How to Buy the Right Djembe

In this video, let's find out how to buy the right djembe. There are 3 things to take into consideration:


1. Style

2. Size

3. Price


First, the style - there are 2 types of djembes. There is the origianal traditional African style djembe. It has shell made of real wood, animal skin on top as the drumhead and is tightened and tuned using ropes.


Over time, these African style rope tuned djembes tend to go out of tune (lower in pitch), the ropes loosen up which means they go slightly (or not so slightly) out of tune. When this happens you should tune up (tighten) the djembe once more. 


The second style is the key-tuned djembe. Most of them don't have real wood shell, but instead have a fiber glass shell or a recycled wood fiber shell (like a Remo djembe). And instead of an animal skin, they use a synthetic material as the drumhead. With no ropes, comes the alternative solution - the key-tuned system.


These key-tuned djembes can usually be tuned with a regular square-shaped drum key. Sometimes the key-tuned djembes have a hexagonal nut which you can tune using a wrench. When a key-tuned djembe goes out of tune (almost never) you just take your tool and tighten up those nuts 🐿️


The size. I hear most African djembes spoken in terms of height, but what I usually want to know is the diameter of the drumhead. The minimum diameter in my experience has been 12 inches. Lots of high pitched sound in a great way.


What I really enjoy most tho, is a 14 inch djembe. It has even more bass and is wider in its dynamic range. A few 10-ish inch djembes can also have surprisingly good bass for their size, but these are hard to find exceptions.


Finally, the price. All depends on your budget - prices start from 200 USD and can rise to 500 USD these days. There are some djembes from Africa that are more than 1000 EUR, which sound great and do serve their purpose - I personally have never felt the need for one.


Enjoy the process of finding a djembes which works best for you ;)