How To Build A Professional Djembe: Create Music Beauty &Biz

BE a Professional Drum Wizard: Earn Income Creating Musical Beauty!
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Instructed by im Simpl Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 29
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

BE a professional musical wizard, the drum expert who builds the quality that gets played!

Using the simpl, beautiful & brilliant African String Method, YOU can build & sell your own drums, or simply maintain the drums for your local music band & your friends! Everything you need to create beautiful drumming majic is shown in this video course.

At any time, if something does not make sense to you, or you have a particular case to ask about- USE this course as an info-forum! ASK ANY and EVERY QUESTION in course discussions, and this shall add to everyone's benefit, in addition to your own.

All you need to start out is a drum body- you will be shown all the steps from there. Included are details for selecting all the drum parts for assembling a brand new drum, or re-using the parts- including the drum skin- for drum upgrading & maintenance.

All details are explained in minute detail, and shown to you during the actual drum assembly. This method may be performed literally anywhere- here you watch one djembe, in the noisy urban environment of Seoul, Korea, being completely stripped down, repaired, re-built & upgraded with high quality, colorful nylon climbing cord.

JOIN US! We're having fun inside!

What are the requirements?

  • EXPERIENCE not required! Only a willingness for Personal Adventure
  • The Core Concept here is Self-Reliance: NOT dependent on packaged, Corporate-profit solutions for what YOU can better Achieve on your own. DO IT YOURSELF and we'll help you get there!
  • First Material needs: one djembe-shaped Drum Body, ready for a New Life
  • Second Material needs: Strong climbing rope or cord, three metal hoops, animal-skin drumhead, & this course
  • Drum Parts replacements will depend on Parts' Quality & Condition

What am I going to get from this course?

  • CREATE MUSICAL BEAUTY: Build Renew & Fine-Tune an African-style Djembe, the King of Hand Drums
  • GIVE NEW LIFE to Drums Everywhere
  • CHOOSE the drum business strategy which suits your lifestyle
  • LEARN the beautiful African String Method- Tying the proper Knots, Stringing & Tuning.
  • SELECT and Customize your own Drum Parts: drum Skin, rope or Cord, Hoops, Wood treatments.
  • TIGHTEN and TUNE Strings: OPTIMIZE the drumsong, Fine-Key Her Finest Details
  • REPAIR a cracked Drum Body, properly Treat the Wood
  • SEE how all real Drum Bodies start out in life, and are Shaped

Who is the target audience?

  • Those BORN into Love for the Sacred HeartBeat of the Drum
  • Artists, Musicians & Craftsmiths willing to Act on simpl, easy, compact Business Opportunities
  • INDIVIDUALS who understand the Importance of Self-Reliance and Personal Power
  • HANDS-ON ENTREPENEURS who know the Value of being the Go-To Expert
  • Anyone who is NOT prepared to court Lifestyle Freedom, by use of their Own Hands
  • Anyone who is NOT prepared to ACT, to WORK or PLAY in their own Life Creations
  • NO info-surfers! This Human World needs ENGAGERS & creative DOERS!

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: WELCOME to the King of HandDrums!

WELCOME One and All! the vibey resonant pure-electric sensory overload of Djembe-World, where is found the unchallengeable reigning Monarch of Hand Drums everywhere....

it is my dear hope that you will be somehow captured by the info contained herein- or already enough of a drumming fanatic- to find value in what this course offers you, in terms of craftwork excellence, the real potential of drum-income, or just spending quality time in djembe-lore.

whatever you do, HAVE FUN out there!

with a pop, roll n snap,

Section 2: PARTS and LABOUR

drums are a passion, a legend, ultimately a drug. and djembe is the kingpin, the don of vibration.

many a hypnotized gathering has gyrated and shook beyond normal human limits of endurance, breaking through, inventing movement- by the drunken trance of rhythm and the sharp bark of goat's belly over a tree chamber.

here, learn what an african djembe is made of, and how to obtain and/or fabricate the parts.

in each case, it is the fit of the part relative to the other drum parts, which determines the overall potential of a djembe.

it is then the builder-artiste who determines the final quality,
based on the quality of parts and their compatibilities


LOTS of ways, there are, to faithfully serve the drumming community, which then cannot help but serve you. Here, a couple different ways of being in drum business are chatted up-

though it is forever true that the Life as shown in your own environment, serves trhe best guide towards your fulfillment in service.

Learn WHERE to find the drumming people in your community, so they may find YOU.

Then, all you really need do is, have the requisite passion to keep your mind and heart in the djembe game, always offering your services- all about the drums- and the community will rally around you. BANK on it...

5 questions

just a quik checkup to see if you're on your toes.

take your time, no deadlines in this course!

Section 3: PREPPING For the BUILD

The first step- breaking her down, for the climb back upward to rythmnical glory.

Take your time throughout all this, it isn't rocket science nor physically demanding. Its only love, manifesting in music.


A drumskin needs to be soaked for about an hour or so depending on the skin, but CARE must be taken to be extra gentle when you handle the skin- until it dries as part of a djembe.

Then, tightening, tuning & finally playing, is like all hell breaking loose, with you at the helm....


A detail not to be overlooked. Wood once cracked, will continue and may result in a broken drum later. So, this is WELL worth the effort....

4 questions

Basic questions on Getting Started in Drumbuilding....

Section 4: INTENSE BUILD ACTION: Hoops Knots String & Skin

Very key detail, this is. Get the knots correct, and the entire drum will function well & strong. Again ,don't be in a rush to get all this over with.

Great Masters are made more surely with patience & pserverance, than balls & brawn.


Sounds more romantic than it might actually be. Just, take CARE with that skin! It is delicate while wet, and all steps must progress at the right timing.

It is a bit tricky to manage a skin around the hoops, but again, patience....


OK, we're about to look like a djembe!

Be very aware of APPEARANCE- it is PRECISELY how you look here, so placement of hoops and skin will be the look YOU have to live with from now on.

4 questions

Intensity-Launching the Build process.

(uuhh, anyone know what that means....)

Section 5: ALL About the STRING!

Vertical tightening must start out delicately due to the wet skin, and progresses more assertively as the skin firms up. At first, we place on the strings until they are just vertical, NOT tight on the drum.

NEXT, we tighten around and around once a day, until we can't tighten no more. The drum should now be playable somewhat, with good vertical tightening sessions.


Our drum's first customizing is trimming that drumskin. Here, I elect to keep a flap of skin to cover the master hoop, as a style move.

The skin can be flapped over the hoop assembly or trimmed to disappear, when you want to see the assembly, and those gorgeous hoop colours you may have wrapped on...


This tightening demo is first done vertically- with the drum standing- as the skin is not yet ready for mass-stress.

Later, we see tightening a laying-down drum, using different methods of cranking down that string.


Here, the drum gets cranked on HARD, as the skin is stiff enough to handle a real stretch.

We see a new way to use the hands, and also using wooden sticks or levers to apply more torque to that assembly, and even out the hoops.

6 questions

This is where it gets exciting- the drum is prepped, knotted, skin soaked.

do we know what to do now?

Section 6: TUNING: Fine-Key Your Masterpiece

Djembe tuning is horizontal tightening

Here we show how one small djembe, Carmen, was tuned, three times, during her build in 2013. 

Carmen is still reasonably high-noted and tightly strung 3 years later, despite a questionable wood quality.

The nature of the drumsong is also finally determined by the tune, and the string balancing which occurs by this simpl process.

NOW is the time in the build, to begin discussing quality factors, such as having notes in your drum.

Drums with the most character tend to be those who were not made absolutely perfectly- that indeed have flaws or imbalancing in the strings or hoops.

At times or at certain angles these drums appear less than professional-grade, but one may be surprised to find drummers actually intending flaws, for better performance....


Now we bring up the KEY of the drumsong, to approach final playing range.

Tuning the drum brings in that tight crisp sound, as well as a reliable drum character.



There she is, the completed- for now- and gorgeous djembe we've been promising you, complete with built-in flaws and lots of reliable sound character.

That's fairly top-quality kit we've done together. I thank you, and will thank you to repeat same!


It is practical to keep extra string hanging around for a couple reasons:

1. we use string to TUNE later on

2. HANDLES are creative opportunities, are useful and keep us from mishandling our djembe sweetheart....

4 questions

The last major step in a drum's final touches.

READY for the final plunge?

Section 7: Pounamu: The Second Drum Build

Drum Story. 

Pounamu is the drum owner's name, applied to the drum. this drum hangs out in a favorite music bar in the Hae Bong Chon section of Seoul, Korea. one day yours truly showed up to play some beats with this drum- perhaps add some liveliness for a musician having a gig that day, and was horrified to see it was broken. 

the drum became a mercy project- keep the tools of the venue running at full tilt, that others can partake in the fun.
everyone loves a well-played drum accompaniment, especially since this is not so commonly present in gig music.

therefore we all now get the opportunity to witness the repair & build of a second drum in this course- to understand as a review, the order in which a drum is built, the simpl analysis & strategy to proceed, how the different parts are prepared, finally how it is all integrated.

there is also an item or two we didn't cover in the first build.

building a drum overall is simpl, but its not that easy. like anything in life we wish to do, we see, learn, practice, and finally go for it with care and confidence, adding style points with experience.

did i forget to mention having FUN?? yeah, and having FUN in the process!


every drum build or repair project has its issues. we run a quik scan of the drum condition, and which parts
we can re-use, which to replace, and which to be aware of, during the build.

this drum raises a few concerns, nothing massive or major,
but it is well to keep these in mind,
so we don't screw up the drum while we are intending to fix it.


here's a detail we didn't try in the previous build: how to Clothe the Master,
or simply, wrapping the master hoop in colourful cloth.

this has two functions- firstly, it lends a certain persona or panache to each
drum, and the selection of material and colour is best done with the overall look of the drum in mind.

secondly, clothing the master hoop protects the skin, the string- and the hands of the drummer- as exposed rusted metal, over time, can be a bit corrosive and abrasive. 



here's another detail not discussed earlier, about pre-stretching the string.

it is a small detail, but important in that it saves you a lot of time, and also
saves the life of the build. 

howz that?

imagine the string goes on the drum without pre-stretching. and the drum gets properly tightened, then re-tightened, during the build. 

this starts to stretch the string, yet there is a lot more flex still left in that string. now, the drum gets played,
and over time the string wants to stretch, and loosen the drum. 

now, we must TUNE the drum, to take up that loosening. as the string continues to loosen we continue to tune.

but how many tunings does one build allow? 2,3, 4? that depends on the height of the drum chamber. order to prevent undue maintenance and drum performance issues, we simply pre-stretch the string, and get on with it!


skin prep is a difficult thing to film, in that there a few rather intense moments of prep,
with a lot of time gaps in between, waiting for the skin to dry enough to proceed. 

so it is hoped that the explanation of what happended, will suffice...

again we see how the stringing gets started on a drum, simply how to loop the string
into the master and base hoops. once we understand the basic procedure,
we can string the entire drum.


there is a balance in the building of a drum. it has been mentioned earlier, it is mentioned in this vid,
and i will repeat it here:

do not strive to build the ultimate perfect drum, in exactness of form and balance.

neither do we go cheap-charlie, and bother with building a shoddy drum which we will not be proud of.

strive instead, for the balance of finesse and character. a professional drum therefore is assembled with
built-in minor flaws, slight imbalances, or something not exact in the symmetry of it.

DON'T WORRY then, when your finished product doesn't look store-bought. store-bought drums to me are more machine than a colourful musical instrument with persona, panache, NOTES, and character.

every drum is a someone. just like us.


ok, it was mentioned just previous, that we would be seeing the first tightening demo. 

i lied.

we are seeing instead, the second tightening as a demo, 

because we can instead witness the top tightening technique

overall a simpl & easy way to vertically tighten a djembe.


the vid says it all, at this point.

mainly, we are the point now where it is up to you

to go forward, and give a drum-build a GO.

you see it isn't rocket science, and you've learned that there are steps to it.

so, GO! and, let us know how it is going!

Section 8: THE EXTRAS: Why This Course Is SO COOL

All REAL, solid-body Djembes start out life as a tree trunk. Details here on what happens next..


A little drum chat- djembe pros just jawing about the trade, we are....

Shows how sometimes we don't KNOW an outcome, but is ALWAYS worth the effort to find out, as making a drum ALWAYS at least results in new beauty existing on the planet, which wasn't there before.

Sound OK to you? I go with that every time.

And now, there's a very playable, good travel drum at my side when i need it.


At this point in the Drum Serenade, it is very key (see the pun?)
to remain in contact,
so please give me feedback, review, messages as you have consideration for.

allow me to just add:


4 questions

OK, having decent tips separates the juniors from the heavy-hitters.

Which are you?

Section 9: Bonus Materiel
Bonus Lecture: Info Links

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Instructor Biography

im Simpl, Environmental Engineer/Builder/Designer

Engineer, instructor, builder/designer/filmmaker/healer/actor/musician/farmer and world-wandering wordweaver, im has been sojourning, building, planting, writing and teaching for over 30 years.

In 1991, prior to the dawn of certification, im created SimPL as a short-contract and volunteer organization which seeks out and assists individuals and communities towards arriving at a self-reliant lifebase, amidst the growing apathy and consumption-fetish now gripping the general human population.

SimPLife is the practice of natural living, with the intention of supporting and preserving the purity & sanctity of sensible lifestyle: project builds and life-skills courses (permaculture & biodynamics-based), organic farming, natural building & life masterplanning.

To date, there have been SimPLife builds or courses in Ladakh, Turkey, Spain, USA, Thailand, Ecuador, Korea, Phillipines, Guyana and England.

im's professional certifications include:

BS Electrical Engineering
BS Civil Engineering
Permaculture Designer/Instructor
LEED Accredited Professional
Solar PV Designer/Installer, SEI
Reconnection Healing Practitioner/ Reiki Master
Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, SOLO
Wilderness Guide Educator, NOLS

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