Other west African instruments, like balafon, ngoni etc.
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By Bas
Hello Djembefola Community,

I recently bought a Half kalebash shell with diameter 40 on one side and 33 diameter on other side. Now i see these being used in arangements like Habib Koitee and many other west african groups and i am obsessed with the natural oomphf that comes out of these things.

So i decided i want to make a bass box as i see a lot on concerts from former mentioned groups. A woorden box usually at standing height and i guess 50 x 50 x 90 or something like that.

Now a lot of questions arise of course and was wondering if there is anyone with experience in these who could advise me a bit on this subject.

First question is, is the wooden box below the drum even a speaker or subwoofer or just a table.
Should i make a hole on the top or is the sound made by contact and not by air? Should i build a hole on the sides then? Can i use MDF pressed wood or should i use special type of wood? MDF is the cheaper option for me.

Any other tips, tutorials or even the name of the thing are very welcome!

Thanks in advance.

Bas :dundun:
By Paul
Hi Bas, I like the calabash too especially in music like Habib Koite's.. No, its easier than that I think, the box is just a table of some kind.. When your gigging a flight case is a handy table to use, so this is why you see groups using it, I dont think it relates to the sound. It is about the micing. Some people mic it from the top, but I generally put a mic for a bass drum for a drum kit inside the calabash..

When you talk of making holes do you mean in the Calabash? No need for that.. I saw an awesome video on calabash playing awhile ago.. Seckou Keita in England uses a calabash with a djembe and a bougerabou to make his own drumkit, very cool..

Will hunt down those videos later..
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By Bas
Allright, thanks for the quick reply Paul!

Guess i'll just make a little table of some sorts then. But wouldnt it amplify the sound of some sorts if i build an dedicated wooden box for it? Thinking of just building something then as i dont want sit on the floor all the time and it does need solid fundaments. Or would i just get ugly artefacts from that?

About the micing bit, i got a piezo mic whic are used for violin... And i have a condenser mic. X1, but that i don't want inside the drum cause its to sensitive... Guess i'll have to experiment.

would love to see those video's btw.

By djembeweaver
When I've seen it done people usually place a microphone on a cushion inside the upturned calabash. I think the cushion helps to dampen the sound and emphasize the lower frequencies (or at least absorb the higher ones)

That's it...there's no more to it than that to get an amazing boom like a kick drum. Of course you also need it to go through a decent mixing desk and be nicely EQed to create a good sound...