Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Djembe Repair - Basic Drum Care ( Visual Tutorial )

About six years ago, an old friend and I picked up cousin djembes while on a trip to Erie, PA. I used mine on occasion, but for the last few years it has been neglected. It turns out that through three or four moves, exposure to heat and general drum loneliness, my djembe was in an unhappy state. The head had dried and cracked in the middle. The body was scratched and had bits of cobweb inside.

What happens to goat skin after heat and neglect.

Recently I've been reading about some drum circles in the area and decided to check in on the status of my drum. I knew I needed a new head and generally how to go about replacing it, but needed details. I found a nice set of instructions over at Hawk Dancing and went to work.

First I found the end of the rope, which was at the end of the drum handle and began to unweave. I would suggest that anyone who ventures into this pay close attention to how your rope is woven for the handle and tuning rows.

My poor djembe with the rope unwoven and the head removed.

Next I wiped down the drum with a clean cloth and prepped the playing edge for re-heading by applying and rubbing in few coats of beeswax. From my inspection of the drum, it seems that this step was skipped originally. I'm hoping this will improve the sound once I'm all finished.

Finally, I used my Ultimate Beeswax Polish to breath some new life into the wood djembe body. I have to say the combination of the wood, beeswax and lavender oil makes this drum smell amazing! The polish also diminished most of the scratching and left a nice satin finish on my wood. Now I just have to get a new goat skin drum head and get ready for Part II.

1 comment:

  1. Next time you rehead, it really looks like you could round the rim of the shell. The rough shape should resemble the profile of the thumb. The inside should have a small profile, perhaps a 1/4" radius, with a much larger rounding on the outside. Yours looks to mainly need attention on the inner rim.

    That is an interesting method of securing the bottom "ring". How does that hold up under tension? Probably fine with just a bit of extra tuning in the beginning.

    Now, don't neglect your baby again!