How to Pick a Djembe Drum

Learn how to play a djembe drum from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.

If you’re interested in getting a djembe drum, how do you know which is the drum to get? Djembe drums are very popular now. They come from many different places. They originate in West Africa, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire (which is Ivory Coast), and Senegal. They make a lot of djembes in Ghana. Then also make djembes in America, Indonesia, China. How do you know which drum to get?

Here’s my advice. You want to look at the size of the drum. Is it too big for you? Is it too cumbersome? Can you very easily hold it? You want to look at the weight of the drum. Are you carrying the drum around? Or are you just throwing it in the back of your car and it’s not too bad? Or are you just keeping it in your house? If you’re carrying your drum a lot or you’re standing up and playing, you don’t want a drum that’s too heavy. Please, do not go by just the pitch of the drum. That’s very high. That’s lower. That’s in the middle. Because, the tightening of the drum changes the pitch. I don’t choose a drum for myself by the pitch of the drum. I choose a drum by looking to see if it’s good quality.

The best sounding djembes are one piece of wood, not pieced together and glued together. They should have very high quality rope so that you can tune them well. All of the materials should be well made. If a drum is very, very inexpensive ($100, $50), then you know you’re probably buying an inferior instrument which is fine, if that’s what you want. But if you want to get a very good quality instrument, it should be solid.

Then you go by aesthetics. Do you like the design? Personally, I don’t pick a drum by the design. I pick a drum by the size, the quality, and the weight. Those are some tips on how to choose a djembe drum.