Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
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By drtom
michi wrote: Fair enough! My guess is that the shape won't make any difference. I've had oval drums from customers that I tuned normally, and never experienced problems with uneven pitch.
Again, my experience coincides with yours, though it wouldn't surprise me to find a drum that behaves as Waraba has described. Just kind of makes sense. Of course, as someone else suggests, variations in thickness, density and elasticity upon the playing surface is probably going to also factor into the equation.

Boy! Could we use some controlled experiments around here.

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By drtom
michi wrote: But then, I'm one of those people who prefer to put the spine on the shortest diameter. Maybe there is a correlation here? I honestly don't know…
Please! One experiment at a time.

But this is definitely worth looking into sometime in the future.

User avatar
By Shaeren
Interesting how the skin behaves when tuning. I think a lot of people would assume that where the diamonds are placed would make a big difference. I guess that's why there are those who believe you need to do a full round to keep the tuning even all around the head.

I'm curious - how did everyone else start learning how to tune djembes? Did you have someone to show you the basic technique, or have you learned all this through trial and error?
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By Waraba
I was too... too something to study the diamonds and figure it out, and too ashamed in advance to do something wrong, have it break, and have a knowledgeable person say, "Didn't you know not to...?"

So I paid my djembe teacher at the time to show me how. He was charging something like 25$ per lesson, and charged me $100 plus a skin ($25) to take me once through the process from removal to shaving. Then I was on my own.

After coming back from Africa and doing plenty of reheading as part of an assembly line, I convinced a drum shop to let me rehead and fix up a few of their djembes. The bongo conga guy wanted me to use processed Pakistani skins. "don't put them in hot water," he said.

So I did.

Within seconds the whole skin contracted like a shrinky dink to the size of a condom. When I brought it back he said, "Did you put it in hot water...?"

And I was like, "Uh, noooo....."