Djembe FAQ

What do your size dimension descriptions mean?

size
Our size dimensions are listed in inches, with the approximate height listed first, and the approximate playing surface diameter listed second. ((Overall head diameter (rings and rope included) generally measures about 1-2 inches above playing surface, which is the goat skin striking surface of the drum. You will need to refer to overall head diameter when buying a bag to fit your drum)). For example, if a drum is listed as 19”-20” x 9”-10” then that drum is between 19 and 20 inches tall, with a playing surface between 9-10 inches and an overall head diameter between 10 and 11 inches. The reason we provide approximate dimensions is that due to the hand-carved nature of our product, sizes vary slightly from drum to drum. Rest assured, however, that we will never send you a drum that does not fit within the listed approximate dimensions. Please refer to our article for more information on size and how to find the right size for your needs.

What is the difference between overall head diameter and playing surface?

Overall head diameter is generally about an inch more than actual playing surface, as it measures the total width of the head including the ring system. Playing surface refers to the actual striking surface of the drum.

What does “lathe-turned” mean?

You may have noticed that our drums are consistently priced better than drums of equal and often much lesser quality. A strong part of the reason for this is that a lathe is used in the hollowing out process of the drum, rather than hollowing it out using hand tools (the rest of the process is all done completely by hand by master carvers). This is simply to increase efficiency in the production process while still ending up with the same high-quality result, in about 1/10 of the time. This greatly reduces production costs while still allowing us to provide a fair price to both the carvers and for you the consumer. In a sense everyone benefits from the process.

What are “lateral groove rough surface carvings?”

lat groove
Seen as a spiral shaped pattern grooved into the interior bowl and stem of the djembe’s shell, lateral groove carvings reduce any overtones within the drum’s bowl by changing the way the sound and air waves are pushed out of the drum. The result is a more sharp, resonant, and pleasing sound on both rim strokes and bass strokes.

What is the difference between a three-ring or a two-ring head?

3 ring
The three ring head construction allows for the skin to be wrapped around an additional cloth-wrapped metal ring, creating a fail-safe against the skin ever slipping out. This allows the drummer to tune the drum to much tighter tensions in pursuit of the specific sound they are looking for in their drum. This does not mean that two ring head constructions are not adequate, it simply means that an extra step was taken to give one drum a bit more range in tuning over its counterpart.

What kind of wood are the drums made out of?

All drums are carved from sustainably-farmed plantation mahogany. This means that a tree is planted behind each one that is cut down.

What kind of skin is used on the drums?

All drums have shaved goat skin at the head, with the spine centered. All pro drums have untreated skin and all Jammers Series have treated, bleached skin unless otherwise mentioned.

What is my drum supposed to sound like?

We’d like to stress here that the most important aspect of your drum’s sound is that it be first and foremost pleasing to you. With that concept in mind, however, we feel that the ideal sound occurs when most of the ringy-ness as been eliminated from the rim tones through tuning, and the bass sounds smooth and deep. This means sharp rim tones and smooth bass is how we would describe a well-tuned drum.

As a beginner, what size drum is right for me?

It is our belief and experience that the most common mistake the novice drummer makes on their first purchase is buying the smallest, cheapest drum they can find. The main barrier an inexperienced player will find in a smaller drum is that the wide array of tones a djembe is capable of making is vastly reduced as the diameter of the head goes down. Thus, smaller drums have less bass and mid-range tones that are harder to reproduce without experienced striking techniques. We recommend that you buy the largest diameter head you can afford and be comfortable with to practice on, as you will find it vastly easier to play and thus will be more likely to avoid the frustration that disrupts skill progression and can lead to giving up.
The height can also sometimes be an important aspect for player comfort. Measure the distance from your foot to your knees sitting down, and determine if you will feel comfortable holding the drum while it rests at an angle on the floor and the bottom of the stem. Though this will not make or break your love for your drum, it may make it a better fit for you personally. As an adult player we recommend that your drum be a minimum of 19”-20” tall, with a 10“11” head for maximum comfort and sound.

What makes your drums eco-friendly?

All our wooden products are carved from government certified wood that is guaranteed to be from a legal harvesting site. Many drums out there on the web and in other venues seem overly-cheap for what you get, and you may wonder when encountering these drums how it is that they come to be so cheap in price despite what appears to be lots of work. It’s simple: They are likely selling drums that are carved from wood that was harvested in ecologically-sensitive areas illegally, without permits from regulating bodies. This wood is often lower quality and the impact of harvesting it is much more detrimental on a spiritual and world environmental level than the drum’s benefit could ever be to you as a player. Our suppliers take special care to obtain wood from companies who harvest their trees using a method that does not take too many trees from any one area (so that the forest continues to thrive), and also replants another tree behind each harvested specimen, to ensure that life goes on in the most healthy manner possible in that ecosystem. If a drum’s price tag sounds too good to be true, ask the seller to provide you with government documentation that their wood is legal and eco-friendly. If they cannot, we recommend that you do not buy from them.

Where do I check out?

Occasionally some customers have trouble finding our shopping cart. The cart should appear at the top of the sidebar on the left side of the screen AFTER you add a product to it. If the cart does not appear, try clearing the cache and deleting the cookies from your web browser and then try again. If the cart still does not appear, please contact us and we will assist you.

Can I use Paypal for purchases?

Yes, please contact us with your order and we’ll send you a Paypal invoice.

Can I purchase with a debit card?

Yes, we accept both credit and debit cards.

I’m having trouble purchasing online, what should I do?

Please contact us or call us by phone at 888.869.6293

Do you accept checks or money orders?

Yes. Please note that we require a 7-10 business day waiting period once the check or money order is received.

Do you take orders over the phone?

Yes, we’re happy to assist you with your order over the phone. You can reach us at 888.869.6293

What is your return policy?

Return Policy

Where do you ship?

We ship to the U.S. and Canada. Canadian, Alaskan, and Hawaiian buyers, please read below:

All orders in the lower 48 states of America include free shipping, and are sent via FedEx.
For our Canadian customers, we offer UPS Ground shipping to the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Shipping costs do not include brokerage fees incurred at the border. Please note, we are not responsible for determining/estimating any brokerage fees, buyers are solely responsible for contacting UPS for this information. Canadian buyers please contact us BEFORE making a purchase so that we can tally up all necessary charges to facilitate your order in the quickest manner possible. Canadian buyers please note that we only use UPS for Canadian orders—we are unable to use USPS because they do not provide a tracking number.
Hawaiian and Alaskan customers please contact us BEFORE purchasing so we can tally up all necessary charges to facilitate your order. We only use FedEx Ground and NOT USPS because they don’t provide a tracking number. Due to the high shipping rates to Hawaii and Alaska, we cannot be held responsible for any damages if they should occur in transit. To make up for this, we ensure that the package is doubly padded, but please be aware of this before you purchase.
We do not ship outside of the U.S. or Canada due to the extremely high shipping rates.

Mother Rhythm Drums

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