How To Tune A Djembe Drum


Learn How To Tune A Djembe Drum The Right Way

how to tune a djembe drum

Although the Djembe drum is a more primitive drum in comparison to the modern cussion instruments we have, they are still beautiful instruments and need to be tuned as such.

There is no standard or correct tuning for the Djembe drum so you will go by ear to find the tuning that suits you best.

Despite the fact that there is no standard tuning for the Djembe, there is most certainly a specific method and way that is used to tune the drum.

Follow the steps and images below to learn how to tune a djembe drum:

Step 1

Start tuning djembe by noting the direction of the rope. Study the final, tied knot. The last tied knot is your starting point.

how to tune a djembe drum

Step 2

Guide the djembe rope through the next two vertical ropes.

best way to learn how to tune a djembe

Step 3

Now you have to thread the djembe rope back, over the last vertical rope, and under the second-last rope again.

tuning a djembe

Step 4

Now you must thread the djembe rope over the last two vertical ropes and back out under the next 2 free vertical ropes. If you now pull on the rope, a new knot will form and the tone will rise. The drum should now look like the drum in picture 2.

You now have to repeat step 3 to make each new knot. Warning! Too much stretching may tear the djembe skin. Proceed carefully.


Now that you’ve learnt how to tune your djembe drum I have decided to throw in some extra bonus below which outlines ways in which you can care for and maintain your djembe drum. Remember, Your djembe drum is a piece of art, but also a musical instrument.

Simple rules for Djembe Maintenance and Care

  • Both the djembe wood and the leather head are sensitive to moisture. Be sure the djembe is kept in a room with constant temperature, and don’t take it out in the rain. If you live in a humid environment, consider storing your djembe with a towel wrapped around the head.
  • Don’t play djembe with rings, watches, or bracelets on your hand.
  • Don’t bounce or bang your djembe drum.
  • Never use lotion or oil on the djembe skin.
  • Be careful in tuning – over-tightening djembe can tear the skin.
  • Consider buying a padded djembe bag, especially if you’ll be traveling.
  • Consider occasionally using wood oil or a safe, moisturizing preservative on your djembe drum shell.

Occasional djembe maintenance

Your djembe drum will arrive in superb condition. However, over time it can deteriorate. Check the following occasionally:

  • Are the djembe ropes fraying?
  • Is the djembe skin still playing well? Has it been cut or torn?
  • Are there any cracks in the djembe shell?
  • Have you tuned the djembe drum so often and so taught that you have 3 or more rows of horizontal knots?
  • Are the wooden pegs still solid, or have they bent? (kpanlogo)

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