Djembe Buying Guide
Drum shells from West Africa are hand-carved. Size, shape and type of wood all affect the range of sound. Dense grain, medium to heavy wooden shells generally have the best tone.
Mali tend to have a rounded bowl with a slight taper to base.
- Lengue (Linge/Linke), Dugara, Dialla (Djala), Acacia, and Genou wood
Guinea have a straighter more tapered bowl.
- Acajou (Bois Rouge), Lengue, and Khadi/Haré (Balafon) wood.
Ivory Coast have an elongated bowl; wider throat and usually a notch for bottom ring.
- Iroko wood
Senegal has a longer bowl and big-flared base.
- Dembe/Demba (African Teak) wood
See Djembefola.com for more about djembe woods.
Rope (ideally double-braided polyester):
- 3/16″ (4mm-5mm) diameter with a core; never flat (non-core) or nylon rope
Height (drumhead should be lower than elbow when sitting in a normal chair):
- 23″-25″ tall
Head (measure of the playing surface, not the ring):
- 12″ – 14″ diameter goatskin or cowhide
Bearing edge (where your hand meets the playing surface):
- smooth and rounded over for playing comfort
These drums were reheaded and refurbished by drumsticktony. Check out our drum tuning & reheading services.