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Synthetic or Real: Which Makes for a Better Djembe?

After catching a beat from a djembe drum one time, the urge to purchase one for oneself is hard to resist.
Once the urge has matured into solid purpose, that is, it's time buy a drum, an important decision between synthetic djembes vs.
wooden djembes needs to be made.
This article aims to help with that choice.
Unsurprisingly, each drum material has its particular sets of strengths and weakens.
The trick is for prospective djembe players is to decide what features are most important to them.
For example, if durability is important, because, say, the drum will be played outdoors a lot, synthetic, fibreglass djembes may be the best bet.
Synthetic djembes are also a little more user friendly than wood because they produce a solid drum tone easily, allowing far more wiggle room in regards to miss-hits.
For players more strictly concerned with sound, it's important to know that fibreglass djembes produce a bright, clear sound, whereas a wooden drum has a warmer, full-bodied tone.
Players who play in small circles or with just a few other instruments, like acoustic guitars or banjos, may prefer the more organic, earthy warmth of the wooden drum, while a player in a large circle or ensemble will want to be heard, preferring the sound of synthetics.
All of these choices depend on the purpose that a player has for the instrument - Is it going to be played in ensemble or solo? Indoors or out? Is the drum going to need to travel a lot? Answering these questions will aid in deciding whether fibreglass or wood is the better material for a djembe.
Drum heads can also be synthetic or natural.
Natural heads are goatskins.
Goatskins can produce a vast variety of tones and effects depending on the quality of the hide and the way it has been treated.
A helpful hint for players heart-set on a goatskin drum head is "look for the stripe!" A stripe down the centre of the skin is normally an indicator of high quality and strength.
Synthetic drumheads were created to mimic the sounds of goatskin, while providing more sturdiness.
Like with the fibreglass mentioned above, synthetic heads are also more beginner-friendly, producing solid tones even if hit goofily.
The base materials and drum heads can be mixed and matched.
Some players prefer synthetic drum bodies and natural goatskin heads, others prefer to go all natural, or completely synthetic.
The important thing to remember is that it's a matter of individual preference rather than objective superiority.
With djembes, it's hard to go drastically wrong.
Once the decision is made, then the real fun starts, with drum circles, collaborations and solo jams ready to be enjoyed.

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