Doumbek, Doumbec, Dumbeg, Derbeki,
Darbouka & Tabla
(Goblet drum synonymous names used by various cultures)
It is generally assumed the doumbek originated in the middle east,
but not so. It actually did not arrive there until after the
time of Christ. There were no pictures on the Pharonic walls
and they pictured everything!
The first doumbek shell artifacts were carbon dated back to 4,000
BC and were found in of all places, Bohemia. There was a Celtic
tribe called the Boiis that moved south instead of west like the
other tribes. It appears they developed the doumbek there.
We made our first doumbek in 1974 using moulds and a one-step firing
process to keep costs low. Unfortunately, if the process is
off a little, we get some shells with slight blemishes. We
offer these at a nice discount.
- How do I know which
type of drumhead is best for me?
- What can I
do if my natural skin drum head is affected by heat and humidity?
- What type of fish
is the fishskin head made of?
- Can I rehead my own drum?
is the difference in sound between a doumbek and a zarb?
- What is a "doum"
and what is a "tec"?
- What is
the difference between the wide neck doumbek versus the narrow
The synthetic heads produce clear and crisp sounds in a wide
variety of pitches. This "fishtone" synthetic head is
also stronger than a natural skin. With this head, you don't have
to worry about heat and humidity affecting the drum as with the
natural animal skin heads. The "fishtone" synthetic
head is made to sound similar to the natural fishskin heads, which
are rarely used since they are so delicate and weather sensitive.
Some people prefer the popular natural goatskin heads, which provide
lower, more subtle tones. DulcimerShofar uses goatskin heads
on bodhrans, tambourines, frame drums, some doumbeks, and African
style drums, such as the djembe and ashiko.
Calfskin is more translucent than goatskin. It produces higher
tones and sharper pitches. Any drumhead that is beat with a mallet
is usually calfskin, since it tends to be stronger than goatskin.
Calfskin is usually used on zarbs, bongos, and banjos.
If the head is loosened due to humidity, one can tighten the
head with a damp cloth placed on the head for about 15 minutes.
Then let the head dry naturally. It is important to make sure
water does not get into the glue joint. If the drum is a tabla,
water must not get on the gaab (center black dot). Also, applying
heat from a hair dryer will tighten the head.
Nile River Sturgeon is used because it tends to
be the strongest available. Remember that fishskin heads are delicate.
Only a few of the Nile River sturgeon are larger than 12",
which is why these skins are more expensive.
Animal skin heads can usually be put on drums with
wood glue and masking tape. Click
here for instructions for drum head replacement.
However, if you have a ceramic drum with a synthetic head, DulcimerShofar
will rehead the drum for you using a proprietary process.
Simply send the drum to DulcimerShofar for a rehead. (this can be done
with natural skin heads also) DulcimerShofar does not guarantee
to be able to put a head on any drum.
A zarb is mellower and more resonate than a doumbek.
The zarb produces a lower "tec".
"Doum" is the term used to refer to stroking
the center of the drumhead, creating a lower note. "Tec"
is the term drummers use when referring to hitting the drum edge,
which creates a higher and sharper note.
The wide neck doumbek has shorter resonance and
a higher "doum". The flare on the narrow neck drum adds
to the resonance resulting in a deeper "doum".