Buying your first Arabic Drum?
Not knowing where to find a good quality drum at a reasonable price can be very off putting for a lot of people. How can you select a good drum for yourself when your not yet exactly sure how to even play one!?
In this article I will try and give you as much advice as possible without overloading your brain with all the technical jargon that you don’t need to know just yet anyway.
First things first, what sort of drum are you about to pursue?
For the sake of this article I am going to presume that you wish to learn the goblet drum. This drum can be called Darbuka (Turkey), Doumbek (America) or Tablah (Egypt).
There are a few things that may confuse you in the early stages of your soon to be amazing drumming career and I will do my best to explain this in the shortest possible way.
You may or may not be aware that the North Indian drum is also called the Tabla. Many people get this confused with the Egyptian Tablah. Although the two drums share some similar techniques they are very different instruments.
The next ‘confusion crossover’ is the American term ‘Dumbek’ (Doumbek) and the Iranian Tombek (Zarb). Once again, they have a few similar techniques but are very different drums. The terms Dumbek and Tombek come from the low note of the drum ‘Dum’ or ‘Tom’ and the high note ‘Bek.’
And last we have the Darbuka. This is a ‘city’ term given to the drum in Turkey and often refers to the older style drum which has the tuning keys on the outside of the rim and is much lighter in weight.
These drums are light because they are made from hand beaten copper shells instead of the stronger and heavier aluminium shell. They also have different playing techniques such as the ‘pelang’ or ‘fingersnap’.
To learn more about this and all the other drums within the Arabic drumming world I highly recommend reading ‘Percussion of the Arabic World and Beyond,’ which is available from Fingers of Fury website as an e-book.
In my personal and professional opinion the best style of drum to buy when starting out would be the Alexandria Darbuka. It’s widely available, it looks great, they are reasonably priced and have a great tone. They are made of aluminium and have a synthetic drum skin which means they will work all the time and not smash when dropped from the moon! There was recently a post on the ‘Fingers of Fury‘ forum about the best places to buy a drum on the internet. Different members have given some great feedback on their own experiences. Just visit the article page and you will easily find the info!
One final thing to consider is that just because you are new to drumming it doesn’t mean you should start off on the cheapest most horrible drum you can find. By buying something a little nicer you will find that you are more drawn to play it and it will not only sound better but last longer as well. Keep your eyes peeled for the next lot of drumming articles about the different brands including Ceramic Darbuka’s.