This is a double-headed bass drum used to embelish the ensemble. It is prominent in the musical cultures of all of West Africa. This drum gives deep, rolling bass tones and is usually played in conjunction with a bell.
SHELL: The shell may be constructed of either hardwoods or softwoods. The hardwoods include cherry, walnut, mahogny. The softwoods include yellow pine, white pine, western red cedar and redwood. Each type of wood produces a characteristic timbre. The shells are made in three sizes: 16 1/2" dia. by 22 1/2" lgth. 13 1/2" dia. by 18" lgth. 1 1/2" dia. by 15" lgth. The LARGEST size is usually headed with goat skins and produces a deep, complex bass tone similar to the Brazilian surdo. The MIDDLE size is the most popular for use with djimbe or ashiko drums. The SMALL size is similar to the merengue tambora of Dominican music.
TUNING: Each size is tuneable over a wide range. This is accomplished by a traditional roping pattern which allows pegs to be inserted between the ropes and turned over to twist and thus tighten the ropes and tension the heads.