Advice and questions on keeping your instruments in top form
User avatar
By drtom
#36196
This is a Garifuna drum from Belize skinned with deer.

What caused the damage on this drum head and how can it be prevented?
Attachments
garifunaBefore2-drum.jpg
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User avatar
By michi
#36198
Intriguing… I've never seen something like this, so I'm guessing.

It doesn't look like damage from rats or the like to me. I would expect that to show teeth marks.

So, I'm guessing some sort of bacterial or fungal infection? Dry rot, maybe?

The wood around the rim looks damaged too. Possibly the larvae of some insect?

Michi.
User avatar
By gr3vans
#36200
I'm with michi on this. some type of mold, rot or fungus. You might want a new skin and possibly fumigate the wood.
on a side note I've got a musician friend who is garifuna and if you're looking for info on these drums or the rhythms, I'm happy to connect you.

cheers,
User avatar
By drtom
#36201
OK. Here's a hint.

A year ago I replaced that skin with goat. The drum came back to me looking like this:
Attachments
garifunaRevisited.jpg
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User avatar
By michi
#36202
I was going to suggest a dog, but the placement of the holes and absence of marks around the bearing edge seems to rule that out.

I'm afraid you'll have to clue us in :)

Michi.
User avatar
By drtom
#36203
michi wrote:Intriguing… I've never seen something like this, so I'm guessing.

Michi.
I've seen something very similar once before. It was on a djembe that was drying after the wet pull. The holes were very similar to these in size and shape.

I can't swear to it, but I think that in that instance it was the flies that got to it.
User avatar
By michi
#36204
Hmmm... Flies won't eat holes through a skin; they can't because they don't have teeth. It's got to be something else.

I have seen holes similar in shape open up during the wet pull. That can happen if a skin has one or more microscopic holes that aren't obvious when mounting the skin, and they open up only once tension is applied. Obviously, that's not what happened here.

My money is still on some sort of bacterial infection. But, for that to work, you need a fair bit of moisture. So, most likely, the drum was kept in a very humid environment. That would also explain the damaged wood that's visible in the first photo.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By gr3vans
#36206
oh oh oh...
is it slugs?
Little basterds
User avatar
By drtom
#36207
michi wrote:Hmmm... Flies won't eat holes through a skin; they can't because they don't have teeth. It's got to be something else.
Flies may not have teeth but plenty of them bite. Those that don't bite feed by upchucking their stomach contents then slurping up what their digestive juices have broken up. This, rather than the biting is what I had in mind.
michi wrote:I have seen holes similar in shape open up during the wet pull. That can happen if a skin has one or more microscopic holes that aren't obvious when mounting the skin, and they open up only once tension is applied. Obviously, that's not what happened here.
This is certainly conceivable. I've found plenty of thorns in goat skins. Some of them quite large and completely covered by regenerated skin. But, you're right, that's not what happened here.
User avatar
By drtom
#36208
gr3vans wrote:oh oh oh...
is it slugs?
Little basterds
Would slugs eat skin? Is there no end to the perils an innocent drum must face?
User avatar
By michi
#36209
drtom wrote:
michi wrote:Those that don't bite feed by upchucking their stomach contents then slurping up what their digestive juices have broken up. This, rather than the biting is what I had in mind.
Ah, I see. Hmmm… It might just be possible. But I would think it would take a awful lot of flies to make that many holes this large.

I don't believe the slug theory. Are there slugs that are non-vegetarian? And, if there are, would they have the bite to attach a dry goat skin that is under tension? Sounds unlikely to me.

Any chance of getting information from the owner of that drums as to how it was stored? That might yield a clue.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By drtom
#36211
michi wrote:Ah, I see. Hmmm… It might just be possible. But I would think it would take a awful lot of flies to make that many holes this large.
Yea, I wouldn't think they'd devour that much. They might do enough damage that the tension would do the rest though. As I've said this is only an hypothesis.
michi wrote:Any chance of getting information from the owner of that drums as to how it was stored? That might yield a clue.
As a matter of fact, the owner did give a clue on the second go round. It turns out, the young daughter let the dog have at it.

But, it's not what we'd all expect. Turns out the dog licks his way through the skin. That's why there's no teeth marks. Imagine that! I wonder how worn that tongue gets. The skins I use come with stubble, and I don't generally shave or sand it off unless it's requested.
User avatar
By michi
#36212
drtom wrote:As a matter of fact, the owner did give a clue on the second go round. It turns out, the young daughter let the dog have at it.

But, it's not what we'd all expect. Turns out the dog licks his way through the skin. That's why there's no teeth marks. Imagine that! I wonder how worn that tongue gets. The skins I use come with stubble, and I don't generally shave or sand it off unless it's requested.
That's bloody brilliant, thanks so much for that! :-)

So, mystery solved. As far as the dog is concerned, this was probably a most excellent piece of dog chew rawhide :-)

At least I can stop having nightmares about unknown bacteria and fungi that might put paid to my precious drums when I'm not looking…

Michi.
User avatar
By drtom
#36213
Yea, I thought it was worth sharing.

It seems worth noting that the dog licked through the skin in no more than a matter of hours - not weeks or even days. This got me thinking.

Many of us know that the human digestive process begins in the mouth with the chewing and breaking down of food by the enzymes in the saliva. But it turn out that dogs have no such enzymes, so this dog just wore through the skins by his obsessive lick, lick, licking.

That darn dog.

drtom