Choosing and buying a good djembe can be a difficult task due to the variety of instruments available on the market and a huge variety of their quality. Therefore we have created a customer guide for to help you find your way to your African drums. If you decided to buy a djembe, follow the highest quality standards!
High-quality choice standards
- A symmetric cup-shaped form is critically important for sound quality. This shape can vary by style from round and expanded type to lower and more screwed-up one Different body shapes have there influence on the quality of sound-making.
- The design of a drum shouldn’t be rough, burrs and inaccurate finishing are unacceptable. Traditional ruffled spiral grooves inside the djembe foot and the inner surface which is processed smoothly provide the highest sound quality.
- The even round edge of the top of the djembe drum provides playing comfort and clear tones and slaps. It also extends the lifetime of the skin. It is very important for the comfort of hands while drumming and for the long lifetime of the skin membrane.
- High-quality djembe drums must have a rope of at least 4-5mm in diameter (5mm on reels with any playing surface of 11 inches or more), with the inner middle core (of double weaving). The rope should be made of nylon or polyester to prevent it from stretching and loss of audio settings. For keeping stability configuration, the rope should not be twisted.
- The wood should have medium or heavy weight and density to reduce the effect of sound absorption, but the wooden body should not be too thick. Its thickness should be even around the perimeter of the instrument.
- The rings should be placed at the same from each other in the horizontal and vertical position, in parallels between the upper and lower rings. The upper ring should be tightly pressed against each other (the three-ring system helps to pull the skin firmer and eliminates the slippage).
- A djembe drum shouldn’t have any serious cracks, sufficient repair or external damage. A wooden part of a djembe is, in fact, its irreplaceable body (all the other parts can be replaced). It is an extremely important element, as a body, or even the engine of the car. A solid piece of wood is always under the risk of cracking, but the wood which was dried properly during processing is under much less risk. Well-repaired small sections located in the middle part of the body or on the inner surface of the drum are acceptable as they don’t affect the sound or the lifetime of the instrument. If the crack is seen with the naked eye and reaches the top of the djembe, then it can paste and break the skin with the lapse of time.
Due to the handmade specifics, djembe drums will never be perfect, so try to be realistic in the standards of perception for this instrument. The smallest flaws are just handmade specifics making each drum unique. As with any musical instrument, the main factors for choosing a djembe are the sound resonance with your energy, meeting your personal standards, as well as your budget.
All the drums provided by us are in correspondence with the highest standards and have passed the strict multi-step testing and tuning process.
You can often hear myth (and many people buying their first drum believe it) that the country of origin is an essential characteristic of the djembe quality. This is not right. In fact, instruments from same country can be either excellent or far from high-quality. Djembe quality depends mostly on the professional skills of the master and manufacturing control, on the attention to details, no matter what nationality is the master. We advice you to follow these standards to ensure the highest quality of your purchase, paying no attention to the fact if your instrument is African or not. Also remember that some dishonest companies have djembe drums for sale that were carved out of wood harvested in ecologically weak areas. Illegal wood cut in many places of the world is extremely harmful to the local ecosystem, and may threat to local people seriously, affect their yield and life quality. All wooden instruments delivered to our store are obtained by legal means, in accordance with all the rules of deforestation. It will be good to think of the human factor when choosing a djembe, and increase your awareness in this context. We are all children here, to our Mother Earth.