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Pretty Good Djembes

Member for

21 years 2 months
I am admittedly a bit of a snob when it comes to djembes. I play the djembe and I have several very special ones that I use that were made for me by master carvers that I know from Guinea and the Ivory Coast.
I teach a couple of classes in West African Percussion and I needed to get some djembes for my students. The ones that were coming in from Africa recently (I deal directly with the West African community here in NY) were okay, but not up to usual standards and they needed work. So I was in my local Guitar Center picking up some pieces for my drumkit and I saw a few of the djembes that they had, mostly the synthetic Remo ones (shudder) or the LP or Toca ones (as bad) and a few overpriced Ivory Coast ones.Then I saw a few that were made of good wood shells (turned, not carved) but with a knowledge of proper proportions and shell thickness. They were fitted with good goatskin heads that were a bit thinner than I prefer but properly mounted with good rings and rope (Mali weave) and they sounded very good. They are made by an outfit called "Sageman" and the djembes needed tuning, but they are good djembes. I bought three and they gave me a special price of
$275 for all three.(they list at between $100-$189 each, but you know Guitar Center, ya gotta deal).
So if any of you are looking into getting a djembe and you don't want to spend too much money, these are a good deal. Spare yourself the agony of buying one of the production models made by Remo or LP or Toca and the like, where no amount of tuning will get them to sound like a djembe. These puppies aren't bad at all and are good drums to learn on. and inexpensive.
You usually have to spent upwards of $400 to get a professional quality West African djembe here in the US. These are American made (I believe), but they sound right and they're made right.
I just thought I'd share.