Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
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By e2c
#12924
dleufer wrote:In Europe and Africa. Famoudou seemed to prefer using rings on duns as the duns that he was selling at the course were made to his specs and had rings. And I heard some seriously good duns over there all with rings. I guess there are advantages to both but I wouldn't go writing off duns with rings, maybe it's just "in vogue" to use "traditional techniques" and it seems that the people who invented the traditional techniques prefer the new techniques...
I can see the advantages to both, especially for people who tour and/or have to play a lot in highly variable weather conditions - big changes in level of humidity, etc.

What I was thinking of was more along the lines of highly altered designs. In the end, I think it comes down to personal preference (as so many things do), but it can't hurt for drum builders to know how to sew the heads. What if someone comes in with drums to be repaired and they want them done that way? if you can't do it, you lose some money.... :)

@ michi and Garvin: Thanks for the tips!

Edited to add: http://www.drumskulldrums.com/en2/21/Sh ... rodCatID=4 - check the specs on their duns.

Wula Drum doesn't have any pics of headed duns right now, but their method is the same as DSD's.
User avatar
By dleufer
#12925
Yeah it certainly is good to experiment with both methods. I reheaded a mini-kenkeni myself with rope rings about 6 months ago. Haven't tried it out on anything bigger yet but I have plans to find a big oil barrell and skin her up traditional stylee...
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By michi
#12928
e2c wrote:I'd rather have sewn-on heads, and I've rarely seen any of the better drum builders making duns with rings.
Are you casting aspersions on my drum-making skills? ;-)

I used rings because they came with my shells and it's less work to fit skins with rings than with the traditional sewn method. (I did help fit skins the traditional way maybe two years ago and it's definitely a tedious job.) I also suspect that rings may be a bit more durable (but I don't have first-hand evidence of that).

In terms of sound, I don't think it makes any difference at all. I agree that rings on dunduns aren't as traditional. But then, rings on djembes aren't traditional either. They've been around only thirty years or so too. So, it's only a matter of how far back you go...

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By e2c
#12929
Casting aspersions: hardly!

I have a feeling that the highest-quality sewn-on heads likely make for better drums than not-so-high quality duns headed using rings.

Am also thinking that this is one of those things where there might be a big difference of opinion between people who mainly play duns and people who mainly play djembe, though so far, the folas I know personally tend to seem content with rings on their regular djembes and sewn heads for bass djembes and duns.

Again, though, I can see that both climate and type of use (mostly at home, or mostly for touring, etc.) are big factors, along with weight.

Who knows, maybe things will change radically and everyone will end up following Famoudou's lead?
User avatar
By the kid
#12931
e2c wrote:I have a feeling that the highest-quality sewn-on heads likely make for better drums than not-so-high quality duns headed using rings.
Yes"highest-quality" will probably never equal "not-so-high" quality.
User avatar
By dleufer
#13107
So I've finished tuning all the duns and here are my findings.

I found that pulling was the best way to tune them. On some drums one side was initially higher than the other. When this was the case I pulled ONLY from that side. Of course the other side also got tuned but I think that the lower side was tuned more with each pull because they gradually evened out a bit, but not completely.

To pull them I just used a big stick and a locking pliers/vicegrips. There was no need for a pulling bar as the ropes never got too tight, nothing like the ropes on a djembe. I wrapped the rope around the stick, twisted it and then pulled. I also hammered down the rings on any part where they were uneven.

I did put knots into one of the kenkenis initially but later on I took them out and just pulled it. Keanie/the kid was spot on about the weave pattern. If you do it in reverse it locks perfectly. Very hard to explain. Instead of going under ropes you go over them. This is using the Guinea weave, the type of weave which used 3 ropes rather than the standard Mali weave which uses two.

Basically, it wasn't that hard at all to get them nicely in tune using the stick and pliers. And now they sound amazing!
By shortypalmer
#13143
When i tighten a djun I just pull the verticals from one direction, that is of course if it dry and not a head i am putting on. when pulling verticals i pull down and hold the rope and pull up on the rope slightly so in a sense i am pulling in both directions. I use a diamond pattern through the middle. the pattern goes like this, make a diamond using vertical one and vertical three skipping vertical two. then make a diamond using vertical two and vertical five skipping four and do this all the way around. when you get to the end you just pull the last two verticals together, it does not make a diamond but it does not look bad, the key to the this pattern is that you keep the rope in the center of the drum all the way around so you do not end up above (or i guess below depending on your perspective) the diamond where you started.
shorty
http://www.goatskins.com
Djunvertsmall.jpg
Djunvertsmall.jpg (61.47 KiB) Viewed 2878 times
By tauber
#17879
Can I ask you all a question? Where do you get the term duns? Who says that? I have never heard any master drummers that I know ever refer to Guinean bass drums as duns, or doons. I believe the correct pronunciation of the Hamanah bass drums and even the Faranah bass drums is dunun - pronounced dunU with the accent on the second syllable. That's what I have come to believe from all my trips to Guinea and from Mamady, Famoudou, Wadaba (Mamady Kourouma), Billy Konaté and on. And if I'm wrong, then tell me! Thanks everybody. Dunun and it is plural. So 2 are the dunun or dunun without the article 'a'. As well as one dunun. I hope I'm wrong because I see it just about everywhere! Let me know.
User avatar
By michi
#17914
tauber wrote:Can I ask you all a question? Where do you get the term duns? Who says that? I have never heard any master drummers that I know ever refer to Guinean bass drums as duns, or doons. I believe the correct pronunciation of the Hamanah bass drums and even the Faranah bass drums is dunun - pronounced dunU with the accent on the second syllable.
Hi Alan,

thank you for bringing this up. Was about bloody time too!

I have sat through Q&A sessions with Mamady where he spoke about exactly that. They are not "doons", are not "djun djun", they are are not "dun duns"; as you say, they are "dunun". Common spelling is "dundun", but the middle "d" is not voiced, so it sounds like "dunun". Mamady got quite sarcastic about this on occasion, making fun of people who came up with "doons" or "djun djun".

A friend of mine insists on calling a sangban something that rhymes with "bang bang." Despite me pointing out repeatedly that this is not the correct pronunciation, she insists that she likes to pronounce it that way. Never mind that this pronunciation has nothing to do with the correct one. It is attitudes like this that gradually erode a culture. Sad…

Below is a video clip from Mamady's Q&A session in Dublin, where he touches on this, albeit in much more restrained terms than I heard him speak about it…



Edited to add: Sadly, a Google search for "djun djun" returns 159,000 results :(

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By dleufer
#18200
Duns is an abreviation. To save time. When you have to say the word or type it over and over it makes sense to abreviate it. If I'm telling someone what they are for the first time I will call them dununs. Otherwise extreme cultural accuracy goes out the window in favour of convenience.
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By rachelnguyen
#18205
I just came back with a new set of dun dun too. The dununba was tuned in Mali, but the kenkeni came over loose because it hadn't dried yet.

I didn't do the tuning myself, but I watched. Here's what I saw:

First, my dun duns have rings.

My dununba was tuned by it's maker, Madu Diarra. He pulled the verticals using a stick and pulled it HARD.. first on one side, tapping the rings with a mallet between each pull. Then, after the first round, he flipped the drum and pulled the second skin, tapping all the while with the mallet. He did this while straddling the drum. Because he did such a great job pulling the verticals, there was no need for knots.

Sidy, my teacher, tuned the kenkeni the same way. First one end, then the other, tapping the rings with the mallet periodically. No knots.

Both drums sound gorgeous.

There are knots on my teacher's kenkeni and they are about halfway between the two heads. I am guessing that is to keep the tension even.
User avatar
By michi
#18206
rachelnguyen wrote:There are knots on my teacher's kenkeni and they are about halfway between the two heads. I am guessing that is to keep the tension even.
Seeing that what holds the skin at one end in place is the tension against the skin at the other end, pretty much by definition, the tension at both ends has to be exactly the same. The only thing that can distort that is friction of the skin against the side wall and the bearing edge. If the friction at one end is a little higher than at the other, the side with the higher friction will have slightly higher pitch until the skin breaks the friction lock and moves. But the skin with the higher friction may well be the one that is further from the weave.

I've noticed this on my dunduns, which have the weave close to one end. The skin with the higher pitch sometimes is the one closer to the weave, and sometimes is the one further away from the weave. So, I don't think it matters whether you weave in the middle or closer to one end. It's purely a matter of aesthetics.

Cheers,

Michi.