Discuss drumming technique here
By Sdready
#6359
Hi everybody!

I was just wondering about this, practising by myself... and my next lesson is a whole week away so I hope to get some ideas from you...

Playing the Bass... while the open and the slap are just fine I feel the bass when I play it is just more the sound of my hand hitting the drum than producing a proper bass tone.... do you know what I mean? Ah its hard to explain. While when I listen to others I would say I just hear the bass and not this clapping sound that the hand makes... but I´m not sure(since I didnt really pay attention before, but I will next time I meet the group)... so am I maybe doing something wrong? Am I maybe hitting the drum not hard enough? (Cant try it harder at home though) Or do you all hear your hand... this "patshc" sound on the goatskin together with the bass?

I hope this was explained well enough but of course I´ll be happy to answer your questions to make it clearer

Take care
Sdready
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By michi
#6360
To get a clear bass, make sure that you have the drum tilted away from you, so the air can escape from the bottom of the foot. Try hitting a bass with the drum tilted, and hitting a bass with the drum standing flat on the ground. There will be a significant difference in the two sounds.

When you hit a bass, make sure that your hand rebounds immediately. The contact time of your hand with the skin should be as short as possible, like the blink of an eye. If your hand stays on the skin for even a very short amount of time, you will dampen the skin not allowing it to vibrate, and create a dull "thud" sound instead of a proper "boom". Compare the sound the bass makes when you deliberately hit and leave your hand on the skin with what it sounds like when you rebound immediately.

People often talk about "pulling the sound out of the djembe instead of hitting it into it" to get the idea across that the contact time should be as short as possible.

Also, for a proper bass, make sure that your hand is flat with your fingers straight. You should feel the impact of the bass mainly on the perimeter of your palm. Your fingers necessarily will strike the skin too. However, that should happen simultaneously with your palm, not before. A common mistake is to have slightly curled fingers so the fingers strike first, followed by the palm, leading to a muffled bass with the "patshc" sound you describe.

So, experiment: keep the drum tilted, keep the impact as short as possible, rebound immediately, and keep your fingers straight and flat (in line with your palm) when you strike. You should get a nice "boong" sound, caused by the skin still vibrating after your hand has left it.

Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By Carl
#6363
I second everything Michi said, and I would emphasize the "flat hand" part. If one part of your hand touches first, heal of your hand or fingers, then your sound will be off. That was the first thing that came to mind when you talked about "the sound of my hand hitting the drum".

I would definitely ask about it at your next class. These things are often best corrected "in person".


my 2 cents.

C
By Sdready
#6369
Thank you for your answers :)

Now I´ve tried that quite a while, with slightly different techniques, faster shorter, harder hitting etc... I took extra care of how I hold my hand and infact the bass turned out to be louder and nicer. But I still cant avoid that other sound. I guess that I´ll have to ask my teacher anyway.

now another thought came to my mind... do you think its possible that I ruined the drum´s sound by wrapping the foot with leather? Does that maybe influence vibration or something?

Thanks and Take care
Sdready
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By michi
#6376
Sdready wrote:do you think its possible that I ruined the drum´s sound by wrapping the foot with leather? Does that maybe influence vibration or something?
You wrapped the foot on the outside I take it? (Little point in "wrapping" the inside, come to think of it, not to mention difficult ;) )

No, outside decoration and such won't affect the sound.

Cheers,

Michi.
By Sdready
#6395
Hi everybody :)

well today I practised sitting on the couch... which is lower than a chair... and the drum was leaned TOWARDS me... and somehow I found it alot more comfortable and it also sounded better... bass etc came out alot better... and my arms didnt get tired .... (and since the seat was low arm+wrist and hand was still a straight line)
So, is it an option to play the Djembe like that? Or will that cause any problems later on? Are there Djembe players wo hold their djembe that way?

Thankyou
Take Care
Sdready
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By michi
#6398
Sdready wrote:well today I practised sitting on the couch... which is lower than a chair... and the drum was leaned TOWARDS me... [...] Are there Djembe players wo hold their djembe that way?
Not that I've seen. Even though it felt comfortable to you, I suspect that this isn't going to get you anywhere productive as a technique. For one, most places you play won't have a seat that low. Second, having just tried this for an experiment, I suspect that you will severely tense up over time. At least for me, when I play that way, even though my arms are still sort of comfortable, I find that I end up with a lot of tension in my abdomen and lower back. It feels like a prime recipe for getting tired quickly.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the djembe. People have been playing this drum for hundreds of years; during that time, I think its pretty much certain that just about everything that can be done with this drum has actually been tried many times over. What we ended up with is what passed the test of time: the stuff that works. It's no accident that posture, tilt, striking technique, and so on are what they are. They are that way because they work. So, making radical changes such as tilting the drum the opposite way and sitting lower, is unlikely to be the right thing: if it were, everyone would have been playing djembes that way for the past few hundred years.

Do take your technique seriously, and pay attention to the feedback from your teacher (which tacitly assumes that your teacher has good technique and bothers to pay attention to yours). Having the right posture, shoulder, arm, and hand position, and the right striking technique is very important if you want to go anywhere. Good technique is the key to good sound, stamina, playing relaxed, and playing at high speed. Technique likely is the hardest--but also most profitable--thing you will learn on this drum.

Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By Sdready
#6399
I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the djembe. People have been playing this drum for hundreds of years; during that time, I think its pretty much certain that just about everything that can be done with this drum has actually been tried many times over. What we ended up with is what passed the test of time
well ok thats a good point :) Thankyou!