Caring for your Djembe properly can make all the difference in its appearance, sound, and longevity. Well maintained Djembes can last for years or more. By meeting your Djembe's basic needs it will, in return, serve as a center-piece to your drum circle and showcase the beauty of its own construction and history.
Djembes are usually made of African hardwoods with animal skin stretched over the face of the drum. These elements make it especially sensitive to temperature and humidity. Djembes should be stored in cool dry spaces without exposure to cold drafts or direct sunlight. Never leave your Djembe in a hot car, the rain, or other such extreme conditions. For extra protection owners should invest in a bag specifically for the drum.
If the skin of the drum is excessively dry you can rub a little olive oil into the skin. The oil will help keep the skin moisturized and lengthen the life of the skin. Never use harsh chemical products when cleaning your goat skin drum head. These will damage the skin. If you see tiny holes or sawdust in the wood of the drum it is possible that there is a bug infestation. This needs to be dealt with before there is permanent damage. This will help keep your Djembe looking and sounding its best.
If your Djembe will be sitting dormant for a period of time, de-tune it by loosening the ropes. Even if the drum is played frequently, giving the ropes a break from time to time can improve the longevity of the skin. If you do not know how to tune or re-tune your Djembe, ask a friend to show you or bring your drum to a musical specialty store.
Taking the extra steps to play your Djembe properly can help increase its lifespan as well. Be careful to remove all rings or jewelry from your hands before playing your Djembe and only play it with your hands. Jewelry could have the same negative effect on your drum as sticks or mallets.
The most important thing however, is to play your Djembe regularly. Your drum needs exercise to remain healthy the same way you do. Playing your drum often can insure that you catch any problems early, before they become serious. By keeping your Djembe in good condition you are helping the overall health of the drum as well as the enjoyability of playing the instrument.