Page 1 of 1

Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:38 pm
by alvarocaceres
Good night!

I am studying percussion and I am very interested on African percussion, specially on djembe. Searching on different webs proposed by people in the forum, I found two cheap djembes:

http://www.percussion-africaine.com/dje ... grand-1242
http://www.discountdjembes.com/products ... 2%22-.html

The idea is to buy a djembe that sounds like a djembe (XD), with the standard dimensions, and cheaper than 100$... which would be the best of the two that I have found? Does anyone know about a better djembe with that price?

Thanks indeed

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:50 pm
by sol
alvarocaceres wrote:he idea is to buy a djembe that sounds like a djembe (XD), with the standard dimensions, and cheaper than 100$... which would be the best of the two that I have found? Does anyone know about a better djembe with that price?
If you are searching for a good quality djembe it will definitely cost you over 100us dollar.
I tell you of my own experience, even though i am a beginer i bought a good drum (€500), it is expensive, but remember you are paying for quality, talking about great wood, great goat skin, etc... But of course you can find cheaper ones and that are still good quality, talking about 250-350 usd. And about where to buy it, you can check different places and read different reviews of what people are saying of those drums, like, wuladrums, drumsskull, wassulou percussions...

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:34 pm
by alvarocaceres
Well I'm studying Classical Music in a conservatory (piano, composition) but I am doing some research on music from Africa as I love it...

I don't try to go so deep on the technique and sound quality of djembe as my speciallity is piano and I have to play like 6h a day; but when I compose pieces for djembe, the most similar instrument that I can use is a Darbuka XD

Bearing in mind that quality is not so importat for me as to have an instrument to "test" my compositions (with a more or less realistic sound and size), would the two djembes that I proposed be a good option?

Thanks indeed

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:55 pm
by michi
The first one from Ghana will, at best, sound mediocre. The second one will with certainty sound terrible.

I would recommend to step up a notch and spend a bit more. Wula current have a Melina 11" djembe for $200 on their website. That one will almost certainly outclass what you linked to by a wide margin.

Michi.

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:02 pm
by fattyboombatty
Good advice from either Michi or Sol.
If you go for the cheap drums, they will not sound like a djembe and you will be disappointed. Buy good quality wood that is carved well (Not decorated) and you will be happy.

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:45 am
by davidognomo
I played piano, and I play djembe. I know that playing piano or most instruments that involve the use of fingers, limitate a lot what you can allow yourself to do with them in everyday life. I'd say that playing piano and djembe are not compatible, unless one of the instruments is taken less seriously. And to start getting proper sound from a djembe it takes a while, and some pain in the hands.

I think Michi is giving you good advice.
alvarocaceres wrote:quality is not so importat for me as to have an instrument to "test" my compositions (with a more or less realistic sound and size)


If you're composing for djembe and you're a newbie to the instrument, I would recomend you to browse a bit on the web to get to know a little the instrument, the sound that real djembefolas can make on a djembe, you know, the three basic sounds - slap, tone, bass. I mean, if you don't know how to make the proper sound on the djembe, how will you be able to test it?

You probably know Xenakis' Okho. Well, I tell you, from all the videos I found with percussionists playing that piece, I can't find one that can make proper use of the instrument. Unproper sound technique on a djembe is like playing on a piano that is out of tune. Quality and definition of sound in djembe is almost everything. I don't mean to be discouraging, but to me it's a pitty and a waste to see djembe being used without the basic full range of its possibilties soundwise. And then comes phrasing. But on that I imagine you don't need any help. Are you thinking about getting some inspiration from traditional djembe solo phrasing on your compositions?

All the best

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:51 pm
by chavesbeste
I have bought cheap djembes---most god awful. My full-size Kangaba from Mali (lenke wood) was $110 because I bought it new with a small scratch from a retail music store (either guitar center, Musicians Friend). It is a great drum. Another lucky score is from Discount Djembe. Their Iroko Odu wood drum is probably Melina but has great tones when you crank it up. Link below. Both excellent cheap drums. Stay away from Ghana, mahogany, Remo, fiberglass, Toca, LP. Keep looking if you want a real wood African drum. The wood really does matter. Wula is always a good bet but their cheapest drum now is $300. Good luck


http://www.discountdjembes.com/products ... 3%22-.html

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:12 pm
by Wula Drum
Hi chavesbeste,

Thanks for the support! We have a few of the melina that aren't listed on our site -- we like melina shells because they are lightweight, and more dense than many of the softwoods found elsewhere in West Africa (Wula shop is in Guinea).

Here is an 11" Melina djembe that is in New York right now, Wula custom rope, $200:

Image

Or for comparison, a 13" Melina djembe, a step up in size, wood, and sculpting quality, $350:

Image

As far as price -- we carve hardwood djembe 13"+ diameter starting at $300. These are nice drums, you can find similar quality for a lot more on the web. We assemble the $300 shells using the same materials and careful mounting as our high end drums, so the tuning and maintenance is minimal, certainly compared to large import websites, where you might be buying from an example photo and someone is pulling a drum of a shelf and shipping to you.

We always offer drums at all prices, and since we have classes and workshops at Wula and teach all over New York City, we want to encourage students and first-time buyers to get the best quality within his or her budget. You can always call us to talk about drums -- in addition to playing drums, discussing djembe and music is among our favorite things to do!

Many thanks to you all for another nice discussion, bientôt,

Wula Drum NYC
http://www.wuladrum.com
info@wuladrum.com
718-786-8383

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:04 pm
by Wula Drum
We posted the drum to the website, along with a sound clip:

http://store.wuladrum.com/Cosa-Melina-D ... B00BURVO16

Here is the direct link to the sound clips for the melina djembe above:

Top, 12" 'Cosa' Melina Djembe (I mistakenly referred to it as 11" in the first post):
Phrase: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wuladrum/media ... mz11_2.MP3

Below: 12" 'Select' Melina Djembe with tree decoration:

Phrase: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wuladrum/media ... djmt12.MP3
Slap: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wuladrum/media ... t_slap.MP3
Tone: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wuladrum/media ... t_tone.MP3
Bass: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wuladrum/media ... bass_2.MP3

You all can enjoy sounds clips for the rest of the drums on our website, too!

Many thanks,

Wula Drum, NYC

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm
by fattyboombatty
That drum with the tree carving is gorgeous!

Re: Choosing a djembe...

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:41 pm
by Wula Drum
Thanks Batty! A lot more info will be released about this particular drum soon!