If it's the folkloric sound you're after, our South American steer hides are a great choice for vintage congas. They are a little softer on the hands than our Horse hide, but very similar, especially when compared with the Water Buffalo that have become the contemporary sound of many of the top brands (LP, Meinl, Toca, Pearl, and Gon Bops) coming from Thailand. They are more opaque than horse, very smooth to the touch, and brighter sounding than our Bleached Steer skins. If you currently play LP or other brands, consider switching out the heads for a more melodic sound. You can soak the old skin in water to be able to recycle the skin ring, and then mount a new steer skin to give yourself that great vintage sound!
We buy these skins as whole hides, and hand select and cut the rounds ourselves. We cut our 21" rounds for congas, generally reserving the thinner cuts for Quinto, the medium for Congas (tres dos, tres golpes, segundo), and the thickest for your Tumbadora. If you're looking for balanced sound where melody is equally as important as hand-technique, our South American steer is the finest available. As with any of our skins, if you have thickness preferences please leave a note in the comments section at checkout.