Musical Instruments


About Cabasas

Not all instruments stand out equally in music. While instruments like guitars, violins and drums are really obvious, instruments like cabasas are more subtle and not obvious to ears unless you are really listening for them.

Percussion instruments are of great importance in the world of music. These are used in band presentations, and several other types of music. There are a great number of individuals who enjoy playing complex instruments. Similarly, there are also simpler ones that don’t require a lifetime of learning. One of these basic and handy ones is the Cabasa. This is a Latin instrument with African origins that belongs to the family of percussion instruments. Read this article to know more about them. This will help you make better decisions when you purchase.

A brief guide to buying cabasas

If you are interested in this easy to learn but incredibly interesting instrument and want to purchase one, you should know which one of them to buy. Just like any other instruments, there are various brands offering different Cabasas. But that is not the only difference. They differ in models and styles, as well. Furthermore, they come in various colours, sizes and price ranges that are different. Some of them offer superior built quality and can last for a really long time even if you play them every day. There are also cheaper ones with poor build quality that tend to wear off faster. This article will give you a basic idea about the history and working of the cabasas.

History of cabasas

Variations of the cabasas have been around in traditional African music for a really long time. Just like agbe and shekere in the African tradition, the cabasa is also a gourd drum. Because of this, some people think that cabasas also have their origin in the African tradition. But the most interesting part is how they came into the mainstream western music scene. The initial introduction of cabasas to the English-speaking world was through Latin jazz music a few centuries ago. However, modern cabasas are different from the earlier versions. The modern cabasas first came into being in 1960.

Modern cabasas

The modern version of the cabasas was designed by a Latin jazz musician by the name Martin Cohen. He is the pioneer when it comes to the Latin percussion instruments. He turned the traditional cabasas into a more durable instrument, adding metal parts. This addition also affected the tonal quality of the instrument. This is why modern cabasas are more metallic counting when you shake or twist them. Also, it is easier to use these as it produces sound without much effort. And obviously, the modern version is also louder.

Sound of cabasas

So how do cabasas sound? Well, cabasas contain both metallic and wooden elements. Being a percussion instrument, their sound is not the same as tambourines or the cymbals, but somewhere in the middle. As you can imagine, all the metal beads on this instrument produce a rattling sound. But it is not as bright as the cymbals are as bossy as tambourines. Even then, you can tune the instruments using wooden flanges. That way, you can make them sound mellower and reduce the rattle. On the other hand, if you want to make it sound sharp, there are models with stainless steel cylinders instead of the wooden ones.

Playing the cabasas

Unlike a lot of other instruments, playing a cabasas is simple and straightforward. You only have to hold it in your dominant hand and shake it in a rhythm. As cabasas are mostly played along with other instruments, this rhythm follows the beats of other instruments. That means it doesn’t take much learning before you can start playing them. However, it is possible to produce more complex timbres and rhythms by hovering the metal beads and tapping and releasing them from time to time. This will require some extensive practice and cannot be done by the beginners.

Tips on how to buy Cabasas Online

Finding the right type of cabasa instrument can be really hard. This is especially true if you are a beginner. However, the tonal characteristics and the sound quality of the instrument can vary quite a bit between models. Therefore, this can impact the overall experience. But it will get easier if you know what criteria to look for in Calabasas. So, here are a few things that you should keep in mind while shopping for them.

  • Weight – Consider the weight of the instrument as it can have a significant impact on the way you play it. If you come across similar instruments with the same sound quality and built quality, it is better to go for the lighter one. If you are playing the instrument for an extended period of time, a heavier one will be taxing on the hands.
  • Beads – The most important part of a cabasa is, of course the beads. Beads are what produces the rattling sound of the instruments. While most cabasas come with metal beads, there are models with wooden beads that produce a mellower tone. So, the nature of the sound that you get from the instrument depends on the type of the bead.
  • Cylinder – Similar to the beads, the cylindrical portion of the cabasa also comes in wood and steel. In some models, there will be equally spaced ridges on the cylinder. These ridges produce additional scraping noise as the bead hits against the cylinder. While wooden cylinders are suitable for softer tones, steel cylinders are good for sharper tones.
  • Quality – Both the beads and the cylinder of the cabasas are constantly hitting and rubbing against each other. So, if the built quality of the instrument is not durable enough, its tonal qualities change quite quickly as these elements wear out.

Besides cabasas you might also need other musical instrument and instrument accessories. These include things like guitars, pianos, violins, cellos, drums, instrument cases, cleaning kits, instrument stands, speakers, amplifiers, and preamps. You can find any of them easily using our shopping search engine . It will allow you to compare the prices and features of different products and pick the best one among them. So, don’t forget to check out other amazing products from the Musical Instruments category.

Question & Answer

Are there other instruments like the Cabasas?

While the Cabasa is unique in western music, instruments like that are not rare in other genres of music. Such simple instruments are common in African and Asian folk music. One instrument from the African tradition that is very similar to the Cabasa is Shekere. Similar to cabasas, shekere also has a round drumhead surrounded by a group of beads. But the core of Sheker is almost spherical in shape while the core of the Cabasas is cylindrical.

How are Maracas different from Cabasas?

Even though Maracas and Cabasas are both percussion instruments that produce somewhat similar sounds, there is some clear difference between the two. One major difference is that unlike cabasas, maracas come in pairs. So, you will require two of them to play. These are called rumba shakers, and each one of them has crushed beads or pebbles inside the head of each rumba shaker. Technically, maracas belong to a group of instruments that are collectively called the idiophone group. All instruments in this group produce sound by vibration.

Where to buy cabasas online in the UAE?

It is important to get the right type of instrument of the right built quality when it comes to cabasas, or any other musical instrument for that matter. Otherwise you will run the risk of ruining the experience or buying an instrument with a very short life. Luckily, you can find plenty of great cabasa models here on It is incredibly easy to find the right type of instruments using our product search engine. Moreover, on, you will get them for the best prices as well.

There are more than 500 shops and brands offering them here online on These shops offer products from popular brands like Meinl, Schlagwerk, Rhythm Tech, Pearl, Sonor, Latin Percussion, and Millenium.