Timpani are percussion instruments common in concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, and select pop and rock ensembles. Though there are different types of timpano, the common type is the pedal timpano, which can be tuned to the appropriate note by way of a foot pedal.
Because timpanists generally play multiple timpano, the plural term “timpani” is typically used.
Since timpani are fairly common instruments, there are now a variety of timpani makers and brands to choose from. With such a wide variety of timpani on the market, knowing the top brands is useful.
Of course, the brand is far from the most important aspect of an instrument, though it's still worth considering for general knowledge and judgement. In this article, I'll share my take on the top timpani brands.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Performance of the timpani
- Longevity of the timpani
- Variety of timpani available
- Accessibility of the timpani (how easy they are to find/buy)
- The company must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let's list out the brands.
The top 11 best timpani brands are:
Let's get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best timpani brands. I'll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of notable timpani, and a link to their official website.
Anrdré gave his first steps in the world of musical instrument-making like many people do: as a hobby. Indeed, he's got an engineering degree, which was his passion until timpani came along. Moreover, he discovered the joy of working with brass and fixed instruments for fun.
As time went by and he got more involved with his hobby, he blended his engineering knowledge with his passion for brass and gave birth to one of the leading European companies in timpani. If you are after the quality only passion can give an instrument, try Adams timpani today.
Notable timpani: Adams Revolution Timpani (link to check the price at Music & Arts)
Adams came up with a motto for these timpani “the most innovative timpani ever,” which is not at all far from the truth. To begin with, the removable, folding base allows true portability. Also, the innovative, balanced action pedal system, wide-range hand tuner, and height adjustment system are 100% performance-oriented additions to the design.
Finally, you can achieve up to an octave with the range tuner in each drum, and, for the first time, calf heads can be used in a timpani pedal system. The name and motto of this instrument are 100% adequate; try one out and see it for yourself.
Official website: adams-music.com
Adams was founded by André Adams in 1970. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Ittervoort, Limburg, Netherlands.
Adams is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
To start talking about Ludwig is to talk about the most famous kick drum logo in the history of television: Ringo Starr's at the band's first appearance in the Ed Sullivan Show. Although the company had already been making history for half a century, that was the turning point; 73 million people saw the Ludwig logo.
But Ludwig was not just the “Beatles drummer brand”; it manufactured some of the best-sounding percussion instruments of its time. Ludwig is still synonymous with the highest standards in manufacture and sound today. If you think you are ready for the best, try Ludwig timpani today, it'll surprise you.
Ludwig's legacy is not only intact; it is also growing by the day.
Ludwig's uncanny commitment to excellence shines through every timpani leaving the factory. That being said, this model outperforms them all with carefully-curated innovations that turn it into one of the most modern timpani on the planet.
For example, the pedal features an exclusive base that allows 100% freedom of placement. Also, the placement of the tuning gauge allows German or American setup. Finally, the casters received an integral overhauling, and braking for steady placement is a breeze.
Official website: ludwig-drums.com
Ludwig was founded by Theobald and William Ludwig in 1909. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
Ludwig is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
The Van der Glas family's reputation for creating percussion instruments grew quickly across Europe. By the 1960s, Majestic Percussion gave its name to the increasing number of drum kits required for the rock n roll revolution.
After being purchased by KHS in 2003, Majestic Percussion remains one of the highest-regarded names in timpani production in the world. If you want to try what over a century of perfection does to a design, you have to try Majestic Percussion timpani today.
These lightweight timpani are ready to hit any stage in the hands of seasoned professionals, gigging pros, and aspiring musicians. Indeed, the weight and portability make them ideal for any stage, and the precision-hammered copper kettle offers a warm and dark timbre with superb sustain.
Also, the 1 1/4-octave fine-tuning range, as well as the cast aluminum suspension frame, makes it the perfect companion for players at all levels.
Official website: majestic-percussion.com
Majestic Percussion started as a family firm named Van der Glas B.V. founded by Willem Klazes van der Glas in 1921. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Heerenveen, The Netherlands.
Majestic is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Phil Collins (Genesis), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Keith Moon (The Who), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), and Phillip Selway (Radiohead) share more than the love for drums; they all play the same brand: Premier. Moreover, they are joined by a legion of loyal fans in over 120 countries making Premier one of the most famous percussion brands in the world.
That same commitment to excellence that paved the road to be on the biggest stages around the world is behind every timpani bearing the Premier name. If you want to move closer to the sound, playability, and craftsmanship you always dreamt of, try Premier Percussion timpani today.
Although the company also offers hammered and polished copper models, this model represents the next generation of timpani. It features a fibreglass parabolic bowl which is perfect for orchestral use since the dark tone with natural high overtones is exactly what you need to blend in with the other instruments.
Moreover, the engineering of the parabolic bowl is so perfect that thickness is maintained throughout the curve. Speaking of the curve, it is engineered so all soundwaves reflect to a single point, allowing the player a more even and musical sound.
Official website: premier-percussion.com
Premier Percussion was founded by Albert Della Porta and George Smith in 1922. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Kibworth, England, United Kingdom.
Premier Percussion is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Although most people associate Yamaha with high-performance motorbikes and noisy engines, it all started with pianos. Indeed, if you take a closer look at Yamaha's logo, you'll distinguish three intertwined tuning forks. This is because Yamaha makes musical instruments that go beyond the highest standards in the world sound-wise and break the mould in terms of innovation and features.
If you haven't witnessed the perfect blend of century-old tradition and cutting-edge technology Yamaha offers, it is high time you give it a try. If there's a Yamaha logo on it, you can only expect the best of the best.
Often when Yamaha names a product series “top-of-the-line,” it means the benchmark for the entire industry. This is not an exception to the rule since the natural harmonic overtones, revolutionary pedal balance spring system, and cambered bowls make this an instrument above the standard.
Moreover, the ample natural volume, long decay, and optimum resonance make it the perfect companion for any orchestra setting in the world. If you want the best, you have to try Yamaha.
Official website: yamaha.com
Yamaha was founded by Torakusu Yamaha in 1887. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Hamamatsu, Japan.
Yamaha is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
When Albert began his journey constructing musical instruments, he was the only xylophone maker in France. This is not just a detail but a fact that says a lot about the personality and legacy of the brand's creator. Moreover, he was a brilliant player recognized in every European country.
Bergerault's bold spirit, know-how, commitment to excellence, and relentless chase of the best have helped produce the best version of timpani yet. Nowadays, Bergerault is still a top-notch timpani brand in the world, ready to take the world like a storm.
No timpani list is complete without Bergerault.
This deep copper, hand-hammered, exclusive instrument represents the highest standards for the brand and, therefore, a benchmark in the industry.
To begin with, the fact that these instruments are finished by hand makes attention to detail sky-high. Furthermore, the manual fine-tuner is as smooth as it can possibly be. Also, the European-style pedal mechanism and one-piece powder-coated leg and base make it durable and reliable.
Finally, this model features the best heads in the market: Remo Renaissance.
Official website: bergerault.com
Bergerault was founded in 1932 by Albert Bergerault. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Ligueil, France.
Bergerault is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
During his time running the company, Karl Weimer innovated the quintessential drum designs to help drummers get new sounds and more comfort when playing. This idea of creating instruments that could benefit musicians more than any other in the market grew the company an uncanny reputation. It became the go-to option for those searching to break the mould.
Today, over half a century later, the Trixon timpani models are the summit of that journey. If you haven't already, try Trixon out today and let the legacy of Karl-Heinz Weimer make your sonic journey better.
Perhaps, the most important aspect of these timpani to highlight is that the parabolic bowl is made of one piece of copper. This enhances the resonance and musicality of the timpani because it creates an even vibration from top to bottom.
In the same vein, each timpani is hand hammered and individually frequency pitch-centred. As a result, the tone of these timpani can be described as thick, bold, and clear with long decay and musical sustain.
If your budget allows it, you have to try these timpani before buying.
Official website: trixondrumsusa.com
Trixon was founded by Karl-Heinz Weimer in 1947. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA.
Trixon is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Vancore's founders shared their work as world-class percussionists at the prestigious Royal Concert Gebouw Orchestra before even thinking of starting their own brand. Therefore, when they went into this new venture, they realized their long years of combined experience playing the instrument had given them the know-how, unlike their peers and competitors.
As a result, Vancore is a brand by musicians and for musicians that innovated on the instrument design from the player perspective. Thus, every Vancore timpani is, potentially, the most comfortable timpani you've ever played.
Give them a try if you haven't already; they might surprise you.
The birth of this timpani series is the gap that exists between a professional player's desires and what he or she can find in most instruments in the market. As you might imagine, a player-centric brand like Vancore went after world-class musicians' opinions and created the ultimate timpani for the professional timpanist.
Everything, from the groundbreaking suspension system to the fine-tuning system with tone indicator and the innovational SBP pedal, makes these the perfect timpani for any situation.
Official website: vancore.nl
Vancore was founded in 1985 by Jan Pustjens and Jan ter Heide. Currently, the company's headquarters are in ZP Joure, The Netherlands.
Vancore is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!
Lefima is the oldest company of its type in Germany. Ernst, a natural-born innovator, created a system for his drum factory to manufacture drum sets at lower costs and with high-quality standards. Soon after that, the word was out of this high-quality drum maker, and the Dresden army bought its marching instruments from Lefima.
That was the beginning of a long, legendary story that extended for over a century and a half. Although time went by, the company's reputation and attention to detail remained flawless and uncanny. If you want state-of-the-art timpani with a long legacy on every beat, you have to try Lefima.
Notable timpani: Lefima Aehnelt Timpani (link to check them out at Lefima)
These timpani by Lefima represent the perfect blend of innovation and tradition the brand oozes. The copper bowl is hand-hammered from the highest-quality materials. Also, the infinitely adjustable pedal allows infinite freedom for the player. In the same vein, the footrest is a welcome addition during long shows. Finally, the silent pistol grip for the fine tuner (with tone names) on the player side makes it the ideal companion for any show.
Official website: lefima.de
Lefima was founded in 1861 by Ernst Leberecht Fischer. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Cham, Bavaria, Germany.
Wolfgang Hardtke is a descendant of a family with a long history in timpani making. Moreover, he can proudly count the timpani revolution-maker, Herr Günther Ringer, as a distant relative. Günther Ringer's timpani are sought-after around the globe; it's close to the Stradivarius for the German timpani tradition.
Nowadays, honouring that rich heritage, Wolfgang and his team of notables create instruments with quality craftsmanship to suit world-class players growing Hardtke's reputation one happy player at a time.
Although the shape of the kettle is genuinely that of the quintessential Berlin timpani, the sound and the technology applied to the instrument are the results of decades of innovation.
The hand-hammered kettle requires over 30 thousand strokes to reach its final form. During this process, the timbre and strength of copper reach a new level. Speaking of timbre, the quintessential dark sound with articulated dynamics from the large, heavy kettle blends perfectly with modern overtones, long decay, and volume.
This timpani is the ultimate version of the Berlin standard.
Official website: hardtketimpani.com
Wolfgang Hardtke founded the company over 30 years ago. Currently, the headquarters are in Berlin, Germany.
Sonor is today one of the oldest percussion instrument brands in the world. It was one of the biggest influences on Ludwig, who copied some of its groundbreaking designs before migrating to Illinois to found his own company.
Sonor offers a few rotary and screw adjustment timpani. They're by no means the best in the world, but they're fantastic choices for the beginner/student/child market. That earns Sonor the eleventh and final spot on this list!
Although a timeless classic, Sonor is also a modern brand with state-of-the-art facilities selling some of the best percussive instruments to the world. Moreover, their innovation history includes achievements such as the first steel snare and many more.
If you are after timpani from a world-class manufacturer, trying Sonor is a must.
Notable timpani: Sonor V1554 (link to check it out at Sonor)
These timpani belong to the kid-oriented side of the company created in 1956 to act as a bridge between Sonor and the youngest aspiring musicians. That being said, this is not at all a toy but a very capable instrument that works wonders for those taking their first steps in this awesome musical world.
All drumheads are made of calfskin, and they can reach a tonal range of approximately 8 notes (from low C to high G) on a chromatic scale. Also, the three adjustable legs make it suitable for children and adults alike. Finally, at 46cm in diameter, it produces big enough tones to play with other instruments.
Sonor was founded by Johannes Link in 1875. Currently, the company's headquarters are in Bad Berleburg, Germany.
Official website: sonor.com
Sonor is featured in other top brand articles at My New Microphone. Check out these articles here!