Discuss drumming technique here
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By Nodrog
#5199
Hi there everyone,

I have had my djembe for approx two weeks now and I'm really enjoying discovering all the sounds that can be produced from this one drum.

Last weekend, my stepson stayed with us and he likes to play African style music on a nylon strung classical guitar. Normally it would be myself on guitar but on this occasion this was a great opertunity to try out my djembe drumming as an accompaniment to his guitar playing. I must say, it is a lot more rewarding to be playing with another instrument rather than just practising on my own.

Anyways, whilst this was going on I was making a conscious effort to see and hear what I was doing to get all the different sounds. I wanted to ask about one or two finger slaps almost right on the rim. This is really a very quick flick, not hard but fast and it is surprisingly loud. The second stroke is a kind of slap made by flicking down very fast with the flat side of the thumb but usually damped at the same time by the other hand.

My question is: are these existing djembe techniques or am I borrowing this from other kinds of drumming. I have a set of Tablas and maybe this is influencing the way I'm approaching the djembe. I also have about 40 years experience of drumming on desk tops and I'm sure this helps in coaxing different sounds from the djembe.

Thanks for any answers. I know there is nothing new under the sun and I'm not trying to break new ground here, I was just wondering if anyone else has found themselves using these two strokes kind of without even realizing it.

Gordon.
User avatar
By e2c
#5243
Have you checked this thread, nodrog?

http://www.djembefola.com/board/music-a ... -t607.html

Like you, I have some background and experience with other kinds of non-Western percussion. I've talked about that in the thread I linked to, but that's only a small part of the overall take contributed by many who post here.

Enjoy, and don't worry too much about whether something is "correct" or not - meanwhile working on the basic slap and tone strokes used in trad. djembe playing. I'm sure you'll find more ways to transfer skills from one kind of drum to another. :D
I also have about 40 years experience of drumming on desk tops and I'm sure this helps in coaxing different sounds from the djembe.
Absolutely! I'm big on car steering wheels, myself - also walls and books and cardboard boxes and water bottles and metal saucepans and buckets and wooden cabinet doors and railings and just about anything else that I can use to create sound. (Cardboard boxes are one of my faves as far as "found" instruments, actually. They can sound great when played with both hands and brushes. :))
User avatar
By Nodrog
#5259
Hi there,

You probably know this already but one of the classic drum sounds from the history of rock'n'roll music, the drum sound on Buddy Holly's 'Peggy Sue' was recorded with the regular drummer using his sticks hitting a cardboard box.

I remember way back as a kid washing up in the kitchen sink and when it came to the saucepans, it took me ages. I found that by using a wooden spoon on the base of the pan and then adjusting the amount of submersion in the dishwater, this would produce different notes. I got pretty good and play simple tunes by doing this. I remember my parents bringing the neighbours round to hear it.

The stroke I mentioned in my earlier post, the one using the side of the thumb. I find I use this quite a lot as a nice emphasis when playing with a guitarist. It's a kind of sideways motion all in the wrist action and this is good because a slap and this thumb hit can be played almost together if needed. I notice myself using all fingers individually to get roll effects. I think my fingers are pretty strong from playing guitar and bass for around 40 years, I guess it all helps.

Thanks, Gordon.
User avatar
By e2c
#5261
Re. Peggy Sue: I'm not sure I ever knew that, so thanks much for the info.! (I do know that the Dixie Cups had someone play sticks on an ashtray for their version of "Iko Iko," so I guess we're 2 for 2 in triva! ;))

I hear you on the thumb/slap + wrist motion. As for finger rolls, yeah... i do a lot of them on my other instruments (darbuka and various frame drums), but tend to just use individual fingers to get quieter effects in non-trad djembe playing. but I do sometimes use them with duns, when I play non-trad (with drum held on my lap, like some Indian drums).
By djembemon41
#5723
I play shallow...meaning I play up to my knuckles but not on them. I'll play deep for certains sounds...closed slaps...quiet rolls..etc. But generally playing shallow is cleaner.
By bubudi
#5743
djembemon41 wrote:I play shallow...meaning I play up to my knuckles but not on them. I'll play deep for certains sounds...closed slaps...quiet rolls..etc. But generally playing shallow is cleaner.
famoudou konate probably has the cleanest technique, and he plays the tones and slaps to his knuckles and teaches that way. same with any other djembe master (some teachers from the ivory coast will suggest to go even deeper with the slap). could all the masters be wrong?

i'm almost certain your drum is too small for you and that is why you are finding that shallower playing is giving you a cleaner sound. in another thread you wrote that your drum is 12" diameter. is that what the shop told you or did you measure it yourself? are you measuring from from the bearing edge or from the outer edges of the ring? it should be measured from the bearing edge (i.e. the actual playing surface) and 12" is the absolute minimum. how big are your hands? measure from base of palm to tip of middle finger. 6" could easily suit a 12" drum. big hands require a bigger drum.