Djembe Drums – Standard – 40cm, natural, 5 pack
Age 5 - 11
- Instruments 5
- Players 5
- Stock: 9
A pack of 5 standard-setting 40cm plain djembes, each with 7-8″ diameter playing heads. The 5 djembe pack is the best value way to add djembes to your collection as there’s extra discount built into the price. Single djembes also available – go to www.drumsforschools.co.uk/drums-standard-djembe-c-125_54.html
This is the 40cm (16″) size and has a playing head diameter of between 8 and 9 inches. It’s a good size for most children up to 10 or 11 years old. Children with bigger hands will do better with the standard 50cm size.
The Djembe can be played in many ways and is capable of producing a range of different tones from a deep bass to a high crack, so an ensemble of differently sized Djembes can produce a wide tonal range.
You can find information on basic playing techniques in Andy Gleadhill’s African Drumming and Percussion Buddies books (both included with this pack) and the following short videos show you how it’s done.
But please use headphones or play through hifi when watching the videos as laptop and pad speakers won’t be able to reproduce the lower frequencies and the drums will sound very tinny!
In the following two videos Andy Gleadhill demonstrates basic and more advanced playing techniques:
And in the following videos Richard McKerron demonstrates the three main djembe techniques: Open, Bass and Slap.
When playing an Open tone the drum should be struck with the whole length of the fingers on the edge of the drum nearest to your body with your elbows slightly raised. If you imagine the drumhead to be a clock face your right hand will be on the four and your left hand on the eight. Your hands must not remain in contact with the drum ounce you have played the beat but should return to your natural playing position just above the drum. A good way to achieve this technique is to imagine that the drumhead is very hot, like a radiator, and you do not want to leave your hand on it any longer than necessary.
To produce a good Bass tone the Djembe must be struck in the middle of the drumhead with the hand slightly cupped, palm down, again with the hand returning quickly from the drum. You can use your whole arm and pretend that you are bouncing a basketball this will result in the correct action for playing good Bass tones.
To produce a good Slap tone, check out the following clip:
To augment the timbre of the ensemble, try adding other types of Shaker and hand percussion (eg Clapsticks or Wood Blocks). Metallic tones, such as Cow bells, also fit well and stand out high above the Djembe sounds.
To completely round out the sound of the percussion group, add a Dundun, Sangban and Kenkeni. This trio of double ended African drums make a superb underlying support system for Djembe groups and soloists, and together can make for truly spell-binding performances.
Djembes and other drums are extremely tough and will give satisfaction for 5 to 10 years and longer, if you treat them with care and follow the guidelines below.
Wooden drum shells should be kept at a reasonably constant temperature and humidity (normal room temperature is best) and not placed near to a heat source or stored in damp conditions.
Be sure not to let the skin get damp as, if it does, it will lose its tension, and when the tension goes, the sound becomes loose and flat. If you do have an accident you can always try using a hair dryer (set to ‘low’) to warm up and tighten the skin, or put it in the sun for twenty minutes and it will soon dry out and the tension and sound will recover.
You may find that there’s a small bag of wedges supplied with your Djembe. These are for quickly tuning it up on cold damp days or if you want a higher pitch for solo work or performance. Just push the wedges in between the vertical drum strings and the wooden drum shell, spreading the wedges out evenly around the drum. This will increase the tension of the strings and increase the pitch of the drum. You can buy extra wedges very cheaply – click here.
You may also wish to learn how to tune a Djembe using the traditional Mali weave technique, which uses the spare rope wrapped around the Djembe and is a long term solution. This is the professional way to do it and will give you much more control. Take a look at the following video and try it for yourself. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll find it’s very quick and easy.
Hand percussion instruments tend to need very little maintenance, and if you treat them with reasonable care they’ll last for years.
Beaded Shaker and Seseh Shaker
Both these shakers are made from coconut shells, which are strong but brittle and they may crack if dropped on or knocked against a hard surface. So just be careful and it’s a good idea to wrap them in bubblewrap or a soft wrapping when storing them with other instruments.
If the handles get dirty or sticky, just wipe down with a damp cloth. Using a little detergent, disinfectant or surface cleaner won’t do any harm! If the netting carrying the seseh seeds works loose, you can use a short length of string to pull it tighter around the coconut shell.
Agogo Natural and Agogo Bells
Nothing much to go wrong here – as with the shakers, just wipe down with a damp cloth from time to time. Using a little detergent, disinfectant or surface cleaner won’t do any harm. It’s worth checking the metal bells occasionally, to make sure no sharp edges develop inside or out.
Caxixi Basket Shaker
If the rattan basket dries out it may become brittle and break, so it’s a good idea to wipe it down with a lightly oiled cloth once in a while. Light vegetable oil is fine, or pretty well any kind of polish. The other thing to check from time to time is that gaps don’t appear in the weave – and if they do, just ease them closed by squeezing the horizontal rows of rattan together with your fingertips.
We use the best quality materials and traditional manufacturing methods to make our African Drumming instruments and accessories and they’re designed for serious, long term use in the classroom. Looked after properly the instruments will give many years of satisfaction, even if used several times a day and the materials and workmanship are guaranteed as follows:
Djembe and other drum shells – 10 years. But keep at a stable temperature and humidity and don’t let the shells get damp or wet. Don’t leave in direct sunlight or near a heat source as this can cause the wood to dry out and crack. Although they’re naturally tough, handle with respect and don’t drop them or throw them about as rough treatment can also cause cracks to appear.
Drum skins -2 years. But keep hard or sharp points (including rings and other jewellery) away from drum skins at all times. Keep skins dry and don’t leave in direct sunlight or near a heat source as this can cause the skin to dry out and split. If you need to tighten the drum skins, be sure not to over do it as over-tightening can also cause skins to split.
Hand percussion instruments – 2 years. But treat with care and don’t drop them or handle roughly as natural materials are not as strong as plastics and may crack or break, particularly if dropped on a hard surface.
Storage/carry bags and accessories – 2 years. But keep bags away from sharp points and don’t over-fill them or force the zips.
If you should get any problems with any of our African Drumming instruments or accessories, please take photos of the issues and email them to us with the order/invoice number and a brief description of how the problem arose and we’ll get back to you right away.
We work with a small number of specialist logistic companies to deliver your order quickly and economically. The delivery method varies, depending on your location and the size of the order, as follows:
Orders up to 5kg – Courier 2 to 3 working day delivery. This would typically include books, smaller instruments, percussion baskets and djembes up to 40cm.
Orders over 5kg – Courier, next working day delivery. Most orders are sent this way.
Large orders – Pallet service, 3 to 5 working day delivery. Used for large orders and those with more fragile contents.
- Above timings are from dispatch date. Time from placing your order will usually be one or two days longer, depending on the order and destination.
- Delivery to offshore or Highland addresses may take longer and may cost more than to UK mainland addresses and we’ll quote and agree the costs with you in advance. Please note that in these cases it’s fine to go ahead and place your order, and there’s no obligation on your part until the delivery costs have been quoted and accepted by you.
- For some destinations, where a courier service isn’t available, we may send by Royal Mail instead.
Orders weighing less than 1kg and not too bulky – Post Office Airmail. This would include books and smaller percussion instruments.
Orders weighing more than about 1kg and large orders – international courier or pallet service. We’ll obtain competitive quotes and agree these with you in advance.
Please note that it’s fine to go ahead and place your international order prior to confirming shipping costs, and that there’s no obligation on your part until the delivery costs have been quoted and accepted by you. Payment for international orders, including shipping costs, is required before dispatch of the goods.
Please let us know straight away if anything arrives damaged or otherwise in a substandard condition and we’ll be happy to replace it, refund the cost or provide you with an alternative product to your satisfaction. Speed is of the essence here as most courier companies will only accept responsibility for damage in transit if the damage is reported within 24 hours of delivery.
In the event of damage, please take photographs, including any damage to the packaging, and email these to us ASAP.
Similarly, if an instrument develops a fault within 12 months of purchase in the course of normal use (though excluding fair wear and tear), please let us know, and we’ll replace it or refund the cost. It’s also very helpful for us to see photos of the issue as this gives us solid information for changing the design, the production method or the packing materials.
But please do contact us before returning any damaged or substandard items. Once we’ve approved their return, please send to: Drums for Schools Limited, 21 Shaftesbury Avenue, Burton Joyce NG14 5GL
We really appreciate your feedback in the case of faults (or if you think an instrument could be improved in any way) and we take all such feedback very seriously indeed.