28th Oct 2014

Basic Hand Drum Strokes: Bass Tone

To properly play your djembe, you need to understand the proper methods of playing your drum to create the sound it was intended to produce. One of these basic strokes includes the Bass Tone.

Using the palm of your hand to strike the center of the drumhead creates the Bass tone, or Bass stroke.

To begin, you need to position your arm and hands properly. The fingers should be extended and together; they should be straight but relaxed. And your wrist should remain in line with the rest of your arm. The elbow should do the primary action with little assistance from the shoulder.

The entire lower arm should drop as one unit so the palm of your hand hits the head, not the fingers. This should be a fluid movement going straight down. Once the hand strikes the head you allow it to completely bounce off the head. This will permit the head to completely resonate and create a deep bass tone on your drum.

If you want a more muffled sound, you can leave the hand resting on the drum essentially killing the sound

Try practicing this technique slowly alternating between your right and left hand. Start at around 60bpm (beats per minute) or even slower. Focus on the proper technique not speed:

The wrist remains in line with the arm

• The movement from the elbow should create a straight up and down motion

• Strike the center of the drum with the palm not the fingers

• Allow the hand to completely bounce off the head