Drum Tuning

Your drum just isn’t sounding like it used to? Maybe it’s new drum that has never been tuned before or maybe this drum is a new internet find? Haven’t a clue what the Mali Weave is or how to pull a diamond?

We can show you how to tune your own drum. It looks complicated at first glance, but is pretty straight-forward once you get it. Here’s a pdf that shows the Mali Weave and other maintenance tips.

If you’d rather not take on a task like this yourself, we’ll assess your rope-tuned drum and tune it up for $15. Understand that this is when the goatskin is most vulnerable. There are lots of variables, so there’s no way to know how long a natural goatskin will last. If the head splits during tuning, the $15 fee will be applied toward reheading costs.

Sometimes, the rope is the root of the problem. Inferior quality rope will stretch and may not keep even tension on the drum head. Heat and humidity can be another factor in the way a drum sounds, too.

TIP: Never leave your drum in a hot car! Temps inside a car can soar quickly in the summer time and lead to a broken goatskin head.

Reheading Service

It happens…you pull just one more diamond and POP, the head breaks. Most djembes and ashikos have a genuine goatskin head that will occasionally need to be replaced over the life of the drum. Unless otherwise indicated, our goatskins are imported from West Africa. And we only use the highest quality 3/16″ double-braided polyester rope with a low-stretch core. Reheading costs $120.

djembe drum rehead SuSu braid

Includes (as needed/requested):

  • Inspection of shell and rope
  • Removal of existing head
  • Bearing edge reshaping
  • Replace with new goatskin head
  • Apply boiled linseed oil to shell
  • Tuck and braid skin (Susu braid)
  • Rope handle
  • Tune and Test your drum


  • Replace all rope (based on 3/16″ x 100′) = $25
  • Additional charge beyond 32 cradle loops ($1/loop)
  • Thick or premium skin request additional charge (varies)
  • Re-rope and tighten verticals only = $15
  • Re-rope top and/or bottom ring = $10
  • Goatskin shaving = $5

See examples of djembes reheaded by drumstick Tony in our Djembe Buying Guide.