Discuss drumming technique here
By djembeweaver
#25132
Moderator note: Thread moved from "Music and drumming" to "Technique" forum.

I've just downloaded the Tasumakan 'Madan' videos (which are very good by the way) and I've been thinking about that more closed or cupped slap that you often see in Malian players.

My slap is much more open and produces more of a note than a crack or pop, but I'd love to have this type of slap as a second slap. The trouble is I've tried on and off a few times over the years without a great deal of success.

Has anyone got any tips on how to play this type of slap?
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By rachelnguyen
#25135
Hey Djembeweaver,

I think there are a couple of things to try. First, make sure your drum is tuned nicely. Trying to get a nice slap on a slack head is hard. Next, don't worry about hand position, so much as the sound you are trying to get. Keep experimenting with your hands until you get the sound you are looking for, then keep practicing until you can reliably do it.

Keep us posted on your progress!
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By Rhythm House Drums
#25138
The Mali slap I've seen is very similar (if not the same) to a conga slap. Check out some videos on conga drumming or head over to congaplace for some advice.

I've started using this slap a lot after I was at a drum circle and a fella made this little 10" drum have some huge slaps... He showed me the technique a bit, it's fairly easy to catch on and it does add a nice accent or extra color on your pallet.

The basic idea is that you want to hit it like a open slap, but with fingers together and hand cupped just a bit, try to visualize digging into the skin with your finger tips and slightly pulling the skin towards you. The knife edge of my hand and my pinky usually all touch the skin when my finger tips do. I usually also bring my hand onto the skin more than I would for a normal slap / tone.

Hope this gets you going good. This slap is especially useful for small or crappy (ringy) sounding drums as it mutes out the overtones and gives more of a whip crack than a bright open slap.
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By e2c
#25140
Hmm... this stroke seems to be played with a very relaxed and ever-so-slightly cupped palm, at least, as far as I've seen and heard. (Which isn't very - especially compared to Rachel, who studies with a Malian teacher! :))

I think Rachel's advice as far as just messing around and experimenting to find your version of the stroke is excellent.
By djembeweaver
#25150
Clearly I should have posted this in the 'technique' section. Whoops.

Thanks for all the tips though -there's some good advice here to be going on with.

I can do it on a single right-hand stroke but not when I'm actually playing. I think I'm trying to put too much tension into my fingers and turning it into more of a closed slap.

Exactly how relaxed / tense should the fingers be for this type of slap and how much should they bounce off the skin of the drum?
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By the kid
#25155
There's probably some info on the mali slap in the 3rd slap thread if you can find that

I reckon the fingers make more contact with the skin than the usual slap so making it slightly 'muted'.

I witnessed Ibrahima Sarr a couple of years ago and was blown away by his sound. Crazy Slaps. Not sure how he does it do.
By megaduns
#26464
I have a loud popping Mali style slap and it came from being a conga player first. I spent years trying to get rid of it but now I've advanced and learned decent djembe technique I find that the combination of the conga slap and djembe slap seems just about right and the good thing is like you say you end up with 2 very distinct slap styles. My advice would be practise conga slaps With slight tension in the fingers and like the other posters say keep messing with it until you get the sound you want.
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By Waraba
#26477
Look on the SLAP-O-RAMA thread--people posted some good videos on that, which were helpful to me.
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By sol
#26655
My slap is much more open and produces more of a note than a crack or pop, but I'd love to have this type of slap as a second slap. The trouble is I've tried on and off a few times over the years without a great deal of success.
Has anyone got any tips on how to play this type of slap?[/quote]

I think to get a good sound on a slap you need to practice a lot, is not that easy to get a clear slap.
Also what i was told is that the Mali goat skin will give you different sound compare to the Guinean goat skin. This is because of the different type of food they give to the goats there. The Mali will favor more to produce a deep or strong tone, while the Guinean will have a stronger slap.


I have not played yet a Guinean djembe, i have a Mali drum and it does sound pretty good, yet is quite hard for me to get a good slap sound, i'm still practicing!
By djembeweaver
#26686
I think to get a good sound on a slap you need to practice a lot, is not that easy to get a clear slap
Very true. I have been practicing my style of slap for 12 years and counting - can't get anywhere near this Mali slap though!
Also what i was told is that the Mali goat skin will give you different sound compare to the Guinean goat skin. This is because of the different type of food they give to the goats there. The Mali will favor more to produce a deep or strong tone, while the Guinean will have a stronger slap
Hmmn...it's certainly a good story, but I've used skins from both Guinea and Mali and have never noticed any difference (ditto the goats themselves). Besides, the technique is more responsible for the sound than the skin (or even than the drum). You can verify this by giving a djembefola your drum.
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By michi
#26703
sol wrote:Also what i was told is that the Mali goat skin will give you different sound compare to the Guinean goat skin.
I'd say that story is apocryphal :)
djembeweaver wrote:Hmmn...it's certainly a good story, but I've used skins from both Guinea and Mali and have never noticed any difference (ditto the goats themselves).
Same here. Individual variations in the skin, in particular thickness and fat content, are far larger. It depends on the goat and what it ate during its life much more than the country of origin.
Besides, the technique is more responsible for the sound than the skin (or even than the drum). You can verify this by giving a djembefola your drum.
Too bloody true! 90% of the sound is just that, technique.

Michi.
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By sol
#26719
You can verify this by giving a djembefola your drum.
I will definitely do that!
I'd say that story is apocryphal
Agree Michi
I have not been to Mali or Guinea yet, to confirm this, might be true, or fake, but i heard that in this forum, and this is my stronger djembe sourse of info at the moment!

Besides, the technique is more responsible for the sound than the skin (or even than the drum). You can verify this by giving a djembefola your drum.
Also agree with you Djembeweaver!
By bubudi
#26903
this reminds me of the debate we once had on how much influence the type of wood had on the sound of the drum. no matter your stance in the debate, we'd probably agree that wood and skin have an effect on sound, even if it's not a huge factor.

something that may not have been explored yet, is that some drums just speak to you, or rather, they have an energy about them, and your hands seem to make good sounds effortlessly on them. the quality and thickness of the skin, drum proportions, bearing edge, type of wood and drum shape all seem to work together, and sound great even with someone with mediocre technique.
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By michi
#26922
bubudi wrote:this reminds me of the debate we once had on how much influence the type of wood had on the sound of the drum. no matter your stance in the debate, we'd probably agree that wood and skin have an effect on sound, even if it's not a huge factor.
My take is that the wood has some influence, but a fairly minor one compared to the shape and finishing of the shell. (That's assuming a traditional wood.) By far the biggest influence (apart from the player's technique) is the skin. I've had the same drum sound dramatically different with different skins, so much so that you'd swear it's a completely different drum.
something that may not have been explored yet, is that some drums just speak to you, or rather, they have an energy about them, and your hands seem to make good sounds effortlessly on them. the quality and thickness of the skin, drum proportions, bearing edge, type of wood and drum shape all seem to work together, and sound great even with someone with mediocre technique.
Yes. That's one of those things that we'll never get an analytical handle on. There are many intangible factors that determine whether I fall in love with a shell or not. These are important and shouldn't be ignored. Being happy with one's drum is very important.

Michi.
By JSB
#36796
The major technical aspect involved in what some people call the malian slap is the hand position. Shift the tone hand position by roughly one inch towards the center of the skin to get the slap. There is no muffle of the skin involved (no conga style slap) in the basic slap technique.