Jam Blocks (Types, Mounting Them, How to Play)

Jam Blocks are great percussion instruments that come in different pitches. They are made out of plastic, and produce a thick, full sound when hit.

In this article, we’re going to present to you different types of jam blocks, how to mount them and how to play them, as well as some of the best jam blocks that are out there on the market today.

Types of jam blocks

There are several different types of jam blocks you can find on the market. Latin Percussion manufactures a whole range of high-quality jam blocks that you can use whether you are an amateur or a professional looking to expand his percussion collection.

If you’re wondering how all of this compares, check out this video to listen to and see the whole demo for all jam block types we’ve covered.

1. Guiro Jam Block

The Guiro Jam Block is the largest option.

It’s quite big and as a result of that produces the lowest sounds. As with all of them, you can play it both on the ribbed upper lip or by simply hitting it straight ahead. It’s also made out of Jenigor, a patented plastic type from LP that was designed specifically for these instruments.

2. Jam Block, High

The High Jam Block is third out of four on the list from lowest to highest sounding block.

It’s quite small, so it won’t take much space on your drum or percussion kit. The sound is almost sounding like a deep rimshot, so you can easily incorporate it with your playing style and different music genres. All of the models are made to sound similar to the wooden blocks, which they are really great at.

3. Jam Block, Med

The Medium jam block is the standard jam block.

This LP model is very solid, as it’s cast from their Jenigor thick plastic.

With this item, you’ll get a full mounting bracket and LP Eye-Bolt Assembly kit included in the pack.

4. Piccolo Jam Block

The Piccolo Jam Block is the smallest of all the jam blocks on the market, as you could guess from its name. It produces the highest sound, that’s almost close to rimshots actually. Since it’s so small, you won’t have any trouble fitting it into your existing kit.

5. Jam Tamb

The Jam tamb is quite a cool version of jam block that’s mixed with a tambourine.

This allows it to differ from all the other jam blocks that produce standard hitting sounds, as it has small cymbals inside of it. When combined with other jam blocks it will sound similar to the tambourine played with the drums, giving you a whole new range in composing and playing.

How to Mount a Jam Block on your drum set

Latin Percussion LP372 LP Everything Rack

Jam blocks are usually used in a set, to get the most out of them and reach the fullest sound and diversity of sound as well. Even though jam blocks are quite small, you still need to fit them all and attach them to your drum kit. To do that, you would need a rack.

LP’s Everything Rack is a big rack on which you can fit up to 9 different blocks. It comes without a tripod, but you can attach it to any cymbal tripod whether you can attach it through its own clamp or by using any old cymbal add on the clamp.

Apart from this, you can use the Mini Everything Rack. This rack is made the same as the Everything rack but is 7” shorter. This is great for anyone looking to add fewer blocks or anyone that doesn’t have enough space in his kit to fit a full-size rack. The price for both of these items is great and for that amount of money, you won’t find any better rack wherever you look.

How to Play a Jam Block

Jam blocks came from wooden blocks. These instruments were made all over the world, as they essentially started as just pieces of wood people banged on to create sound. Today, jam blocks are made out of plastic to gain louder sound and more durability for less money. 

To play jam blocks you can use them in different situations. First of all, you can play them simply as a standalone act. Combining more different jam blocks can give you a fresh and different sound when playing. 

But, drummers usually use them together with their drum set. Combining and including different jam blocks together with the whole drum set really gives you different sounds to work with.

As for the playing styles, you can hit the jam block with your drum sticks, to gain sound. Also, people use upper ribbed parts of jam blocks to drag the stick over it and create that iconic Latin sound. 

To get the feel on what you can do with jam blocks together with your drum kit, check out this video with a drumming icon JD Blair

Where are Jam Blocks Used?

Jam blocks have been used in different types of music for many years. Most of the people connect their singular sound to Latin music, where they originated from. Even though it’s true that Latin music using this instrument a lot, they are also used in other types of music as an additional percussion. 

Jam blocks are also used a lot in rock music. This is because of its sharp, thick sound that can power through the noise that rock music bands make when playing, significantly adding to the standard sound of rock drums.

Summary

We hope that this article has helped you learn something new about jam blocks and find out everything you needed to know about the jam blocks that are available in the market today.

Featured Image by: Kamal Aboul-Hosn from New York, United States / CC BY

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