How to Learn Djembe Drums

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Learning djembe drums means using your hands instead of sticks. Practice your djembe technique with the help of a professional drummer in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: All About Drums
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Roman Lomtadze. I'm the drummer from the band called Send the Sages, here in Los Angeles, California, and today I'm here to show you how to learn the Djembe drum. Well, if you are a drummer, basically how I learned Djembe is, I was told that you do the same thing as you do on drums, but just without sticks. Instead of sticks, you're using your hands. So, if you know from, let's say a drum set, when you are playing double strokes, and you can do the same thing on a Djembe. We have para diddles, right, left, left, left, right, right. So, the basic idea, we are using two hits, and the one goes like this, and the second one goes like this. Okay, and basically how we start practicing these techniques, first we need to get the right sound, because when it sounds, let's say, like this...it's kind of wrong. We kind of slice the hand with our, like, wrist; we hit it like kind of with this wrist, and the second hit is with our more, like, fingers, like, front part. So, we don't necessarily play singles all the time, like right, left, right, left. Sometimes, we play right, left, left and we don't play left, left like two hits separately, like...but we play it like... It's basically like heel and toe when you are playing a bass drum, like, with the pedal. You know you are playing heel toe, and this is the same system, but you're doing it with your hands and a good thing is to practice it really slowly, so you go like this... It's like a heel toe technique when we are playing a bass drum. And you have to hear, you have to practice it until it sounds right until it sounds, I would say, pretty. So, if it sounds like this...you know it's wrong. It's supposed to have a full sound. So, from the beginning, I would try just separate hits, just, with almost no rhythm so we get a sound. Once we get a sound, we can actually add the rhythm. So, we go singles, and then we are starting playing with this technique and once it sounds correctly and the sound is full, then we can add the rhythm. Djembe drum has the bottom sound. There are basically two main sounds. It's the bottom when we hit Djembe in the middle with our full hand, it's a bassy sound. I would almost compare it like in a drum set to a bass drum and then we have...the high sound when we hit it here on the edge. Yeah, it's almost like, like drum set kick and snare technique and we have all those kind of ghost notes while we are using technique. I was talking before. It's kind of a hi-hat or something like that so we can have some like full flow rhythm, and in the middle we have this... I used to compare it to a hi-hat, so basically it's kind of funny doing it on one drum, but we have bass drum, snare and hi-hat. I'm Roman Lomtadze, and this is how I play Djembe drum.

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