Maracas are one of the least complicated musical instruments that exist. They're affordable and easy to play, a great instrument to get everyone involved in the music. We have evaluated several different options and handpicked what we are certain to be the best maracas in 2021.
The maraca is in the percussion family of musical instruments. It's small compared to other instruments, but still mighty. No matter how many instruments you have in your orchestration, there should always be room for the maraca. Not only does it give out a loud, distinct sound that would give life to any live performance or recording, but it is great for rhythm maintenance too.
At American Songwriter, we are dedicated to helping you become a better musician by bringing the best deals on musical instruments to your table. In this article, we have attached reviews of our selected products, and also a buying guide filled with learning tips.
Maracas are one of the easiest instruments to play, which makes them perfect for use in both professional bands, or kids looking for a bit of fun. As a result of the several different products available in the market, selecting one that would not only offer you a quality musical tone but would also last for a long time might be much more tasking than you expected. Go through this guide to equip yourself with more knowledge of maracas.
Why Should You Use a Maraca?
A maraca is a special instrument. It has a crispy, unusual sound that not only makes your music dimensional but also helps to maintain and enrich your rhythmic structure.
Easy To Play
The maracas are very easy to play. You do not need to find someone with any special skills as anyone on stage could easily pick it up and play! However, you will need basic knowledge about music and certain neural pathways to understand the rhythmic structure of the song you're playing, especially if you're planning to move forward with it in a professional capacity.
A maraca can be used in any gathering, be it live performance, a studio recording, a church function, a ceremony, etc. This means that the money invested in it is never a waste, as you can employ it for use in any setting of your choice.
Generally, maracas always produce a lot of volumes that carry a long distance. You do not have to worry about their sounds getting overshadowed by other louder instruments.
What Factors Should You Consider When Shopping for a Maraca?
Because of the low prices and small sizes of maracas, purchasing them might seem to you like an easy and straightforward task. However, you should know that there are certain things to be considered before finally making a choice, to ensure that you get the most out of your new instrument. Here you go:
With maracas, the size usually determines the weight. If you are looking to use your maraca every day, you might want to consider getting a smaller one. However, if you have plans to play in large settings, you should get one that is big enough to be seen and heard. Also, the person who would be playing should be put into consideration. If you are getting a maraca for your kid, you should go for a small one that would be easy to play with.
Maracas are hand-held instruments that go through a whole lot of shaking, banging, and inevitable dropping throughout their lifetimes. They need to be built strongly enough to handle all of the strain. Bear in mind that if they crack open, their fillings, which are usually tiny seed-kike objects would scatter around and could be ingested by kids. Thus, it is important to ensure that the maracas you are getting are strong and durable.
It is important to look out for ergonomically enhanced products when searching for a maraca. They are hand-held instruments and might need to be wielded for long periods. It is only fair that the players feel comfortable as they play it.
The materials used in making a maraca play a great role in its sound production. Plastic shell cases produce a different sound from rawhide shell cases. The same way plastic fillings produce a different sound from steel fillings. You should put these into consideration to ensure that the maracas you purchase can be used in the exact setting that you want. Also, wooden handles are usually the best. The wood should be smooth, comfortable, and strong.
The material used in making the maracas works hand in hand with sound production, which is the next point.
Maracas should have a loud, crystal clear, and distinct sound. It is the only way that they would get to stand out and be heard above brass, woodwinds, and drums. As loud as we need the sound produced to be, it also needs to be subtle enough to blend in with the other instruments to prevent any irregularities.
Also, the musical setting you are hoping to use your maracas in counts a lot. If you have plans to use it in a studio recording, then you know you need to get one with a much lesser sound projection than one that was designed for outdoor use. That's just one way to differentiate multiple frequencies in your mix!
How to Use Maracas?
Maracas are easy to play. They have a round shape and are filled up with pebbles or seeds. This means that to get them to make sounds, all you have to do is shake them. However, is that all that there is to them? Do you only have to keep shaking them on as the music proceeds? It would interest you to know that there are certain techniques involving the way you position your hands on the handle and shake the maracas, that affect their sound production.
If you are looking to get a brighter, penetrating sound, you should hold the maraca upright, with its handle vertical. Then you move it in forward and backward strokes. To get a deeper sound, you shake upwards and downwards, and if you intend to use the maraca as a soft accompaniment, you could just hold it in your hands and hit your fingers against it.
How Much Do Maracas Usually Cost?
Unlike most musical instruments, maracas come at very affordable prices. While some pairs come very cheap, costing no more than $8-$20, others come at less affordable prices of $50 and $150 or more. Of course, the difference between both would be in the materials used in manufacturing, the quality of sound produced, and the comfort levels they offer. Another major difference would also be in the durability of the product.
Some maracas do not cost as little or as much as the price listed above; they are more in the average zone, where they offer quality for pretty affordable prices. Maracas in this middle category would generally cost about $20-$50. Whatever you do, ensure that you do not forfeit quality for affordability.
Best Maraca FAQ
Q: What is a Maraca?
A: A Maraca is a percussive instrument that is handheld and shaken to produce sound. It is an important part of certain musical bands and styles of music, as a result of its distinct sound and ability to maintain rhythm.
Q: What is a Maraca made of?
A: In the earlier days, Maracas were usually made of dried gourds that act as shells, and seeds or pebbles that act as fillings. In recent times, however, Maracas are now made from a variety of products such as wood, plastic, rawhide, steel balls, etc.
Q: How can I maintain my Maracas?
A: Maracas do not require a whole lot of maintenance. However, be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and humid temperatures as this could damage the materials. Also, to maintain its shine, you should occasionally clean it with a damp cloth.
Derek is a professional musician who specializes in percussion and works with the independent WGI group Cap City Percussion. With a Bachelors of Music from Capital University, specializing in Music Industry studies, he consistently finds himself playing and teaching percussion to anyone who has the will to learn. Derek is also a former member of DCI groups Legends (2014-15) and Colts (2016-18); he is also the percussion technician and instructor of the drum line at Olentangy High School. You may find him playing a gig throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio area.