Whether you’re looking for a great tambourine to use with your hands, feet, or mounted to your drum set, the market is filled with good choices. Tambourines come in lots of different shapes and designs, and their quality is certainly not always equal, which is why you need some research beforehand.
My top recommended tambourine is the Meinl Percussion TMT1M-WH. This is a very versatile tambourine with brass and nickel jingles.
My second recommended tambourine is the Remo TA-5210-70. This is an affordable tambourine with a Fiberskyn drumhead.
The 6 Best Tambourines (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Meinl Percussion TMT1M-WH
The Meinl Percussion TMT1M-WH is a great, versatile hand tambourine made for professional use by experienced musicians (and everybody else who feels like it).
This tambourine is crescent-shaped and is 10” long and 5” wide, with a light synthetic frame. This allows for easier playing of the tambourine, without the hand cramping and straining.
This feature is elevated by the fact that this tambourine also has foam padding (1/8” thick) around the handle, making it more comfortable to hold. It also helps the tambourine not to slip off your hand when it is sweaty.
As for the jingles, they are doubled, with two different sets of jingles. The top row is made out of brass, for warmer sounds, while the bottom row is made out of nickel, giving you a full, rich sound that any good tambourine should have.
2. Remo TA-5210-70
If you’re looking for a drumhead-type tambourine, then the Remo TA-5210-70 Fiberskyn tambourine is a great option from one of the best drumhead manufacturers in the world.
The Remo TA-5210-70 is a 10” tambourine, with 8 rows of double jingles. The head is made out of their Fibreskyn 3 drum head. This tambourine has a jingle just like a standard one, but it also features a skin wrapped around one side of the frame.
The sound that it makes is softer and more traditional and it is widely used by musicians and percussionists all over the world. If you’re looking for a budget option that still has quality, this is your pick.
3. Black Swamp Sound Art tambourine
The Black Swamp Sound Art tambourine is a professional, high-end choice due to its hefty price tag and material. It’s made out of clear calf skin and has beryllium copper jingles for an exceptional lower-end and dry sound.
There are many different models to choose from including the material type. You can also choose between the jingle material that comes in copper, bronze, and silver. Naturally, the different materials and jingle types result in a different sound register.
Overall, this is a pro pick for professional musicians in need of a good-sounding and quality tambourine. If you have the budget, this double-row tambourine will certainly not disappoint.
4. Rhythm Tech Nickel Tambourine
If you’re looking for a professional, quality-made tambourine that will last you for years and provide you with quality sounds each time you use it, this Rhythm Tech Nickel Tambourine should be a strong contender for your pick.
This double-rowed tambourine has two sets of 8 doubled jingles, which are all made of nickel. This gives a somewhat crisper and stronger sound compared to the brass jingles, which makes it easier for the tambourine sound to cut through the noise on the stage.
This tambourine is perfect for band performances or any group performance, as it will catch the ear of the audience more easily.
5. Meinl FJS2S Foot Tambourine
Foot tambourines are not the most common of instruments out there, but they are still very practical things to have.
Whether you’re a guitarist playing solo, or a percussionist whose hands are busy doing other things, a foot tambourine can help you get that jingle, crisp sound to your playing by tapping your foot.
The Meinl FJS2S Foot Tambourine is a compact, quality-made foot tambourine. It holds onto your foot by a rubber band, which is strong and can fit different-sized feet.
6. Meinl Percussion TAH2M-SNT Traditional
Lastly, another Meinl Percussion tambourine but this time a more well-rounded and higher-quality choice – the Meinl Percussion TAH2M-SNT Traditional. This is a double-row, dual-alloy jingles tambourine with a wooden frame that comes in both headed and non-headed options.
Apart from the head type, you can also get a single row for a more mellow and natural-sounding jingle tone. The wooden frame provides clear sounds with good resonance while the steel solid brass jingles allow for a rich sound.
The Meinl Percussion TAH2M-SNT Traditional is a high-quality tambourine despite the affordable price tag. It’s a safe choice if you’re after something reliable with a good sound.
What are the different types of Tambourines?
As you can expect for an instrument that is as old as the tambourine is, you can find a lot of different variations to the original instrument. There are straight-on tambourines, which many people think of when they hear a tambourine. These don’t have any drumheads on them and they just have several jingles attached to the frame.
Covered tambourines have an added drumhead on one side of the instrument. This allows for additional sound to be played but makes the sound a bit softer and rounder.
Foot tambourines are simply tambourines that are attached to the foot. They are usually smaller, as to fit the foot and produce higher-pitched sounds because of their size.
Some tambourines also allow for attachments to hi-hats or mounts, which is very useful if you use a drum kit or percussion set.
Tambourines with or without a head?
A tambourine with a head provides you with more options when playing, as you get a sort of hand drum attached to the tambourine.
On the other hand, it’s much softer in sound, because of the drumhead, so the jingles don’t sound as loud or sharp as they would on a non-head tambourine. It all depends on the type of sound you want to achieve.
Which Brazilian instrument is most like a tambourine?
Pandeiro is a Brazilian national instrument and a far relative of the original tambourine.
It looks pretty similar to the original but has several major differences. It always features a drumhead, making it also a frame drum in the player’s hand.
The main difference is that the head is tunable and the jingles are cupped, meaning they give out a much crispier sound than that of the original tambourine.
I hope that this article has helped you figure out what’s the best tambourine for you. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you can always make use of a quality tambourine to spice up your music!
My top pick is the Meinl Percussion TMT1M-WH, a very versatile tambourine with brass and nickel jingles.
My budget pick is the Remo TA-5210-70, an affordable tambourine with a Fiberskyn drumhead.