There are a lot of ways that WalkaBout players are performing their instruments, depending on their musical style and playing preferences. We find it exciting that you, the musicians, are the ones inventing the techniques and methods in which it is played. Here are a few.
1. Strap-Worn. The most obvious position is to wear the WalkaBout with a strap (included with the instrument). Position the WalkaBout body similar to an acoustic guitar, with the strap around your head and one shoulder. You can wear the body either facing to the left or the right (we find the people like to experiment with this). This allows you to stand, move, dance, or even sit. Here’s a video of Gil Pulpo Cervantes of DrumTalk TV performing with Kyutaro & Rikuo, demonstrating this position. They rock!
2. Strap-Worn Facing Upward. We’ve seen a few people do this as well, wearing the WalkaBout with the strap, but with the face of the body horizontal, i.e., hole facing up. This allows the player to stroke the playing surface downward with one’s hands, like a conga. Here’s an interesting side note: The first person to demonstrate this to us was none other than Richie Gajate Garcia (Phil Collins, Sting, Tito Puente, et al). Here’s an incredibly cool video of Richie playing with WalkaBout endorsing artist, Zoro.
3. On The Lap. Some players like the stability of sitting and laying the WalkaBout on their lap. In this case, the player will often sit on the strap or run the strap behind their back, so that it won’t slip off the lap. Similar to Position 2, you also have a downward stroke on the instrument. You can vary the amount of ring from the back of the body by moving your legs together or apart.
4. Mounted on a Stand. One of our endorsers, Grammy-winning artist Jorge Drexler, recently performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert and his percussionist, Borja Barruet, mounted his WalkaBout on a snare stand, allowing it to be the centerpiece of an extensive hand percussion station. We thought that was pretty cool and unique (see photo). Here’s a video of Jorge and Borja performing in that Tiny Desk Concert.
5. Between the Legs. I admit, I’ve only seen one percussionist do this, but it sounded pretty good. From a sitting position, place the WalkaBout body between the legs and set vertically with the upper bout to the top. You can then play the WalkaBout with essentially the same technique as a cajon (but with more sounds!).
Do you have a favorite playing position? Post a pic on our social media (@walkaboutdrum)!