Rainsticks are percussion instruments called such because they ‘imitate’ the sound of rainfall. They are made up of hollow tubes with beans, beads, or other small items that fall along helically arranged pins on the inner walls. Rainsticks may be played by tilting or upending the stick, allowing the beads to fall noisily to the bottom, or tapped lightly to produce rhythmic sounds.
Types of Rainsticks
Kinds of Rainsticks include the following:
These rainsticks are made from dried cactus stems, turned inside out so that the spines face inward. They are filled with gravel or pebbles that fall against the spines to produce sound. Some varieties use metal nails instead of spines, although natural spines generally sound better.
These rainsticks are made from hollowed-out bamboo stems. They are often covered in fabric or decorated with paint or carvings. Small stones are commonly used for the fill to produce a softer sound.
Synthetic rainsticks have plastic or metal tubes. They are usually bulk-produced to make them more affordable than traditional rainsticks. They usually play louder sounds and can be amplified electronically.
Choosing Rainsticks (Buying tips)
Length: Choose a long rainstick for a richer and longer-lasting sound. Ideal lengths for playing deep, prolonged sounds are 100 to 120 centimeters. Children’s rainsticks should be about 46 to 60 centimeters.
Stone size: Choose a rainstick with smaller stones for a soft, gentle sound. Larger pebbles produce louder, deeper sounds and may be more ideal for rhythm and accompaniment.