The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Djembe + Reviews
Whether you’re new to djembes, or you’ve already explored this field of musical instruments before, this paragraph might be of help if you’re on the lookout for the best djembe on the market. To help you make a more informed decision, we have examined the features offered by some of the critically acclaimed products available for sale and concluded that the first option worthy of consideration is the Meinl Percussion Pharaoh’s Script Junior Djembe. Given the compact design, you can easily employ this djembe for outdoor gatherings and add it even to your travel gear. The weather-resistant synthetic shell will enable you to use it in a variety of outdoor settings while getting you nice highs and resonating lows. Plus, the pre-stretched tuning ropes make it easier for you to keep the instrument in tune. In case this product is not available in your area, the second option you might want to take into account is the Meinl Percussion ADJ7-L African Style Djembe.
Our Top Choice
Whether you want to engage in solo or group performances, this djembe is worth adding to your list of options. The synthetic shell is not only durable but also lightweight so that you can take it with you wherever you go without your comfort being affected. It is also weather-resistant.
Even if the shell is weather-resistant, it is best to avoid exposing the djembe to extreme weather conditions.
If you’re on the lookout for a durable djembe that will help you express your creativity with beautiful sounds, this unit might be for you. It comes with pre-stretched tuning ropes and quality synthetic materials.
Featuring a beautiful black finish and hand-carved designs that stand out, this djembe will help you translate your ideas sonically while completing your performance with nice visuals. The mahogany and goatskin used to build this unit will help you get the classic warm djembe sounds.
Check out the product dimensions before buying as this djembe model might be too big for young players.
Thanks to the mahogany shell and goatskin head, this unit can be employed for a variety of musical purposes where high sound quality is required. The decorative patterns will also cut a fine figure.
Also To Consider
Producing warm deep bass tones and well-contoured slaps, this unit is popular among professionals and amateurs alike. Given its sonic properties, the instrument can be used for all drumming styles and genres. Besides playability, the product also ensures portability and ease of tuning.
Despite the item’s sonic properties and the overall durable build, some of its parts might come apart.
You might want to give this djembe model a try if you’re serious about playing this instrument. It was built to produce beautiful sounds for a long time and ensure enhanced playability, portability, and ease of tuning.
10 Best Djembes (Updated Reviews) in 2020
The market is quite generous when it comes to djembes. This rich offer has its advantages as you can find the best djembes for your needs, but it might turn the shopping process into a time-consuming one. To make it easier for you to find the product you need, we have compiled below a list of djembe reviews. Check it out before deciding on a particular model.
- 1. Meinl Percussion Pharaoh’s Script Junior Djembe
- 2. Meinl Percussion ADJ7-L African Style Djembe
- 3. Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum
- 4. Meinl Percussion HDJ4-M 10″ Mahogany Djembe
- 5. Remo Kids Percussion Djembe 8-Inch Rain Forest
- 6. Meinl NINO African Style Rope Tuned Djembe
- 7. Toca TFCDJ-7MR Colorsound 7-Inch Djembe Red
- 8. Meinl Percussion HDJ1-M Medium Size Djembe
- 9. Deep Carved Elephants Djembe Bongo Drum
- 10. Deco 79 89848 Wood & Leather Djembe Drum
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Meinl Percussion Pharaoh’s Script Junior Djembe
Ideal for a variety of outdoor gatherings and live music sessions, this djembe is an option you might want to take a closer look at as it comes with a compact and durable construction that performs well from a sonic point of view. The size renders it ideal for children and adults alike.
To enable you to translate your personality into the realms of sounds, this unit features a synthetic shell that is durable yet lightweight. Moreover, it is weather-resistant, which means that you can use it outdoors. The head is also synthetic, and the instrument comes with pre-stretched tuning ropes that will make sure that keeping the unit in tune won’t be a problem.
Playing closer to the edge of the head will get you ringing highs, whereas when playing in the center, the djembe will get you those well-known resonating lows. The unit measures 7 x 7 x 12.5 inches, which ensures easy storage and transportation.
Built with quality materials and featuring a compact design, this djembe is suitable for jam sessions with your dear ones and various outdoor gatherings.
Given its size, the instrument can be employed by juniors and adults alike and can be easily added to your travel gear, transported, and stored.
The synthetic shell and head won’t just keep up with many playing sessions but will also get you the sounds that make this type of instrument so popular.
Thanks to the nylon rope tuning system, keeping the djembe in tune shouldn’t be a complicated process.
The unit can be used both indoors and outdoors as their projection will fill any space, and it comes available in various colorful finishes.
The shell is described as being weather-resistant, but it is still best to avoid exposing the instrument to extreme weather conditions and high humidity levels extensively.Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.95)
2. Meinl Percussion ADJ7-L African Style Djembe
In case you’re interested in a djembe that both performs and looks well, this model might be cut out for you as it ticks all boxes. The instrument features a beautiful black finish coupled with hand-carved designs that will cut a fine visual figure. The mahogany and materials used for its construction work together to get you deep bass tones and cutting slaps.
The goatskin head employed will help you produce warm tones, while the Mali-Weave tuning system will make sure that keeping the djembe in tune is another advantage you will benefit from. Given the tuning system and the pre-stretched ropes, you can use it immediately upon arrival.
Suitable for a variety of musical applications and genres, this model measures 12 x 12 x 24 inches. However, the unit is available in other sizes as well, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the one that suits your needs.
This unit won’t just help you flavor your live music sessions with the much-appreciated djembe sounds but will also add nice visuals to your performance.
To produce warm tones and get you cutting slaps and resonating lows, the product features quality materials for its various parts, such as mahogany and goatskin.
The hand-carved mahogany and the decorative patterns make this instrument stand out aesthetically as well.
Given that it is a hand drum, and it comes with a tuning system that keeps the instrument in tune for a long time, you can start using it immediately upon arrival.
This model measures 12 x 12 x 24 inches, which might make it a bit too big for younger players; however, the product is available in other sizes as well.
The unit comes with no tuning instructions as there will come a time when you will probably want to tune it; luckily, there are many online sources to help you with that.Buy from Amazon.com for ($189.99)
3. Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum
If what you want from your next djembe is enhanced playability, portability, and ease of tuning, this Remo model is an option you might want to pay attention to. Suitable for all drumming styles, this instrument is built with quality materials and in such a way that made many professionals choose it for their musical adventures.
The product features a Mondo Skyndeep drumhead and an Acousticon shell that will help you produce rich and warm bass tones, as well as well-contoured slaps. This model is available in various sizes and finishes, so it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find the ones that best suit your needs and preferences.
This further means that you can find a model that would meet both a young player’s and an adult’s needs. Furthermore, given the design and the sounds produced, you can employ the item for different musical genres and drumming styles.
If you’re interested in getting a djembe that produces warm and rich sounds, is easy to tune, and can be transported to your gig locations with ease, this unit might be of interest.
The product was built to ensure superior playability, tunability, and portability; therefore, it is built with quality materials and features a thoughtful design that will get you the beautiful djembe sounds.
The unit thus comes with a Mondo Skyndeep drumhead and an Acousticon shell, which means that producing rich bass tones and cutting slaps will be one of the benefits you will get.
To cover the needs and preferences of a wide range of drummers and musicians, the instrument is available in different sizes and finishes.
Although the product features a sturdy build, some of its parts might not be that durable; for example, the top synthetic portion might come apart if used extensively.Buy from Amazon.com for ($299)
4. Meinl Percussion HDJ4-M 10″ Mahogany Djembe
Boasting a sturdy construction and quality materials, this djembe should not be left unchecked before you decide on a product. The djembes from this manufacturer have been appreciated for their impressive acoustic properties, and this model is no exception. That’s why the unit comes with quality mahogany and goatskin shells that have been hand-selected.
All that translates into a sonic performance that includes deep and resonant lows, as well as cutting slaps. The Mali-Weave system used to secure and tune the djembe features quality and durable nylon rope. The playing surface of this unit measures 10 inches in width, and the item is 20-inch tall.
Its dimensions render it suitable for young and adult players alike, while its sonic capacities make it great for a variety of music genres. You can even employ it for studio projects and live gigs under a mic. Plus, the exterior texture ensures an easy grip, which adds to the player’s comfort.
Whether you’re new to djembes or you’re already a seasoned player, this model is worth taking into account as it sports a well-built body that will get you warm and deep sounds.
To perform the way it does, the product features quality materials, including mahogany, as well as a Mali-Weave system that secures the heads and keeps the instrument in tune.
Given its size, the instrument can be used by children and adults alike; moreover, it has an exterior surface that allows for an easy grip between the knees.
Since the unit can produce deep lows and cutting highs, it can be used for various musical genres and applications.
What’s more, the instrument is coupled with a 2-year warranty when it is purchased from an authorized retailer.
Get all the information possible about the item you will receive before ordering, as some models might not be new.
Although the item comes with a guide on how to tune it, the instructions might be a bit difficult to understand.Buy from Amazon.com for ($78.99)
5. Remo Kids Percussion Djembe 8-Inch Rain Forest
In case you’re on the lookout for a djembe for your kid, you might want to take a closer look at this model as it was specifically built for young players. One of the first things you will notice about it is the colorful Rainforest design that will surely cut a fine figure among little ones.
The instrument is suitable for children ages 5+, and it comes with what it takes to produce playful sounds. It features a Skyndeep drumhead that comes pre-tuned and an Acousticon shell, which means that the item will help your kids explore their sonic creativity.
The djembe measures 14 x 8 x 8 inches and weighs 3.31 pounds. Given its size, the instrument is comfortable enough to be used while standing or sitting. Moreover, it can be easily added to your travel gear and stored. Despite its dimensions, though, the instrument produces crisp and loud sounds.
This djembe was designed with young players in mind and thus comes with a comfortable and easy-to-use design.
Even if this is built for children, it features a sturdy and thoughtful construction and materials that will work together to produce crisp and resonant sounds.
To ensure such results, the product boasts an Acousticon shell, as well as a Skyndeep drumhead that is pre-tuned.
Since this is a djembe for juniors, it comes with nice visuals that will motivate your little ones even more to explore the sonic possibilities of this musical instrument.
Considering its size, it is easy and comfortable to use, transport, and store the product; what’s more, it can be played standing or sitting.
The instrument comes with a strap that might not be that comfortable and shoulder-friendly; however, depending on how your child likes to play, you can remove it or not use it at all.Buy from Amazon.com for ($79)
6. Meinl NINO African Style Rope Tuned Djembe
The materials used for a djembe and the way it is built are the ones that shape the acoustic properties and durability ensured, and the manufacturer of this product paid a great deal of attention to both these aspects. The unit thus features durable mahogany, a type of wood that has been largely used for musical instruments thanks to its properties.
This particular model is a small one, which renders it ideal for children. However, adults might also want to try it as it produces pleasant sounds. The unit measures 10.4 x 16.9 x 10.4 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds; therefore, transporting it won’t be difficult.
The item comes with a quality head as well as a nylon rope system to secure it. Considering the beautiful sounds produced by this instrument, the djembe can be used for different musical genres and applications.
If your children are interested in music and playing the djembe, this item might be cut out for you as it features a kid-friendly design.
The materials employed and the way the product was designed ensure results that are similar to the ones produced by a full-size unit, so don’t be fooled by the size of this instrument.
The mahogany and natural head work together to produce beautiful, rich, and warm sounds, which makes this unit ideal for children as well as music educators.
Since the product measures 10.4 x 16.9 x 10.4 inches, it can be easily added to your gear when going on vacation with your little one.
Its dimensions and weight also make it comfortable for children ages 3 and up to use it; despite its size, the product sports quality materials that should keep up with extended use.
If you want a brand new product, ask for more information regarding the item before buying as some units might have been used.Buy from Amazon.com for ($64.99)
7. Toca TFCDJ-7MR Colorsound 7-Inch Djembe Red
Whether you’re on the lookout for a djembe for you or your children, this model is designed in such a way to meet the needs of all musicians regardless of their age. The small size renders it comfortable for young players to use it while making it easy for adults to take it with them outdoors for live music sessions.
The item is also lightweight, which adds to its portability. Despite being so, the product features a sturdy build that should provide you with many playing sessions. The instrument boasts a synthetic shell and comes with a nylon rope tuning system.
Thanks to the rubber bottom used, you can easily place the djembe directly on the ground as this addition ensures the required protection. The product is available in a variety of colors so that you can choose the one you like easily. This particular model sports a metallic red finish.
This instrument is packed with features that render it ideal for music educators, young players, and drum enthusiasts interested in a small, lightweight, yet durable djembe.
Even if the product measures only 14.6 x 9.4 x 9.4 inches and weighs little, it was built to keep up with many playing sessions and therefore comes with quality materials.
Both the synthetic shell material and the one used for the head should help you produce beautiful sounds and do so for a long time.
The instrument also comes with a nylon rope tuning system and a protective rubber bottom, and it is available in different colors to cover all preferences.
Although it makes a nice choice even if you’re an adult, the product is more suitable for beginners and children, considering the size and the way it sounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
8. Meinl Percussion HDJ1-M Medium Size Djembe
Suitable for players of different ages, this instrument is built to help you explore your sonic personality with the help of warm and rich sounds and do so for a long time. To ensure such durability and sonic properties, the medium-sized djembe features quality materials, including mahogany.
Furthermore, the unit boasts goatskin heads and is equipped with a rope tuning system that will work together to get you cutting slaps and deep bass tones. Thanks to the instrument’s projection, you can use it both indoors and outdoors. Plus, you can employ it for both live sessions and studio recordings.
This model comes in a medium size and thus measures 10 x 10 x 20 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds, which means that it is suitable for different age categories. What’s more, it is not difficult to add it to your travel gear and transport it.
Given the materials used to build this djembe, the product will help you color your live sessions or studio recordings with resonating bass tones and cutting slaps and do so for a long time.
To ensure the sonic results just mentioned, the item boasts quality materials, such as mahogany, as well as a rope tuning system; it also features a hand-selected goatskin head.
Since this is a medium-sized djembe, it can be used by players of different ages; plus, its dimensions make it easy to transport it from one place to another.
The instrument’s projection renders it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use; you can thus employ it for live sessions or studio recordings.
Make sure you get all the information possible about this product before buying as it might be heavier than described.
This unit might be more appropriate for beginners, children, and players who are not looking for anything fancy.Buy from Amazon.com for ($78.95)
9. Deep Carved Elephants Djembe Bongo Drum
This unit was designed to ensure playability and withstand the test of time, which renders it ideal for players who want to embark on the sonic journey provided by this instrument and do so extensively. The choice of materials and the way this unit was carved render it a popular choice among djembe players.
The unit features quality and durable mahogany, as well as a goatskin head, which further translates into rich and natural sounds that you will get to benefit from for a long time. To help you get the right tunes every time you play, the instrument also comes with a rope tuning system.
Another aspect that makes this model stand out is the hand-carved elephant design that will complete your performance with nice visuals. Given the sounds produced, this unit is versatile enough to be employed for different musical genres and applications.
Featuring appealing hand-carved visuals and a sturdy body, this djembe should cover your needs beautifully for a long time.
To help you achieve pleasant sounds, the unit is equipped with a quality goatskin head and a solid one-piece mahogany shell.
The rope tuning system will help you make sure the instrument is always in tune, and that you get to express your sonic creativity nicely.
Each djembe is inspected thoroughly before shipping, so there should be no problem regarding its quality.
The beautiful elephant carving will complete your performance with appealing visuals, which also makes this item a nice gift.
Since this is a handmade model, there might be slight differences between the units in this series and, therefore, the carving and color of the djembe you receive may differ from the ones in the picture.Buy from Amazon.com for ($94)
10. Deco 79 89848 Wood & Leather Djembe Drum
One of the first things that set this djembe apart from other items in this category is the way it looks; however, the wood and leather used for this instrument are paired with sounds that will help you translate your ideas beautifully, so it is not just a visually-pleasing item.
The product measures 7 x 7 x 12 inches, which means that it can be easily used by a young player or added to your travel gear if you’re often on the road. Since a drum is about the tonal range it ensures, the size shouldn’t stop you from exploring its sonic capacities even if you are an adult.
The unit features quality materials that should keep up with transportation and many playing sessions. These very nice visuals make it a nice gift as well. Plus, you can always use it as a decor item when you’re not playing.
Boasting a beautiful design, this instrument works both as a djembe that is suitable for beginners, young players, and adults interested in casual playing, as well as a decor item.
Given its dimensions and weight, the product can be easily transported and stored if you’re often on the road; its very size makes it suitable even for children.
To ensure durability and help you produce nice sounds, the product boasts quality wood and leather.
The instrument comes with a rope that further enhances the player’s comfort when playing or during transportation.
The nice design also makes it ideal as a decor item that will complete your room beautifully or a gift.
The instrument might be more suitable for beginners and players who engage in djembe playing casually and have no high expectations.
Even if used casually, the unit might still feel a bit small if you’re an adult; however, this has not stopped adult musicians from using it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.99)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Even though a djembe drum may seem a simple instrument at first glance, shopping for one isn’t always that easy. From the materials employed for their construction to the way they are shaped, everything counts when it comes to how djembe drums perform.
If you’re interested in creating djembe music, and you’re thus looking for a quality model, be it an affordable djembe or a pricier one, there are some factors that require attention. We have highlighted them below so that you can get the product that best meets your needs.
Types of djembes
The first thing to consider before taking anything else into account regards your particular needs and interests. It is not uncommon for beginners to overlook the differences in sound between the different djembes available. In fact, it takes a bit of practice to tell two types of djembes apart.
To know which one is the best for you, you will have to ask yourself a few questions. Would you like to use the djembe for solo playing, or you’d rather play the djembe in a group? The answers will help you decide on the type of djembe you get.
Generally, djembes are divided into solo, ensemble, and all-round models. Some djembes are described as trance djembes and are usually used for meditative drumming. Since each type serves a different purpose, there will be differences in the way they sound. That’s why it is best to try out an instrument or look for audio samples online before you buy it.
Once you’ve decided on the sounds you’d like your new djembe to produce, you need to take a closer look at the materials employed for the construction of the instrument as they will shape the sonic performance delivered.
Usually, both expensive and cheap djembes are carved from one piece of solid wood. The most common tonewoods used for the shell include Mahogany, Iroko, Acajou, Djalla, Lengue/Lenke, and Demba. Each tonewood has its sonic peculiarities, and that’s why knowing them beforehand is essential. For example, while a Demba shell will get you dry and bright sounds, an Iroko djembe will produce warm sounds.
The materials used for the rest of the djembe deserve attention as well. More expensive African djembe models feature skins from Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Guinea. The skin thickness also counts a lot when it comes to the way the djembe sounds. Medium-thick and thick skins are generally preferred thanks to the tones produced.
In case you’re not comfortable with such versions, you can always go for units that are built with synthetic materials. A cheap djembe is more likely to feature synthetic materials, such as plastic and fiberglass, and some affordable djembes can actually come with such materials that have been skillfully altered to sound and feel like goatskin.
Design and tuning
Besides the shell and head materials used, you need to pay attention to the tuning system as well. You might not know how to tune a djembe yet, but you need to make sure that once you learn how to do that, the tuning system featured by the model you’ve set your eyes on can keep the instrument in tune for a long time.
Most djembes come with a rope tuning system. Modern models come with bolts that you will have to tighten if you want to increase the pitch of the drum. However, if you want to go traditional and get a djembe with a rope tuning system, check out the material used for the rope.
Double-braided polyester is recommended as it is stronger and does not stretch as fast as other rope materials cheap djembes come with. You may already know how to play djembe, but you won’t get much out of your instrument if the tuning system fails to work properly.
Djembes come in different sizes, a feature that also calls for consideration. Playing this instrument should be a comfortable experience, and its dimensions hold great importance as far as this aspect is concerned. Check out the product’s dimensions carefully before ordering and think of the player’s age, height, and other such aspects.
If you like a Toca djembe, a Remo djembe, or a model from other known brands, and you can’t reach a musical store to try it out, reading a djembe review and looking for video and audio samples might also help you make a more informed decision.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a djembe drum used for?
One short and general answer would be that djembes are used to express yourself and communicate with the help of sounds. To detail this answer a bit, djembes are employed for various purposes.
From adding the well-known djembe rhythms and sounds to outdoor gatherings to meditative drumming, these instruments have a long history and a noteworthy versatility. Djembes can be seen and heard both in group and solo performances, they can be used as a stress reliever, and, as an iconic part of the African culture, they are employed for various ceremonies.
It is said that these drums have been originally used to let the next village know about different events since they produce loud sounds. However, djembes are now used all over the world in both traditional and modern music. Their sound versatility makes it possible to use them for a variety of musical genres and styles and even therapeutic approaches.
Q: What materials are used to make a djembe drum?
Djembes come in a variety of models as far as the materials used for their construction are concerned. The shell is made of a single piece of solid wood. The most common woods employed include Lengue/Lenke, Acajou, Iroko, Mahogany, Djalla, and Demba.
Each of these woods comes with particular sonic capacities. That’s why considering the wood used for a certain model calls for great attention when buying such a product. The head usually features goatskin that comes in various thicknesses. However, modern djembes are built with synthetic materials, including mylar and fiberglass.
These materials are altered to sound and feel like natural materials and are thus a great option for those who don’t want to use animal products. Then, there is the tuning system. Traditional djembes come with a rope tuning system, and the ropes are made from nylon, polyester, or other such materials. Modern models have bolts that can be tightened to increase the pitch of the drum.
Q: How old is the djembe?
Although djembes made their way to the U.S. and Europe in the last century and became known to the rest of the world in the last decades, it is generally agreed that these instruments were invented several centuries ago in Africa.
The iconic African drums are associated with an ethnic group known as Numu or Mandinka, a group that was primarily found in northern Ivory Coast, southern Mali, and eastern Guinea. During the first millennium AD, this group migrated and thus might have dispersed this instrument throughout West Africa.
Thus, the distribution of this drum is associated with the Mali Empire. This empire dates back to 1230 AD, but since there are no written records in West Africa, it is still unknown whether the djembes were already there when the Mali Empire formed, or they were invented after that.