Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
By dontambor
#34604
Hello guys!

For years, I've benn triying to achieve the ultimate tunning on all my djembes, leading to pop skins and to break rope in my search... years later, I've noticed that, the older the skin is, the better it sounds (this doesn't apply to old uncared skins tough), if you keep your drum in its bag, and you have a lets say, 6 to 8 months old skin, it will sound nice, crisp and dry, the tones round and a deep nice bass...

So I reached the idea of having two or three djembes, and make the skins last longer, as i said before, i work on my skins direct from the slaughterhouse and achieved a very specific taste in skins, including time of curing, wether if its sanded or not, the thickness of course and preferably FEMALE goats...

what do you do? have you heard something like this before? is there any thread with this issue?

Thanks for passing by, wontanara.
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By Dugafola
#34607
i think most people who do skin work or skin their own drums know what types of skins they like, the thickness, country of origin and sex of the goat.

for myself, i like thick/med. thick hides from guinea from my good friend facelly kourouma in tombolia conakry. i've also had good success with other hide from mali and senegal.
By dontambor
#34609
Dugafola wrote:i think most people who do skin work or skin their own drums know what types of skins they like, the thickness, country of origin and sex of the goat.

for myself, i like thick/med. thick hides from guinea from my good friend facelly kourouma in tombolia conakry. i've also had good success with other hide from mali and senegal.
Yeah, but what about curing?
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By Dugafola
#34610
i skin it and then play it and tune it up gradually. if it happens to sit in a bag for 6 mos it's cause i'm out doing other things. i usually don't tune my drums up very high though so they tend to last me long enough.

i know that the skins i normally play are fleshed and stretched and cured in the sun. i'm not sure how long he lets them "cure" before selling them. sometimes they are wetshaved and sometimes not.

i prefer them over others because they are very consistent and I've never broken one while pulling it.
By dontambor
#35717
I think I should go deeper in this because involves more than just let the drum sitting in it's bag, i don't meant cured for the process of a cheese or a wine, where it should be left quiet for a long time, I meant it in the way of aging, and for a djembe, it's important that you play him so he gets richer and stays happy, he can manage the energy you create and transform with him in a better way when it's used to it's skin, he likes his rings, and even the rope, i'm putting a spiritual backgroun in this no matter if I'm called a romantic (or crazy :rofl: ), but only on things that used to be live, like the three and the goat, there must be some sort of communion between those to achieve the ultimate sound, aaaand, a very strong wet pull :lol:.

Do you feel the same? i mean, do you fell a skin better after a couple months playing it, or you like it new?

Thanks.
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By drtom
#35720
I think many, if not most, of your fellow djembefolas will agree with you about the skin improving with time/use.

As for the synergy between the drummer, the drum and components of the drum -- I have no doubt it plays a significant role in the generation of the voice, but here I'm pretty sure we're in the minority.

drtom
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By michi
#35721
I find that a new skin improves in sound over the first two or three weeks. Then it holds its sound for maybe three months with little change, and then gradually gets "tired", with the overtones getting duller, making it harder to get those really high-pitched slaps, and needing tuning more often. Then, towards the end of the skin's life, I often find that the surface texture changes, with the skin getting a slightly tacky feel. Once that happens, I know that it's going to die on me in the next few weeks.

Michi.
By the kid
#38909
So Don, I'm thinking your like, the drum is male, and so the skin must be female. And the drum is in marriage with the skin and your the priest who weds them and you spend the honeymoon breaking in the wife. Am i half way there or what?... lol

Is the sound better of a female goat or what. I only notice the male skins are male due to the stink. If it is thick i can't say no though.

I love the sound of fresh goat too especially in the morning, but do like it a bit more aged in the evening. I Have a 10 year old skin on a 25 year old drum and still think it's the bomb. It did sound fruitier when it was young but it still has a sound i like. I tuned it down to avoid breaking it. And it sounds good to me in this tune, kinda oldschool. I'd rather save the skin and still enjoy playing it and put a new skin on another shell if i want a screamer or something more reliable.

That's where i bring in the respect for the material. You will never know how it sounds aged unless you try it. Why destroy it by over tuning or whatever so i have to replace it. Try and keep it going is what i do, like my car. lol.

Still i beat that drum hard for a few years when it was freshly skinned and it was tweaked but the shell is not so wide, prob 12"-12"1/2 in diameter. I wonder when people say they go through a skin in 6 months, are they talking about a larger diameter drum. The extra tension needed to tune a larger diameter may weaken the skin to the point of it running out of juice, sounding lame or breaking. I also suspect the people who have there drums leading such a short life do prestretch the skin in various ways that I think weaken the skin to the point that they don't get many years out of it. Thats another matter that has been discussed. I'm sure the science is against me there.

On that, people also say the prestretch helps with the breaking in of the skin. Basically this has been hashed out and there are many threads on playing in a skin/Wet pull etc and always people end up with varying opinions.

At the end of the day, I think the rope work and how you put on the skin is more important than breaking it in. You simply want to capture the right amount of tension in the ropes and have that tension distributed evenly so the skin is in constant even tension when it is tuned.