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By Paradiddle
Hi all; I am new to this forum as well as the djembe. I need some advice on my first purchase. I have been looking on the Wula Store site and I cannot decide between a malina wood or a lengue hardwood. I know that melina is a softer wood and therefore lighter, but hardwood has a better sound. I also know that I would need a drum that is at least 12" or more. I am 72 years old and 5' 8" tall. Length of drum and weight is also of importance Could someone point me in the right direction? My price range is USD $450-500.
Thats in advance,

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By boromir76
Hello. The best way to figure out the right dimensions, would be to try and play different sized drums. If that is possible. If you are playing only seating down, than the weight of the drum is not crucial, it is only important for carrying it around. The importance of type of the wood however when it comes to sound quality can be relative. In general my view is, harder woods tend to produce litlle more punchier, sharper and resonant sound as softer ones. What really is important when it comes to good sound in my humble opinion is good quality skin. I have put good skins on mediocre build quality djembes and achieve very nice sound with that, but never with putting poor sounding skin on a very good quality drum...
I am 5,7'' and find drums which are around 60- 62 cm (around 24'') height to be ideal, when playing seated. You can buy folding drummer chair with adjustable sitting height, if the drum is still litlle to high or to small for playing comfortable on average chair. What matters the most when playing seated is not so much the height of the djembe, but the height of the sitting position of player which can be adjustable. Height of the drum is not important when playing standing up. Diameter of the drum is matter of taste and preference of the drummer. For beginner I would recommend 12"- 13" drum. Bigger djembes (14" >) are litlle more demanding to play, but have more resonant and louder sound in general.
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By djembefeeling
I do sell both kinds of djembe. Most often, hardwood sounds better. But a good melina djembe usually sounds pretty decent. The advantage of less weight often comes in handy, the more so when you play while standing. When you prefer convenience over the extra percentage of good sound, go for melina.
By Paradiddle
Thank you both for your replies; it certainly gave me some more insight as I purchase my djembe. I am now leaning to a hardwood 13.75" by 25" and weighing 25lbs. My other choice is a melina special piece 12.5 by 18lbs and 19 lbs Decisions, decisions