the REMO Festival Tubanos.  These drums will be the least expensive Tubano option.  The advantage to them is that they are much smaller and lighter weight than our previous two options, and they nest inside of each other for easy and space saving storage!

The Festival drums have a Pre-Tuned head that is non-replaceable.  If something happens to the head and it is not playable, the drum will need to be replaced. They are available in small (15” x 6”), medium (17” x 8”) and large (18” x 10”) sizes. 

These drums come with a strap, as they do not have feet on them.  In order to get maximum sound from Festival Tubanos, they need to be held on the lap or with the strap on the shoulder to support them off of the ground. Festival Tubanos come in a variety of finishes.

To sum it all up, Key-Tuned Tubanos are your best bet for quality of sound, versatility of applications, and longevity of use. But don’t get overwhelmed!  Think long-term with your initial drum purchase; you don’t need to buy an entire drum ensemble at once.  When deciding which drums to buy first, with consideration to your budget, some good advice comes from Will Schmid (World Music Drumming) “...start building your drums with a plan that will produce a balanced ensemble later on.  Keep in mind that 12” Tubanos will be your most flexible drums…. [If possible] start by buying one 10”, one 12” and one 14”.”    

With all of this said, many teachers have such limited budgets that purchasing Key-Tuned Tubanos is just not possible.  All REMO Tubanos are quality instruments, and having Pre-Tuned or Festival Tubanos is far better than having no Tubanos at all!



I hope this information is helpful, but if you have further questions please feel free to contact me at 1-800-397-9378.  Happy Drumming!

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