Wooden musical spoons are a traditional instrument and have been used for centuries in many cultures across the world.
Recently, it’s been making a comeback, in special thanks to Heritage Wooden Spoons.
They handmake wooden musical spoons in Canada and they’re a ton of fun.
If you’ve seen their advertisements, it’s hard not to buy them immediately.
If you’re into these, you might also be into our wooden guitar straps.
How to Choose the Right Size Musical Wood Spoon
There are currently 3 simple sizes for spoons: Small, Medium, and Large. And they come in 7 colors!
I’m using Heritage’s sizing below:
- Small wood spoons: 8 1/4″ long and 2.0 oz
- Medium wood spoons: 9″ long and 2.8 oz
- Large wood spoons: 10.5″ long and 4.2 oz
The spoons will all play in a similar manner, it will be the tone that differs from spoon to spoon.
Children: If you’re buying for a child from 3 to 6, it is recommended to get the small spoon as it will be easier for them to handle.
Adults: I personally like the sound the large spoon makes best. In my opinion, it’s the most “full” sounding out of the bunch and it seems to fit just right.
The large size also has a FLAT hole vs a ROUNDED hole as in the medium and small. Think of it being like a “5 gallon bucket” vs a “mixing bowl.” This allows for more tones.
In addition, the large spoon allows you to play faster because you don’t have to move your wrist as much to make contact with your leg or hand (#physics).
It should also be noted, most wood musical spoons on Amazon are in the “small” category so keep that in mind if you’re doing any comparisons, especially on price and quality.
The Best Wood Musical Spoon: Heritage vs Competition
The best wood musical spoon is a Heritage Wooden Musical Spoon.
To be honest, there aren’t many companies in the space that I would consider high-quality.
Simply, there is Heritage Musical Spoons… and then there is everyone else.
Heritage Musical Spoons: Why are they the Best?
Heritage uses a solid piece of wood to make their spoons.
Their competitors on Amazon use cheaper wood and have a seam where the two sides are connected. This makes it likely to fail at that seam. And even if they don’t fail at the seam, they won’t sound as good as a spoon handcrafted from hardwood maple.
You will find some cheaper ones on Amazon for $15 to $30, but most aren’t made out of real hardwoods and won’t last as long. In addition, why not pay the same price or just a little extra and support a small, family business that is known for making the best in the world?
About Heritage Spoons
Heritage Musical Spoons make their spoons out of Canadian Maple. Maple wood is hard and great for percussion instruments.
Richard Cyr has been making these beautiful percussive spoons since 1997 in Quebec City.
How to Play Wooden Musical Spoons
First, you need to learn how to grip them. Then learn a few basic techniques. And then, you’re off to the races to make your own rhythms and beats.
Heritage Wooden Spoons are made from one solid piece of wood, making them super beginner friendly and easy to hold.
How to Hold a Wooden Musical Spoon
Most will find it easiest to hold the wooden spoon with their dominant hand.
Then you put your index finger between the spoons, like a trigger finger.
To finish your grip, put your thumb along the top piece of wood (this is shown in the video about basic technique).
The basic technique is to go back and forth hitting the top of your thigh and the bottom of your hand.
In general, your hand should be between 4 and 6 inches above your leg. You’ll learn to adjust that while you play, but that’s a good starting point.
It’s good to go back and forth, leg to hand, and learn to keep the beat and to learn how the sound varies depending on where you hit your leg and hand.
At this time, you can also start testing how it sounds when you use more or less force.
Lastly, you can experiment with various patterns such as leg, leg, hand, leg leg, hand, etc.
The Finger Glide
The finger glide is a technique that uses your non-holding hand to create a unique sound by dragging the spoon across your open fingers.
Basically, you open your free hand with outstretched AND firm fingers. It’s important that you have enough tension in your fingers so that they are stiff enough to not move much while you drag the spoon across.
Your open hand should be at about a 45 degree angle and then you can simply glide the spoons across your fingers for a nice sound.
Metal vs Wood Musical Spoons: Which Is Better
Wood musical spoons are easier to play and have a more fulfilling sound to some.
Ease of Use
While it’s true, you can start playing with metal spoons found in your kitchen, the learning curve will be steeper. You’ll have to learn how to grip both spoons together or connect them in some way to make your play more consistent.
Heritage Wooden Spoons are made out of one solid piece of wood connected at one end. This makes them easier to hold and easier to play as a result.
I much prefer the sound of wood spoons over metal spoons, but each is capable of making beautiful sounds.
Maple helps produce a more full tone and less of a “clink” that you get with metal spoons.
Musical Spoons Make a Great Gift
Wooden musical spoons make a great gift. For under $50.00, it takes no set-up time and no additional gear or costs!
It’s a great gift for children to start or continue their journey in musical expression.
Lastly, they are just great to have around. Leave them out and every guest of yours will pick them up and mess around with them!
Overall, playing wooden musical spoons is a fun and rewarding experience that connects you to a rich musical tradition. With practice and patience, you can learn to produce a variety of sounds and rhythms that will delight and entertain yourself and others.