Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
#33739
Hi guys,

I just put a new skin on my djembe. It's a rather dark senegalese skin. The last one I used was alike and I shaved it to white and now I'm tempted on leaving it like it is for now. The thing is that it will get white on the playing surface, and the impression I get is that the dark shade on the skin is basically from lifelong accumulated dirt. I was thinking about washing the skin with some kind of detergent during soaking but I didn't get to do the experiment. I heard here on the forum people commenting on most of the skins in Conacry being bleached and limed. This time I tried leaving it as dirty and with the fat.
Can you tell me about your experience on this matter, regarding the effects it may have on sound?

Thanks
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By drtom
#33771
From my experience, most external soiling of the skin comes off with the soaking. Any shading left is natural pigment, which can be shaved or sanded off.

The effect of removing the pigment is minimal unless you shave or sand off enough skin to markedly alter the thickness of the skin.

My gut feeling is that the sound of bleached and limed skins is altered, but I can offer no proof of this. Maybe someone else can. Maybe someone can repudiate my intuition.

drtom
User avatar
By michi
#33781
I heard here on the forum people commenting on most of the skins in Conacry being bleached and limed.
I'm not sure about "most". All the Guinea skins I have used were hand-shaved, so lime wasn't used to remove the hair. For the skin side, I don't know what most suppliers do. I suspect that many will sprinkle some wood ash on the skin side at least, after removing any bits that are still sticking to the skin manually.

Generally, I would recommend against bleach or lime. It'll weaken the skin (possibly a lot, if done incorrectly).
This time I tried leaving it as dirty and with the fat.
If there is fat or other tissue still sticking to the skin, I'd remove it. The fat might smell, you might get fungal or bacterial growth on the underside of the skin, and the fat will dampen the skin more.

When I get skins with fat or other tissue still adhering, I soak them for five or six hours and then remove as much tissue as possible by scrubbing with hard brush, pulling bits and pieces off with my fingers, and maybe cutting off some pieces that won't easily come loose by pulling on them.

Cheers,

Michi.
#34603
Hey guys!

I work with raw skins, direct from the slaughterhouse and i can tell you somethin, the guat has several layers of skin, in these first three or four layers is where the pigments and the hair roots ( jeje perdón) are, then, you still have six + layers...

When i go deep shaving or sanding ( i preffer hand shaving in my skins) i can note that the tones last longer, nos so crisp as if you let the pigments and some roots... the roots will fall eventually and if you dont sand or shave deep the skin last more...

If you need a skin that sound great like one to three months shave to white, if you have time to cure the skin then leave it pigmented!

Greetings brothers, this is my personal experience!