“What are you talking about? There is only one way to hit the bass! It’s just right in the center and that’s that!”
Well, sure. If you don’t want to pay attention to details and don’t want to play in a versatile manner. For the rest of us – let’s check out other ways to make bass strokes sound amazing.
The most common way, which is also mostly the useful way, is to hit the bass stroke with a flat hand right in the center. The only thing here is that I seriously recommend spreading your fingers while you’re doing that stroke. The skin of the djembe sounds just a bit better and more full and round. Independence of your fingers is a wonderful thing, so keep those fingers spread. Not too much, not too little.
Then there’s the bass stroke which is hit with the whole fist. Not with your knuckles, obviously. You form your hand into a fist and hit the djembe with the lower part, with that little pad that has formed. The secret to be unveiled here is that try not to hit the very center of the djembe, instead go a just a bit off center. For some reason which is to be explored more in a physics class, the hand bounces back from the drumhead just a bit better when not hit in the very center with this way of bass stroke.
The third way of bass-strokin’ your djembe is with the wrist. This is especially nice when done with any sort of wristband. This makes the djembe sound mellow and soft – but only from the bass’ perspective. You still got your fingertips free from the wristband and you get to add all the percussion bits. The bass played with the wrist is also a great choice when playing quietly. It’s quite easy to controll the movement, the bass stroke is close and you’re hitting the bass quite close to the edge. Check out the “3 Ways of Bass Strokes with Djembe” video to see and hear exactly what I mean.