For chatting and discussions.
By Brian Lynch
#26010
Does the number of vertical ropes effect the tuning of a djembe, normally whats the correct number of verticals that should be on a djembe.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#26016
Brian Lynch wrote:Does the number of vertical ropes effect the tuning of a djembe, normally whats the correct number of verticals that should be on a djembe.
depends on the diameter of the drum. but kid is right for average size drums. 13-14" outer diameter drums.

if you don't have enough pairs of verts, the drum is more prone to have unbalanced tuning/sound if you add a knot or two. plus that one knot can make your top rings lower on one side than the other.

i think on my biggest drum(15.5" outer), i have 32 pairs of verts. the rest are 30 pairs.
User avatar
By michi
#26017
If you put 28 knots on a 13" drum, you get 1.5" knot spacing, which is fine. For every half inch increase in diameter, you add almost exactly 1.5" to the circumference. So, make it 28 knots for 13", 29 for 13.5", 30 for 14", and so on, and you keep the knot spacing constant.

Even on a 15" drum, you could use 28 knots without any real issue. Knot spacing increases to 1.7" that way, which is still fine.

Michi.
User avatar
By michi
#26056
TNT wrote:Why do they use rope vs lugs?
Several reasons. For one, it's traditional. Originally, djembes were kept at tension with strips of cow hide. The modern rope tuning system started in the sixties.

With tuning lugs, you need a lot of tools. Drills, thread cutters, bending machine, etc. A rope tuned djembe is much easier to create. Weld the steel rings, and that's that.

If you use lug tuning, typically, you will have six tuning lugs around the circumference. That leaves very large gaps (7–8") between the points where tension is applied. In turn, this now means that you need an extremely stiff crown ring, to stop the ring from flexing upward in between the points where the lugs are.

To get the ring stiff enough, you need to give a curved profile. (In essence, the crown ring on something like an LP djembe is shaped like pipe that has been cut along its long axis; in cross-section, it's roughly a quarter-circle.) The curve gives the ring enough stiffness to avoid it bending, which would cause tension to be applied unevenly to the skin. But now, you have a crown ring that is much wider than an ordinary crown ring with cow hitches, so the ring tends to get in the way of your hands when you are playing. In particular, you tend to hit the bottoms of your thumbs against the ring more easily. You can overcome this to some extent by locating the crown ring lower with respect to bearing edge, but that doesn't look very nice. The lugs also tend to get in the way of your thighs when playing the drum seated because the sides of the lugs tend to press into your thighs.

The whole lug tuning thing is nice in theory because everyone knows how to use a spanner. But, in practice, there are many disadvantages, among them the higher weight of a lug tuning system and the difficulty of using a lug tuning system with a drum that isn't perfectly round.

The lug tuning system was created by companies such as LP, who already made congas and bongos and decided to adapt their existing mounting system to what they call a "djembe". Whether these drums are actually djembes is debatable--the sound tends to be nothing like that of a West African djembe.

Cheers,

Michi.
By TNT
#26072
Michi, my lugged 12" remo is a perfert circle compression ring that is no where close to the head nor gets in the way of my legs wrapped around it since the lugs are spaced @ 7" apart. The compression ring is stiff so that there is just as much uniform compression on the head anywhere in circumfrence(as seen by checking the sound at any location when tunned). I would think would be more difficult to obtain by ropes especially using your last 28 knots on a 15" drum. I checked this drums sound against many(around 15) in the store, roped and lug. To me it sounded better than most, especially for such a small drum and mic with effects on it great! I played it in a latin drum circle last weekend acoustic and it really cut through especailly the hi's. I like the look of the drum alot too. I few ounces of weight, hmmmm most won't even noticed that bulk of which will be in the shells wood density.

Image

Just reading some history the Djembe originated from the Djem tree, according to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace".[3]

I read that it's uncertain that the drum may date back centuries, who knows what they are suppost to "sound" like, or what they should be made of to be called a Djembe, what I find is the peacefull purpose as stated above to be significant. :D 8)

I’m sensing some that are diehard traditionalist that surround this drum don’t take too kindly to western technology, probably the very reason for it's growing popularity, global marketing and useage.

Terry
User avatar
By michi
#26073
TNT wrote:Michi, my lugged 12" remo is a perfert circle compression ring that is no where close to the head nor gets in the way of my legs wrapped around it since the lugs are spaced @ 7" apart.
The Remo mount is less likely to get in the way than the LP one because Remo situate the lugs further down from the bearing edge and because the Remo lugs hug the shell more tightly. With an LP djembe, that's not the case:
LP Galaxy Djembe.jpg
LP Galaxy Djembe
LP Galaxy Djembe.jpg (46.84 KiB) Viewed 2382 times
The compression ring is stiff so that there is just as much uniform compression on the head anywhere in circumfrence(as seen by checking the sound at any location when tuned).
Yes, the Remo ring (or band, more accurately) is very stiff because of its height, while taking up almost no width. The LP mount is also plenty stiff enough, but much wider. In my opinion, the Remo mount is a better mount than the LP ComfortCurve II rim.
I would think would be more difficult to obtain by ropes especially using your last 28 knots on a 15" drum. I checked this drums sound against many(around 15) in the store, roped and lug.
With the knot spacing at around 1.8" or less, a rope-tuned djembe will tune the skin very evenly. In terms of evenness of tension around the perimeter, I don't think there is any significant difference between a lug-tuned and a rope-tuned mount. They both work.
To me it sounded better than most, especially for such a small drum and mic with effects on it great! I played it in a latin drum circle last weekend acoustic and it really cut through especailly the hi's. I like the look of the drum alot too. I few ounces of weight, hmmmm most won't even noticed that bulk of which will be in the shells wood density.
On a fibreglass drum, I believe that the mounting hardware actually accounts for a significant fraction of the overall weight. I've never pulled apart a Remo or LP and weighed the shell and hardware separately but, given how light some of these drums are overall, the hardware has to account for a fairly large proportion. For a traditional djembe, the fraction of the weight of the hardware is relatively less because the shell is so much heavier.

There are other trade-offs involved regarding weight. The traditional hardwoods for djembes are all hard and dense, which makes them heavy. (In turn, this has a big influence on sound. Djembes made from lower-density woods and other material sound different.) To play a drum standing, it needs to have a certain weight. Drums less than 8kg in weight or so get harder to play standing up because they move around a lot. There isn't enough mass in them for inertia to stop the drum from moving when I hit it. So, 8kg or more is nice.

At the other end of the scale, once you get up around 13kg or so, it gets bloody hard work to play the drum standing up. (You can definitely tell the difference between a one-hour concert with an 8kg drum vs a 13kg drum.) But, with the traditional woods, larger shells quickly end up at 12 or 13 kg. That makes a light-weight mounting system desirable because, once you are up at 12kg, you notice every extra little bit of weight.
Just reading some history the Djembe originated from the Djem tree
I don't know where you got that from, but it is almost certainly wrong. As best as I know, there is no such thing as a "Djem" tree. The most prized traditional wood for djembes is Lenke (also called Doussie). (You can find a bit more about the traditional woods here.)

Do you have link for the "Djem tree" thing? I'd like to have a look.
according to the Bamana people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose. In the Bambara language, "djé" is the verb for "gather" and "bé" translates as "peace".[3]
Yes, that is one of the stories about the origin. I'm not sure what that has to do with tuning systems though :)
I read that it's uncertain that the drum may date back centuries, who knows what they are suppost to "sound" like, or what they should be made of to be called a Djembe, what I find is the peacefull purpose as stated above to be significant. :D 8)
The sound of the djembe has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In particular, with the advent of steel rings and use of modern rope, the pitch of djembes went up hugely. (The traditional rawhide mounts couldn't maintain anywhere near as much tension. You can hear the difference clearly in early recordings of Ballets Africains and Ballet Djoliba, for example. What was a solo djembe back then would, at best, be called an accompaniment djembe today.)
I’m sensing some that are diehard traditionalist that surround this drum don’t take too kindly to western technology, probably the very reason for it's growing popularity, global marketing and useage.
Many people on this forum dislike the western copies. I include myself in that group. To some extent, that might be snobbery, but I don't think that it is all snobbery. Once you spend some time learning about the traditional rhythms, and spend time with a good teacher, a picture of the instrument builds up that is much larger, and a musical repertoire builds up that suggests that the traditional technique and sound (whether low or high) have a range and expressiveness that few modern copies can match.

That is not to say that the only way to play a djembe is traditionally. As far as I am concerned, absolutely anything goes, such as the recent examples we've seen of djembes played with maracas or with brushes. That's all perfectly fine, just not traditional.

Regarding whether a modern fibreglass djembe with synthetic skin should be called "djembe", my personal opinion is "no." Not because it is made of fibreglass and has an artificial skin, but because the sound is so different from a traditional djembe. In effect, the modern copy is a drum that is similar to a djembe, but sounds too different to be called a djembe and probably deserves a separate name in its own right. As an analogy, acoustic guitars made of plastic sound very different from acoustic guitars made from wood. Whether the sound difference is large enough to give the plastic version a different name is a matter of personal opinion, of course.

Regardless of where one falls in this debate, I think what matters more than anything is to have fun. After all, that's the point of playing an instrument. And people can have just as much fun on a Remo as on any other djembe. In that sense, the point is moot.

I would suggest though that taking lessons with a good teacher is worthwhile regardless of what kind of djembe you play. There are techniques and rhythmic figures in the traditional style that will almost certainly help you to produce a wider variety of sounds on your drum and produce those sounds with greater clarity. Similarly, the traditional rhythms and solo techniques will likely open new musical doors. Both will make you a better percussionist.

That is not to say that traditional style can offer everything. But it does offer a lot, so it might be worth having a look, just as much as it is worth having a look at non-traditional techniques and styles.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By Waraba
#26078
TNT wrote:
I’m sensing some that are diehard traditionalist that surround this drum don’t take too kindly to western technology, probably the very reason for it's growing popularity, global marketing and useage.
The traditions and their evolving technologies are better appreciated once a person has experienced them firsthand.
By TNT
#26103
Thanks Michi for your input. It’s obvious you know the construction of these drums well. I agree that both rope and lugs work and playing or studying tradition vs modern is entirely subjective, a matter of opinion, based on perspective, and a topic for a different thread.

Here is a goggle search on the “djem tree” http://www.google.com/search?q=djem+tre ... qi=g1&aql=

Lots of sites equate it to the drum. :)
By EvanP
#26152
The sound of the djembe has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In particular, with the advent of steel rings and use of modern rope, the pitch of djembes went up hugely. (The traditional rawhide mounts couldn't maintain anywhere near as much tension. You can hear the difference clearly in early recordings of Ballets Africains and Ballet Djoliba, for example. What was a solo djembe back then would, at best, be called an accompaniment djembe today.)
At the risk of going tangential, Mamady took significant pains in the workshop I attended last week to explain the importance of pitch in Malinke music. Specifically that the solo djembe can be tuned anywhere, but often is highest, with the first accompaniment higher than the second. We don't all need to play screaming djembes, an in fact that can get in the way of the music.
User avatar
By michi
#26154
EvanP wrote:At the risk of going tangential, Mamady took significant pains in the workshop I attended last week to explain the importance of pitch in Malinke music. Specifically that the solo djembe can be tuned anywhere, but often is highest, with the first accompaniment higher than the second. We don't all need to play screaming djembes, an in fact that can get in the way of the music.
Yes. In the Mali style, you often hear low-tuned djembes. The screaming high pitch is not really a traditional thing. It became possible only once steel rings and modern rope were in use. According to Rainer Polak and Mamady, that happened starting in the seventies and was pretty much complete by 1991. (By then, the traditional stitched loop mount had disappeared.)

And Mamady is right, of course. Things certainly sound nicer when all the different djembes are at different pitches and, for some rhythms that more relaxed, you get nicer groove with lower-pitched solo drum.

Michi.