Playing one Djembe exclusively

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Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby Pigtafe » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:01 am

I'm getting a reasonable collection of Djembes and Ive got probably 4 that I really love the feel and sound of. When im practicing, I like to play one for a while and then I think I might play on another one for a bit and so on. My question is, will my practice be more effective if I play and perform exclusively on the one drum?
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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby michi » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:32 am

I suspect that playing the same drum endlessly isn't going to be all that beneficial. After all, what good am I as a djembe player if the only drum I can play well is my favourite one?

Part of the skill is being able to coerce good sound out of any drum within a minute or two of starting to play it. Watch people like Mamady, Epizo, or Famoudou; they can make a bucket sound awesome…

I think the opposite is true: play several drums and try to make all of them sound good. It'll teach you something about adjusting to each drum's character and figuring out how it wants to be hit to get the best possible sound.

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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby Dugafola » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:22 pm

i think for beginners to intermediate players, playing one drum almost exclusively can be beneficial because it'll help you hone your technique so you can get consistent tones and slaps and bass.

this brings up some thoughts i shared with a friend the other day. it's OK to have a practice drum and a gig drum....or other types of situational type drums. i have some lower tuned drums that i use in my house for practice and then i have one drum that i bring to dance classes and foly sessions with friends.
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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby michi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:18 am

Good point about being a beginner. Before you can play lots of drums well, it helps to be able to play one drum moderately well :)

I keep a boogaraboo around mainly for gig situations where I'm asked to play some accompaniment, possibly with a few other musicians who might play guitar, or piano, or whatever. A djembe usually sounds like shattering glass in that kind of environment, and the boogaraboo fits in much better.

And I have four djembes (soon to be three) that I use for djembe performances and teaching. Two are essential in that situation because, like it or not, skins have a habit of breaking at the worse possible moment. If anything important comes up, I always have second drum ready to go. (The third and fourth djembe I own because I can't help myself ;) )

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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby Pigtafe » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:28 am

It is good to have options. The drum I had been playing the most time on, just ripped last week when the cyclone came through Queensland last week. Must be the humidity? I definitely found having one drum when learning was helpful even though it wasn't a great drum. That moment when I slapped a really nice Djembe and thought, wow I'm doing it and I want one of these! I do love playing on different drums and working through the sounds, figuring it out.
One perspective of my question is a traditional one. Modern Djembe players may carry a quiver of drums with them but would a small village drummer in Africa have many drums or just one?
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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby michi » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:21 am

Modern Djembe players may carry a quiver of drums with them but would a small village drummer in Africa have many drums or just one?

Traditionally? My guess is just one. Maybe, very rarely, a second one as a backup. Drums were just too damn expensive back then.

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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby Dugafola » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:37 pm

i know each djembefola in Les Ballet African in guinea will get 2 jembes a year. That could have changed but i'm fairly certain they get instruments paid for.

When Bolokada was a working village musician, he had to carve all his own jembes.
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Re: Playing one Djembe exclusively

Postby boromir76 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:06 am

Playing and exercising on only one djembe exclusively, would probably not make one a better player, but it would not make him a lot worse eather. Playing on solely one drum in practice means that drummer has not to change and adapt his striking technique when playind on a different sized, skined, etc. djembe. That's basically it.
Exercising and ability to play on variety of different styles, shapes and sizes of djembes in general is probably better for players skill, than sticking just on one drum. Anyway, I wouldn't worry to much about this, or give it some special attention. Versatility in this regard actually comes with mileage, rehearsing and years of playing, not changing drums just for the sake of it.
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