Manito Percussion Solid Shell Congas represent the union of artistry, technology and eco-friendly practices. Our congas are designed to produce maximum pure-tonal sustain with minimal overtone ring. Each drum is cut from a solid log and shaped into a conga shell according to the principles of harmonic ratios in order to produce the longest sustaining and clearest open tones, deepest bass, and crispest slaps possible.

Spalted Poplar with Malachite Stone Inlaid bands

Every measurement and shape is considered an important variable in the creation of a truly resonant drum. From the diameter of the playing surface to the thickness of the shell, every dimension is tailored to the individual drum's resonant range. In this way, each drum is tuned first to itself, and then to the other drums in the set to which it belongs. Sets of congas can be crafted from the same tree to ensure continuity in the density of the wood and resonant qualities of the drums.

The unique design of Manito Percussion Solid Shell Congas maximizes the resonance of the wood with the American Steer Skin heads, resulting in a rich, dynamic tone that is unsurpassed.

The shape and proportions of the solid hardwood shells are uniquely engineered to produce the clearest and most lustrous open tones, effortlessly crisp slaps, and soul-shaking bass.  Each roughed shell is kiln dried to below 8% moisture content before finish turning on the lathe.  They are then sealed using water based finishes that are classified as Ultra-Low VOC and Environmentally Friendly.


Maple Congas with bongosManito Percussion Solid Shell Congas are crafted using a sustainable process. Each drum is cut from logs cut by local tree services, which means that no trees are felled for the purpose of making drums. The logs would ordinarily be used for firewood or chipped up for mulch.

One of the most crucial parts of any drum is the bearing edge. The shape of the bearing edge acts in determining the amount of vibration which is transferred to the solid shell resonator. Our custom bearing edge design is engineered to provide the perfect amount of contact with the solid shell while providing an extremely comfortable playing surface.

Red Rainbow Poplar Conga

The standard wood choice for Manito Percussion Congas is Tulip Poplar, also known as Canoe Wood. This medium density tone wood resonates perfectly for congas and other drums. Its tone is clear and pure, with very little overtone ring. We like to refer to it as Rainbow Poplar because of the many colors and patterns that arise from mineral streaks in the wood.

Many other hardwood choices are also available, however, building drums with sustainably harvested wood means that all woods are not always available on demand. Manito has built drums from  Sycamore, Black Cherry, Black Walnut, Persimmon, Ash, Maple, Osage Orange, Box Elder, White Oak, Red Oak, and others...

Side Straps

Manito Percussion Congas are designed to last for many lifetimes.  All our hardware is custom crafted from high strength 304 stainless steel.  Even our lugs are made from stainless steel and feature rolled threads for smooth, easy tuning.  All of our lugs are then lubricated with specially designed oil formulated to stick to metal.  We offer congas with tuning hardware in two styles, full side straps and traditional side plates.

One big advantage of the full length side straps is that there are absolutely NO holes drilled in the shell. A hole in the shell is much like a concrete barrier in the ocean. When waves hit it, they are deflected or disrupted, causing minute anomalies in the wave pattern which can act to dissipate the wave (sound). Another advantage is that stainless steel straps compress the drum from top to bottom evenly. Side plates concentrate all of the immense stress on a relatively small section of the shell, so all the wood between the sideplates and the head is under great tension, and everything from the plates down is under no stress.

Black Walnut


Every effort has been made to ensure that the side straps are very user friendly. There is plenty of space for tuning without the risk of marring the wood behind the lugs. They are easy to tune using the supplied ratcheting wrench and mounting new skins is just as easy as for a drum with traditional sideplates.