There are two methods for tuning a Djembe Drum.
The quickest way to bring the pitch of the drum up is add diamonds. A diamond is a knot that pulls two vertical ropes together causing the drum to raise in pitch. This method takes the least amount of strength. It also allows you to easily drop the pitch by removing some or all of the diamonds. The other advantage to this method is you can make small adjustments to the pitch by adding or removing just a few diamonds at a time.
To add diamonds to your Djembe, you must first have some excess rope with which to work. This rope may be wrapped around the base of your drum or you can take it from the handle, if there is one. If you don’t have excess rope available on the drum or you don’t want the use the handle, you can also add a piece of rope to your drum by simply tieing it to a vertical.
Tuning Your Djembe by “Pulling Diamonds”
Make sure the beginning of the rope you are using to create the diamons is well secured before pulling the first diamond.
Select the two verticals which are furthest apart. Thread your drum roping under the two verticals. You can pull diamonds into the two closest verticals but pitch change will be slight.
Bring the rope back over the top of the last vertical and under the first vertical.
Pull all excess drum rope through the verticals. Then pull the rope firmly to the opposite side form which you began to form the “Diamond”.
Continue pulling diamonds by repeating steps 2 – 4 until you reach the desired pitch.
Tuning Your Djembe by Tightening the Verticals
Locate the knot where the vertical ropes are tied off. This is your ending point. The objective is to move the rope around the drum to the ending point where you tie it off again.
Place the drum on the floor with the head facing away from you. Rest your feet on the base of the drum to secure the Djembe. Using either a lace puller or your hand protected with a leather glove, pull the vertical up. Keeping tension on the rope, continue to work around the drum one vertical at a time.
Use a Vise-grip to secure the rope while you pull additional verticals or at the end when you tie off the last vertical.
Tie off the end rope and test your drum for the desired pitch. You can repeat steps 1 and 2 above to continue to raise the pitch of the drum. If you don’t have the required strength to pull the vertical tighter, you can add diamonds.