Which castanets are best?
The best castanets may vary from person to person, depending on each individual’s needs, but it’s not hard to miss a nice pair of castanets when you see them. While most castanets have a few things in common, including their small size, their general set of sounds and the fact that they’re used to clap together, other features like their material, specific size and overall feel can vary from model to model.
For an affordable, albeit high-quality, take on castanets, this LP Aspire Handheld Pair of Wooden Castanets is an excellent pick for beginners and experts alike, offering a bright wooden clack sound generated from nice hardwood.
What to know before you buy castanets
How you plan to use your castanets may have a big impact on which models you buy. Like the best cajons, the best castanets are simply those most suited for their musical needs. If you’re teaching a class, for example, you might benefit most from buying castanets in bulk. On the other hand, a performing musician may want high-quality castanets that best suit the genre and sound style.
While traditional castanets are typically made from various hardwoods, you can find castanets in several different materials today. Wood castanets are perhaps the most common, though you can also find them made from materials like ebony, fiberglass, plastic and more.
Male vs. female castanets
Castanets come in a pair, one of which is slightly smaller and higher-pitched, also known as the female castanet, and the other of which is a bit larger and lower-pitched, also known as the male castanet. Players use the two castanets together, with the dominant hand bearing the female while the other hand bears the male.
What to look for in quality castanets
The sound quality of a given pair of castanets will matter most to the seasoned percussionist, though it’s worth considering when looking at different castanet models. While the sound quality of castanets can vary based on various factors like their material, shape and size, it can be helpful to listen to videos of a given model to get a feel for their sound, if available.
Getting castanets in the proper size can make or break the playing experience since their size will affect how they fit into your hand and how you grip the instruments. In general, novice castanet players may want to consider starting with smaller castanets. In contrast, those with medium or large hands or those experienced at playing castanets may benefit from a full-sized pair.
While it may not matter for some, choosing a well-known percussion brand can help ensure you get a quality product. Sticking to name-brand percussion companies when buying your castanets is a great way to avoid knock-off items and other products that aren’t the highest quality.
How much you can expect to spend on castanets
Castanets can tend to range quite a bit in quality and price. In most cases, you can find a cheap pair of castanets for as low as $10. A pair of castanets with higher quality materials for use by amateur and professional flamenco percussion musicians may range from $20-$40.
How do you play castanets?
A. Castanets are played with one unit in either hand. The larger of the two, called the female castanet, is in the dominant hand and the smaller of the two, the male castanet, is in the opposite hand. The strings from your castanet should be wrapped around your fingers as you hold them to create five different primary sounds by clicking them together in different ways: “ta,” “rri,” “pi,” “chin” and “pan.”
Are castanets pitched percussion instruments?
A. Technically, castanets are pitched percussion instruments, with the male castanet generating a lower-pitched tone than the female castanet. Different castanets can also generate different pitches, depending on the material, size and how they’re played.
What are the best castanets to buy?
LP Aspire LPA131 Handheld Pair of Wooden Castanets
What you need to know: From the classic brand Latin Percussion, these wooden castanets are made from various hardwood types and come with a set of two per purchase.
What you’ll love: These wooden castanets are perfect for percussionists of any skill level, and they come with a convenient pouch for storing them when not in use. These castanet units measure about two inches across each clapper and they produce a nice, high-pitched clap.
What you should consider: Buyers may need to tie these castanets together with the string themselves upon retrieval.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top castanets for the money
Doxishruky Wooden Finger Animal Pattern Castanets
What you need to know: For those teaching classes of young students or with multiple people using the castanets at one time, this model comes with a pack of six castanets.
What you’ll love: Buyers love the price of this bulk pack of castanets, offering six kid-friendly castanet units that are great for kids above one year old. They also feature a simple green drawstring that keeps them together and a small enough surface for little hands.
What you should consider: The paint on these castanets obstructs the sound a little bit, so they’re best used for beginners.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Mid-East Dobani Pair of Ebony 2 and 5/8-Inch Castanets
What you need to know: Another excellent pair, these full-size castanets are made from authentic ebony and are the perfect pick for experienced percussion players performing flamenco and related musical styles.
What you’ll love: These castanets generate a bold, crisp clap sound due to their structure, making them great for experienced flamenco performers. They also come with a carrying pouch and corded strings attached to the castanets themselves.
What you should consider: A few buyers said these castanets were stiffer than they preferred.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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