Arab Instruments Forum

Doumbek / Darbuka => Doumbek, Darbuka Lovers => Topic started by: bsfloyd on December 27, 2018, 05:39:56 PM

Title: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on December 27, 2018, 05:39:56 PM
Hello all!  I just wanted to check in to say hello and see if this forum was still relatively active.  I am a new darbuka player (long time percussionist), hoping to find a community to learn from and share with.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on December 28, 2018, 04:16:51 AM
Hi, you're welcome!
We are counting one active follower in drums part of this forum, but me, today... You might be the next one!

Hopefully the forum is still growing. I'd like to start at least some topic with serious arguments.

Some years ago I started with darbuka myself coming from congas.
So come on asking! - I'm ready to respond on any of your questions.

Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on December 28, 2018, 07:27:58 AM
Hello and thanks for the welcome, dHuGo!!

So many questions for sure, but I would like to start with a general instrument question.  The instrument I just received is a Toca Freestyle doumbek (which I have yet to determine the difference between doumbek and darbuka terminology) with a stated 9” head, though actual exposed measurement is 8.5”.  It has a fiberglass body and seems quite durable for travel and outdoor play.  However, the shape of the drum body is more “bowl” shaped and not “martini glass” shaped.  I am finding the drum does not sit well in my lap and I suspect this might be from the body shape.

Now, this Toca drum is not an expensive instrument at all and can be had for around $80 USD - however it certainly is letting me develope my Doum, Tek, and ka rhythms.  The Slap is still a bit tricky for me but it is getting better.  Nonetheless, I would like to get another drum but funds are always an issue especially right after the holiday.

I am consider one of the martini glass options from Meinl.  I see both aluminum and copper offerings for not too much $$$.  I am seeing from $120 ~ $160 ish USD.  Are these good drums to continue with?  Is there something better I should consider?  What should I be looking for?  Though I am a long time percussionist, I am more so with sticks and brushes and less so with hands.

Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on December 29, 2018, 06:48:11 PM
Hi, yes, those drums are good for training. You can get clear sharp tekka-sounds of it. The doum-sound comes good too, but it may be a bit weak for solo performance. - I had a long look on these Meinl-drums. They are really handy. The only reason I didn't decide to get one was the gap around the head, what gave me personally a discomfort. (That's about five years ago. - Simply I was used to hit the rim with my wrist as a conga-player - I have free wrists now and a more floating technique from my darbuka experience.)

So, if you want to buy some new one I won't stop you.

But, to give you a good advice, let's talk on your existing drum first. - How long are you playing your Toca and why did you start it at all?
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on December 30, 2018, 06:46:42 AM
Thanks for the information, dHuGo.

This is the current drum I have by Toca:

The description reads it has a 9” head by 18” tall.  The actual exposed head diameter is 8.5” though.  Is this still considered 9”?  Is this how darbuka head sizing goes?  If so, wouldn’t this drum fall in the Sombaty size category being 9” head and 18” height?  I wonder if I would be better starting with a Classic size drum.

I have only started playing the darbuka / doumbek about a week - the Toca was a gift.  I have played drums however for about 30 years, just not so much hand drums.  I was invited to play African drums for my daughters school choir concert a couple months back and I enjoyed it very much and started my interest in hand drums.  Though I do indeed love the sound and play of the Djembe, it is the sound of the Middle East I really love - hence my current journey beginning with the darbuka.  I will surely continue with the other hand drum families, but I believe my mainstay will be the darbuka :)

Now, I have been reading a lot of good things about the drum company Gawheret El Fan.  I see some of their drums can be had for just a little more than the Meinl drums.  Would they be a better choice over the Meinl, or are they about equal in tone, playability, and build quality?

Thanks for all your help!
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on December 30, 2018, 03:07:28 PM
Hi, bsfloyd, it's a pleasure to read your briefing. - I like it because I feel a lot of fresh inspiration - your motivation seems to be fully intrinsic...

I was a little afraid to meet a professional drummer here, who has to do some noise in a band next month, while the former percussionist actually was running....  ;)
In that case we had to find a fitting drum immediately, to do the best drills right now etc...

I can relax instead, enjoying you may grow with those things you're doing.  :) Don't worry, it's not a shame to have no sounds in only one (!) week. I guess you can learn from your Toca the whole year as minimum. - I would wait with a new drum and try to get stable clear sounds first. All will help you to take the best choice thereafter.

Gawheret El Fan is quiete good. My second darbuka is a New Generation size from Arab Instruments (made in cooperation with the ägyptian manufacturer) and it has great sounds. - The Hossam Ramsy line of Meinl has New Generation and Sombaty sizes too. - All of them are great drums I can fully recommend.

I might figure it out saying the Gawheret El Fan is the Ferrari in darbuka world, the smaller Meinl ones, on wich we talked before, some kind of Lotus or Mustang - and we didn't talk on McLaren, Saleen etc. at all. - So all of them are worth to do it with - if only you have a license. And even when you have it - for a truck - it's absolutely new to drive a sports car. Your long term experience may help you, but it doesn't insure you for proper and safe driving. - You may understand me in those words?

So my Sombaty Plus by Gewheret El Fan has an effective 9" skin is about 19" tall and about 6 kg weight ( Your Toca is similar to the New Generation but should be more light weighted. The shape of the body doesn't matter a lot: "martini" form narrows the edge zone and gives a sharper sound, "bowl" form expands the edge zone and allows to play more clear modulations of the tekka sounds.

But the really benefit for learning and playing is your drum have a well rounded rim!!! It helps you to find the right playing positions at the edge.

And at the end I'd like to tell you one thing you have not on your mind yet: The main discomfort beginning with eastern percussions causes, you have no sight on the skin!!! - Sleep it over: You have over 30 years seen wich part of the drum you're hitting right by the way. That's an important feedback you're missing with your new drum for now!

So let's finish today and think further how to transfer some of your old experience to your new playing next time.
See you!
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on January 01, 2019, 11:52:24 AM
I hope you are having a Happy New Year!!!

Very good words, dHuGo - I understand your referencing perfectly.  Much of what you say carries over to pretty much any instrument quality level as well.  I am a guitarist as well as percussionist and the higher quality the instrument, the more intricate the tone and response “can” be.  Like you said, the player needs to have the experience to pull the intricacy from the instrument.

So, like you say I am best suited for a Mustang for now - a good car to learn driving in :)

I am happy to say I am getting what I believe are acceptable Doums, Teks, and kas for now.  I am trusting my 30 year musical ears are helping me.  I know what the tone needs to be, I just needed a bit of time to pull them from the drum.  I have been finding YouTube to be my current learning resource for the time being.  I have been finding Geoff Childers and Guy Shalom rythm videos to be my main driving source.  I am learning the basic structures of the rhythms first and getting them imprinted into my head and muscle memory.  I am also learning some of the fills add ins, but I am keeping those at a minimum for now.  I am mainly focusing on the base structures and getting the pulse very pronounced.  It is quite helpful that being a long time drummer that I fully understand shythm structure and timing in all the time signatures.  What may take a new drummer a while to understand a 9/8 time signature, I feel right at home with.

However, what you stated is my current hurdle to get over - the playing position of the head because I cannot see it!  You are right, I have been seeing my drums in perfect view for a very long time and now I cannot.  But, it is getting better.  It took me a few days to be able to get a somewhat decent ka tone as the striking angle was odd to me.  Luckily, it is a trouble spot for many newcomers and there are quite a few videos on this subject.  Though it still needs a good amount of work, it is slowly coming along.  I will persevere....

It is evident that you have a great deal of knowledge.  I am very interested to hear about your journey and experiences!  Do you play professionally?  Are you playing for dancers?  Drum circles?  Music groups?  Though in my very rural area, I don’t see myself playing for any dancers, but I would love to find some stringed (Oud perhaps)or wind (Ney or other flute) instruments to play traditional music with.

Again, your advice and experience has been very helpful to my learning and I thank you very much!! 
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on January 03, 2019, 06:11:19 PM
Hello, again,
you make me so happy.

That's a lot of new good stuff you found. I feel you bring really good vibes to me and our forum.

So, I think, I have some usefull tricks left for beginners and intermediates and - maybe - some idea for advanced too. I'll  put them in new topics. The plan is ready about one year, I didn't start because of a flood of nasty spam attacks last year.

Now it seems to me  to be the right time for new input here.

Am I professionall?! - Negativ for now - all I do is learning by doing and it's just for fun - but I do my best.  :)

(btw: I really had some dancer on my mind when I chosed the more expensive professional drum, that's true...
Don't ask me - it's long sad story - and we'd need some beer to survive it.  ;) )

See you....
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on January 04, 2019, 03:43:45 PM
I am very happy to have encouraged you to post your tutorial work - I’m sure I will benefit from it!  It would be great to see more action here again.  I spent a good couple of hours reading through many older threads.  It looks like there used to be a good amount of activity here.  Let’s hope the forum can get back to that.

And.... I’m always up for a beer! :)

I look forward to your tutorial posts to come.
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on January 29, 2019, 07:08:13 PM
On slightly another note, I remember you saying that you have a “New Generation” drum.  What sets this instrument apart from a standard darbuka/doumbek?  I feel I have been advancing well in my skills and would like to upgrade to a nicer drum.  Sadly I cannot afford a quality clay instrument, but would still like to get into a nicer aluminum instrument over my plastic one.  Thanks!

Sure, we had a link before, with an overview in weight, size and prices. There you can see the New Generation is heavier, taller and a lot more expensive... I think, well, it's not the answer you're interested in.

My decision some years ago, as I remember I had had same trouble like you these days. -  Then I found this site:

Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on January 30, 2019, 01:12:53 PM you can see the rating and listen to some examples - but how I would tell you the difference in my own words???

Well, you can hear great sounds with the standard size (Innovation) Darbouka. Those sounds I heard first from Arabic Pop compilations. It was fall 2009 and I had absolutely not any idea of that instrument. - But those sound... Next year, just in Christmas time I had my first contact with a real Darbouka - a mother of pearl Alexandria - and this moment totally grabbed me. - I had no choice else looking for my own new one. But I didn't know anything...
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on January 31, 2019, 05:50:07 PM
Great link with excellent samples - thank you for sharing this with me.  It sounds like you like the classic size just fine.  I greatly appreciate your experiences!  I still wonder about my own playing.  I mean, I don’t know if I ever see myself as a soloist player.  I see myself as the one who holds the rhythm together, playing just the structure of the rhythms - kind of like the glue that holds all together.  Maybe it’s not the darbuka, maybe it’s the bandir, tar, or duff that’s my fitting.  It seems like the players I see of these instruments are playing the main structure of the rhythms while the darbuka players play the fiery solos on top.  Oh yes, I have seen solos of these instruments, but when played as a group of different drums, they seem to favor the structures.  This is what got me thinking that perhaps a larger than classic size darbuka may be a better style for me.  I was thinking that a dohola might work as it seems more of a rhythm instrument than a solo instrument.  Surely I am still learning of all the different instruments so I very well could be thinking wrong :/
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: dHuGo on February 06, 2019, 09:17:32 AM
Yes, you're right - let me continue:
I stopped my last posting, even when I was up to tell you, that the Darbouka playing – well I mean the role of a Darbouka in a group of several instruments – seems to be like that, what are the Bongos in a Latin band.

In professional performances with a standard Darbouka most time we have some background playing and the Doums come from another heavier drum instead. The Doum of the Darbouka is for the communication between players and its main function is to do all the ornaments over the base.

When I choose a New Generation I had a belly dance on my mind, with a single dancer and only me with my drum beside. In that case I felt the Doums of an Innovation should be a bit too weak. That’s all I had on my mind, I had no idea, if that instrument would fit my wishes and which sounds I could really do. But I may tell you, I didn’t regret with my drum. It has good abilities for a different resonant playing. I learnt a lot on various styles – however, I failed to stay that stable and fast for a professional challenge.

You can hear the very difference in sounds from the samples. The Innovation comes with sharp Teks, the New Generation can do the Teks more “splashy” - like water drops hitting the ground… I like it - and it’s not a problem to do dry sharp tones too.

The body of the New Generation is a bit taller. The plus of metal is at the down counterweighting the head, what gives the instrument a good balance laying over your knee.

Probably that’s all, what can I tell you on advantages of the New Generation.

See you next time!
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on February 07, 2019, 05:14:58 PM
Thank you for the information and your experience with the New Generation.  It certainly sounds like a great and versatile drum.  So, not quite a Sombaty size but slightly bigger than a Classic.  I do remember you mentioning the dancer friend, but not wanting to get into much detail about that ;)

For now I would like to direct to a thread I started in the appropriate Tar, Bendir, and Daf forum.  I believe this thread may be best to continue there...

Thanks again for all your wonderful assistance!
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: zippo9999 on June 29, 2019, 06:19:47 AM
Just curious, why is Emin Darbuka so expensive??  ???
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on June 29, 2019, 03:43:22 PM
Just curious, why is Emin Darbuka so expensive??  ???

Hello zippo and welcome!!  The Emin instruments look to be made to the finest details and the construction of them look very nice.  However, without having the opportunity to play them first hand, I cannot say why they are priced the way they are.  I do believe the fact that they are made one by one and by hand has a strong factor in the price.  Have a look at Savvas percussion and the wooden Hubb drums - all a good amount more than other drums.
Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
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Title: Re: Darbuka newbie - *Mod: Buy a Darbuka
Post by: bsfloyd on August 06, 2019, 05:20:08 PM
No thank you  :o