Next article: Bass Note Exercises

The djembe

How To Play Djembe

The Bass

Sitting with the drum as described in the basics, you're ready to start.

djembe-bass (11K)

The bass note is played in the centre of the drum with the entire face of the hand. Keep your hand flat and fingers closed with the thumb slightly outstretched to form a V shape.

Start with the hand only and inch or two above the face of the drum. Raise your arm another 4-6 inches and strike the centre of the drum, allowing your hand to bounce off and return to the starting position.

Repeat with the other hand, making sure your arms are relaxed and flexible enough to allow plenty of movement. Aim for relaxed yet firm wrists and good control of hand position. The power for a good bass note comes from the shoulder.

The Note

On the charts, a bass note is represented by a black circle with a white centre, like this:

The words

Each note we learn will have two names: One when it is played with one hand, and one when it is played with the other. These words are 'GU' and 'DU'.


Words GU DU
Next article: Bass Note Exercises