Apologies - work in progress

music-making for everyone


Hi. I'm looking for a samba book which breaks things down to the simplest level and would be suitable for starting a samba band with kids with moderate learning difficulties. I play drum kit and can read music but have no idea where to start with a samba band. Any advice on books etc would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much

Hi Tan The frame is made of plantation-grown mahogany and you're right about the goatskin. The goats are from Java and I'm afraid they tend to end up on Javanese families' dinner tables. The goatskin is very much a by-product of this. Do let me know if you have any other questions. Best wishes Andy

Hi Andy We bought the Samba kit this year and having problems with the small black tamborims. The skin is splitting - now have 6 broken ones and the bell has fallen apart. Are any other schools having problems or are we too enthusiastic in South Glos?!! Christine Wright

Yes but these events often work best if there are several schools involved so it's worth asking other schools in your area if they'd also be interested in taking part.

Hi Andy my website is www.jumadrums.co.za and i am looking for people world wide interested in having students learn the instruments i specialise in Drums, Mbira, Kalimba and Xylophones on a once off or long term workshop level any suggestions? Nice website you have!

Yes, it's perfectly possible, though a little strenuous and you may find that you end up doing it twice as the first time tends to be a bit of a bodge. There's a really good step-by-step guide of how to go about it at http://hawkdancing.com/Wooddrum/drumhead.html. You'll need a good new skin and some string, both of which you can buy from us at reasonable prices.

testing again

The drumskins are really high quality and should give many years of satisfaction providing they're treated with respect. Only use the hands or properly designed drumsticks to hit them - never hit them with sharp or pointed objects and always take off any hand jewellery before playing (even smooth metal rings can cause damage). If you use drumsticks frequently you're likely to shorten the life of the skin as sticks concentrate the force of each impact in a much smaller area. It's always best to use the hands - it spreads the impact and helps to oil the skin using the natural oils on your skin. It's also a good idea to put a protective hat or drums bag on the drum when it isn't being used. Most damage to skins happens by accident (someone mistakes the drum for a side table) and so a protective cover is a really good investment.

Hi Andy, I am just about to start a drumming circle and have spoken with your office today who suggested that I email you re a couple of questions that I have regarding your shamanic drums. Could you tell me what wood is used for the frames, also I presume that the goats from which the skins come have not been killed purely for the purpose of making the drums? Thank you - Tan

Yes, they're all water-based acrylics. No lead or other nasty ingredients. Varnishes are also water-based.

Can you arrange a drumming or gamelan workshop at our school?

Babies and small children (and many grown-ups) are so creative that they're capable of treating inanimate objects as anything from weapons to light snacks. Although our instruments are carefully made and the colours and materials aren't harmful, they do need to be handled responsibly. Don't leave babies or small children to play with the instruments unless there's a responsible adult to hand.

Can I reskin my own drum?

If the worst comes to the worst, see "Can I reskin my own drum" below. The process takes several days and the cost depends on the size and type of the drum and on the type and condition of the stringing. But be warned - reskinning drums is an expensive business. It's much better to take good care of the skin in the firrst place!

How long will the drumskins last?

This is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes once you've got the hang of it. Master drummers tend to tune their drums before they play and then slacken them off again afterwards. That way they get those amazing high slaps but only keep the drumskins at high stress when they're actually playing. For detailed instructions and lots of photos, see the brilliant step-by-step guide at http://www.hawkdancing.com/Wooddrum/tuningadjembe.html.

Are the paints/colours safe?

Please see the Discounts & Guarantee page for more info. If you're going to use our instruments to help spread music-making, then chances are you qualify.

Are the instruments safe for babies?

We're always happy to look at making new instruments. The process is often quite a long one but it's always interesting. Email us with what you have in mind and we'll get back to you.

What happens if a drumskin breaks?

Yes, and we're always looking to change to faster-growing species and to increase our use of recycled and wood waste products. Wherever possible we'll always use bamboo, local softwoods or fruits instead of hardwood - it's good for the planet and it keeps costs down too.

How do I tune my djembe?

Yes. Let us know what you need and we'll send you a quote.

Do I qualify for the 30% discount?

40cm, 30cm and even smaller djembes are fine for small hands. But small children love the bigger drums too (and the bigger the better!) so it's nice to include a 50cm or 60cm if you've the budget for it.

Can you make a new instrument for us?

The 40cm and 50cm djembes are probably best, with maybe a 60cm or 65cm as well for the teacher (good for setting a bass rhythm). What are the best sizes of drum for secondary schools? The 50cm and 60cm djembes are probably best, plus some 65cms for filling out the bass

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