How to Maintain a Djembe

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

You want your drum to last a long time. How do you maintain your djembe drum? I’m going to give you some great tips on how to make sure that your drum lasts a long time and hopefully, generation to generation. The first and most important thing to realize is that the skin does not last forever. It’s goat’s skin, the more you play it, the tighter it gets. Eventually, it can rip and it’ll be replaced. So the most important thing to consider, when maintaining your drum and taking care of it is protecting the wood. Most well made djembe have some kind of wax or oils, or something to protect the wood. You want to look at your drum closely and see if there is something on it, protecting it. If you don’t know, then try to ask somebody. But, you want to make sure the wood is protected.

With that said, realize that it is wood, it’s natural. So don’t put it next to the heater. Don’t throw it. If you bring it on the airplane, pack it very, very well. Because anything that shocks the wood will crack it. This drum is very strong, I could stand on it. But if I drop it, and it’s shocked, it could crack. So you want to be careful when transporting the drum, or moving it. You don’t want to keep it in any extreme weather or any extreme climate change. You don’t want to keep it in a car if it’s very, very hot. Anything like that can damage the wood and also the skin. If the skin is very, very tight, you have to make sure that nothing sharp touches the skin, or no water.

One time I got caught in a rainstorm, my bag was not waterproof and my drum popped because too much water got on the skin and it makes it weak. So you want to make sure that you protect the drum from anything extreme. And also, you don’t have to put oils and lotions on the skin, it doesn’t make it last longer. People think the skin will be protected, the more oil you put on it. Well, the pores of the goat are no longer living, they cannot absorb the oil and what happens is, you create a film over the drum and it doesn’t sound good, after a while. So the skin, leave it alone, keep it natural. The wood, protect it. And then your drum will last a long time. These are some tips on how to maintain your djembe.