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Re: [Djembe-L] Cow Skin (Calf Skin) for solo Djembe

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  • Kestrel
    I have a lengue (lenke) 13 djembe with calfskin I have had for about 10 years now; I am not a lead player, as I prefer to be the rhythm setter, and everyone
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2011
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      I have a lengue (lenke) 13" djembe with calfskin I have had for about 10 years now; I am not a "lead" player, as I prefer to be the rhythm setter, and everyone I have ever played with loves the bottom beat it provides.

      Djembe Doc Percussion
      Colorado Springs, CO

      --- On Mon, 8/1/11, Dylan Kosma <badenya22@...> wrote:

      From: Dylan Kosma <badenya22@...>
      Subject: [Djembe-L] Cow Skin (Calf Skin) for solo Djembe
      To: djembe-l@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, August 1, 2011, 12:01 AM

    • Rachel Nguyen
      Hi Dylan, My teacher, Sidy Maiga, uses cow skin on his djembes and it seems like for him, it is less about the skin s thickness and more about the pull
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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        Hi Dylan,

        My teacher, Sidy Maiga, uses cow skin on his djembes and it seems like for him, it is less about the skin's thickness and more about the pull tension.  He cranks it WAY up for his solo djembes.  I think that if cranked high enough, even a thicker skin can be a solo djembe. They come out sounding spectacular.  Very precise.  

        I have used very thin cowskin on one of my djembes and did not care for the results.  It was too ringy and sharp.  Next time I am going for a thicker one.

        One Love, all Love,

        Rachel

        On Aug 1, 2011, at 12:01 AM, Dylan Kosma <badenya22@...> wrote:

      • Rachel Nguyen
        One other thing. When you are switching to cowskin, you may have to have bigger rings made, especially if you nice tight rings to start with. The difference
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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          One other thing.  When you are switching to cowskin, you may have to have bigger rings made, especially if you nice tight rings to start with.  The difference in the skin thickness is pretty significant.  

          One Love, all Love,
          Rachel

          On Aug 1, 2011, at 12:01 AM, Dylan Kosma <badenya22@...> wrote:

        • grant_1949
          Two more thoughts on cow / calf skin: In my experience, the cow and calf skins are much less stretchy than the goats. This has 2 consequences: 1) During wet
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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            Two more thoughts on cow / calf skin:

            In my experience, the cow and calf skins are much less stretchy than the goats. This has 2 consequences:

            1) During wet pulling, you get more slippage of the skin through the rings, and less actual tightening of the skin. This can allow the ring to drop lower than you might want. So the things to do differently are a) Tie the skin more tightly onto the hide ring so it locks in between the rings as you pull the ropes. and b) Do LESS pulling in the wet state, and more in the dry state. Leave the ring higher than you normally would for a goat. This leads to #2 as follows:

            2) I've also found that tuning progresses over a fairly long series of pulls over several months. You can't do too much at once because it takes the skin a while to stretch. So, about once every 2 weeks, you can pull up the verticals, and then let the skin stretch a bit. After a while you will find that it becomes stable, and you're "there". This will also progressively allow your rihgs to go lower, so that, after leaving them alarmingly high during the inital wet-pulling, they will end up where you want them.

            PS - I've also found that some shells really like the cow / calf skins while others disappoint. (not unlike getting a sweet match between an individual shell and a goatskin). So, some trial and error may be expected.

            Another PS - I've found that you can scrub all the hair off of a cowskin while it's wet, by hand or with a rubber block, or a dog-bathing brushy. This will save a lot of mess later

            Best of Luck.

            Grant
          • happy
            hi dylan, check out one of the american kip skins from Drumskull. they are, on average, more consistent thickness wise side to side then a african goat skin.
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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              hi dylan,

              check out one of the american kip skins from Drumskull. they are, on average, more consistent thickness wise side to side then a african goat skin. they are also easier on the hands.

              consider the drum you want to put it on. i wouldn't put a calf skin on drum that's 14"+ outer diameter or that has a skinny bowl. 13-14" seems to be a sweet spot to get the bass tone slap.

              the skins also need to be mounted with a lot more tension to eliminate the ring.
            • shorty@goatskins.com
              hi all, i think getting the right cow hide is the tricky part, no cut marks, the right thickness and Rachael is correct about ring sizing, it can be an issue.
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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                hi all,
                i think getting the right cow hide is the tricky part, no cut marks, the right thickness and Rachael is correct about ring sizing, it can be an issue. I have been looking for a source of consistent cowhide for a couple of years now. I might be onto something, I recently got some in, not tried it on a drum yet but i am hopeful due to the consistent thickness, I have heard that one of the tricks is to pull it extremely hard while wet. I can guarantee you that is what i will do on the guinea shell i plan to put the cow on.
                shorty, just back from floydfest
                www.goatskins.com

              • Dylan Kosma
                Wow! Thanks everyone for all of your great suggestions!!! so much to learn. I appear to be cursed with skins for about the past 6 years. The longest I ve been
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 1, 2011
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                  Wow! Thanks everyone for all of your great suggestions!!! so much to learn. I appear to be cursed with skins for about the past 6 years. The longest I've been able to keep a skin on a djembe is about 2 years and that was not my work but the work of Baba Bolokada Conde :)

                  Right now I've got a small Iroko Ivorien djembe with about a 12 .5" diameter. My beautiful skin from Baba Bolokada broke and I am bummed :( I am notorious for cranking my djembes ridiculously high but still never being satisfied with the crispness of the sound...that is why I'm thinking of switching to cow/calf. Are calf skins any less prone to breaking due to their greater rigidity? I think there is an old post on this. My djembes are so old and have not been well oiled over the years that I have had to have all of the rings cut due to shrinking wood. I know my rings have given me problems in the past. I'm surprised that this incredibly thick goat skin (extra thick from drumskull) broke since Baba did the skin job and the rings were made smaller. Like I said bumming.

                  I was also wondering if anyone had thoughts on whether a calfskinned djembe would project its sound more. I've noticed that with my iroko djembe that my sound sometimes get swallowed up by the harder-wooded Guinea djembes. Is this a wood density issue? I know iroko is a less dense wood than djalla or hare? Is it true that iroko is more fibrous and that the fibers absorb the sound instead of projecting it? Any thoughts on this matter?

                  Once again thanks for all of incredible support on this and other questions!!! You all rock :)
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