Advice and questions on making and fixing instruments
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By djembefeeling
drtom wrote:The verticals will invariably be of irregular length (this affects the pitch) due to various reasons. The loops are irregular, the rings are not level, she shell is not level . . .
That sounds like messy work :rofl:
I am lucky that many of the djembes I do repair were built from David Mühlemann in Conakry. He built them like a Swiss builds clocks - everything so level and neat. But Some of the other (cheap) djembes that I do repair suffers from the problems you describe. Especially when the bottom ring has no nutch to grip into, but tilts completely. Then the variation in length is insane. But it is not often that I have to deal with that kind of stuff.
User avatar
By djembefeeling
I just started with that lots of knots on the rings project, because my favorite djembe cracked this
weekend during a workshop I gave. I didn't calculate anything, just did a spacing that felt like tight and ended up with 38 knots for this roughly 35 diameter djembe that used to have 27 knots before. Picked a beautiful skin and put i in the sun to dry and wait impatiently for it to crank it up...
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User avatar
By djembefeeling
drtom wrote:How do you figure?
He's just mocking me...
Wolfgang wrote:Wow, nice work! I`m very curious to hear the result next time,
but I still hold the record with 45 knots :D
Yes, you do. It was nightmarish lots of work, I am so happy I didn't go for 45 knots. One of many problems is that you have so much rope to weave, and every extra meter gives you extra twists and spontaneous knots in the rope that drive you insane. Curiously, the djembe had 15 meter of rope for 27 knots, so I figured 22 meter would suffice for 38 knots - but that thinking was flawed. For whatever reason I was short at least two meters in the end after finishing the first round, so I had to add some extra rope as to have some pull on the 5 last knots. I had to pull the rings down more than I wanted to gain some more rope. In the end I had like 2 meters left for weaving that I probably never need. It's tricky. With so many knots on the ring, the extra rope you pull with every round is enormous. If I ever do this sick work again, I will know better.

Now I just did the final pull of the verticals. My muscles hurt, my whole body is sore, and the result is ---- well, to be honest, I can't really tell. I mean, the djembe does sound really good, no doubt. It is a weapon rather than a djembe, constructed to hurt unprotected hearing. The muffled slap is much louder than the slap, just like on your djembe. But I cannot tell if this is a result of the additional knots.

I cranked this skin up like I never did before (with the exception of calf), so it may be just that. Your djembe teaches the player to relax and play with almost no force. I cannot really hear that in my djembe. But it's too fresh to tell, yet.

Playing with it for half an hour I found out that I have to use another technique than on my other djembe. I have to push my hand in significantly further. Well, it's bigger, that might be why.

Also, I hardly shaved the rest hair on the skin because it is just so beautiful. I don't want to mess up with that and decided to drum the rest of the hair away. I did that before and I know it'll be gone in 4-6 weeks max. and though it is rough on your hands but not too bad. The rest of the hair probably muffles the sound a bit. So I think I will be able to tell how this many knot djembe sounds in ca. 6 weeks, after 1) I adapted with my technique, 2) the skin settles in, and 3) the rest of tiny hair is all gone - IF the skin is still intact. It's so canked up, I don't know if it survives August. But it is a strong one, it should be fine.
User avatar
By djembefeeling
drtom wrote:How do you figure?
Knowing Wolfgang personally for a couple of years now and knowing his kind of humour and his awesome djembe did lead my way...
User avatar
By djembefeeling
Since I have plenty of leisurely time because it's summertime break, I can spend lots of time on instrument building activities :D

My 38 loops djembe is maturing well, I adapt with the technique and I am satisfied with the outcome. The djembe used to be very balanced, though, but now it's more on the slap side. And the skin is hard like a rock, I need to relax and play with less force than I used to...

The skin I had on that djembe before was kind of new and cracked along the bearing edge. So I thought I don't waste it but use it for a konkoni. As destiny wanted, I passed a construction site and saw those brand new but left over plastic drainpipes. I asked for a piece and got away with an almost 5 feet long piece. I divided it into 4 pieces:
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covered them with some beautiful Africa cloth:
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and then all I needed was a second used skin. My jina djembe's skin broke one and a half years ago, the wood somehow expanded so that the rings were too tight. It's like 15.4 inches (39 centimeters) in diameter, so that broken skin was the perfect match and, voila, here is a new konkoni:
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User avatar
By djembefeeling
:cmon: Another perspective:
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That skin was my short-lived experience on last weekends workshop. It rained all day, lots of humidity in the air, lots of drumming trying to be heard over ten other drums, and finally the skin couldn't take it any longer. On the konkoni, though, it'll last many years.

The surprising news was that my jina djembe somehow relaxed over time and got back in it's original shape, so I could reskin it with a thick skin the day before yesterday. For those 39 cm in diameter it has only 29 loops, but that's ok. The base sounds like a dunun, it's insane, when tuned up for legit slaps it sounds schizophrenic with those deeeeep base sounds and the slaps. Nothing for a regular djembe ensemble, it's called the Adama Drame line, and for that style it's - say - interesting...
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