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Djembefola - Djembe Forum •Tone+Slap Problem
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Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:18 am
by Sdready
Hello all!

A friend of mine came by yesterday with her new Djembe (was used) and somehow on this drum Slap and tone are very similar. I mean you CAN hear a difference the slap sounds a little more metallic, but its the same tone level, do you understand what I mean?
Now, when really drumming on that Djembe it´s almost not hearable that there are tones and slaps played.
I guess it must be the drum, since on other Djembes it works just fine and usually tone and slap sound much more uh "apart" and different.

So could it be its the skin? Can this get better with a new skin? Or do we have to stretch it even more? (skin dents only maybe 1mm in the center of the drum when presed with thumb)
Is it the Shell? Well carved and made of bushmango wood.
Can it be sth else? Maybe the drum needs special tecnique? (We really tried alot though)
Any other ideas?

Any advice will be appreciated, since right now she is kind of unhappy with it and playing could be more fun for sure...

Have a good day^^

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:46 am
by bubudi
how big is the diameter of the drum? how big are your hands and hers? how old is the skin? are the tones/slaps much more metallic sounding than on other drums you've played? do the tones sound nice to your ears or completely uninspiring?

smaller diameter drums require an adjustment in technique. if a skin has been treated in the wrong way or is way too old it can sound dead. i would start by cranking up the drum a good bit. see if it makes a difference, then crank it some more. if that doesn't help, remove the skin, check out the interior of the bowl and the size of the soundhole, and check how tight the rings are to the outer rim of the drum. make any necessary adjustments, then fit a good goat skin on it.

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:59 am
by Sdready
Thank you for your answer!
Its a large Djembe...the diameter is about 33-34 cm
My hands are 17,5 cm long... my friends might be a litte longer, let them be 18 cm (she has longer fingers)
Unfortunately we can´t tell how old the skin is. It might be old. It´s at least 1,5 years old (drum was sitting at her boyfreinds house) plus the time the former owner had it on.
I would say the tones sound uninspiring and the slaps sound a little metallic, but really only a little, bass is good. Other Djembes including my old axe sound far more metallic.

Well so we´ll try cranking the drum a bit and see if that helps... and if the skin pops, we at least have a very good reason to try a new skin ;-)

Thanks and have a good day

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:39 pm
by Djembe-nerd
This is my .02

- Skin treated with oils/shea butter will not have distinct slaps (check that out) Oiled skins also makes it very difficult to take the skin to a higher pitch.
- Too thick skin for the shell will not have distinct slaps either, check by playing at the other end or 90 degrees from the seam. Sometimes the skin is thinner at these places.
- Some skins are old at 1.5 years, have the wind blown out of them, I had one which went dead after 8 months, but I had it real tight so that may have been a reason.

- Other than this, the shape and throat also have effect on the slap/tone distinction but that you cannot change much. More bass means bigger throat, which can effect the slaps. (More experienced people here can comment more on thsi one, I only tell what I heard).

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:38 pm
by Dugafola
assuming a properly headed drum and decent technique, i think your friend just needs to hit the drum harder.

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:50 pm
by Mikeleza
You can make tones and slaps with anything, even thick wooden tables, if you have the technique.

If the drum has a good contrast between bass and tone, then theres probably nothing critically wrong with the drum.

Re: Tone+Slap Problem

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:25 pm
by Sdready
Nother question... if a Djembe happens to have rings which are a bit too big (o far there is no slipping noticeable) does that affect the sound as well? WIll the drum sound better with good fitting rings?

Can a skin be dead after only 3 months of randomly playing? Maybe if it was not the best skin?
How would you say does a skin sound when ists "dead" ?

Have a good day