Boo Bams

Boo Bams

(Boobams, Tuned Bongos)

Mfg. by Gon Bops

Small, tuned set of tubular drums. For Heliogabalus Imperator, El Cimarron, Katharina Blum Concert Suite for Small Orchestra, Notations and other pieces.

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When looking for new timbres, composers like the boobams' ability to play a melodic drum sound and being distinguishable from other standard percussion instruments. Often encouraged by Emil, composers paired the boobams with other instruments, such as bass marimba, to create new textures; according to Emil, composers Lalo Schifrin and Bill Conti were some of the most inventive when it came to “marrying” instruments together and using them as a backdrop in the music (as opposed to writing for boobams and other eclectic instruments of his “out front,” featured individually).

In recordings, Emil used soft mallets or cupped hands to play the boobams. The fact that they are open on the bottom makes boobams greatly resonant from underneath, and is the area quite favorable for microphone placement.

Emil bought his first set of boobams in the early 1960s from the drum shop Drum City; Remo Belli of the renowned Remo drumhead company was actually working there at the time. Emil purchased his second set of boobams from Professional Drum Shop in Hollywood in the 1960s, along with a number of other instruments, persuaded by the salespeople to do so in order to further legitimize his presence in the percussion rental business.


  • From Planet of the Apes (1968), composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Boobams are dispersed throughout this track.

  • Boobams play a short lick in the beginning of The Odd Couple TV theme.

  • A melodic and soloistic role is taken by the boobams in this track by Chet Baker, "A Night on Bop Mountain," from his album Young Chet.

  • Boobams act as a running lower rhythmic texture in The Pink Panther (1963) by Henry Mancini.

  • One of the themes from the Batman TV show of the 1960s, by composer Neal Hefti, includes boobams, playing a prominent, repeating melodic role, in addition to a bluesy solo.

  • Boobams (although possibly not this set) play an underlying role in this clip from Star Wars.

  • This cue from Hook (1991) by John Williams features a short boobam solo.

  • The subtle sound of boobams in these few lines from Hook (1991) by John Williams were likely created by playing with fingers.

  • Boobams play a couple of quick figures in this clip from Mary Poppins (1964) by Richard and Robert Sherman.

  • Boobams play a lower ostinato through this entire cue from Jurassic Park (1993) by John Williams.

Please note: these are just examples, as playing technique and mallet/stick choices often have a great effect on the timbre.

These sound excerpts, to the best of our knowledge (unless otherwise noted), include this actual instrument from our collection. To hear the instrument yourself, or to let us know of any errors, please contact us.