To help you find the best wood blocks, we tested a number of products and narrowed them down to three of our personal picks based on build quality and sound clarity. After careful deliberation, we chose the Latin Percussion Jam Block as our top pick, thanks to its unique construction and excellent sound quality.
Read on to learn more about our top choice and our two other favorites, as well as a short guide with all of the things you’ll need to know about musical wood blocks!
Top 3 Best Wood Blocks
#1 Latin Percussion LP1207 Jam Block
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The LP1207 Jam Block by Latin Percussion is a modern take on a classic instrument. It is made of a patented, powerful plastic formula that allows the instrument to perfectly emulate the sound of traditional wood blocks while being impressively more durable than its wooden counterparts.
Instead of using ordinary plastic, the LP1207 Jam Block is made with Jenigor—a patented, special plastic formula designed by LP. This plastic is extremely tough, making the instrument nearly impervious to damage. Despite its plastic construction, this instrument is still capable of producing high-quality sounds with standard drumsticks, like its traditional wooden counterparts. This wood block comes with a mounting bracket and LP’s signature eye-bolt assembly for easy mounting.
The LP1207 can come in different colors, as well as high or medium pitched variants to suit your needs. Its plastic body saves you from having to worry about wood damage, although the material may irk picky musicians. The jam block is, however, quite sensitive to high heat. It’s best to use and store it at normal room temperatures. Overheating might cause the sound quality to deteriorate. You can use the best microphone for streaming to record your music.
#2 Tycoon Percussion TDB-L
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This percussion instrument is a classical wood block that’s made of water-resistant Siam wood, which greatly increases this wood block’s lifespan and survivability against minor accidents.It has a smooth and elegant finish and is perfect for those who prefer traditional wood blocks over modern ones.
Tycoon Percussion’s TDB-L is a large wood block that’s meant to complement any musical setup. It’s made of hardy Siam wood that makes a warmer and more natural sound per beat compared to the plastic Jam Block, and more experienced users will be able to create a wide range of sounds with this instrument.
The Siam wood used in this block is sturdy. However, it’s not indestructible, so you’ll need to take care of it properly if you want it to last. The built-in mount on the TDB-L is also a little difficult to use and may damage the wood if not handled with care. You can try using different mounting systems to make this wood block compatible with your drum set or with another similar setup. The best wireless microphone will help you capture the sound.
#3 Timber Drum Hardwood Wood Blocker
Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is a well-tuned wood block proudly made on American soil. It produces a loud and solid natural sound that plastic wood blocks won’t be able to compete with.
Built by skilled craftsmen at Nashville, Tennessee, Timber Drum’s T4-M wood block is made out of quality hardwood. It has a very solid, robust feel to it when held; its smooth surface is nice to the touch and its one-piece design makes it very sturdy. The sound this wood block makes is very clear and distinct. It can easily fill an entire gym with a rich and deep resonance. Users hit different parts of the block to produce a wider range of notes and pitches.
As with all wooden blocks, the T4-M can last for a very long time, as long as it’s properly taken care of. The sturdiness of this wood block will give you fewer things to worry about, but caution should still be practiced, especially if you plan on storing away this item for a long time. This wood block doesn’t come with its own mount, unlike the other items on our list, but you can easily get a separate mount if you need to integrate this into your setup. You might also like the best singing bowl set, or the best quintos.
How We Decided
The primary material used to make a wood block determines its durability and the quality of its sound. Because of this, our list of best wood blocks only includes products that are made with high-quality materials. We excluded the options made of wood types that aren’t suitable for musical instruments (such as oak), and we also left out plastic jam blocks made of generic plastics, such as ABS or PVC.
For beginners, wood is usually the best option, as it has the most natural sound. On the other hand, plastic jam blocks, although they produce a slightly different sound, offer more longevity.
High-quality materials and solid construction ensure that a wood or plastic jam block can create resonant sounds fit for novice and professional musicians alike.
Best Wood Blocks Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
You should first consider how loud you need the wood block to be. If you’re playing for a large audience, get a block that can fill wide, enclosed spaces (like gymnasiums) easily, or one that can work well with a microphone attachment. If you’re unsure about trusting your own ears in assessing a wood block’s potential volume, you may ask the store staff for advice or for a decibel reading of the instrument you want to purchase.
As mentioned, the wood block’s primary material can drastically affect its sound quality. Make sure to select products made of quality materials like hardwood, Siam wood, Cedar, Maple, and Mahogany, to name a few. Plastic jam blocks are usually made out of synthetic materials like PVC, ABS, bakelite, and more. However, there are first-rate plastic wood blocks that are made of proprietary plastic mixes. These can produce sounds that closely resemble those of wooden blocks.
- Sound Quality
The best wood blocks are able to create fuller and rounder sounds. Low-quality wood blocks produce flatter sounds and tend to be weaker in volume. You can easily differentiate a good wood block from a bad one just by listening to them.
Wood Block FAQs
What is a wood block?
A wood block is a handheld percussion instrument. It is a small wooden block with a lengthwise sit in the middle. It was originally a Chinese instrument called “ban” and was commonly used in ancient traditions. Jazz artists eventually came across it and used it to great effect. It’s now typically used by drummers and are attached to drum sets. Wood blocks are normally rectangular in shape, but there are some that are cylindrical, similar to how they were crafted in ancient times. Some wood blocks— “Jam Blocks”—are made of plastic instead of wood. They are sturdier than their wooden counterparts, but the sounds they produce are distinctly different in quality.
How do you play a wood block?
This percussive instrument produces sound when struck with a small mallet or a drumstick. Hitting different areas of a wood block creates various sounds with diverse pitches. Users can control where and how hard they hit a wood block to create specific sounds. Users can also use a set of wood blocks, each tuned to a different pitch, for a more complete range of sounds. Artists creatively use wood blocks to produce audibly pleasing music and impressive sound design and effects.
Can you make a percussion wood block at home?
Yes, you can make your own wood block. However, to build a high-quality block, you’ll need a decent amount of woodwork experience and access to the right materials.
What does a wood block sound like?
A wood block sounds like a hollow piece of wood being struck, similar to what knocking on a hollow door sounds like, except the sound is determined by how the block is built. This sound is resonant and penetrating. Depending on a wood block’s size and how it is tuned, it can have either a medium-ranged or a high-ranged pitch. Drummers can control how a wood block sounds by controlling where and how strong they hit it.
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