Djembe Repair

I first learned the craft of re-heading djembes in 1999 from Sandy Blocker of Talking Drums, Inc., Mohammed DaCosta of Boke, Guinea, and Madou Dembele of Mali. I felt it was important to know your instrument from the inside out, so I began the long road of studying different techniques of re-heading. I'm still on the road...

Re-heading is different for every djembe, so in order to estimate the cost I need to inspect it first. The typical questions I ask are:

-Is the rope the right size, good quality, and reusable?
-Are the 3 (or 4) steel rings a good fit?
-Is the bottom ring steel or wire or something else?
-Is the bearing edge smooth and the correct profile?

-Are there any cracks that need fixing?

The basic price, including all labor and a new goatskin is $120. This includes repairing minor cracks, oiling the shell if needed, and sanding/cleaning the bearing edge. You can choose between hairless goatskin or with hair (and sometimes the color), the thickness of the skin (thin, medium, thick), and also how you would like the skin to be finished: cuff style (my default method), with a susu twist, or trim style.

If your djembe needs new rope: for verticals: $20. For new hitches: $15 per ring. I usually have several colors of 4.5mm - 5mm rope in stock, or I can source it from area stores or websites (cost might be a little higher) for specific colors and sizes.

If your drum needs additional services, I'll include these in the estimate I give you: Replacing/repairing a ring ($20), fixing the bearing edge or major cracks (about $25/hr), or adding tack decoration (let's talk!).

If your drum just needs a tune-up, this service can range from $25-50, depending on the complexity and time it takes. For example, if you just need the head tightened with the weave technique or "diamonds", this is quick and cheap. If you need your drum's rope taken off and re-pulled, this is more expensive. Once I see your drum, I can determine what it needs.

For re-heads, I can usually get your drum done in 1-2 weeks, depending on the weather and my schedule. Your drum will be returned to you tight and sounding great! I'll also advise you on how to take care of your djembe, including wood and goatskin care.

If you are not in my area and still would like to discuss a repair involving shipping your drum: all repair charges are the same, and I simply add the costs of shipping (with insurance) and handling (boxes and packing material) to the final total. I prefer to re-use the same packing materials as the drum arrives in; this saves time, money, and keeps the landfill a *tiny* less full. I don't do this very often because it can be expensive and, although rare, drums can get damaged or lost in transit. But sometimes it's necessary! Let's talk.

To schedule a repair, get in touch using the Contact page. My workshop is just south of Chapel Hill, NC, 27517.