Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tune it up

The Mali weave tuning on my new drum is beautiful. The diamonds are tiny and tight and evenly spaced. The verticals are so taut I can't move them. When my teacher offered to weave another row, I honestly couldn't imagine how it could be done.

Seeing his beautiful weave inspired me to retune my Toca. I pulled out all the diamonds I had made, which were uneven and irregular, and reworked the first row all the way around. And I have to say, not only does it look better, but it sounds much better too. I have managed to tune it up closer to the African drum.

This morning I showed my husband the difference between the two drums.

The Malian drum is hand carved. The inside of the trumpet and the bowl are both smooth and shaped to allow the sound to move through. The rings are tight and close to the bowl, so there is no gap between the ring and the wood. The trumpet is about 3/4 of an inch thick. There are no knots or cracks in the wood. The head is a thinner skin, hand shaved, African goat.

The Toca came out of a factory. It was made on a lathe and the interior is completely rough, with no shaping for the sound whatsoever. The trumpet is over an inch thick and it is made of cheap, knot filled mahogany. The rings don't fit properly. They are about 1/2 an inch too big all the way around, leaving a big gap between the ring and the drum. The skin is Pakistani, which appears to be much thicker, which offers a duller sound. It has also been processed to within an inch of it's life, so it has no more of the natural shading of the goat it came from. Instead it is bright white.

I will say this, though. With a good tuning, the Toca sounds much better than it did. I am excited that it tuned up so well. If I am going to have an extra drum to lend, at least it can sound good!

No comments: