- spent years finding the drum i love and yesterday my head split why i
was at work not even playing.i have alarge djembe and love it tigh
sounds like a snared kind of.and i need to rehead it fast festivals are
coming fast.i play lead drummer alot in the circles and am ooking for a
good head.ive heard mali heads are the best is there any real diffrence
or do i just need a thin head.ity is a ivory coast drum and i realy
like the high pitch stand out sound.any help appreciated. thanks
- This is a re-send of a message which after two days seems not to have gotten through (more recent messages appearing). Apologies for inconvenience. I have changed the subject line in case the message was getting spam-filtered.Cheers,DHi guys,after a period of inactivity I am getting back into djembe and have got to reskinning my best 3 djembes.Amongst the skins at my disposal is a specially thick goat skin (African, hair on, dark brown) which seems of good quality, fairly even thickness, etc. Possibly the thickest goat skin I've seen, setting aside very uneven skins with a great thick section on the upper spine, thin elsewhere.One of the drums I need to re-skin is a tall narrow hardwood djembe, unusually dense and heavy. It can give cracking slaps but does not do well with a thin skin, best results in past have been with medium thick goat skin. I've never tried a goat skin this thick on this or any djembe for that matter. I've often been tempted to put a really thick skin on this drum and crank it way, way up to see how it performs (I've got 36 top ring loops for about a 12 inch diameter head so can put lot of tension on it!).What I want to know is whether it is possible to get good loud cracking slaps at all with a really thick goat skin? If that can't happen I'll save the skin for another big-bowled djembe which usually works best as a bass djembe anyway. Don't want to waste my time trying for something that can't be done.I'm eager to hear advice from fellow djembe-l listers.best wishes and season's greetings from New Zealand,Denis
- Hi Shorty!
Thanks for your useful advice.
This particular drum is so solid I don't think it would warp. And it's quite circular. (The first djembe I ever got was oval but very good-sounding!)
However after looking at some more skins and making comparisons I've realized this particular skin is unusually stiff as well as unusually thick. So I'll save it for the bigger boomy drum which will probably suit it better, and my strong but slender beauty will get a medium-weight skin so she can sound to best advantage :) ... I'll conduct the super-thick skin very-very-very tight on small radius head experiment another time..,
Still interested to hear others' opinions/experience on this.
best to all.
On 10/01/2010, at 3:38 PM, shorty@... wrote:
> hi dennis and all
> i have found the thicker skins pulled really tight on a drum can warp the shell.they will sound good. all the drums that i have seen that were oval sounded great. i just think that a medium or lighter skin will get you some good slaps. probably wont last as long but will sound good more then likely will not warp the head. .
> happy drumming and new year to all
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- Hello Dennis,
> Amongst the skins at my disposal is a specially thick goat skincongrats!
> (African, hair on, dark brown) which seems of good quality, fairly
> even thickness, etc. Possibly the thickest goat skin I've seen,
> setting aside very uneven skins with a great thick section on the
> upper spine, thin elsewhere.
> One of the drums I need to re-skin is a tall narrow hardwoodImho its easier with thicker skins to achieve good sounds (especially
> djembe, unusually dense and heavy. It can give cracking slaps but
> does not do well with a thin skin, best results in past have been
> with medium thick goat skin. I've never tried a goat skin this
> thick on this or any djembe for that matter. I've often been
> tempted to put a really thick skin on this drum and crank it way,
> way up to see how it performs (I've got 36 top ring loops for about
> a 12 inch diameter head so can put lot of tension on it!).
open tones). But I heard folks play on cowskin djembes with fantastic
slaps! I rather look for thicker skins. I've been playin a cowskin
djembe for a while and I'm happy with it, though my slaps are not
fantastic, but thats a matter of technique.
Maybe one thing to keep in mind is that your hands get more
resistance on thicker skins ...
To answer your question: I would give it a try, it's worth trying!
- hey Kevin,
I know you didn't ask for all this but here goes...
A few things. In the old days, we would use antelope skins and they tend to be thicker. I use thick goat skins or medium thick for great sound and overall good use and wear. Some of the drumming greats use a calf skin on the djembe sometimes. It gives you a richer tone sound while retaining the high pitch of the slaps. Make sure your djembe can handle a thicker head as some wood is too thin to hold its round and can warp the bowl.
I agree with Beverly that great slaps come from relaxed technique and not cracking the drum with a heavy hand. When you are young, it is easy to fall into this style of playing but as you develop, you will find gravity and a relaxed attitude to your technique a good friend. You can play faster with the same volume as you stay relaxed. Your slaps will be brighter (higher pitched) and your feel will be better.
Yes, there is a time to play heavy when you need to. To produce a round tone that will cut through with volume but not so much with slaps. The more muscle the more sound is only sometimes true.
Best to you.
Alan (mod squad)
PS Remember Happy!
- Hi Beverley,
thanks for your reply
I didn't make my query very clear. I'm not a newbie and I don't have trouble playing slaps. I have several quite good djembes and have been playing for over a decade (since way back when I used to have debates with Lilian, remember?).
The djembe I was talking about, as I should have explained, is rather distinctive. I've had several good heads on it and it is usually easy to get good slaps from (tones can be more of a mission).
When you know this drum you can easily get slaps with – and here's the point – a rather distinctive sound quality. I don't know how to describe it but I used the word "cracking", which has failed to get the message across. All I can say is that there is a whip-crack quality to the sound of slaps on this drum which is rather distinctive and slightly different from most drums I've heard. It is an unusual djembe, very hard and dense, heavy, and rather narrow and elongated (and finely crafted). Beautiful, slender, quite sculptural, and very plain (no ornamentation).
So I guess on reflection, what I was really wondering about was whether using a very thick skin would affect the tonal quality or timbre of the slaps on this particular drum. Maybe that's a silly question (since you guys don't know the drum). Never mind, worth a try I guess.
Best wishes to all,
> I am not sure what you mean by "cracking" slaps. Good slaps come from good technique. It is possible to get very good slaps from a table top. However thinner skins do give a higher, thinner slap than do thicker ones. Thing conga. Although the technique is different for normal conga slaps, there is an open slap on those drums as well. I would not call it "cracking."
> Walk in beauty on your path.
- Hey Denis. I would say that the slaps would not be what you call cracking with a really thick skin. But the tones would be huge. I like thick. It is not as "cracking" as a medium skin but I like the sound better. The slaps will be dryer and short in response. If you are also asking "can you get it cranked up?", absolutely. I have a domestic cow skin on a mali djembe that is higher than the goat skin I play, which are cranked. But I do not like one over the other. It just different. In fact if I am in dance class I like to have both. Solo on one then totally change my sound and play the other. It is harder on the hands to play a super thick skin, particluarly cow, and does not have the same give but I like it. You can get thick skins really tight as long as they don't break. Just don't crank it all in one day. Let if get there over time. But as with any drum each has a voice and each sounds different with different skins. Sometimes shell sound is maximized by a certain skin. Sometimes you are just looking for a sound rather than what "maximizes" volume etc. In the end you just need to do the work even if it doesn't have the result if you want to see. On my own drums it is worth it to find out. If it doesn't work out that sucks. if it does, how can you measure a djembe that has the sound you are looking for? My 2 cents....
- ...rather narrow and elongated (and finely crafted). Beautiful, slender, quite sculptural, a slaps, there is an open slap on those drums as well. I would not call it "cracking."
> >Hi Denis
> > Beverly
IMO the clue to your "good slaps, not-so-great tones" is in your statement "it's (the drum is) rather narrow and elongated." Because the narrower a drum is, the more it will usually play like this...
For instance with Remo Djembes (and yes, I do play one occasionally), the wider the head the harder it is to get a good sound out of it! (IMO!)
I'm able to get fairly decent sounds out of my 12" Remo, but only by tightening it way, way up and then dampening it's ringing by using a small dab (or several dabs sometimes) of sticky window insulation foam under the head. But I've discovered that the 10" narrower Remos have IMO a much better sound (when tightened), so the stickies under the head are not even necessary!
I once played a friends much smaller and narrower 10" head Boogeraboo that she'd changed over from cow to goatskin and then tightened up. It didn't sound at all like my conga-sounding Boog with it's 12" cow skin hair head, and I was delighted to discover that I could make it sound like a quieter, but very good, djembe by just finger-playing it!