Two-Ring Versus Three-Ring Djembe Tuning Systems
Getting into a new hobby, especially one with as much rich history and traditional building techniques as the djembe drum, often presents large gaps in understanding for the novice or intermediate practitioner to search out and fill. Occasionally we get questions from customers seeking information about the differences between two-ring head mounting systems and three-ring systems. The aim of this blog entry is to hopefully provide some information on the subject and make it available to you, the consumer.
Essentially both systems are acceptable for the most part. On a two-ring system, a metal ring is wrapped in cloth and then the skin is wrapped around it and pulled taught toward the center of the skin, creating the initial playing surface. The ring and skin are then placed on the drum, where an additional ring which is again wrapped in fabric but also has loops tied onto it, which will be used to string the lateral ropes to and thus attach the head to the shell. Here is the potential problem: Occasionally, specifically in humid and hot conditions with extremely tightly tuned drums, the skin can slip out from beneath the second ring, destroying the tension of the head which gives such great tones.
The advantage to a professional three-ring djembe is that after the skin is wrapped around the first ring from the bottom, it is then folded down over an additional ring from the top, and THEN the two are held into place by the top ring with the loops. Thus the additional ring creates a fail-safe that ensures there is no way for the skin to slip, no matter how tightly it is tuned (though it will eventually rupture if tuned too tight). The three ring system allows for much tighter tuning (which sharpens the rim tones dramatically) without fear of skin slippage or leaning head mounts.
Still looking at a jammer over a pro? Never fear, skin slippage is a rare occurrence at best. The three-ring system simply exists for the player who knows up front that they will be tuning their drum to the limits of tightness. As always, if you have any questions or need anything at all, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Be Well In Rhythm….
Mother Rhythm Drums