Meeting place for buying and selling instruments
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By Dugafola
#1637
shorty wrote:well I think I will go with wula, drumbskull, or one tree. I would have gotten the jina but it has been sold. And I am still intrigued by the whole special wood thing, I know I will be tempted to invest in one of those the next time they are available.

So you guys have not heard anything about this special wood? You think it makes a trivial difference or is a scam?


How should I go about thinking about the differences between one tree, drumbskull and wula merchandise? I dont really know how to compare it. I guess I cant go wrong. I am looking mostly at guinea or ivory coast style of drums by the way. My teacher siad there was a really good or famous style of drum but I cant remember the name, it started with a hard k sound. maybe it is spelled with a k or a c?

any way, at drumskull I see they have lenke wood drums as well as Djalla wood. How does this compare?
I can't say much more on the 'special wood' from Rootsy. it's the same thing with the tacks in the leg...what are those for? they really don't look 'nice ' imo. i emailed Rootsy to get the scoop and he said he couldn't tell me cause it's some hush hush gri gri thing. i'm sure it sounds good and all...

as far as the rest of them...i see and play lots of drumskull drums since i live in santa cruz. they are very dialed in and their QC/QA is top notch. you can talk to them and tell them exactly what you are looking for in a shell (type of wood, dimensions, thickness, decorations to an extent) and then have them skin it up with your choice of rope and tuned to how you want it to sound...crackin for a lead drum, or a bit lower for a good accompaniement sound or even a bass djembe.

i would think OneTree would be able to provide you the same level of service but their inventory may not be as big as drumskulls. i think they sell mostly Mali drums as well.

Wula drums...i've seen a lot and played some and they are very well made drums as well. they are typically skinned in guinea and then shipped to NYC before being then distributed to Holy Goat and SFdjembeman and whereever else they go. the heading jobs are very clean and the drums sound great. proportions are always spot on. They must send rope over there to be used for their drums cause i never saw rope like that for sale in Guinea. most of the Wula's i've seen have been carved by a guy named Mangham and his apprentices.

truth be told...Drumskulls gets shells from the same workshop as well but they choose to skin them at the shop. if you ask them why, they'll tell you that they want to make sure that the quality of sound and aesthetics of each are up to their standards. they could definitely get the drums skinned in guinea if they want and thus offer them for a cheaper price, but they are very stringent on the quality of the drums they sell.

for types of wood, djalla and lenke are common as well as hare/khad/goueni wood. hare is the same wood used for balaphon - it's very hard and the most resonant of the big woods. other woods used for djembe are dimba(mostly found in senegal) and iroko (mostly found in Ivory Coast). this has been discussed on this forum before so try searching around a bit. it can come down to preference...try to find someone or go somewhere where you can test drive a bunch of different types of wood.

don't get hung up on carvings and pretty rope etc. it's the sound that matters first and foremost.
By Onetreedrums
#1638
Shorty, you are probably trying to recall the type of wood called khadi/hare also known as gueni in Mali. Khadi is a very bright sounding wood and is actually used to make the keys of the bala. Gele and Djalla are purple/red woods that are also very dense and fairly bright sounding. Lenke is usually thought of as being the "real" wood of the djembe in that it is favored by many djembefolas due to it's spiritual significance that has been discussed in some other threads in this forum. Over time, some players develop a preference for this wood or that wood, but the main wood for the djembe are Lenke, Dugura, Djalla, Gele, Khadi/Hare/Gueni and Senegalese djembes are almost always carved from a hardwood called Dimba that tends to be really rough after carving. It is really a personal preference, but it's hard to go wrong with any of these woods from a respectable vendor.

Regarding the "special" wood ... there are many secrets that go into the djembe. This particular djembe shell that you are referring to is definitely one thing - rare. The more rare something is the more it costs. In that respect it is definitely special. I'm sure it will sound amazing. It really takes a couple years for a shell to dry or cure completely. Cured shells sound better than freshly carved shells, so this one that was naturally dried over time before being carved should definitely sound better than a freshly carved shell.
By sfdjembeman
#1639
Josh thanks for mentioning me as one of the sellers of WULA drums.

I have been working with Tom K. and Michael Markus before they started WULA. I order a large quantity direct from Guinea. As far as I know, excluding WULA in NY, Taylor in Chicago and myself in San Francisco are amongst the biggest stockers of WULA drums and have a very good relationship with Tom and Michael.

Drusmkull make fine drums, but their Guinea djembes do not come from the same workshop as WULA, they also have very nice djembes from Mali. Concerning ordering drums from Mali, all I can say is that years ago I tried to source drums from different places in West Africa - I ordered a bunch of djembes from Mali and was disappointed by the quality of drums, ugly cracks, poorly repaired and overall not great djembes.

There is no question that ordering a drum locally makes more sense and is much safer.

Cheers,
Arnold 'Djembe Man'
Last edited by sfdjembeman on Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
By shorty
#1641
thanks guys.

so drumskull and wula (holy goat and sfdjembeman) are quite comparable I suppose? I suppose both these guys are cream of the crop? Well I will discuss this with my teacher.

I will also ask him how I should be getting the drum tuned.

I want to play in groups like a calypso band, salsa band, kompa group, or west african drum ensemble.

but doing solos would be cool too. I guess I wanrt to learn everything

:dance:
By shorty
#1649
Ok I am pretty sure I want my first djembe to be from guinea. That means I am looking at drumskull who offers lenke, hare and djalla. how do these woods compare?

then there is djembeman who also has guinea djembes but Im noit sure what woods, and finally taylor at holy goat.

Are these drums roughly the same in quality?

as for mali style we have one tree drums and rootsy records. again I do not know how to compare these two companies, but I cant support all of them, I have to pick one.
By bubudi
#1652
i would advise you to physically hand pick your drum from the shop/supplier and not base your choice on photos or what the supplier picks out for you. if at all possible, get your djembe teacher to come out with you and choose one for you. but once you play it, you will know which is the right one for you. so it may end up being more of a question of distance from the supplier, since both wula and drumskull have a very good reputation.

as for tuning, since you're talking about a top quality drum, you should be able to do this yourself by learning how to do the mali weave, which is simple enough. there are online tutorials around. or give it to your djembe teacher to tune. from time to time you will find the tension on the skin slackens a bit and you will have to add some mali weave. another thing, if you're spending that kind of money on a drum, definitely invest in a good, thick padded waterproof bag for it. i always keep my drums in their bags when they're not being played.
By shorty
#1664
how should i be thinking of the following wood?

lenke
hare
Djalla
Dimba

I understand lenke is most common, and dimba is used in senegal

but what else can be said?


and for the record? how does wula stack up to the guys at drum skull?

THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING!
By shorty
#1665
bubudi wrote:i would advise you to physically hand pick your drum from the shop/supplier and not base your choice on photos or what the supplier picks out for you. if at all possible, get your djembe teacher to come out with you and choose one for you. but once you play it, you will know which is the right one for you. so it may end up being more of a question of distance from the supplier, since both wula and drumskull have a very good reputation.

as for tuning, since you're talking about a top quality drum, you should be able to do this yourself by learning how to do the mali weave, which is simple enough. there are online tutorials around. or give it to your djembe teacher to tune. from time to time you will find the tension on the skin slackens a bit and you will have to add some mali weave. another thing, if you're spending that kind of money on a drum, definitely invest in a good, thick padded waterproof bag for it. i always keep my drums in their bags when they're not being played.
yes I want to learn to tune it myself.
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By Dugafola
#1669
shorty wrote:how should i be thinking of the following wood?

lenke
hare
Djalla
Dimba

I understand lenke is most common, and dimba is used in senegal

but what else can be said?


and for the record? how does wula stack up to the guys at drum skull?

THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYTHING!
for a good side by side comparison of the woods, check out this thread: music-and-drumming/good-wood-t456-15.html

I posted a pic of my djalla, lenke and hare drums side by side.

for sound, I'd say that lenke and djalla(acajou in sousou) are pretty similar sounding overall. very melodic with great bass/tone/slap contrast. it should be medium to heavy for weight. this is the classic wood favored by the likes of Mamady Keita and Famoudou Konate.

Hare is probably one of the densest types of wood used for djembes along with Gele/Bele/Celen. It's sound can be described as loud and resonant. This wood is favored by a lot of the ballet drummers in Conakry due to it's volume. Famoudou likes to add a calf skin to a hare shell to get his super fat tones. the Hare i have in that picture is a redder hare and not the tiger stripe brown hare. the tiger stripe brown hare is one of more beautiful grains of wood out there for instruments. Fadouba likes hare and shreds a big shell on his latest CD.

I have played a a dimba before but can't really comment on the sound, aesthetics etc etc...short term memory.

wula vs drumskull...call them both up and talk to them. that should help you decide.
By shorty
#1676
Ok I will talk to both of them about wood and stuff like that.

Now my other question is this: what are the other options for djembe? besides one tree, drum skull and wula and rootsy... are there other options for top quality drums?

would this be like a random connection thing, happening to know someone that carves good drums?
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By e2c
#1678
shorty, I think you need to just choose one now - seriously! :)

And the suggestion you were given re. calling a couple of vendors (like Wula Drums and Drumskull) is a good one. They're very knowledgeable and will help you find what you're looking for, although (from my pov) the best way to choose a drum is to actually try out and compare several, hands-on.