Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
By sebaT
#25798
Olla djembe lovers

Can someone please explain me in great detail and simple english the procedure of tuning the verts with a stick??

I actually damaged the rope on my drum, i think i twisted it too much, stupid!!

What i do is: get the stick under a vertical, approx. in the middle, and twist it, after that i use it as a lever and pull the top, leaning with the bottom part on the shell of the drum, clamp it at the top with pliers and move on to the next one.... what confuses me is that after a few verts i get a lot of rope, so i tryed twistin it a few times... and that eventually led to damaging the rope in 2-3 places....

.... and.... it is extremely hard for me to start that procedure, it takes a lot of force and energy to get the stick and twist it under the first vert.... why is that??? do I need to visit the gym for some strenght exercise, or apply some technique??
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By rachelnguyen
#25800
Hi Seba,

Yeah, pulling verticals with a stick is hard work, no two ways about it. Especially, as you say, getting that stick under the first vertical.

About all the extra rope:
I have found that if you pull it by hand a few places ahead of where you are, it takes up a lot of the slack and doesn't require nearly so much twisting. If the rope is sized properly in proportion to the loops on the rings, it doesn't seem to slip back once it is pulled through a few places ahead of where you are pulling. This is hard to explain in writing. Please ask for clarification if you aren't understanding what I am trying to say.

Having said all that, I do recommend either a pulling bar or a pulling stand rather than a stick. It is a LOT easier, even with just the pulling bar. A pulling stand is light years away from the stick. Well worth the investment.
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By nkolisnyk
#25810
Another trick is to NOT go all the way around the drum, but separate the drum into halves. So start at the goat's 'butt', so to speak, and work your way around one side to the neck. Then go back to the butt and work your way around the other way. I saw my teacher use this tehnique with his trusty baguette-shaped stick. Probably the best advice I've recieved on tightening a drum.

This should halve the amount of slack you have to deal with. It also makes it alot easier to tighten the drum evenly, because you have to slowly increase your pulling effort as you go. If you are only going half way around the drum, the range in which you have to change your effort is effectively halved. Makes it so you don't end up with uneven rings.
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By Erny
#25821
Hmm, this sounds logical, but what about the slack. In general one is trying to pull the slack "out" of the drum, according to your description half of it will be pulled to the beginning of the vertical-rope. Will you open the starting-knot of the verticals to get the slack out there?

Cheers...
...Erny
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By nkolisnyk
#25822
That's right. I re-open the staring knot and end up with extra rope, which is OK if you have the extra rope to spare. You can cut it off when you're done, or make a handle/strap loop with it.

This technique may not be needed when doing the final pull. But if you do some planning while you are reskinning the drum, you can estimate where the final placement of the knot will line up with the neck of the goat AFTER this 'half pull' thing has been done.
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By rachelnguyen
#25823
If we are talking about the wet pull, I do something a little different.

For the very first pull I pull a few verticals in each quarter of the drum. (imagine the head of the drum is a clock. If the spine of the goat is at 6 o'clock, i start there, then do a few pulls at 3,12, and 9. Once the rings are where i want them, I tighten the slack with a pulling bar or on my stand.... Gently.

For the dry pull, I start at 6 and work my way around, but if I notice the rings are slipping too much, I will jump to the other side of the drum and pull a few verticals. All the excess rope gets pulled through ahead of me by hand. So every three verticals or so, I stop and pull some excess rope through ahead of me.

Rachel
By sebaT
#25833
Right now i don`t have time or the money to get a pull bar, or a stand and i need to re skin my only drum, but i am planning to make a stand all by myself in the near future :D
I have found that if you pull it by hand a few places ahead of where you are, it takes up a lot of the slack and doesn't require nearly so much twisting. If the rope is sized properly in proportion to the loops on the rings, it doesn't seem to slip back once it is pulled through a few places ahead of where you are pulling. This is hard to explain in writing. Please ask for clarification if you aren't understanding what I am trying to say.
I think i understand, but can`t be sure until i try it.... basically all i have to do is just spread the extra rope in advance instead of collecting it all at once, the rest of the procedure is the same.... one thing (among many others) i don`t understand/know is the proper proportion of the rope to the loops on the rings????
Another trick is to NOT go all the way around the drum, but separate the drum into halves.
I like this one, especially because the last time i tryed to tune my drum i noticed that when i go in one direction the "loop knot" (i hope you know what knot i mean, i don`t know the names in english so good, i mean the loop on the verticals at the end of the rope) on the verts goes all the way up, and when i go the other way all around it ends up all the way down, i think that could solve that problem :dance:

does it have to be centered all the way (loop knot), or is it up to me?? When it is all the way down it kinda gets in the way when you pull diamonds.... guess that isn`t too good
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By rachelnguyen
#25834
Hey Seba,

The proportion of the loops on the rings to the vertical rope is not exact... But basically you don't want the loops too big or the rope will slip around too easily. Too small and it is a pain because you end up with more verticals than you need and it is more work. For me, about an inch on center seems good with 4mm rope.

Regarding the loop knot at the end of the rope.... It really is a matter of aesthetics, i think. But if mine ends up too low, I just unknot it and redo it higher up. Usually, though, I have the opposite problem, where it ends up against the ring loop. You CAN pull diamonds with the loop in the way, but it is hard work, lol.

Rachel
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By michi
#25844
When I do a drum with a closing loop, initially, I position the closing loop about halfway down the verticals and then go around tightening towards the weaving end. For the second round, the loop is still low, so I can move a little bit of slack over to the next vertical to engage the cleat. On the final round, I move the closing loop all the way up to the top ring so it is out of the way and pull the slack through while I'm tightening.

Cheers,

Michi.
By djembeweaver
#25901
I've been using the stick technique for 10 years and have learned from makng LOTS of mistakes. Here are my top tips:

1) During the wet pull be very gentle. At first just pull the slack through. It's better to accept that you might have to do several rounds than to try and put tension in as you go (which always leads to problems later on). On the wet pull my sole aim is to get the rings level and a decent amount of tension in the skin. The right height for the rings at the end of the wet pull (for me) is level, or slightly above, the playing surface (depending on how tight the rings are). When you start to put a bit of tension in don't put too much in one place - it's ok to flit about to opposite sides of the djembe. I only use the stick towards the end of the wet pull. I have learned to be very careful at this stage because the stick can produce a massive amount of torque. If you pull too much in one place you will have a skewed head to rectify in the dry pull.

2) The right stick is really important. Mine is 56cm long, about 5cm diameter at the top (so you can get a good grip) then tapering to about 3.5cm at the other end, with a final taper like a sharpened pencil (this makes it easier to slip the stick under the verticals). I also use a smaller stick when the verticals get tight. I start off with the smaller stick, then switch to the larger one as the slack builds up. This avoids putting too much tension on one vertical (no, I cannot stress this enough!)

3) Same applies to the dry pull as the wet pull: It's better (and ultimately faster and better) to accept that you will have to do several rounds than to try to put all of the tension in in one round. Doing it this way means you won't have to deal with reams of slack as you'll be taking a bit out each time. Inevitably you will have to double or treble the loops on the stick to take up the slack. This can be tricky though there is a distinct knack. However, you can usually avoid this problem by switching to a smaller stick - because it is thinner you can get the second loop in easy, then pull it tight for several verts like this. That way when you switch back to the larger stick you will have built up a bit more slack so you can get that second twist in.

Jon