Alex's Indian Bongos


Bongos are percussion (drum) instruments that were invented in Cuba. They were used in Latin-American dance parties. They were made in pairs and were made with heated animal hide that was tacked down to the tops. The bottoms of the bongos were left with nothing on them. Tapping your fingers on them made sound.

My instrument is called "Alex' Indian Bongos". The reason I call them "Indian Bongos" is that when I put the feathers on them; it made them look like an Indian drum. I made them using two different sizes of PVC pipe that my Mom got for me from a plumbing company. The first thing I did was to clean the pipe. After that, my Dad cut the pipe into two different lengths. Then, we connected them together by using a piece of wood and two bolts. After that, my Mom and I sanded them and spray painted them.

When the spray paint dried, I took some dark brown paint and brushed it on so it looked like wood. The next step was to cut plywood to go over the tops of the bongos. My Dad let me use the electric saw to cut it. Then, we used a power sander that my Mom got for Christmas, to make it smooth. Afterward, I glued fake animal hide to put on top. My Dad and I put grommets in the cloth. After the grommets got put in, we put some leather shoelaces under the bottoms of the bongos to attach the cloth to the bongos. We made some metal hooks to go under the bottoms of the bongos to hold the laces in place.

Then, we began decorating my bongos. First, my Mom and I put some beads on some string and tied them to the grommets. After that, we brought some feathers and I hot glued them to the bongos. My bongos took about four days to be completed.

When I tested the bongos, I figured out that the fingertips of my hand made a softer sound than when I used my whole hand. I also figured out that when I tapped the outer edge of the bongo, it made a lower pitch sound than when I did it on the inner part of the bongo. I also found out that when I played the bongos on the ground, the noise it made was a lower pitch and sounded more muffled than when it was played on my lap. I think that's because when the bongo was on my lap, air got under it and changed the tone.