Arab Instruments Forum

Doumbek / Darbuka => Buy & Sell Darbuka => Topic started by: Gregory on October 20, 2015, 11:33:09 AM

Title: Can i get a cheap darbuka that will also work well?
Post by: Gregory on October 20, 2015, 11:33:09 AM
I think its the coolest instrument i have ever seen and i love the sound it makes. i really want to learn how to play but i cant get lessons. can i learn form a computer program? will it be too hard?
can i get a cheap darbuka that will also work well?
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Title: Re: Can i get a cheap darbuka that will also work well?
Post by: Davids on October 23, 2015, 05:28:55 PM
Ceramic doumbeks produce beautiful tones.  They are a little warmer in timbre than many metal doumbek and are as easy to play as the above mentioned drums.  However, ceramic doumbeks are fragile and thus, are much less durable than any metal doumbek.  If you travel with the ceramic drum, then a padded bag is needed.   For a first doumbek I would NOT recommend a ceramic drum since it is more fragile and less versatile than the metal drums.
Title: Re: Can i get a cheap darbuka that will also work well?
Post by: Kalasinar on October 24, 2015, 10:20:10 AM
If you have prior drumming experience and/or instruction then it is not hard to pick up and learn the Arabic rhythms. If you are very new to drumming, and hand drums in particular, then there are many techniques and skills that will take time and persistent practice to master. It all depends how passionate and dedicated you are, as with any musical instrument. I have been learning darbuka for almost a year now, though i have been playing kit drums for over ten years. There are some particular skills i have been constantly practicing which are not quite 'there' yet, but progress has been very obvious, and each step closer to my goal encourages me to continue.

As far as lessons go, i am in a position where there are no instructors local to me and currently i do not drive so it is difficult for me to travel far afield. I learnt some things from youtube in the beginning, but i wanted more solid and structured lessons. I searched a lot online and found an instructional DVD by Faisal Zedan which is extremely good. I've been learning from it since -

As for cheap darbukas...i would not recommend them if you are into the darbuka for the long haul (i.e. - you know you will stick with it). I started out on a vinyl covered lightweight darbuka (HE-3000) made by Meinl. It is okay but the doums are very flat and uninteresting, and both the doum and tek lack the bright sound of what i love about my GEF (though the teks are very snappy). You are also stuck with only using Meinl heads on that model too because it is an uncommon size. For 85 i do not think the Meinl is very good, though to give some credit, the shell is very well made.
Gawharet el Fan mother of pearl darbukas are much better but of course more expensive (i got mine for 162). The shells can be hit or miss; sometimes the rims are finished terribly (i've had to sand mine down recently). I've heard quality can vary greatly with GEFs, though i've only had experience with the one i have, so i couldn't attest to that. However for the moment i would say the GEF is the best metal darbuka i have. The doum has great sustain and the teks are bright. You can also switch up the heads on it, to a Remo or Powerbeat etc etc.
Alexandria darbukas are a train wreck in terms of shell quality and build. I only have a mini 12" one for fun, but it has a hole in the body near the base and so many pits and bumps all over the inside and rim. I've sanded off the sharp areas around the rim which has vastly improved sound, but eventually i think i'm going to sand the entire inside smooth. I've not tried the standard size Alexandrias but they probably at least have a good weight to them. I don't know if they'd be better than the 85 Meinl or not, but again like the GEF you can switch up the heads on the Alexandrias.

If you are able, try some darbukas in a shop first, especially if they have a nice selection. I'm unable to do that in the UK where i live because most shops stock 'Atlas' brand darbukas which are pretty much the same as the Meinl i started with. Ceramic darbukas are very expensive but very worth it if you progress and get hooked on the instrument. I got a medium bass model from Savvas Percussion in Greece this year and it is phenomenal.