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By tonycasemore
#44404
Hey guys, I'm new to the forum a looking for advice about buying my first Djembe.

I recently came across a 2nd hand Djembe online which the seller claim to be made in Guniea, African Mahogany Shell and Guniean Goat Skin.

I'm well aware the risk of buying online but the musical instrument shop near where I live only sell very low quality Djembe that look very cheap (But sold very expensively). With the price that the seller is offering this is perhaps my best choice so far.

I just got some pictures from the seller, do you guys think this Djembe looks well made?
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Cheers

T
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By korman
#44412
The drum looks well made! From the bottom pic it looks like shell is quite thick - it could be heavy. But of course, depends on the price. How much they're askin?
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By the kid
#44413
That looks like a serious piece. Wood is probably djalla. Everything about it looks top form to me. True the stem looks thick like up to 2 inchs but I presume the bowl is thinner. And the sound will be worth the extra weight unless you are looking specifically for a light drum.
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By Dugafola
#44421
hopefully it's a hardwood like jalla or gele. it could be stained white wood/melina. the weight of the drum will be a tell whether it's either or....
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By batadunbata
#44461
Hmm... wondering if you ever bought that drum? I agree with the others. On the surface, it looks good, but the wall is a bit thick, so I have to wonder if it's a soft wood that's been stained.

The build is very good (rope, skin, carving, finish), so if it was softwood, it would be the first time I've ever seen that much attention to detail put into a non-hardwood shell. But copies are getting better every year it seems, so I guess I wouldn't be shocked.

Bit of a predicament, having to buy online. If it were me, I'd try to wangle one through the forums.

Ebay is a bit dodgy, but one of the higher-priced ones with lots of photos and good communication from the seller could be lower risk.

But if you're on a budget, I'd go with the forums, and post a wanted ad. There's a lot of scams and damaged goods on ebay, unfortunately, and the shipping is way too much to find out the hard way. A lot of serious players have a drum they could part with, and if you're really too far from decent drums where you are, they might be moved to help you.

So what's the situation, did you get a drum, whats your budget, and where are you located? I wonder if a trip to a city is really impossible? You might be able to make arrangements on craigslist and do a road trip? Craigslist is dodgy too, but at least you can walk away. And requesting more photos/info can help you gauge if it's worth the drive. You could even post a CL ad in the largest city or most hippy-friendly town near you, and let it run until you get an offer. They might even meet you halfway.
Things to check for are cracks, that the skin is tight (not torn in a place you can't see under the rings), that the wood is really hard (knock on it, press it with thumbnail), and isn't moldy. Also, check the condition of the skin. If it needs a rehead, walk away. You will have to learn to rehead eventually if you don't have a drum repair specialist nearby, but better after you fall in love with the djembe, because it takes focus and determination to do it.
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By Dugafola
#44466
batadunbata wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 am

But if you're on a budget, I'd go with the forums, and post a wanted ad. There's a lot of scams and damaged goods on ebay, unfortunately, and the shipping is way too much to find out the hard way. A lot of serious players have a drum they could part with, and if you're really too far from decent drums where you are, they might be moved to help you.
i will say that i have gotten some of my most favorite shells used from Facebook or craigslist or from members of this group.
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By batadunbata
#44468
Good to know Dugafola, that confirms my hunch, it's a bit of a niche market, so other players are often the best resource to get connected with.

Nicely crafted shells. Did you do some finishing work on the rims, they look like they have a crisp clean break, to allow the skin to really sing, which isn't the norm in my experience, sadly. Though the interior of the one you show before reheading does look cleanly carved, which is a sign of extra care overall.

Are those examples of what you were talking about, or ones you have available if someone wants to buy one?
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By Dugafola
#44469
these are ones that i have purchased used. both of them got the edges re-finished (they were in pretty decent shape already), new rings and rope etc...and the rubber bottoms. my friend did the edges and the rest of the skinning etc was my own work.
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By boromir76
#44523
First drum looks ok from outside, but it's inside pic reveals realy thick shell which is usually a sign for soft wood shell or poorly carved hard wood shell... If this is second scenario and is made out of hard wood it has to weight a ton.

Very nice drum, Dugafola!
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By the kid
#44524
You Could be right but the wood looks primo to me. Prob Djalla or Blacksmith wood. It is thick but that doesn't necessarily mean it's soft wood. Weird to be so thick but i reckoned it still quality djembe.
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By Dugafola
#44525
the kid wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:59 pm
You Could be right but the wood looks primo to me. Prob Djalla or Blacksmith wood. It is thick but that doesn't necessarily mean it's soft wood. Weird to be so thick but i reckoned it still quality djembe.
if it is yiri noumou/blacksmith/gele wood...it has to be heavy!! great for sound! bad for back!
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By boromir76
#44529
the kid wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:59 pm
You Could be right but the wood looks primo to me. Prob Djalla or Blacksmith wood. It is thick but that doesn't necessarily mean it's soft wood. Weird to be so thick but i reckoned it still quality djembe.
That's interesting. The "problem" with (unnecessary) thick shell besides weight is also that the drum has smaller inside volume than it could have when built with thin walls... More volume usually means more "sound" in relative terms... But, it could still sound great nonetheles I guesss.
Last edited by boromir76 on Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Dugafola
#44530
i tend to agree. i like drums with shape and bowl which is why i tend to like the malian shells...especially the older ones. the more volume, the more dynamic the sound can be.