The initial post states:
The shape of DSD shells is more tapered from throat to surface than the Wula shells which are quite square from throat to surface drums are quite square from throat to surface.
I would say that it is the other way around, at least with regards to Guinea djembes. In general, DSD's Guinea djembes have a definite squared-off-V-shape. Some of Wula’s Standard and Classic model drums tend towards this shape somewhat, in variying degrees, but our higher end Artist and Special Piece models have distinctly more tapered, fuller form bowls; with our Select model being somewhere in between.
The squared off V shape can help a beginner/intermediate to achieve more distinct slaps, but at some expense of tone quality. A more tapered, fuller bowl offers a wider acoustic spectrum, richer undertones, and therefore a more intricate "voice"; which is exactly why we developed this form in our higher end djembes. More experienced players have more developed technique, which allows them to get the most out of this type of drum. To see examples, check the links below:
http://wuladrum.com/store/index.php/cPa ... /2a/page/1
http://wuladrum.com/store/product_info. ... cts_id/699
I have written a short essay on Guinea djembe form and history, for the Djembefola forum, which has been on hold for weeks because I haven't had the time to cap it off and edit it. James (site moderator) has encouraged me to finish and submit the essay, so I will do so this weekend and get it posted. I believe it will help to dispel some of the myths that have been circulating.
Last week I was looking through DSD’s site and found the following information:
Characterized aesthetically by their relatively straight design, djembes of Guinea have primarily retained the traditional Maninka features. While other countries choose to create djembes of deeper tone, Guinea is constantly moving towards a "tighter" sound. Through the combination of a more squared off bowl and a relatively small throat opening, these drums easily produce a powerful slap while maintaining a full range of tone and bass.
It is true that Guinea has moved toward the straight sided V shape form, but it is due to economization in the carving process and cost cutting, rather than considerations of sound. Also, this move has taken place over the past 30 years, approximately, and especially over the past 15. The traditional shape of the Malinke (Maninka) Guinea djembe was actually an extreme bowl shape, and not the straight sided shape V shape. Also, these tighter form djembes do not
maintain as full of a range in tone and bass.
Not to say that DSD is knowingly putting out misinformation, because very few people know the true history of the Guinea djembe form; and from my understanding, DSD’s main experience is with Mali drumming and drums (nice form on their Mali djembes, btw). Also, to be fair, the other day I discovered an error on our site regarding wood vs. carving (in relation to acoustics) which I need to correct, so we are guilty as well.
This is an interesting thread and I hope that it develops. I can go on forvever about djembe form and carving. This weekend I will finish up my essay and post it, along with photo examples. One note of interest; about four years ago I purchased a very old djembe shell from a Guinean family, which they had passed down from generation to generation. The original owner (their ancestor) had been an important and celebrated djembe master. A large chunk of the stem had broken off and they felt that they could no longer keep the shell without it receiving more damage. It is a perfect example of the earlier form, and if I can get Galen at our shop in Brooklyn to snap and email a photo of it to me this weekend, then I will include it with the essay.