This article is addressed to serious djembe buyers who want to buy high-quality African drum.
If you want to buy a good djembe, you should check six items:
- A djembe drum must be cut from a piece of solid wood. You can check it precisely, exploring the places of contact between the feet of the drum with the cup. If you see a line between two parts or can feel it with your fingers inside, it is not a traditional African drum. Also avoid buying drums with serious cracks or chips.
- The rope should be weaved at least two times and have the inner core. If the rope is mashed anywhere, it is a serious defect. A horizontal tuning rope must pass twice or less around the body.
- Inspect the the weak points of the drum skin. Natural goat skin is usually cleaned from hair with a razor. If this is not done carefully, the skin can be damaged, so make sure that did not happen. There should be no sticking patches, scars, cuts, small holes or insect bite marks on the membrane skin. To check the skin condition, use a small trick: turn up the djembe base, look inside, and turn the drum membrane to the light. You will see the light through the thin skin. If the skin looks noticeably thin, it can be torn with the lapse of time.
- Lack of white ants. Believe me, this is the problem! These little insects can eventually turn your wooden djembe into cardboard, so check out your djembe drum for tiny holes in the wood and the presence of small flour-like dust on the surface and around. Play on the African drum with all the force and see if there are pieces of sawdust spilling fromst.
- Good sound. Sound quality is difficult to be checked if you are a beginner, but nevertheless, listen to the sound carefully before buying a djembe. If you want to buy a bass drum with a low sound, it must have the following qualities: hard wood, large membrane and the thick skin of the drum (1 mm or more). Djembe having s higher solo sound is usually smaller, lighter and has thin skin. Anyway, the drum should have strong vibration, which would be in tune with your energy. If you press your thumb into the middle of the diaphragm and feel that the skin is pressed for more than 1 cm, the djembe should be tuned.
- Weights and Dimensions. The most common work size for djembe drums is 12-13 inches, with the weight of about 7-11 kg and the height of about 50-60 cm. You may regret if you buy a very heavy or large drum, if you have nowhere to put it. On the other side, if you buy a small djembe drum as a souvenir, you can hardly play then the full spectrum of sound and love him will all of your heart. Therefore, even if you buy a djembe as a gift, and want it to please a person and make him the new owner of the instrument’s soul who will not leave it idle in a dusty corner, look at the drum’s quality, not at its price.
You can also read a more detailed guide, “How to buy a high-quality djembe drum”.