Mondo vs Versa Remo djembès...?

prisca

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Hi everyone!
I'm not a drummer, so be patient with me.
I'd like to buy a present for my lover, who plays jazz and fusion drums professionally and flamenco cajon and who desires a Remo djembè (told me). Best if not too big, for portability.
After some research the best measure seems to be 12". But new it's expensive, especially here in Europe... Finally, I found a second hand 14": hope it's not too enormous for an average woman to handle and carry around. What do you think?

Versa Remo djembès 9" and 11" seem to be even better: less expensive, better graphic finishes, light... What about the tone? Is it comparabile to the Mondo sound quality? A drawback could be that the drumhead is not tuneable. What else? Is there a very big difference?

Please, I need to know :)
I want to spend my poor money on a really pleasant instrument
 

A.TomicMorganic

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It is important to be able to tune the drum.I have a 12" mondo and it is a great djembe. I think the second hand 14" would be a better choice than the Versas. Unless your lover is very petite.
 

A.TomicMorganic

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You also might look at metal doumbeks in a larger size with tunable heads. Usually aluminum and should be all over Europe. Middle Eastern.
 

Keeper John

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I play my djembe regularly, most players (myself included) would consider 14" to be the standard size. A 12" would be acceptable but anything smaller would not be, as the head gets too small for an adults hands to play the different tones. 12" would be fine for a adult with smaller hands.
 

Drumbumcrumb

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I don’t know what the scene is like where you are, but I see lots of good djembe-for-sale listings because people get them and then don’t end up using them. They become decor. And then for sale. I wish you were closer, I have a nice Mondo in the Kinte cloth pattern I’d let you have for a deal. I can’t believe how pricey they are, I don’t remember them being so much.

I would try to stick with 14”, it’s kinda the standard “real” djembe size. It looks large, but it’s what everyone uses. 12” or 13” would probably be ok. 11” or 9” are just kinda toys, not serious instruments. The Mondo drums are very convenient because they are key tuned and use a man made head - so, easy to tune and easy head replacements. The purists stick with carved wood shells fitted with skin and a rope tension system. This means you’ve gotta either find a djembe guy to rehead, or learn the skill. Tuning is done by pulling and weaving the rope - another skill (easy to learn though). If you find a wood/skin djembe that has a good head on it and is tuned well, there’s no reason she couldn’t play it for ages and learn to tune it… head replacement should be waaaay down the road. Also, the wood drums are heavy of course. So you should choose a type - key tuned/man-made head OR traditional wood/skin rope-tuned. I’d go for 14” to keep it authentic and at a serious level (she IS a percussionist after all). Maybe you can feel her out about why she said Remo? Does she really want a key tuned djembe? Or did she like a certain Remo finish? Probably she doesnt care about brand, there was just something she liked about a particular Remo djembe she saw? Idk.

A middle ground would be a lightweight plastic shell with a skin/rope system, like the Toca Freestyle Black Mamba. Great sound, very portable, and affordable, AND comes with a carry bag. So easy to take with you (I’ve owned this drum, it’s very nice and by far the lightest)-

12” key tuned, colorful version -

Heres a B-stock deal, nice looking drum. Portable, comes with bag -

An affordable, traditional setup, around 13” (33cm) (looks like a beautiful drum, carved solid wood, great price)-

Meinl makes a nice djembe, they must be available to you. Around $250-$300, traditional style. Good quality.

Keep us posted, hopefully we can help you get a terrific gift. There’s nothing like an instrument given to you from someone you love - it will always be special to her no matter what you pick.
 
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