Best Djembe Drum: Guide on Buying One

It is not easy to find the best djembe drum by yourself. This musical instrument is not as popular as classic drums or even bongos. The world community became fascinated with its sounds just recently, despite its long and rich history in West Africa. Its name means the call for the peaceful gathering of the whole tribe. The drum is still used for significant holy ceremonies, celebrations, and is a way to express your emotions through the melody. If you are an experienced drummer or amateur, you might add this instrument to your collection.

I have made these djembe drums reviews hoping to help you with the choice. While my favorite instrument on the list is Meinl Percussion djembe made of wood and covered with real goatskin, I have gathered some top alternatives as well. This model looks gorgeous and will serve you for a long time.

All the drums were checked by me and my friends from other bands. They are made by well-known developers, of high-quality materials, and do not cost you all the money in the world. I have also picked models of different sizes to provide you with a wide range of options. My advice is to read all the djembe reviews before you visit a store or shop the instrument online.

Top-10 Best Djembe Drums

If you are getting lost and confused by the choices the market provides you, don’t worry. Many experienced drummers prefer to avoid ordering musical instruments from Asian stores since they appear of poor quality. I do believe that you might order a reliable djembe there with enough time and knowledge, but why take risks? Check out the list of the best offers you might find on the market.

1. Meinl Percussion – Best Djembe of Mahogany Wood

Even amateurs know the Meinl Percussion company. It offers you the German quality recognized and cherished around the world. The company was founded in 1951. Since that time, they have produced millions of drums. This model is no exception. It is made of Mahogany wood, hand-carved, solid, and unique. Hand-made shells on the surface provide a wide range of sounds.
Features:

  • Materials – wood and goatskin;
  • Size – the surface is 12 inches wide and 24 inches tall;
  • Warranty – 2 years.
Meinl Percussion Djembe with Mahogany Wood-NOT Made in CHINA-12 Large Size Rope Tuned Goat Skin...
  • CARVED FROM SOLID MAHOGANY: The hand carved Mahogany shells feature a gouged surface. Achieve a variety of sounds, from deep bass tones to high-pitched slaps.
  • GOAT SKIN HEAD: This high quality head is tuned with a traditional Mali-Weave system, allowing for pristine sound quality. Achieve a rich, warm tone with plenty of dynamic range.

The drum is covered with goatskin, which I recommend moisturizing from time to time with shea butter. This cover grants you rich sound and warm tones. You can use this instrument as an addition to a classic drum set or as a separate device.


PROS:
  • Hand-carved Mahogany wood;
  • High-quality goatskin;
  • Perfect height;
  • Well-known developers;
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • The surface might not be wide enough for you.

2. Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo – Djembe Drum with Acousticon Shell

Remo Inc is an American-based developer of music instruments. They are focused on drums, drumheads, kits, and versatile hardware. The company was founded in 1957 in California. The founder of the company Remo Bellie was a devoted drummer himself. This is why the company’s main focus is on the high quality of sound. This model is available in different sizes. You can order 10, 12, 14, and 16 inches. There are Earth and Adinkra styles to choose from.
Features:

  • Materials – wood and high-quality synthetic drumhead;
  • Size – 10, 12, 14, 16 inches wide and 24 inches high;
  • Warranty – 2-year limited.
Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum - Earth, 14"
  • Package Dimensions: 46.5 cms (L) x 47.0 cms (W) x 72.5 cms (H)
  • Product Type: Instrument Parts And Accessories

The drum has an Acousticon shell for rich sound, a wide range of slap tones, and deep bass. Its Mondo Skyndeep drumhead is highly appreciated by professional drummers because of its high durability. It is perfect for any music you play with a wide range of tones you can create with this djembe. I also recommend you order the bag together with the instrument.


PROS:
  • Wide range of sizes;
  • Lightweight;
  • Wide range of tones;
  • American-based developer.
CONS:
  • Synthetic cover, not goatskin.

3. Deco Wood & Leather – Compact Wooden Djembe Drum for Kids

Deco 79 is a manufacturer that creates home décor. It has been the biggest home décor supplier in North American for over 40 years. I was truly amazed by the fact that this company that sold me almost half of the décor for my house also created drums. This model is small and lightweight, and many customers think that it is made as a part of home furnishing only. I can partly agree with this statement since it looks amazing in a living room with outstanding carvings on its leg.
Features:

  • Materials – wood and leather;
  • Size – 9 inches wide, 12 inches height.
Sale
Deco 79 89848 Wood & Leather Djembe Drum
  • Unique supporting decor
  • Hard to be seen elsewhere

This drum is made of natural leather and hardwood. Since it weighs 0.32 ounces only, you can carry it around in your bag whenever you go. It has limited options for professional drummers, but it is a great instrument to practice for beginners. As far as I know, many parents order this djembe for their kids.


PROS:
  • Outstanding design;
  • Compact size;
  • High quality of wood and leather;
  • Affordable.
CONS:
  • Limited options for professional drummers.

4. Remo DJ-0012-24 Mondo – Best for Beginners and Pros

I have already mentioned the name Remo above. This is one of the biggest suppliers of drums in the US, so you probably recognize the icon with a crown from afar. I am a real fan of these drums since everything this company does is done with a love for percussion music and its performers. This model comes in different sizes. You can choose the width between 10, 12, 14, and 16 inches. I recommend starting with 12 inches. Adinkra style looks creative, but you can always choose the Earth classic one.
Features:

  • Materials – wood and skin, and plastic handle;
  • Size – 10, 12, 14, 16 inches width, 24 inches height.
Remo DJ-0012-24 Mondo Djembe Drum - Adinkra, 12"
  • Mondo djembe drum
  • Package Weight: 15.75 pounds

This drum is perfect for any style of music. It has the Mondo Skyndeep drumhead and Acoustic shell, which has already become a sign of quality for Remo company. The drum head can be changed since the construction is not monolithic.


PROS:
  • Great quality;
  • Stylish design;
  • Wide range of sizes;
  • Legendary developer.
CONS:
  • You have to buy a bag separately.

5. X8 Mini Model – Hand-Carved Djembe with Gecko Painting

X8 Drums is a drums developer that offers a wide range of high-quality products. It sells djembe, Cajon, congas, bongos, exotic types of instruments from around the world, and classic models. Their headquarter is in Austin, TX. In my opinion, they have the most originally designed instruments that can actually play well too. This model is made in African style. You can choose the gecko painting on it or the spark option; it does not affect the quality.
Features:

  • Materials – mahogany wood, goatskin;
  • Size – 5-inch width, 7-inch height;
  • Warranty – 30 days limited warranty.
X8 Drums Mini Djembe Drum with Gecko Painted Design
  • Makes a great gift for any percussionist! This mini djembe drum is hand carved from mahogany hardwood.
  • Features traditional goatskin drum head and rope tuning system.

The djembe is made of mahogany wood, carved manually. The drumhead is covered with goatskin. The black ropes fixate the location of the skin and provide you with the ability to tune the instrument. The height is only 7 inches, and the width is 5 inches. You can consider it as a traveling djembe.


PROS:
  • Natural wood and goatskin materials;
  • Compact size;
  • Stylish decor;
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • Not big enough for daily use.

6. Jive Djembe Hand Model – Best African Drum of 20” High

Jive produces great musical instruments from around the world. They are keen on the African and Latin-American regions. They are American-based manufacturers. You can find versatile types of djembe drums, including hand-crafted options. They offer 12, 16, and 20 inches height djembe drums. You may also pick whether you want one to be painted and carved, or just carved or painted. The design of the instrument does not really influence the quality of the sound.
Features:

  • Materials – wood, goatskin;
  • Size – 20 inches high, 11.5 inches wide.
Sale
Djembe Drum Bongo Hand Drum, African Drum - Percussion - X- LARGE, 20" Professional Sound, JIVE...
  • Extra Large Solid Wood Djembe Drum - Hand Carved By Skilled Artisans - Carving And Tribal Motifs May Differ Since Each Piece Is Hand Crafted And No Two Are Alike - NOT MADE IN CHINA
  • Features A Genuine Goat Skin Drum Head - Perfect For Any Music Lover - Great Sound

It is carved by skilled masters. There are no two items alike. The drumhead is made of goatskin. There are heavy-duty cords and a carrying loop for advanced tuning. This drum is 11.5 inches wide in diameter, which is great news for professional drummers who like to experiment with different tones.


PROS:
  • Unique design;
  • Made of durable wood;
  • Goatskin of high quality;
  • Wide diameter.
CONS:
  • The size might be slightly smaller than stated by the developer.

7. X8 Celtic Labyrinth – Best Djembe Drums with DVD and Bag

X8 manufacturers have proved that they are true artists in the world of drums one more time. This Celtic Labyrinth model is a dream that comes true for all aesthetes. The ornament on the wooden base is unique and outstanding. The wood is covered with a cherry stain finish, which will save the drum from fast cracking. This instrument is great both for beginners and professionals. It contains a DVD with a detailed tutorial that teaches you the basic rhythms of djembe.
Features:

  • Materials – mahogany logwood, goatskin;
  • Size – 8.5 inches in diameter and 16 inches in height.
X8 Celtic Labyrinth Djembe Drum with Bag
  • This X8 Celtic Labyrinth Djembe now comes with a free Bamboo Pan Flute and 2 wooden egg shakers! (*Free percussion items subject to change based on availability. Any changes will be for similar items of same value.)
  • Each drum comes with a DVD that teaches you how to play your first djembe rhythm and how to tune your drum. A drum maintenance guide is also included that instructs on how to care for your drum and remove the logoon the drumhead if you wish.

There are instructions inside that describe the maintenance routine in case you want to extend the life of the drum. The height of the drum is 16 inches, which is lower than the standard of 24 inches. The diameter of the drumhead is 8.5 inches. Yet, you might find it comfortable to travel with this instrument to festivals and concerts.


PROS:
  • Lightweight;
  • Unique ornament and cherry stain finish;
  • High-quality materials;
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • The height is lower than the standard 24 inches.

8. Africa Heartwood Project Hand-Carved Model – African Hand Drum with Strong Tones

Africa Heartwood Project is a whole village behind the brand. West African villages decided to share their experience and crafts with others. Their artisans make these djembe drums and sell them around the world. Each instrument is checked for quality and sound. Every djembe is thoroughly inspected and cleaned. Musicians help to tune it if it is required. Each model has different carvings on it.
Features:

  • Materials – wood shell, goatskin;
  • Size – 13 inches width, 24 inches height.
Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa - 13"x24" Classic Ghana Djembe (Village Carving)
  • After import from Africa, each instrument is cleaned, inspected, tuned, and played individually to check sound and quality.
  • Excellent sound quality from solid handcarved wood shell and natural West African goat skin.

I like how truly authentic this instrument sounds. It is made of natural wood and West African goatskin. It is 24 inches tall, with a 13-inch wide diameter of the drumhead.


PROS:
  • Classic size and width;
  • African origin;
  • Hand-carved;
  • Deep tones.
CONS:
  • You have to keep the djembe dry as climate changes might affect it negatively otherwise.

9. Africa Heartwood Project Djembe Drum – Classic Made by Natives

This project was created to provide African artisans a way to sell their products to drummers around the world. They offer high-quality drums from Ghana. Every instrument is inspected and tuned by professionals several times after its arrival from Africa. This drum is 8 inches wide and 16 inches tall. You can easily take it with you outdoors.
Features:

  • Materials – wood and goatskin;
  • Size – 8 inches x 16 inches.
Hand-carved African Djembe Drum - Solid Wood, Goat Skin - Made in Ghana - 8x16
  • After import from Africa, each instrument is cleaned, inspected, tuned, and played individually to check sound and quality.
  • Excellent sound quality from solid handcarved wood shell and natural West African goat skin.

The hand-carved wood shell provides you with a great quality of sound. There is a real goatskin on the drumhead, which you need to rub with oil from time to time. Since the drums come originally from Africa, you have to make sure that the wood and goatskin will handle the change of the temperature. Order a bag for this instrument.


PROS:
  • Hand-carved;
  • Came from Africa;
  • High quality of sound;
  • Wide range of tones.
CONS:
  • More expensive than similar products on the market.

10. Lotmusic Djembe – Professional Model of Mahogany Wood

Lotmusic is a bestselling developer of a wide range of musical instruments. It sells its drums around the US and abroad. There are diverse djembe sizes of this model: 8, 9, and 10 inches in width. You can also change the major color and painting. There are red, green, and blue models available. The drumhead is made of goatskin.

Features:

  • Materials – goatskin, wood, a rope;
  • Size – 8, 9, 10 inches wide, 20 inches tall.
Djembe, African Drum Bongo Congo Stardard Size Mahogany Goatskin Drumhead professional
  • FEATURES A GENUINE GOATSKIN DRUMHEAD---Ture goatskin drumhead makes this Bongo Congo drum is duable and of high ductility,having a fantastic tonal range, from a piercing slap ,tone, to a deep resounding bass.
  • EACH DRUM INDIVIDUALLY HANDMADE---We use four-button lock ropesound to keep the jembe drum sound precise and stable.Those quality rope which ensures that the drum holds its pitch for a long time before it needs tuning.

Every drum in this line is carved manually with a unique painting on it. There is a quality rope that adjusts the sound. I recommend keeping this djembe in a bag, though you should buy it additionally.


PROS:
  • Solid mahogany base;
  • Original painting;
  • Wide range of sizes;
  • Affordable price.
CONS:
  • It does not have a bag from the original manufacturer.

Djembe Drum 101: Detailed Guide

After you read the reviews of each djembe I admire, you might get an idea that there are no models similar to each other. It is partly true. Although this instrument is made by one scheme, it provides different tones and depth of sound based on multiple factors. Let’s talk about them.

What is a djembe?

A djembe is a traditional West African musical instrument from the percussion family. It is a drum that you play with your hands. Since its drumhead is covered by the goatskin, it is incredibly sensitive and can’t be played with drumsticks. The body of the djembe is made of hardwood. The most popular is Mahogany wood. It is covered with a protective finish, which you should wipe with natural oils to extend djembe’s life.

The first mention of a djembe was made in 1230 AD. It became popular in the US only recently. Drummers prefer to include this instrument in their classic drum kit or gather in classes to play djembe. This instrument can be played solo. Djembe was popularized by Paul Simon, Tool, and Cirque du Soleil. There is a highly recommended Oscar-nominated movie of 2007 called The Visitor with the main character playing the djembe.

Types of djembe

the Djembe drum

There are two types of a djembe that are widely recognized by drummers. You can pick one of these types or try both. They are:

  • Wood djembe. This is the classic version of the instrument. The shell is made from hardwood. The drumhead can be either goatskin or synthetic. The tuning is traditionally made with rope. It can be decorated with carvings or paintings;
  • Modern djembe. It is a machine-made instrument. The main manufacturers are Remo and Pearl. The base is made of lightweight composite materials. The drumhead can be either goatskin or synthetic but tightened mechanically, without the rope as tuning.

Which djembe should I get?

Before you decide on which model you want to buy, you need to consider several factors and read how to play djembe. Your skills in playing drums are also important. You don’t need to buy expensive djembe if you have never played any African drums before. Pay attention to the following features:

  • Playing area. Ensure that you can place one open hand comfortably on the drumhead. It must not touch the edges of the drum each time you want to reach the center;
  • Average dimensions. The height of the classic djembe is near 20-25 inches. The weight of wooden djembe is up to 26 lbs and no less than 20 lbs. The weight of the fiberglass model must not be over 18 lbs;
  • Your personal measurements. A djembe must be compatible with your size. For kids of 4-7 years with less than 4 inches height, a djembe of 10 inches will suit well. For an adult, the size of the instrument can vary from 12 inches to 16 inches.

Popular Questions About Djembe Drum

Check out my answers to the most popular questions around the Web. Make sure you understand the basic requirements for the drum before you buy it. If you have more recommendations to add, you can do it in the comments.

Which size djembe drum should I get?

two djembe drums

The djembe you pick must suit your height perfectly. If the drum is huge, you can’t play it well. The same goes for the small size. I have already mentioned the trick with an open palm. Use your hand to measure the required diameter of the drumhead. As for the height, you have to measure your height. On average, adults buy 16-inch models and more.

What is the most well-known West African drum?

This is a simple question. A djembe is the most popular African drum. Unlike bongo drums that have a mixed Cuban-African origin, this music instrument comes directly from West Africa. It is well-known around the world and popularized in culture.

Where to buy a djembe?

You can buy djembe directly from Africa. There are multiple sellers that offer their instruments on Amazon and other big stores. You can find it in the music stores. American-based and German-based manufacturers offer high-quality products as well.

Playing Djembe for Fun

No matter whether you want to play the djembe professionally or not, it brings joy and peace anytime you improve your skills. Finding the perfect instrument is not that simple, but once you find it, the djembe grants you unique exotic tones and exquisite music.

Follow my recommendations, pick the drum you really want, and enjoy playing it. If you have tried one of the instruments I described, share your thoughts in the comments below. How often do you play it? Which features do you like the most? How long do you play the djembe? Would you change this instrument to something else? Do you play the djembe only or other instruments as well?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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