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I posted a topic about not liking high tuning, based on my experience after tuning my drum up, but I realize now that it probably sounded bad because of issues with the drum and skin, not the tuning itself. Tuning up does reduce range, but from recordings, I can tell it's supposed to sound better than mine did. So what was the problem?

For starters, the skin is old. I mean ancient. And imperfect (damaged surface patches repaired with glue, and what look like cat scratches - no I'm not kidding, I got it used so who knows).

I cleaned it with orange oil, and it sounds a tiny bit better already (slightly crisper and more resonant), but it should be replaced.

Also, the bearing edge doesn't have a clean break on the inside. Feeling with my hand, I can put the tip of my finger in between the skin and the edge, so it must be rounded on the inside a little bit.

And lastly, this is a 12.5" drum, so it's not going to flex as much as a wider diameter drum when tuned up, so it won't have as much range as a 13+". But I'm sure if I fix these issues, it'll sound much better than it did, and I'll find I can adjust to the higher tuning. There's pros and cons, but even 70+ yearold djembefolas in africa tune their drums up, so I'm going to give it a try.