Djembes

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
Post Reply
User avatar
junglesmacks
Posts: 5820
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Location: Your mom's tent

Djembes

Post by junglesmacks » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:36 pm

I know that the playa is hell on most instruments, but what about good iroca wood djembes with goatskin heads? I've beat mine on camping/gathering trips pretty well.. seems like it would make it.. but..

What are anyone's experiences bringing nice djembes?

percussivepaul
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:58 pm

Post by percussivepaul » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:33 pm

I brought a djembe with me the first time I went. Halfway through the event, the skin just spontaneously split. Something about the extreme temperatures and lack of humidity.

Lots of people manage to bring djembes and have this not happen. Presumably they loosen the skin a little bit. It can be done, but you'll have to take good care of it. (Wait for someone who knows more about djembes to tell you exactly what you should do.)

User avatar
junglesmacks
Posts: 5820
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Location: Your mom's tent

Post by junglesmacks » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:08 pm

Hmm.. you know, now that I think about it..

It's coming from living most of it's life in FL with constant 80% humidity, and I keep it tuned pretty tight. I could see it drying out and and totally pulling like crazy and possibly splitting. I would freak the f out. Hmmmmmm..

User avatar
PavementBlues
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:07 pm
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: Sideshow
Location: Reno, NV

Post by PavementBlues » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:22 pm

I brought out a djembe in 2007 and the goatskin head ended up so warped that it was never able to tune properly again. It was a really nice djembe, too - I wish that I had put a little more thought into the environment that I was bringing it into and adjusted the head accordingly. Lesson learned!

...as for my tabla, there is no way in HELL that it is going out to the playa.

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 20199
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Post by AntiM » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:23 pm

The general rule is "if you can't stand to lose it or have it ruined, don't bring it."

Our Utah drummers bring theirs, but we live in much the same environment, dry!

Now there's a business one could cash in on in Reno or Gerlach: dry drum sales and rentals.

Bluemandrew
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:55 pm

Post by Bluemandrew » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:03 am

I would bet the remo fiberskyn synthetics are your best bet.

User avatar
junglesmacks
Posts: 5820
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Location: Your mom's tent

Post by junglesmacks » Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:33 am

Bluemandrew wrote:I would bet the remo fiberskyn synthetics are your best bet.
Yeah, I think I'm going to just bring a little cheapie but indestructible doumbek..

User avatar
Joe Buck
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:39 pm
Location: City of Salt

Post by Joe Buck » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:55 am

Greetings Junglesmacks! I bring my best djembe, one I re-finished and headed myself, but I live in Salt Lake City and as AntiM pointed out it's just as dry here as the playa so I never have to adjust the head tension out there. Coming from such a constantly humid enviroment to the playa is definitely asking for trouble if you don't loosen the head. How are you at pulling diamonds and changing your head tension? Should be enough to slack the head a bit before and tighten after you get there. The head will dry out and adjust very quickly, the wood will too but much much more slowly, wood desorbs bound water much more slowly than it adsorbs moisture so drying happens more slowly, still there is some chance that the shell might develop stress cracks, depends on how solid your shell is, Iroco is really resilient, that's what mine is made from.

Last year because of space limitations I just brought my wooden cajon, serves as an extra seat in camp, one that you can play too! They are pretty trouble free if you have one, it's a nice option.

Good luck!

User avatar
junglesmacks
Posts: 5820
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Location: Your mom's tent

Post by junglesmacks » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:57 pm

Hello! Now.. duh.. there is another thought: De-flip some diamond knots and de-tune it before you go.

Iroko wood yeah is some pretty crazily beautiful hardwood.. I don't doubt that it could stand up to the elements, really. In fact I really think that everything could.. as long as the head doesn't go apeshit from the change in humidity.

If I find myself out there in the midst of a beautiful environment with a raging circle, and I'm not able to participate because I have no drum.. I'm not gonna be a happy boy :)

There has to be a way to overcome and adapt.. there always is..

:twisted: :twisted: :wink:

bud buddah
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:26 pm

Post by bud buddah » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:57 pm

As others have said, loosen the head before you come. My experience with drums is that the head tightens up WHEN HOT. The humidity isn't the issue, the heat will cause the head to tighten and split if you don't loosen it before you come. I've had djembe heads pop just sitting in my studio. Not a fun sound. The humidity might be an issue for the wood itself, but with a djembe I'd worry more about the skin.
JR

User avatar
Mojojita
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Post by Mojojita » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:12 pm

Bluemandrew wrote:I would bet the remo fiberskyn synthetics are your best bet.
Yep - we bring one of these and have never had an issue. I would think that a natural hide drum head would be effected by the intense dryness. My hubby keeps a humidifying device from one of his cigar humidors in his guitar case to keep the wood from drying out. A damp sponge might do the same.

User avatar
Ugly Dougly
Posts: 17172
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Burning Since: 1996
Location: เชียงใหม่

Post by Ugly Dougly » Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:54 pm

Whatever happened to that Drum Massive from Santa Cruz? Used to be a gaggle of hippies with djembes and doumbeks and daraboukas would wander thru BRC sharing the rhythm.

User avatar
theCryptofishist
Posts: 40313
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 9:28 am
Burning Since: 2017
Location: In Exile

Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:14 pm

I don't know. Did you hear Isotopia talking about lime soon after it happened,
Dougly?
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

User avatar
Mojojita
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Post by Mojojita » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:28 am

theCryptofishist wrote:I don't know. Did you hear Isotopia talking about lime soon after it happened,
Dougly?
Oh yes - then the shovel and gloves she had at the time....

User avatar
BRC Fairy Godmother
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:32 am
Location: Bay Area

Post by BRC Fairy Godmother » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:45 am

I've never had problems with my djembe out on the Playa, and I've arrived from VA & WA (both pretty humid) but I always give it a loosen when traveling. I also rub my hands over the skin frequently and that may add some oil. In '05, some JERK actually used sticks on my djembe and it survived.
What's with the Santa Clara group? Are they intact?
Fairy Godmother

User avatar
teardropper
Posts: 1215
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:33 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: The late Lazy Fucks. Now Orphan Eaters.
Location: Oregon

Post by teardropper » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:55 am

Don't know about djembes, but my partner brings her conga. Does fine. 'Course, we live in the high desert so the humidity difference thing isn't there, it's similar altitude and, fairly, similar humidity.
\^/
/..\ Furthur

User avatar
Ugly Dougly
Posts: 17172
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Burning Since: 1996
Location: เชียงใหม่

Post by Ugly Dougly » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:24 am

Mojojita wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:I don't know. Did you hear Isotopia talking about lime soon after it happened,
Dougly?
Oh yes - then the shovel and gloves she had at the time....
That was from the days when we didn't have incessant techno to compare it to. :cry:

User avatar
junglesmacks
Posts: 5820
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 9:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Location: Your mom's tent

Post by junglesmacks » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:00 am

BRC Fairy Godmother wrote:I've never had problems with my djembe out on the Playa, and I've arrived from VA & WA (both pretty humid) but I always give it a loosen when traveling. I also rub my hands over the skin frequently and that may add some oil. In '05, some JERK actually used sticks on my djembe and it survived.
What's with the Santa Clara group? Are they intact?
I also usually use some coconut lotion (by Pure Life Soap Co.. the stuff is the bees knees..) on my hands before I drum, so the little bit of coconut oil residue gets on the head and keeps it nice. I have a hookup there so I'll be bringing a case of it to gift out. Come check out Camp Inspiratum at 730 & B and check out our glow stick crossbows and free body lotion! lol..
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.

User avatar
BRC Fairy Godmother
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:32 am
Location: Bay Area

Post by BRC Fairy Godmother » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:45 am

Thanks for the invite, junglesmacks.

You can find me and mine at the BRC Post Office; feel free to stop by some time for some jams n shade!
Fairy Godmother

Post Reply

Return to “Q & A Tips and Tricks”