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Messages - drtom

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Doumbek, Darbuka Lovers / Re: Type of Darbuka
« on: December 25, 2018, 11:56:55 AM »
Thanks dHuGo.  I would have guessed Turkish too, because it's copper and the decorations.

This drum is interesting to me, because it uses the collar and internal bolts like Egyptian style doumbeks do.  The edge is not rounded like Egyptian style doumbeks, though.  The drum is flat at the top and has more of a sharp edge like Turkish style darbukas.  The drum seems to be a hybrid of the Egyptian style and Turkish style.

I didn't even try to find a replacement head.  What I did was mount a goat skin on a flesh ring.  Worked great!

Doumbek, Darbuka Lovers / Type of Darbuka
« on: November 27, 2018, 12:13:55 AM »
Well Folks,

A few days ago I asked about a vintage darbuka, and you don't seem to know much about that.  Maybe you can tell me something about the following doumbek:

Doumbek, Darbuka Lovers / Vintage Darbuka
« on: November 24, 2018, 01:04:10 PM »
Greetings Darbukafolas,

I come seeking your help.

I've come across an old darbuka (at least 40 years, please see attachment) that I'm not familiar with, and I'm hoping you can help me with a couple of things.

First, help identify this drum.  Where is it from?  Who made it?  It's only a gut feeling, but I think it's Persian.

Second, where can I get the missing hardware?  Obviously the skin is missing, but I have plenty of that.  As I understand it the missing hardware consisted of an adjustable brass ring with a rubber grommet.

Thank you for any light you can shed.

A useful article.  I'm surprised more people haven't at least taken a look.

Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons / Re: Darbuka Restoration
« on: March 19, 2018, 03:23:44 PM »
Nice! - I see a lot of copper. What's your opinion on copper instead of aluminium?!

While spun aluminum has its advantages (lighter, cheaper, and corrosion resistant), I prefer the "warmer" sound of copper.  This preference is subjective, but I think most people would probably agree.

Riq, Mazhar, bendir, Tar... Lover / Riq Repair
« on: March 10, 2018, 11:48:25 AM »
Greetings Membranophonefolas,

As most of you probably know by now, all drum heads eventually die.  If your riq, mazhar, bendir, tar or other frame drum blows its top, I'd be happy to help.  That's what I do.  Just message me or contact me through my website.

Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons / Darbuka Restoration
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:48:09 PM »
Never give up on your darbuka.  There's always hope for your old friend.

Doumbek, Darbuka Lovers / Darbuka King
« on: January 22, 2018, 01:00:39 PM »

Riq, Mazhar, bendir, Tar... Lover / Daf Repair Needed In UK
« on: January 14, 2018, 02:32:05 PM »

I repair hand drums of all kinds and have been doing so for years.  People find me through my website, and recently someone from the UK contacted me about a daf that needs repair.  He says he cannot find anyone and is thinking of shipping it to Iran for repair.  I'm in the US myself, so it wouldn't be very practical for him to ship it to me and back.

If any of your reside in the UK and are willing and able to repair this daf, please contact: Santos De Castro  at


Hey Darbukafolas,

I repair ceramic doumbeks on a regular basis, mostly replacing blown out drum heads.  Over the years I've used a great variety of techniques for tensioning and attaching the skin onto the shell.

This is one technique.

This is another.

And yet another.

Nowadays, I tend to forego any type of rope system and use a press to tension and attach the skin onto a doumbek.  With any rope system I've tried, there comes a point at which the skin will begin to tear where the rope passes through the skin.  The skin can tear with the press as well, but not before I've pulled the skin tighter than with any rope system.

Here's one example of a skin mounted with a press.

I've used skirted skins as well - skins that have a skirt of fabric sewn onto them- and these can work well, but I've had them tear on me also.

Any drum makers out there with an opinion on the best way to mount a skin on a daruka?

Introduce Yourself / Re: Welcome aboard drtom
« on: November 14, 2017, 12:45:41 AM »
Better late than never, so they say.

I joined the forum over two years ago and didn't realize until now that I'd received such a warm welcome.  I'm happy to be here.

I joined for several reasons.  First and foremost, I love Middle Eastern music.  There is nothing more sublime.  The oud, the ney and the tabla in all its manifestations are my favorite instruments.

Second and secondmost, I love to learn and I have so much to learn.  I know you good folks will help me along.

Third and thirdmost, I repair hand drums of all types, including darbukas, riqs and dafs.  You name it and I can repair it.

Thanks for having me.

Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons / Re: Fish Skin
« on: November 05, 2017, 07:55:37 PM »
The fish skin I'm used to is Nile River Sturgeon.  That's what I'd like to find.  Other types of fish skin might be great as well, but I'm just not familiar with them.

Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons / Re: Old Darbuka Polish
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:38:47 PM »
I realize this thread has been idle for some time, but it's such a good question I had to chime in.  It's amazing to me that after 1700+ views no one but dHuGo has had anything to add, offering some great suggestions then going the extra mile and acutally trying some of them.  WOW!  Thanks dHuGo.

It's a good question for at least two reasons.

First, because a good answer can be applied to not only Syrian darbukas, but also to plenty of other drums and even more non-drums.

Second, because a good comprehensive answer is not easy to offer.

Let me point just one thing out.  In order to properly clean a metal, one must first know what that metal is, and this is often difficult.  Darbukas, for example, can be made of any number of metals and these metals can be plated with any number of metals.  Now cosider that these combinations of metals vary from drum maker to drum maker and over time.

What is one to do?

Doumbek Advice, Tips Questions & Lessons / Fish Skin
« on: June 18, 2017, 06:38:27 PM »
Hey Folks,

I prefer fish skin for doumbeks.  Goat skin sounds great and synthetic skins can be cranked way up plus have other advantages, but I prefer fish skin.  I also love it on riqs and would love to try it on other drums.

The problem is that, for years now, it's been very difficult to get a hold of in the US.  No one is importing it.  With great time and effort, I can sometimes get a couple of pieces from someone who's visited the Middle East and brought some home with them.  I would love a reliable source.
Does anyone know of a reliable source in the US?  Does anyone live in the Middle East and might be interested in exporting to the US?  Anything along those lines would be great news to me.

Introduce Yourself / Belated Happy To Be Here
« on: June 18, 2017, 04:23:13 PM »

I actually joined quite some time ago, but haven't returned until now.  I expect to drop in much more often from now on.

Being a drum maker and big fan of Middle Eastern music, in particular the drumming, I hope to soak up much knowledge and insight from all the experts hanging out here.  That's the main reason I joined in the first place - to learn and expand my knowledge.

But I'm also happy to share what knowledge and understanding I've gained from years of being around drums and drummers.  I hope that whatever contribution I can offer will be of use to you.

Thank you for having me.

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