- Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:44 am
Might be a bit late, but in case you're still having the problems:
The others are right, the big issue is the skin slipping and being loose. It's almost 3" below the playing surface! It should be about 2/3" to 3/4" or so, up to about 1" at most.
The wood is fine, likely it's Spanish Cedar, (Cedrela Odorata), related to Mahogany, which is related to Djalla and Acajou. It's not very dense wood, but it's not too soft. It's used for Guitars, cabinetry, etc. The drum sounds good except for the tuning issue IMO. Also it's a very nice color!
But, if you wanted to improve the wood sound, it might help to oil it a few times with shea butter (dissolved into essential oil*), inside and out, until it sounds "wetter". Allowing the wood to absorb the oil for a while before adding more. At first it will absorb it quickly, but over time it will need it less and less often, until it's just about "perfect".
(*: I use Citrasolv household cleaner which is made from orange peel oil, because it's cheap and all natural)
So, don't bother with putting the foam inside the drum, until you've fixed the skin/ring/rope problem. If you still have the problem then, you can add weather foam to the bowl while the skin is still on (I've done it, it's not that hard. Three strips is enough to make a difference. Don't need to add anything to the stem, just the bowl, sloping slightly from skin to hole)
Forget about putting tape on the rim. Not necessary, and would dampen too much.
1. The main issue is that skin is way too loose, and it has slipped through the rings.
2. The skin can't be tightened until the skin is pulled through the rings, and the rings are sitting higher.
Here's a rough description of how to do it, but it's important to get proper instructions from a video, thread, or website:
Loosen the ropes, soften the skin with water or moisture, pull the skin through the rings, stitch the edges together in the center above the drum (looks like a closed sack) to hold it while it dries , and adjust the ropes until the rings sit almost level with the playing surface. Pull the ropes tight, but don't let the rings slip down. Then let the skin dry. Then when it has dried, you finish pulling the ropes to tune the drum up more, the rings will come downward, maybe 1/2", and over time with playing and diamonds, up to about 1" at most.
(BTW this would be a good opportunity to sand the outside of the Djembe with some fine-grade sand paper, oil the wood, then buff it with brown paper. This will bring out the color of the wood, and make it look nice and new and fresh )
As Dr Tom said, the humidity is a challenge, because the skin needs dry air to dry. You might be able to make a drying chamber from a box and a fan. Air movement tends to cause evaporation faster than still air, but if the air is moist, it's a challenge. A heater/fan might be needed, but be careful or it could rip if it dries too fast.
Also, once you do get it dried and tuned, you can lightly oil the skin with the same mixture of shea and essential oil, to make it more resistant to absorbing moisture from the air. I would add a little at a time, and see how it sounds, because too much will eventually dampen the sound, but a little can be good.