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Hi everyone,

this is to challenge batadunbata and everyone else who wants to participate in telling the different types of wood of djembes by the sound. I am very sceptical, but at least as curious about this. So I did record all my djembes in my studio and present those recordings to you. To get the most comparable results, I tried to play more or less the same patterns in all of the 10 tracks. Can you tell wood from sound? Have fun:
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Last edited by djembefeeling on Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
i've been listening to all of them on repeat. i think i can have fun on any of them really. i'll let you know.

maybe you can give us a list of what woods are included and then it would make it a little bit easier...
Getting 50% right would be an achievement. But would that be a high enough percentage to declare one able to differentiate between woods accurately. Are we expecting 100% here. Impossible i reckon.
I didn't really clear that up in my mind. I guess 50% would be awesome. Just give it a shot if if you want. I think I couldn't tell. It would be all guesswork. I don't really believe anyone could tell. But then, who knows. There is this blind guy who can mountain bike just relying on clicking with his tongue and listening to echoes. I couldn't believe that either...
I seen a guy on telly years ago who could tell the temperature of water by dipping in his nose.

But mountain biking relying on clicks and echoes sounds a bit dangerous. It sounds like the start of a good joke though.
I think you should make this challenge a bit more realistic.

Get 3 or 4 djembes, each a different wood and say which wood it is so someone can try link the sound with the wood. Having 10 unknowns is a bit ott. I'm not 100 percent about the recording setup either and wonder about the clarity of the sounds. Sounds bit muffled to which can be due to a few factors. But I haven't got a chance to hear it properly through decent speakers.
the kid wrote:I think you should make this challenge a bit more realistic.
But that is realistic. Batadounbata, showing up from nowhere on the forum in the summer and as quickly disapearing again, said he has learned about the sound quality of woods listening to the youtube videos of wula drum presentations. I was sceptical and wanted proof. Batadounbata wanted to deliver. So I set up the challenge. Still waiting for someone who really can tell woods from sound. In my experience djembes of the same wood can sound very different. Skin and shape of the djembes are such important factors in the sound. Couldn't see that in different quality hardwoods. Still cling to my believes until someone will show he can tell. Where are you, bata? To upload this challenge was quite a bit of work to be done...
Hey! Am I too late? The attachments aren't working for me, I click them and they say they no longer exist. (?)
Thanks for setting this up Djembefeeling.
It's very true that other factors will change the sound significantly.
I have two main caveats to my claim to be able to identify a djembe's wood by it's sound:

My claim doesn't apply to djembes headed with cowskin. The woods tend to sound more similar to each other with cow. So when you reveal the woods, please also reveal the skins. I can still try, but it's no where near as easy to tell the difference than it is with goat.

Wood density (mainly applies Lenke):
I probably won't be able identify djembes made of low-density Lenke, as it can sound more like Hare than Lenke, bright and clear.
And I may not be able to identify high-density Lenke, like from the base of an old tree, because it can sound more like Gele, crisp and reflective.
As for color, low-density Lenke tends to be pale and yellow in color. High-density Lenke is dark brown or dark purple. Medium-density Lenke is Orange, Red, Maroon, or lighter Brown.

Of course other factors affect the sound, such as wall thickness, diameter, bearing edge, rope tension, mic type, etc, but
assuming the rope tension and bearing edge are within the average range, and the mic is able to pick up the character of the djembe's tones and slaps, they aren't enough to change the character of the wood to be unrecognizable.

Also, I may try to guess the approximate diameter as well as the wood, (lets say within 1/4" margin +/-) since that's something that gives a noticeable character to the djembe too, but being able to do that would depend on other factors. Mainly the skin quality/uniformity, rope tension, playing style and what kind of mic is used. The fact that they are different woods makes it more difficult, but not impossibe, assuming the other factors are favorably controlled for.
Surprise! Where've you been? I just tried to upload the files again but it doesn't work. Every attachment over 1 mb doesn't work, but that's ridiculous for a soundfile. I did already reduce the original files to the worst quality, can't go down any further...