bubudi - yes, i understand what you're saying about bass djembe being used as 4th, etc., but that's not always the case. I've played it plenty of times where it was just me and the lead drummer for a class... so it filled the role of a lower-tuned djembe (which it is) at that point.
I like the flexibility of it, the fact that it can either function as straight accompaniment djembe or filling out the ensemble sound... because nobody else (except the dununfolas) are playing in that sonic range... and the cowskin sound can really add something to the overall feel, no matter how many (or how few) djembes there are.
So as far as I'm concerned, some of the discussion on whether it's "traditional" or not is ... well. Hairsplitting, maybe?
It does what it does sonically; that makes it useful in a variety of contexts, not just for playing Conakry-style ballet arrangements (imo, anyway!).
bops and duga posted some pics of bass djembes they have with the traditional stitching on the skin as opposed to metal rings. those have a very warm sound.
Again, yes - i haven't posted any pics of mine, but it's headed in that way. I've had the opportunity to play 2 other bass djembes that were headed in the same fashion. That sold me on wanting one of my own - I love the sound.
b, no offense, but I kinda think you're preaching to the choir!