There are 3 specific zones of the pandeiro that are important for you to be aware of when you’re first starting out playing the pandeiro. Spend a lot of time practicing various exercises in each zone to help you develop a consistent sound and dexterity in your hands.
Zone 1 is the outer rim of the drum. The sound that you should associate with Zone 1 are the platinelas (jingles). Your jingle sound should be even between your heel and toe part of your hand. I discuss this in the Pandeiro Lesson #1 blog post. I like to call Zone 1 my hi-hat sound.
Zone 2 is the area of the head between the outer rim and about 1″ in towards the center of the drum. This is the region of the drum where you will get your bass tones, either with your thumb, finger tips or both. Each drum has it’s own “sweet spot” but it will reside somewhere in this 1″ diameter region of the drum. I always imagine that this is my bass drum.
Zone 3 is the center of the drum and it’s where you will get your slap tones and muted bass tones with your thumb and finger tips. This is your snare drum. Now you have a full drumset to play and you can carry the entire thing in a small bag anywhere you go!
Here’s a simple diagram I put together to try and help. There will also be a pandeiro lesson on this site with demonstrations soon.