Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
By shakashaka
#32681
Hi all!

I've been always reading that we should store our djembes laying on their side in order to reduce the tension :ubergeek: . I have never understood which extra tension involves placing your djembe in vertical...anyway I followed recomendations.

Now I face that my djembe family its growing... and placing them on their side is starting to mean a problem in terms os space. I think I should start to place them in vertical, but I don't really know if this will mean a shorter skin life.

So guys... how do you store your djembes? :smokin:
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By michi
#32682
I have no idea how someone could come up with the idea that you have to store a djembe on its side. The tension on the skin is the exact same one, whether the drum is upright or not.

So, store them upright. That's how most people do it :)

Michi.
By shakashaka
#32684
Me neither! this always seemed a stupid theory to me...but I followed it because it mean no effort.

I can understand that maybe it's better to store it on its side if it's not inside the bag, as it may ease air circulation, but as far as all of them are stored on their bag I will follow your advice ;)

Many thanks!
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By Michel
#32686
When I learned to scuba dive they learned me not to store the bottle upright, because the risk of falling. With the same reason I prefer my djembe's laying on their side. I realize there is no risk of 200 bar exploding in case of falling, it just has a smaller chance of damage.
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By michi
#32688
Michel wrote:When I learned to scuba dive they learned me not to store the bottle upright, because the risk of falling.
Hmmm… That's an analogy with a serious limp. Comparing the risk of storing a djembe to the risk of storing a 200 bar air bottle upright is a little bit like comparing the risk of stubbing your toe on a piece of uneven paving to getting struck by lightning…
With the same reason I prefer my djembe's laying on their side. I realize there is no risk of 200 bar exploding in case of falling, it just has a smaller chance of damage.
Yes. If a djembe falls over, there is some risk of it getting damaged. How often do djembes fall over? I honestly don't know. But, in ten years of drumming, I recall maybe half a dozen cases, not just among my own drums, but among dozens of drums owned by other people. Let's be real: 999 out of a thousand times, when a djembe falls over, that's that. You pick it up, and you play it just like you did a minute ago.

Michi.
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By the kid
#32689
I would say I had 5 djembe skins pop when the drum was standing. It happens when the temperature drops at night and the air in the bowl is warmer than the outside air and this puts extra tension on the skin and if highly tuned it can pop. Not a scientific experiment but I've never noticed a drum popping in this was when left side ways.
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By michi
#32692
the kid wrote:I would say I had 5 djembe skins pop when the drum was standing. It happens when the temperature drops at night and the air in the bowl is warmer than the outside air and this puts extra tension on the skin and if highly tuned it can pop.
Hmmm… So, you are suggesting that, if the drum is standing up, the air trapped in the bowl has a different temperature than the air outside. Fair enough, for a short while, that might actually be true. Not for long though; the temperature difference will equalise in very short order. Moreover, the temperature in a room changes slowly (it's not like putting the drum in a fridge), so any temperature difference between inside and outside would have to be absolutely minimal because the skin provides plenty of surface area for heat exchange. I would expect any actual different to be less than a degree C (if that).

But, even if there is a temperature difference, for the life of me, I can't see how that would make it more likely for a skin to pop.
Not a scientific experiment but I've never noticed a drum popping in this was when left side ways.
I would put that down to coincidence rather than positioning. I cannot see any plausible explanation for a skin lasting longer with the drum on its side than standing upright. It just doesn't make sense. In ten years of playing, this is the first time that I have ever heard of this theory (in Australia, the US, or West Africa). No teacher or anyone else connected with drumming has ever mentioned to me that drums should be stored on their side.

I think this strongly suggests that we are looking at an urban myth.

Cheers,

Michi.
By shakashaka
#32694
the kid wrote:I would say I had 5 djembe skins pop when the drum was standing. It happens when the temperature drops at night and the air in the bowl is warmer than the outside air and this puts extra tension on the skin and if highly tuned it can pop. Not a scientific experiment but I've never noticed a drum popping in this was when left side ways.
Let's assume you are right and skins tend to pop more often if the drum is standing... Will this happen if the drum is in its case?
I understand that, when a djembe is inside his bag, temperature variations will be very very reduced
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By michi
#32695
shakashaka wrote:Let's assume you are right and skins tend to pop more often if the drum is standing... Will this happen if the drum is in its case?
I understand that, when a djembe is inside his bag, temperature variations will be very very reduced
Having the drum in a bag is always a good thing, regardless of whether upright or horizontal :) If it's a decent bag, it'll protect the drum from humidity and temperature changes to some extent, and it's good insurance against accidental knocks and spills.

But no guarantees, even with bag: I've seen many drums over the years that popped while they were in their bag, both my own and those of other people. You get this really surprised and, a moment later, this really down-cast look on people's faces when they are ready to play, pull out their drum, and realise it popped since they last played it :)

Michi.
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By the kid
#32696
Ok My theory of temperature is just me guessing as to why drumskins pop standing up. Maybe it

has to do with a change of pressure or a change of heat.

But I have noticed it happening in hot weather.
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Will this happen if the drum is in its case? 
Well if the drum is in it's case there is probably less chance of it happening as the temperature is more regulated in the case. But people do have their drums pop in the case.

Fact is drum skins pop due to a weakness in the skin. I haven't had a fresh skin pop in this way. So with wear and tear the skin has some weakness and then maybe is more susceptible to popping. Then a change in tension can trigger a tear.

Look at rocks and the affect of weathering on them. The contraction and expansion forces due to temp changes can break them up.
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By Michel
#32697
Michi wrote:
Yes. If a djembe falls over, there is some risk of it getting damaged. How often do djembes fall over? I honestly don't know. But, in ten years of drumming, I recall maybe half a dozen cases, not just among my own drums, but among dozens of drums owned by other people. Let's be real: 999 out of a thousand times, when a djembe falls over, that's that. You pick it up, and you play it just like you did a minute ago.
But there is still a smaller chance of damage when it doesn't have the chance to fall down. I'm feeling the pain of my djembe when it falls down. And I forgot to tell you guys I live on a boat (that rocks!) and have two small kids. So I store them laying down.
I think that 999 out of a thousand board members live in a free country, so I guess everybody knows best for them selves.

Great discussion, though... :?
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By michi
#32698
Michel wrote:But there is still a smaller chance of damage when it doesn't have the chance to fall down. I'm feeling the pain of my djembe when it falls down.
Yeah, well, I don't like watching mine fall over either :)
I think that 999 out of a thousand board members live in a free country, so I guess everybody knows best for them selves.
Right. I have no problem with people storing their drums in any position they like :) But I'm very sure that storing them on their side doesn't prolong skin life.

Cheers,

Michi.
By Paul
#32699
Yes the Kid is right and wrong, though I don't know the exact reason, but i will idly speculate all the same. My teachers always told me to leave it on its side after playing (though in Africa), when i didn't it imploded and never did it again, so that is a limited sample group. Vacuum?? (Though that time it happened within about 5min) I'm of the opinion that a vibrating skin and pressure not to mention sweat will leave damp air trapped in the bowl. I also generally leave my drum on its side in the break if i perform under stage lights (though I sweat a bucket when i play).

In the case of Ireland, I could speculate a mix of constant drizzle, poorly constructed and insulated houses and (here's the politics bit) an absolute sense of madness about putting radiators into houses up until 1973 when OPEC formed and Arab countries decided to stop essentially giving away oil. (does this describe where you live Kid? :D ) And so if you have been out and about and then return to a ridiculously dry house.

I generally stack them top to tail and sometimes on top of each other. I am of the opinion that having an air flow is good, but this again is based absolutely zero scientific knowledge. So it must be right then. The bag may negate all this, especially if you stick a few of them silica things you get with a pair of shoes.

Greets from Dakar
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By michi
#32700
Paul wrote:My teachers always told me to leave it on its side after playing (though in Africa), when i didn't it imploded and never did it again, so that is a limited sample group. Vacuum??
Nope, for two reasons:
  • There is no such thing as a pressure-tight seal between the foot of the drum and the floor. The tiniest unevenness, down to micrometer level, will allow pressure to equalise in short order.
  • Even if we assume a perfect seal, any pressure difference created by different temperatures inside and outside the bowl would be absolutely minute. I can create a far bigger pressure difference by just lightly blowing on the skin.
In the case of Ireland, I could speculate a mix of constant drizzle, poorly constructed and insulated houses and (here's the politics bit) an absolute sense of madness about putting radiators into houses up until 1973 when OPEC formed and Arab countries decided to stop essentially giving away oil. (does this describe where you live Kid? :D ) And so if you have been out and about and then return to a ridiculously dry house.
Temperature and, more so, humidity changes are real skin killers. The skin readily absorbs moisture and stretches when it does. As humidity drops, the skin shrinks again. Every time it shrinks, a few more collagen fibres break.

I recently pulled a drum that I haven't played for just under a year out of its (high-quality) bag. The skin on it was about 14 months old, and the drum was stored in an area with minimal temperature and humidity changes. When I opened the bag, guess what, I found a broken skin.

Skins break even if you don't play a drum at all and store it well. That's just how it is.
I am of the opinion that having an air flow is good, but this again is based absolutely zero scientific knowledge. So it must be right then.
Right :)

I find that, ever since I've started throwing a pinch of kosher salt over my left shoulder before playing, my skins last twice as long ;-)

Michi.
By Paul
#32701
michi wrote:I find that, ever since I've started throwing a pinch of kosher salt over my left shoulder before playing, my skins last twice as long
But would that vary between left and right depending whether your in northern or southern hemisphere?