Enjoying and caring for YOUR NEW DRUM

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1 Enjoying and caring for YOUR NEW DRUM CONGRATULATIONS!! Your decision to purchase a djembe (JIM-BAY) from Happy Beat Drumming means that you are now the proud owner of a high-quality, professional instrument. Your djembe will last you a lifetime with the proper care and occasional reheading. This pamphlet will explain the origins of your drum, the drum-building process, proper storage, recommended accessories, tips for playing the drum, maintenance of the shell and head, and basic tuning techniques. We hope that this information will help you protect your investment and give you a deeper appreciation for the new instrument that will become a part of your home and life. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you should have additional questions. About your djembe Creating a djembe is a process that involves many craftsmen and several days of labor. Your djembe has been made with a west African shell and a natural goat skin head. west African shells are made from select African hardwoods. Each drum shell is made from one piece of wood that is skillfully carved into shape and then hollowed out. Many Drum shells are then adorned with intricate carvings around the foot or the bell. The natural goat skin head on your drum is also imported from Africa. All new drums made by Happy Beat Drumming use authentic African shells hand-carved by local craftsmen in africa. your djembe provides you with a physical connection to the origin of drumming and African culture while also helping to support the local economy in west Africa. Because each drum is hand crafted from natural materials, your drum will have a unique appearance, sound and energy.

2 How was my drum made? The drum shell Drum builders in Africa select hardwoods based on their musical qualities. The most popular hardwoods used in African shells are iroko (e-ro-ko), lenge (lengay), djalla (Jal-la), khari (hah-dee), and acajou (ahkah-ju). Traditional hand tools are used to carve the djembe into a goblet shape and then the shell is hollowed out. A hole is created all the way through the drum to allow the sound to travel down and through the bottom. The drum shell is then adorned and often finished with a coat of shea butter. Once the drum shell is received in our shop, an additional coat of natural wood finish and accessories such as a rubber bottom or metal decorations are applied. The Bearing Edge The top edge of your drum is known as the bearing edge. The natural skin is stretched over this edge and will rest upon this edge during play and tuning. If the bearing edge is too sharp, has chips or dings, or is uneven - it could affect the life of your drum head or hurt your hands during play. Each drum made by Happy Beat Drumming is carefully inspected for a variety of factors that affect appearance and sound. Every bearing edge is sanded and conditioned to ensure that you have a comfortable playing experience and to provide for the maximum life of your drum head. Rings Each djembe requires three metal rings. The first of these rings is welded around the foot of the drum near the base of the bell. The second and third rings are welded to fit the head of the drum around the bearing edge. The metal rings must be carefully welded to ensure a proper fit. Poorly fitted rings can affect the sound of your drum as well as the life of your drum head. These rings will eventually work in combination with nylon rope to tighten the natural skin over the head of the drum and to allow for the tuning of the drum. To provide a protective barrier between the metal rings and the natural skin, and to make your drum more attractive, the metal rings are wrapped in cloth. Nylon rope is then used to make cradle knots around the bottom ring and one top ring. The knots

3 create a series of loops around the rings that are used to lace rope vertically from the top rings to the bottom rings. The natural skin head A natural goat-skin or cowskin (special order) is selected for the head of each drum. Natural skins vary in thickness and pattern. A skin is selected by the drum builder based on size requirements and desired sound. The natural skin is soaked in water to make it pliable, placed between the two top rings, and positioned on top of the drum. The drum is then laced with nylon rope and hand tightened. The ropes are later pulled again to make them tighter. The natural skin is then shaved and cut around the top of the drum. At this point, the drum builder will decide how to style the skin over the drum. Options include trimmed, skin-over and susu braid. The skin-over and susu braid methods cannot be done with a cow skin. The skin is allowed to dry over night and then tuned again the following day. The finished product From western Africa to your home your new djembe has passed through the hands of several master craftsmen. It is now your responsibility to enjoy your new instrument and to protect your investment. Storage Because your drum is made from natural materials, it is sensitive to heat and cold. Your drum should be stored out of direct sunlight and at room temperature as often as possible. avoid placing your djembe near sources of heat like a fireplace or directly over or air sources like a vent. Leaving your drum in a vehicle during very hot or cold temperatures may also affect the tuning and compromise the natural skin. Carry your drum inside with you whenever possible. Make sure you tell your family and friends that the drum is not to be used as a table or chair. drum Bags & Drum hats Drum bags and drum hats are highly recommended accessories for your drum. Drum bags make your drum easier to carry as well as providing a layer of protection during storage and transportation. Drum hats protect the natural

4 skin head from being punctured, stained, or exposed to other elements. It is recommended that a drum hat be left on the drum at all times that it is not being played. Playing your drum It is recommended that you receive private or group instruction to learn the proper techniques for playing the drum. Rings, bracelets, and watches should never be worn while playing the drum. These items can puncture the natural skin head on your drum and dent the bearing edge. Playing while wearing hand jewelry may also damage the jewelry or hurt your hands. NEVER play your djembe with a stick or other hard tool. Sticks are for use with dununs and sabars not djembes!! Beginners often hit their drums very hard when first learning to play. Good sound comes from good technique. Hitting the djembe too hard will only bruise your hands and cause unnecessary stress on the head of your drum. Relax and enjoy the experience. Sit up straight to avoid stress on your back and use accessories such as a drum sitting strap to hold your drum in place if you are having a problem finding a stable sitting position. DRUM Maintenance HeaD THE NATURAL SKIN ON YOUR DRUM CAN STICK TO THE BEARING EDGE OF THE SHELL. THIS CAN CAUSE THE DRUM HEAD TO SPLIT. TO KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING YOU SHOULD OCCASIONALLY TAP THE TOP RINGS ON YOUR DRUM WITH A RUBBER MALLET. AIM FOR THE CRADLE KNOTS AROUND THE TOP OF THE DRUM AND REMEMBER TO TAP NOT HIT HARD. IF THE NATURAL SKIN HEAD OF YOUR DRUM HAS ROUGH PLACES OR STUBBLE FROM THE HAIR THAT HAS BEEN SHAVED OFF YOU MAY VERY LIGHTLY SAND THE SKIN WITH A VERY FINE SANDPAPER. YOU MAY OCCASSIONALLY RUB A SMALL AMOUNT OF SHEA BUTTER ONTO THE HEAD OF YOUR DRUM TO KEEP THE SKIN CONDITIONED. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU RUB THE SHEA BUTTER ONTO YOUR HANDS FIRST AND THEN RUB THE EXCESS FROM YOUR HANDS ONTO THE DRUM HEAD. Avoid getting the drum skin wet.

5 SHELL THE SHELL ON YOUR DRUM SHOULD BE OCCASSIONALLY WIPED DOWN WITH A SOFT CLOTH AND INSPECTED FOR CRACKS AND INSECTS. IF YOU HAVE TERMITES IN YOUR HOME YOUR DRUM MAY BECOME A TASTY SNACK. ROPES DO NOT HANG YOUR DRUM FROM THE ROPES. ONLY USE THE rope HANDLE TO PICK UP THE DRUM OR GRAB THE DRUM BY THE BODY OF THE SHELL. Do not rub abrasive materials against the ropes. IF YOUR DRUM ROPES BECOME LOOSE OR BREAK YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR DRUM EVALUATED BY A PROFESSION DRUM RE-HEADER. learn directly from a drum re-header before trying this yourself. The first step in tuning your own drum is to tap the top rings with a rubber mallet to make sure that the skin is not stuck to the bearing edge. You will then want to unwind the extra rope from the bottom of your drum. You will now place knots known as diamonds into the vertical ropes on your drum. The image below shows the proper way to tie a diamond knot. The rope will go over two Then pull down to form the diamond. Do not place too many diamond knots in your drum at one time. Adding diamonds places substantial pressure on the rings, rope and head of your drum. Placing too many diamonds at one time cause a ring to pop or the head to split. Nomenclature the following diagram shows the common names for the many different parts of your djembe. Tuning your djembe You may tune your own drum to enhance the sound, but it is recommended that you Under two Under one

6 We welcome your comments and questions. Happy Beat Drumming p.o. box 6362 high point, nc (336) or- (336)

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