Djembe Beginner Hand Positions

Djembe Beginner Hand Positions by Nowick Gray – Warm Up

I like this video linked above as it shows the correct hand position for the djembe. This video duplicates the way my African teachers have taught djembe hand positions. The only item forgotten was that the hand for the slap has the fingers open instead of closed as in the tone sound. However, Nowick Gray, the drummer does show this hand position as open when he plays the drum.

Bass right and left B B,  closed fingers, hand firm, and thumb in. Drop the hand close to the middle of the djembe. The sound should be deeper, a bass sound. African words are Gun , Dun for right and left bass.

Tone right and left T T, closed fingers , hand firm, and thumb out. Drop the hand on the rim of the drum so the pad of your palm under your knuckles in on the rim of the drum and your fingers are together and flat on the drum. The sound should be flat. African words are Go Dun for left and right tone.

Slap right and left S S, same place as the tone sound but your hand comes down to the drum with your fingers open. The fingers snap of the drum and your wrist can rest on the rim. It’s an open ringing bell sound. African words are Pa Ta for right and left slap hits on the djembe.


Hand Positions Bass, Tone, Slap by Jim Donovan

Good view of the drum. Hands are in the correct position, However do not bend your wrist to play the tone. USE ONE ARM MOTION. Lift the arm and come down on the drum for the tone and the slap.