World percussion isn't just for ethnic musical styles. Any drummer can add a unique element to his or her genre with drums like the timbales. Traditionally used in salsa music, these Cuban drums are reminiscent of tom-toms, but shallower, quite a bit higher-pitched and usually made with metal shells. Timbales are essential gear for a salsa drummer, and plenty of percussionists, including System of a Down's John Dolmayan, have brought them into other genres as well. The basic parts of a timbale setup are the drums themselves. There are quite a few different timbales here to choose from. Smaller instruments like the PDP Mini Timbale are perfect for adding to an existing drum set, compact enough to easily fit onto your rack for a little Latin spice.
If you want to blur the genre boundaries, check out the Meinl Artist Series Dave Mackintosh Attack Timbales, designed and built to the exacting specifications of the high-speed Dragonforce drummer. A lot of the timbales in this section are bundled as sets, with an included stand. These are great options if you're expanding a drum set or just starting out with timbales for the first time, since you won't have to shop around for a separate stand. Sets range from the beginner-friendly Schalloch Steel Timbales to the high-end Meinl Professional series, with options for every style and skill level. The natural partners of the timbale are cowbells and blocks. Some sets include them, such as the LP Aspire Timbale Set with a high-pitch jam block.
For those that don't, you can select your own from a range of options. Take the Gon Bops Pete Engelhart Timbale Bells for example. Made from hand-welded raw steel, these bells are built the traditional way to deliver truly authentic salsa sound. It doesn't matter if you're playing cultural Cuban music or revolutionizing your favorite other genre. As long as you have the motivation to take your percussion to amazing places, you can't go wrong with a great set of timbales. In the hands of a committed player, these drums can sound completely at home in virtually any song.