For chatting and discussions.
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By e2c
#1896
geraldo, I'm hoping you're able to get a drum that's just what you're looking for in sound and overall "feel."

I should add that I really (in a sense) had "no choice" about my 1st drum, in that my teacher builds some really nice drums (both Guinea and Mali-style shells), and allows students who don't have drums to play some of them during class. My 1st djembe (bought in 2007) is a Wula (Guinea-style shell) that I'd played many times in class. My 2nd is a custom job (I picked the shell and skin), Mali style.

although I'm really new to djembe and dunduns, I've been playing various kinds of hand drums since the late 1980s and pretty much know what I want in sound/feel. My only regret with drum #1 was that it cost about $100 more than I'd initially budgeted for, but it was and still is worth every penny I spent on it.

* FWIW, Wula has a very nice guide to choosing a djembe (went live just last week): http://www.wuladrum.com/ten-tips There are some tips there that you won't find in many other places...
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By rachelnguyen
#1898
Geraldo,

I came late to this thread, but I am so excited that you ditched the Bali and went with Mali, LOL!

I have both and FAR prefer the African drum.

My first drum was a Toca, built in Indonesia of a single piece of mahogony. The wood is much much softer than the lenke that my African drum is made with. The skin on the Toca is much thicker, and therefore the whole drum has a very muddy and muted sound, no matter how tight I pull it. In fact, if I pull it too tight, it completely chokes the sound.

On the African drum, I have a very musical and pleasing sound. The skin is a medium thickness, which means I can get some pretty sharp slaps, but it still has a nice mellow sound. Mine is a bit shorter than my teacher's, but it has a big round bowl which makes for a gorgeous full sound.

My African drum goes for about $350 vs. $100 US for the Toca. Since the day I bought it I have NEVER regretted the investment. I completely agree with e2c that a good quality instrument is the only way to go.

So, yeah for you for finding the exact right drum. I am quite sure you will be thrilled at the difference it makes in your playing.

Love,
Rachel
By gerardo1000
#1900
Rachel,

what you say is very true. My Meinl djembe sound mudded and almost muted compared with my new Mali djembe. And if I try to tune it higher, it stops sounding.
What a difference with the west african one.
By sfdjembeman
#1926
Hello All,

Believe the oldies on this site - they know. There is no such beast as an 'Indonesian djembe'. It is a goblet shaped drum made by people who lack any djembe carving or music traditions. It does not exist much like an American car from Japan, or Korea or China does not exist - they may try to copy one - but it will still not be an American car made in Indoensia.

Yet these unscrupulous and let's call the duck a duck, dishonest people try and sell their cr*p to people who are trying to find good honest info and are new drummers. What's worst is that x8djembes or xdrums whoever they are, keep on calling their Indonesian p.o.s. drums 'African djembe'.

I am not saying that you can not bang on one at a drum circle, people drum on garbage cans too, but these are nowhere near in quality, build or sound a real African djembe from a djembe country - a country with a tradition of making and playing these instruments for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Some of the djembe countries do build low level djembes for tourists - and you do not want one of these either, but almost any of those (perhaps with some work) will be better than an Indonesian, or plastic or PVC or any other crappy djembe, dishonest people with no respect for the culture or music will try and dump on you to make a buck.

They try to put down African drums with some lie about ecological reasons -they claim their drums are 'eco friendly' from sustainable forestry - please read the truth about deforestation in Indonesia on my website. Indonesia has amongst the largest losses of tropical rain forest in the world ..please read about it on my website.Not only that but the rapid rate of deforestation in those countries makes them respectively (Indonesia, Brazil) the third- and fourth-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, much of them from burning.

http://djembemandrums.com/page.php?5

This is not a plug for my drums, there are a lot of good quality drums out there and some makers have been mentioned in the previous forums. Ask a serious djembe teacher not an 'expertvillage' guy on Youtube who does not know a djembe from a dumbek and play it like one. Listen to many different types of djembe master and players on cd because of better sound, or on Youtube. See who is playing, where they originate from - what is the djembe shape - they differ between different (post colonial) countries and tribes. Best of all ask the people you are already asking James, bubudi, e2c and the Ace Dugafola and many other knowledgeable people.

-Arnold
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By rachelnguyen
#1928
Hey Arnold,

I appreciate your post and your article on your website. Very valuable insight, especially around the so-called 'eco-friendly' Indonesian drums. How can a chemically processed head be eco-friendly? I would be very curious about the conditions of the hide processing in Pakistan. And the issue of the mahogany forests in SE Asia being depleted is a big one all over the area. In Vietnam, for example, poachers are actually destroying the forests because the wood is so valuable. I wonder if that is the case in Indonesia, too.

For me, the bottom line is the sound. But the ecological and economic implications are certainly an important factor.
By Shepherd
#39118
Anybody wanting a grrat drum just needs to do their homework. I have brought back both African and Indonesian drums. You will find in both cases they all make many low quality drums for the tourist industry. But you can also find great quality ones also if you hunt around. This rubbish about timber density is just that...nonsense. i can play any of my African and indonesian good quality drums and you wouldnt tell the difference in sound. And how anyone can tell timber density when buying either i would be amazed. You can tell good quality and sound fairly quickly. Dont let anyone put you off indonesian drums with silly rubbish talk about them being inferior. Like i say you wouldnt tell the difference. Maybe only in the decoration to the outside. Plus its way easier for me to import indonesian drums because they tend to have less issues with them via customs.