Whether you’re looking for a traditional djembe or one with a more modern tuning system, this is the guide for you. Here is my pick of the top 5 djembes on the market in terms of sound quality and design.
These options will work great in drum circles, while they also perform very nicely for live shows and studio recording sessions.
My top pick as the best djembe is Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum. It’s a top-quality djembe with a great tuning system.
My recommendation for the best affordable djembe is this Meinl Headliner Series djembe. This is very fun to play, and you can get a very decent sound from it without breaking the bank!
- The 5 Best Djembes of 2022
- 1. Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum
- 2. Meinl Headliner Series djembe
- 3. Deep Carved Djembe Bongo Drum
- 4. Hand-carved African Djembe Drum - Solid Wood, Goat Skin
- 5. Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa
- Who makes the best Djembe?
- What size is a standard Djembe?
- Is it easy to learn to play the Djembe?
- How to Select a Djembe
- How much does a Djembe Cost?
- About Djembes
- Best Djembe players
The 5 Best Djembes of 2022
Let’s compare each of these djembes in a bit more detail.
Remo Djembes are quite popular and I personally really enjoy playing them. This one has a classy and trendy design and sounds amazing.
It’s very easy to tune this djembe with a drum key, which is a big plus in comparison to many of the other djembes out there.
It has a very good quality fiber skin drumhead and acousticon shell.
What I liked the most about this djembe is its versatility, as it fits all drummers and drumming styles, regardless of skill level. It is great for beginners as it is quite simple to use with easy playability and remarkable performance.
The djembe offers a wide range of tuning. It can produce warm notes and rich bass, along with very finely defined slap notes.
When it comes to the brand, I find Meinl percussion instruments to be reliable ones so you can be sure of their quality and durability.
This solid mahogany wood djembe has exceptional acoustic properties and performs well in a wide range of tones.
It is easy to use and doesn’t require fine-tuning. The length of the instrument makes it easier to play in the traditional style.
I’m fairly satisfied by its performance with tunes ranging from deep and resonating bass notes to high-pitched, cutting slaps. This plays well both live and in the studio.
The head is quite sensitive and responsive. It produces good quality djembe sounds that have a warm yet sharper sound and cutting tone.
When played at the center, the djembe produces a boom bass sound that is good for keeping rhythm, and when slapped at the edges, it gives a sharp and popping accents. It is a great instrument to play in drum circles, jam sessions, or live shows.
It fits well between the legs, and the length is tall enough to keep a good posture while playing. The product comes with 2 years warranty and is backed up with devoted customer service.
3. Deep Carved Djembe Bongo Drum
This Djembe is crafted with environmentally stable and legally harvested wood that has a solid, one-piece Mahogany shell construction.
I really like the simple but skillfully crafted African patterns of moon and stars around its wood body.
The 5mm non-stretch alpine rope is internally braided for tuning and an extra tuning rope is wrapped around the neck for Mali Weave tuning. You need to be on a certain skill level to tune this djembe.
4. Hand-carved African Djembe Drum - Solid Wood, Goat Skin
The beautiful hand-carved African Djembe drum has a traditional and rich look that depicts its cultural beauty. It is lightweight and very easy to use and carry around.
It has a natural goatskin head and overall construction with hand carvings and a good-quality wood shell that’s sturdy and robust.
The great thing about it is that it comes fully tuned and ready to use right out of the box. It can also be tuned with the help of ropes if required.
This simple and classy djembe stays true to the djembes used in West Africa. The attractive and beautiful instrument is handcrafted with care by experienced artisans in West Africa. You can play high tonal notes on it.
It can be used in place of a bongo, or if tuned high, it can also be used in place of a dumbek. It won’t give you a wide range of sounds though, so if you are looking for a professional level of functionality, this isn’t the one for you.
5. Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa
This is a nice djembe from the African Heartwood Project. It has an exotic African look with wood carvings. The hand-carved shell is solid and sturdy. The drum head has goat skin head covering and the instrument is pre-tuned which makes it great for beginners as it comes ready to be played right out of the box.
The look is quite elegant and reminds you of its cultural beauty with Earthy handcrafted patterns and designs to beautify the body of the instrument.
Use it to practice and learn until you are ready for a more complex, rope-tuned version of the product.
Who makes the best Djembe?
When it comes to manufacturing, a lot of brands stand out in producing high-quality djembes. You will most likely see Remo, Meinl, but also see a couple of traditional African hand-carved ones (Africa Heartwood Project) or deep hand-carved djembes.
To be more precise, the quality of the djembe should be the top priority, more so the construction materials. As I said, most of these manufacturers have produced good-quality djembes but the main focus is on the skin and wood that is used.
You have a variety of options on the market, from medium to thinner skins (fewer overtones), from fiberglass djembes to more pro-grade ones. Usually, a solid piece of mahogany wood djembe is the way to go.
What size is a standard Djembe?
Djembes come in different sizes, from smaller ones that are about 12″ to the bigger ones that are 25″. The most common ones you will see will be from 15 to 20 inches because they are not too small and not too big.
Comfortability is key with djembes, it’s no use having a good-quality one but it’s way too small or way too big and difficult to hold.
Is it easy to learn to play the Djembe?
All things considered, a djembe is incredibly easy to learn. Playing one requires a natural rhythm and an open mind. You would be surprised when picking one up for the first time that it’s actually incredibly easy to play.
As djembes are more rhythmic instruments that produce a nice tone and bass, they are usually used to keep the tempo as well as provide some natural bass and sound that befit a particular song. Therefore, playing one does not require much skill.
How to Select a Djembe
Picking out the best djembe drum depends on your skill level. You can get a small one with an exotic design and carvings just for decoration but these beauties play wonderfully and should be used for the pleasant musical experience they provide.
A lot of thought and consideration goes into choosing a musical instrument that compliments your style. Djembes are a unique variety of drums that can have variable sizes (diameter), playability, and quality.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a djembe is its craftsmanship and durability. Different head diameters and tuning methods also vary depending on the brand and manufacturing process of the instrument.
Smaller and auto-tuned versions of the instrument are great for beginners and young adults, whereas an authentic, full-sized, and rope-tuned djembe is a great addition to a professional band with an experienced player.
You should also look into the type of wood used for the djembe and the skin quality of the drum heads as it affects the sound quality and adds to the appeal of the percussion instrument. Good wood density can make a huge difference.
How much does a Djembe Cost?
The price range of a djembe can vary, depending on a variety of things. It can be as low as around $100 but can go as high as $1000 in some cases. Usually, you can find decent-sounding djembes around the $200 mark.
Depending on your needs, you should choose the appropriate price. There is no need to go overboard and break your bank on a high-priced djembe if you have no need for it. Keep it simple.
The Djembe belongs to the family of drums with an ethnic and culturally rich design of its own. Originating from West Africa, this is a popular percussion instrument in drum circles and is often used for decorative purposes owing to its unique design and style. The distinctive name of the instrument is inspired by the saying “Anke djé, anke bé” meaning “everyone together in peace”.
Djembes have a traditional look and feel. They are tuned via ropes but many advanced designs now come auto-tuned without ropes. It is played with bare hands by percussing on the drum heads to produce a variety of slap and deep bass tones.
Best Djembe players
There are exceptional djembe players out there that have redefined what it means to play this instrument. Since the instrument originates from Africa, you might have concluded that the best players are therefore African players.
Most notable djembe players are Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keïta, Ladji Camara, Abdoulaye Diakite, Adama Dramé, and a few more.
Each of these djembe players have taken the instrument to a whole new level. With unique playing styles and natural beats, the djembe hasn’t sounded more beautifully.
Djembes are beautiful drums that come in a variety of sizes, designs, and styles. They can be used for decoration or for their pleasant musical sounds by experienced players who understand how to play the instrument well.
Of course, there are also some more handmade and traditional ones to choose from, so be sure to check out the other djembes on this list also.