Looking for a good set of percussion Congas, it’s easy to run into this two well known models of drums: LP Classic Congas and Pearl Elite Congas.
They are both mass productions percussion congas targeted for professional use, made by great brands.
Beginner, intermediate and advanced congueros can find in them a great instrument!Note: this article is a revision of this great post found in the Pearl Drummer Forum.
Just continue reading!
Both are made in Thailand with local wood.
LP Classic is made of “Siam Oak”, while Pearl Elite is “Para Wood”… which are cool marketing terms to call the rubber wood.
It’s not oak and actually Siam is the former name of Thailand (until 1939).
Basically, even if they claim different names the material is the same and is a common good quality wood for mass produced congas.
Both 30 inches.
28 inches is the “Cuban standard.”, and no difference in sound is attributed to the height.
With stands, the height makes no difference since you could adjust your stand.
The quality is good for both congas.
However for the metals, LP is made of chrome and Pearls are made of polished steel.
The chrome, if not taken care properly could get rust easily or chip away.
The polished steel is an “elegant alternative” and rust is tougher to get, but the downside is that is a little bit heavier. (The hardware of Pearl is “sturdier”, as the chrome, even if of good quality, is more prone to bending or damage).
Also, notice the bottom of the LP is a cheap chrome metal that in my experience, if played seated, it gets torn. Pearl is rubber bottom that is much better.
FACTORY DRUM HEADS SKIN
LP is rawhide and Pearl‘s are buffalo.
Here is your preference in sound.
Personally, I like “thicker” heads, hence, for me buffalo are much better.
Thicker heads will give you a more bassy sound than thinner heads and require less break in.
LP factory heads tend to need a little break in. (That is when they start turning white although they come with the “white head” they are issuing lately that is not the best…it is like paper).
QUALITY OF CONGAS MATERIALS
Just about the same quality. The “finishes” inside the congas are good and appear they are well constructed.
Also, both have “handles” for carrying….that Pearls have an innovative kind different than LP and both come with the “adapters” to put the congas in “steady” stands.
In both cases, you have to install the “adapter” or ears that are used for stand…Of course, if you get the basket type stands…no need for adapters.
As a comment in design, LP has more of a “belly” design than Pearls but in sound they are comparable. (Have tried them both).
Comfort rims are great in both without any problems.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: PRICE
(Note: Prices updated at Nov 3rd, 2011)
11 3/4″ LP Classic Natural Wood Conga with Gold Hardware: 379.95$ (from http://www.steveweissmusic.com/category/congas)
Pearl Elite Wood Congas 11 3/4″ Oak Conga Natural: $539.40 (from http://www.massmusic.net)
My local shop have Pearl Elite congas, conga and tumba, for 650 euro and LP Classic, same set, for 750 euro.
The difference is not huge but still something to consider as quality is the same.
Please note that LP is marketing their LP brand products up and actually putting some more marketing into their Matador brand.
Matador is a good brand but the hardware and the quality is not comparable in regards to their congas and bongos with the LP brand and even Pearl‘s…
Please note Matador price is $708.00.
As a last comment, definitively LP is a great brand and like I have mentioned 40 years of been ahead, an alone practically, in a market gives you an edge in brand recognition.
However, there are great products out there with quality. Among them there is Pearl.
Furthermore, if you’re in doubt best thing I found is to find a local shop with both models and just tune them up and play on them a bit… at the end you have to choose your congas based on the sound and the feeling rather than the technical specifications!! 🙂
LP Classic website:
Pearl Elite website:
Adapted from the original post:
Does this article help you choosing your next conga set? Please do leave a comment!
Buy now online your LP Classic Conga or Pearl Congas: