How To Pick The Best Doumbeks and Darbukas


Different kinds of drums exist in any ethnic culture, as they are the simplest musical instruments, yet, ones of the most powerful, as they provide music with rhythms. Every ethnicity has a special name for their drum, even though the drums often seem very similar. Your musical talent can be expressed with the uniqueness of the instrument you play.

A goblet drum is a term that unites goblet shaped drums used in the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. This group includes chalice drum, tarabuka, tarabaki, debuka, dumbec, dumbeg, dumbelek, tablah, toumperleki, zerbaghali as well as the most popular darbuka and doumbek.

A Guide To Buying Your First Darbuka Or Doumbek

When you want to buy your doumbek or darbuka for the first time you might get lost in the variety of choices. There are so many types on the market, made of aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, ceramic, wood and skin, and other materials. For a beginner, it is good to start with something light and middle-sized. Alexandria Aluminum doumbek is very popular for people, who are getting their first authentic drum lessons. It is also quite cheap, very durable and provides a good range of tones, so it may be a decent choice for the start.

Although, it is considered that copper and brass doumbek shells produce prettier tones than the aluminum ones. Copper and brass doumbeks / darbukas are a bit more expensive, but you can still find them at a good price.

The ceramic ones produce a really nice sound, but they are more fragile, so less durable than the metal ones. The ceramic drum also has a warmer tone and nicer physical appearance, but you will need a padded bag to protect it while traveling.

Talking about the size and shape of the darbuka or doumbek, the longer is the pipe, the deeper is the sound. Thus, increasing the height affects the depth of the tune. And if you choose a thin pipe shape, it will give less decay and make the sounding of a single doum last longer .

As for the standard size of darbukas or doumbeks, it is normally 16.9 inches in height and 8.8 lbs in weight. These originally sized drums are used for soloing. However, the New Generation drums, which are 17.5 inches in height and are 9.9 lbs in the size, are gradually replacing the Standard size drums for soloing.

Bigger drums, called Soumbati (18.5 inches in height and 12.5 lbs). They used to be only for the background playing to accompany the soloist. Nowadays they are also commonly used for solo play as well, so it is a personal choice of the musician, which size he or she prefers.

The largest drum is called Dohola. It is 21.2 inches in height and 17.1 lbs in size and is used only for backup playing.

The size of the drum affects the depth of the sound. It is not recommended to buy a smaller size than the 16.9 inch unless you are looking for a kid drum. Also, the weight must be decent, so the drum would not bounce around while playing. It doesn’t mean that you should choose the biggest and the heaviest one – the Standard size darbuka or doumbek will be a perfect choice for the beginner.

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