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WULA Drums - Page 3 - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Meeting place for buying and selling instruments
User avatar
By Dugafola
#3236
bops wrote:
Dugafola wrote: bops...he buys 'bulk' from DSD. i saw most of those drums on his site at the shop not too long ago.
Back off topic... Duga, any idea what DSD charges for Mali shells of that caliber?
$250. shell. no rubber or edge work. they just got a shipment from Mali last week. haven't seen it personally myself. i can do some recon if you're serious about buying. i've done that for a few of my buddies. let me know dimensions. i think most of them are lengue.
User avatar
By e2c
#3238
kana wrote: I'm curious about Mali, and hope to someday see how different they feel and sound.
Very different from Guinea-style shells. With that interior ledge at the bottom of the bowl + slanted sides, the sound tends to reflect upward. You get a higher-pitched, dryer sound with fairly minimal bass. (Something I really notice when switching between my Mali and Guinea drums - my Mali shell is pretty much like those sold by Drumskull.) Mali shells, being more rounded and literally more bowl-shaped, have a far broader range in many ways. The sound is - for me - a very pleasing balance of high, low and middle tones. I feel like the sound flows more easily from a well-crafted Mali shell, but that's probably more about my personal taste than anything else. I guess I love the way the higher notes blend with the fullness of the bass tones.

* Edit: see Duga's post below* There's also a very real difference in the way the top ring and bearing edge sit in relation to one another. (Wish I had some good photos to post...) Personally, I think my Mali shell is a *lot* easier on my hands; is more ergonomic, due to the way the bearing edge is finished as well as the fact that the top ring is closer to the bearing edge than is the case with my Guinea drum. With the latter, there's a pronounced gap between the bearing edge and the top ring - your hands and wrists have to work with that curve. I've noticed that I have to be much more conscious of how I'm sitting (height and position) with Guinea-style shells; also more attentive to the angle of the head. One real pro: Guinea shells seem to be much easier to balance with minimal pressure from legs and feet than Mali shells.

For ensemble playing, I prefer my Guinea drum.
Regarding the different levels of drums, I think WULA offers a drum for everybody, and every budget, without compromising quality.


I think there's a great need for this - so many people drop by here, wanting advice on purchasing their 1st drum. The 500+ price tags are a real deterrent. There has to be a way to craft a truly *good* "entry level" drum, but I've yet to come across one that I like. (Again, this is probably just me being picky, but I haven't yet played a lower-priced drum that I'd recommend to someone who's just getting into djembe playing...)

Edited to add: My Mali shell came from the carver who made this drum - http://www.botefote.com/merch/details/djembe/new1.htmI (Mine was a custom build and the finished product looks a bit different, though it was done by the same person.)
Last edited by e2c on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#3240
e2c wrote:Personally, I think my Mali shell is a *lot* easier on my hands; is more ergonomic, due to the way the bearing edge is finished as well as the fact that the top ring is closer to the bearing edge than is the case with Guinea drums. With the latter, there's a pronounced gap between the bearing edge and the top ring - your hands and wrists have to work with that curve.
that really has nothing to do with mali vs guinea shells. there are tricks you can do with a sander to make a your top ring ride higher as well as how you pull your drum when it's wet. that pretty goes for all drums, regardless of what country it's from.
User avatar
By e2c
#3241
Maybe this is because of the way the guy who built my Mali drum worked the bearing edges on his last shipment, then... Because it's like night and day for me. (But then, he also knows that I've had some hand injuries; this is a custom build.)

* Edited to add: I think that hand size and shape also play a big part in comfort and "fit." I'm only 5' 4", small-boned, with small hands. What works for a 6'-tall, 180 lb. guy with large arms, hands and wrists is not necessarily going to work well for me, you know? (I found this out last year - the hard way! - while being coached on dunun technique by someone who didn't take that into consideration.)

I think that the bearing edge on my Guinea drum might be less of an adjustment for someone with larger hands than mine, but that's just a guess on my part.
User avatar
By e2c
#3242
Just for the sake of comparison, see this DSD shell? The rings and bearing edge look exactly like my Guinea drum's.

Image

This shot will give you a pretty good idea of the way the bearing edge on my Mali drum was shaped. (Done by the guy who headed mine.) The bearing edge is - not sure how to describe this - a lot flatter, less abrupt than is the case with my Guinea drum. (The bearing edge on the latter is very nicely shaped but just doesn't work as well for me... probably need to have a rebuild done before long, or else sell the one I've got and buy one that suits me better.)

Image

If I can get some decent detail shots of my drums, I'll post them.
User avatar
By bops
#3243
I think I understand what you're describing, e2c. On a lot of Mali drums, the bowl is more rounded near the top; the widest point on the bowl is actually about 1-2" below the rim, whereas on Guinean drums it's almost always about 1/4 - 1/2" below the rim. From there, it tapers downward.
e2c wrote:[With Malian drums] You get a higher-pitched, dryer sound with fairly minimal bass.
This is kind of a generalization, I think. The "dryness" depends mostly on the thickness of the wood and type of wood. Also, if the wood is really dry, the sound will also be dry. Next time you need to have it skinned up, give it a couple generous coats of oil (let it dry in between) before having your guy skin it. It's a good idea to do that each time you have it skinned up.

Re: Bass. The "presence" of the drum's bass sound depends on several factors, most importantly the width of the throat, or sound hole. The wider the throat, the higher-pitched the bass. I've noticed that Malian drums tend to have wider throat holes, giving a punchier bass sound. I like this because it doesn't get lost in the mix.

But yeah, I have drums from Guinea, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire, and love em all :hug: I can't seem to get rid of any of them... they're all for sale, though, sometimes.
User avatar
By e2c
#3244
Bops, I think you misread part of my post - I meant that Guinea-style djembes have (in general) "a higher-pitched, dryer sound with fairly minimal bass." (Because the sound tends to reflect upwards, from the interior ledge where the bowl joins the stem; also because of the slanted sides.) "Dry" is literally, in this case, about sound quality, not about whether the wood is dry. :)
I think I understand what you're describing, e2c. On a lot of Mali drums, the bowl is more rounded near the top; the widest point on the bowl is actually about 1-2" below the rim, whereas on Guinean drums it's almost always about 1/4 - 1/2" below the rim. From there, it tapers downward.
Yes - it's got a *lot* to do with the shape of the bowl! The rings just sit differently (in relation to the bearing edge) on Guinea-style shells.
Last edited by e2c on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By e2c
#3248
Hey, no worries! I've done the same, more times than I'd like to remember... I think it's very easy to do with text-only communication. (Speaking for myself, anyway.)

Cheers!

Also -
Re: Bass. The "presence" of the drum's bass sound depends on several factors, most importantly the width of the throat, or sound hole. The wider the throat, the higher-pitched the bass. I've noticed that Malian drums tend to have wider throat holes, giving a punchier bass sound. I like this because it doesn't get lost in the mix.
Yes - I was trying to describe this (sort of) but wasn't very clear. Your explanation is much better!
By jedge76
#3273
Woah! I really started quite a discussion on accident. Haha! Good discussion, though, it seems. I ordered my 1st drum from Wula last week. It's being shipped from Guinea, then from NY to here in CA. That drum will have quite a bit to talk about after such a long trip.
Like some of you were saying, it's a bit more intricate in the carving than I'd normally care for, but it has the perfect proportions for me I believe. 13.5" head, 24" long, 18lbs.(I think),
lenke wood. The guys are great at Wula. They really spend a lot of time helping you on the phone and always get right back with their emails. Thanks to all that replied. You were very helpful as well. I can't wait to start drumming--I've been playing on my coffee table and it's starting to hurt my hands! Ha! Good day all. --Joseph
Image
User avatar
By Dugafola
#3762
crazy shell.

should be fun.

i still don't like how they brand their drums though.
User avatar
By e2c
#3765
I think the branding is very new (as in, this year's shells are the 1st), and I hope they stop, or at least put the brand on the *inside* of the stem rather than in an obviously visible place.

My Wula drum (which must be at least 3 years old now) has no identifying marks, other than the signature tire tread at the bottom.

OTOH, I wonder why they started doing the branding - could someone be trying to pass off inferior shells as Wulas?
User avatar
By Kallaumari
#4067
I have to admit that WUla's are the most beatifully carved i've found on the net but Dubfola is right... they're alil over the top, i found one in a canadian site and i live in mexico, it would've cost me about 5 to 6 hunders canadian dlls to bring it here... that's A LOT of money for a drum.....

I'm about to purchase a guinea drum for 289 us dlls and i think it is even a lil bit bigger than the wula.... also it is made from Acaju so it is not that hard...

I definatelly recomend hard lenke instead :P

Cheers
Josh
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