Meeting place for buying and selling instruments
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By Dugafola
#26043
Waraba wrote:An oft-overlooked company is Djembedirect.com; their high-end djembes are excellent.
agreed. I bought an incredible ivorienne shell from andy at djembedirect and havent' seen anything like it since. super competitive pricing as well.
User avatar
By sol
#26722
I would like to hear a review about Wassoulou drums, I believe they are quite new to the market but their pictures look awesome...
Hi Paul, sorry took my long to reply, i did not notice your post before...
Well i got my drum about 3 months ago, is a Balafon wood drum, heavy (about may be 10kg more less), with very think Malian goat skin and also thick 5mm polyester rope, two rings and rubber footed, which i thought is good for protection of the drum, but off course lot of people think of this diferently, some people don't like it because it might produce cracks to the wood, but personaly i liked!
About the sound, it has very strong bass, and with the slap, i'm still working on it, but it sounds pretty good.
When i bought it, it came with 2 very small cracks, which i have already take care of, but it might it be for all the traveling from Africa, who knows, but it was not the big deal.
Where are you based? There are some select dealers who sell djembes but not on the same mass scale and as such they don't seem to have websites.
I'm currently living in Finland (but am from Costa Rica) and the drum was shippied from Germany, and it came very fast, very cheap shipping cost, and very good packing as well so there was no wood or skin demage. And very good custumer service from Eike, (the dealer in Germany).

I give you the link to their webshop.


http://www.djembe-webshop.com/
By aghis
#27385
Ordering a djembe from the internet is not the solution. There are fiber glass alternatives to the traditional wooden style, they sound sharp but i dont like them a lot. The wood has to be heavy, the skins vary between different african countries. Malian goat skin djembes are good, but Ghanian cow skin are better. Best way is to travel to an African country and go to the cultural center, or even better to a village with tradition in djembe. Long neck djembes are not the traditional ones. You have also to choose the diameter, if beginner dont choose the wider one, you will not be able to handle it correctly. If you meet African bands and you study with them,watch their djembes, if you like them ask if they can do it for you. Good djembes are rare to find.Stretching has to be so tight that even if you hammer it will not move. Cow skin djembes are hard for the hand, if you are not used to slap until you bleed. Sometimes things are simpler than this, i know a girl djembefola with a very small djembe, not stretched so good, but she still can make nice sound. In Ghana Okurase is a very well known village for the djembes they make.
By djoniba
#30679
I find this a little strange. You ask who makes the best djembes, and then you list a bunch of companies that does not make djembes. The only thing they do is to put rings and skin on a djembe they have imported from Mali, Ivory Coast , Ghana or Guinea.

The djembemaker is the guy that picks the wood and carves the shell. This is the actual drum. The rest is the finishing touches.

Am I right or am I wrong?
User avatar
By Dugafola
#30680
djoniba wrote:I find this a little strange. You ask who makes the best djembes, and then you list a bunch of companies that does not make djembes. The only thing they do is to put rings and skin on a djembe they have imported from Mali, Ivory Coast , Ghana or Guinea.

The djembemaker is the guy that picks the wood and carves the shell. This is the actual drum. The rest is the finishing touches.

Am I right or am I wrong?
semantics. I'd call the guy that carves the shell the carver.

i think the appropriate question would be: "who imports and prepares the best djembes from africa?"
User avatar
By michi
#30687
djoniba wrote:The djembemaker is the guy that picks the wood and carves the shell. This is the actual drum. The rest is the finishing touches.

Am I right or am I wrong?
Wrong ;)

The build of a drum has a lot to do with how well it plays, tunes, and sounds. The rings have to be just the right size. You need to select the right number of loops. There are many different choices of rope, not all equal. The skin needs to be matched to the wood of the shell. The rings have to sit at just the right height and be level. The shape of the bearing edge has to be comfortable. The skin needs to sit in the right orientation to the shell. The skin needs to be pre-stretched enough such that, after initial tensioning, the player ideally will never get to finish the third row of weave before the skin breaks. Any repairs to the shell have to be carried out properly. Etc, etc.

There is a lot of experience and craftsmanship that goes into drum making, and carving the shell is only one of the skills that are needed for a good drum. This is particularly evident when people bring me a botched job of a djembe and I explain to them that, to get something decent, I will need to rebuild it. They usually are amazed when they see and hear the result. I often get comments along the lines of "that's a completely different drum".

Michi.
User avatar
By Tom
#30740
In my opion you are all partly correct. "djembe maker" can be misleading because it implies having made the djembe from start to finish. A better term for companies who only mount imported djembe shells would be 'assembler' or 'builder'. But it's also true that so much of the drum quality and sound depends on the assembly, which is both an art and a science.
User avatar
By michi
#30747
Tom wrote:But it's also true that so much of the drum quality and sound depends on the assembly, which is both an art and a science.
Let's not forget the goat! :)

A lot of the sound is the individual skin. Every now and then, I end up with mediocre sound on what are excellent shells and, no matter what I do, the sound won't come good. Then I fit a different skin and things sound awesome again.

I think we need to start one of those genetic engineering programs. I mean, breeding goats for the quality of the milk or the amount of meat is just silly. Why won't anyone understand that goats should be bred for their skin? ;)

I agree with you though. It's the combination of all these things that make for good sound. A mediocre shell will always sound mediocre, no matter how good a skin I choose, and how skilfully I fit it. So, a good shell is a necessary prerequisite for good sound, but it's not a sufficient one. Take good shell and a good skin and do a sloppy building job, and it won't sound right. Or take a good shell and a good building job, but a poor skin, and it still won't sound right.

Unfortunately, I can control only two of the three, and have only an educated guess at the third.

It's the goats man, it's the goats! They are in a conspiracy, I'm telling you! ;)

Michi.
By zurghhh
#31995
I read some of this thread a couple of days ago and waited to post.

I got my Lenke shell back from Drumskull after an amazing re-head job by Matt himself last week. Just today I got a custom drum from Wula.
A Khadi shell.

Galen finished pulling and tuning last week, after months of him and Michael keeping me updated on progress.

In my opinion - both of these drums are absolutely top shelf.

Finish, rope work, heading, bearing edges, etc.

There are some differences and slight edges in some quality aspects between the two, but overall they are clearly in the elite.

I am very happy with both. I don't see how anyone would be disappointed with a Drumskull or a Wula.

I would love to post pictures if someone tells me how again.
User avatar
By michi
#31997
zurghhh wrote:I would love to post pictures if someone tells me how again.
See [urlhttp://djembefola.com/board/help/how-include-pictures-post-t3910.html]here[/url].

Please do post some photos. I'd love to see your new acquisitions! :)

Michi.
By zurghhh
#31999
Here they are - Side by Side and Individual shots.
The Drumskull is one I got from them 2 years ago - the head went a few weeks ago. I carved a bottom ring ledge before sending it back for the rehead.

The projection of the Wula is impressive. Even without much effort it is loud.

The skin match to shell on Matt's rehead is going to be great after it breaks in. A really thick / even thickness skin - seated really tight.

Super happy with both.
Attachments
Drumskull-Wula.JPG
Drumskull-Wula.JPG (129.39 KiB) Viewed 2157 times
Wula Khadi.JPG
Wula Khadi.JPG (136.06 KiB) Viewed 2157 times
Drumskull Lenke.JPG
Drumskull Lenke.JPG (125.49 KiB) Viewed 2157 times