Dr Dre is a hip-hop producer who frequently used some sort of spinning spoon instrument during the late 90's in some of his beats. Some examples of this spoon sound can be heard in the beginning of the following songs which he produced:

  • (throughout entire instrumental)
  • (in the intro)
  • (in the first 14 seconds only)

What instrument was this? Was it an acoustic instrument? If not, which synthesizer was used to make that sound?

Are there any other record producers that used this sound/instrument? please link them


The instrument is a Flexatone. It's a percussion instrument with two balls which strike a metal blade controlled by the thumb. Shaking it produces spooky glissando effects. Dr Dre probably uses a sample.

Most professional percussionists have one and the instrument has been used in all kinds of music.

The predominant use is as a sound effect, particularly in cartoons:

Use in pop are rarer, but here's one example in "Super Freak" by Rick James from 1981 (at 0:27):

  • by sample, do you mean he re-used an existing recording of a flexatone, even though each sound and melody of this instrument used in the beats above all seem to be unique and freestyled? Know of any other well-known pop artists that have used the flexatone similar to how he did?
    – user610620
    Mar 2 '21 at 22:53
  • 1
    Yes, a sample is a pre-recorded sound. There are probably all sorts of flexatone samples available, with different variations. I can't think of any specific examples of other people using one.
    – PiedPiper
    Mar 2 '21 at 23:07
  • I haven't heard the flexatone on a record since 2000, and a search for a library of flexatone sample variations turned up nothing.
    – user610620
    Mar 3 '21 at 0:49
  • @user610620, hi, I confirm PiedPiper's answer. It should be accepted.
    – Bebs
    Mar 5 '21 at 8:50
  • what effects does Dr Dre add to his flexatone? it sounds much less percussive, and more dreamy/reverbed
    – user610620
    Mar 5 '21 at 16:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.