Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

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Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:19 pm

I have just mounted two gorgeous Greek (yes, alliteration is my thing today :D )
mule skins that congaplace member El Greco sent me as quick as lightning after thorough consultation.

The rawhide skin had a very oily and silky feel with all the natural ingredients a former happy Greek mule should have had.

Remember the water buffalo thread? I stopped there with some pictures that El Greco sent me of the two mule skins: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4327&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=15

Well, and on the last cold and snowy weekend, I mounted these hot and beautiful skins.
Her e are some pics of the process:
Mounting El Greco´s Mule on Matador.JPG
Almost done.JPG

The other mule went on an Afro Elite :
Freshly mounted Afro.JPG

The skins are pretty thick and need a lot of time to dry, but they look , feel and- most important of all - sound awesome already.
Last edited by Mike on Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:29 pm

I mounted the skins just 1cm below the crown. They will stretch downwards over time.
Matador_1 cm from top to crown 1024x576.JPG


Finito! The skins are a tad opaque at the shell rim due to the mounting fight :lol:
Perhaps they will need some oil treatment later.
Closeup of two.JPG


Just in case you wonder: These newly muled congas add up to my infamous best-matching mismatched set of along with an LP Classic (cowhide) and LP Gio quinto (mule).

I can only highly recommend El Greco´s products, also the intense and quick mail correspondence that was really useful before, during and also after the process. He is truly a dedicated musician and drum artisan.
It is really nice to have a European source for mule skins! :D
Thank you El Greco! :D :D :D

Sorry if my blogging here should have offended anyone here- just wanted to share my experience. :P
Last edited by Mike on Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Congadelica » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:34 pm

Great Job Mike . now its just time to chill be paitient in the breaking in . you keeping busy :wink: . I hope the ear problems sort them self soon hermano .
:D

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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:45 pm

Congadelica wrote:Great Job Mike . now its just time to chill be paitient in the breaking in . you keeping busy :wink: . I hope the ear problems sort them self soon hermano .
:D

Marco

Yep, mounting distracted me from ear problems somehow, that was wonderful.
Breaking in means a couple of weeks for these fat ass ladies for sure !! :lol: :lol:
Thanks Marco! I remember getting you the itchy fingers with the mule skin on your Meinls too, brother! :)
But your Islas whack as hell I bet..!

Cheers
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Whopbamboom » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:08 pm

Mike,

Do these Greek skins have a very dry sound with little overtone, or are there some overtones present? Any ringing? How does the sound compare to waterbuffalo? (I'm assuming that's what got replaced) Are the tones shorter in length of time, start to finish (i.e. sustain)? If so, how much?

Maybe I shouldn't try to ask. There's probably no way to accurately describe a sound via typed words... LOL
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby ozrivera » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:37 pm

Saludos Hermanos

Mike
you did a great job reskinning.

suave

oz
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby No.2-1820 » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:47 pm

"The skins are a tad opaque at the shell rim due to the mounting fight :lol:
Perhaps they will need some oil treatment later".

Hey Mike, great job, that whitish cloudy patterning that appears around the rim is very typical with mule and not something due to anything you did wrong when mounting, I actually like the effect, it seems to increase over time too as the skin breaks in, not on every skin but most I believe, the only time I didn't observe that was on a very deep reddish skin that was very oily. As a non professional observer I feel like it occurs more on the 'dryer' sounding mule skins. Perhaps Isaac can elaborate.

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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:52 am

Thanks for the responses, guys.
Whopbamboom wrote:Mike,
Do these Greek skins have a very dry sound with little overtone, or are there some overtones present?
Maybe I shouldn't try to ask. There's probably no way to accurately describe a sound via typed words...


WBB, as ozrivera has already stated, overall I am going to get an old-skool sounding dry sound out of these reskinned congas. "Any ringing? " Well, some ringing must be. A very full sound, with medium resonance, but any nasty overtones are somewhat dampened, especially if you compare the sound to the old waterbuffalo skins.
The mule skins are almost 4mm and 3.4mm thick now, respectively. Yet they are flexible enough to not deaden the sound.
Its difficult how to put sound into words, I wish I could post a recording, but I am not capable of that.
As the skins have not broken in at all (they are barely dry at all!), it is a bit early to judge upon sound matters anyway.
But you notice even now the sound transformation into something...earthier....that grips you somewhere... :wink:
Well, let me put it like that: As so often after a considerable skin upgrade, also these congas have or rather are a distinct character - and I like strong characters... :lol:
WBB, I hope I could answer your sound engineering questions -phew! :D :lol:

My 2 mules rule 8)
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Whopbamboom » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:13 am

Yeah, LOL-- I didn't think it'd be easy to describe. I guess a guy's just got to try them out for himself.

I'm going to be doing some recording soon... and I have LP waterbuffalo's.... I have developed some rhythms (and the hand technique to create them) that work very well for some music I am working with. But I may have trouble with the ringing of the LP's (I still have to try them out in the studio). But I hate to switch out my skins without having a better idea of what I may get. So let me ask you this--- can you easily get a good tone out of them by bumping them with your thumbs? Or is there no real tone or volume when you bump them with your thumbs?
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Thebreeze » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:33 am

Mike wrote:I can only highly recommend El Greco´s products, also the intense and quick mail correspondence that was really useful before, during and also after the process. He is truly a dedicated musician and drum artisan.
It is really nice to have a European source for mule skins! :D
Thank you El Greco! :D :D :D



Mike...I have purchased some Mule skins from El Greco as well. Two were for my Dominican Shell Bongos which I will be posting the final project pictures soon, and one for a conga. I agree with you in all you said about El Greco. It is a pleasure to do business with him and I really like how he stays in constant communication through out the entire process, even though he is half way around the world to me, Ships extremely fast, and his Mule skins to me are second to none. Your drums came out great, and I am sure that they are going to stand up to the test.

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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:31 pm

Will,

yes, we are eager to see some photos of your beautiful bongó !

Whopbamboom wrote:I have LP waterbuffalo's.... I have developed some rhythms (and the hand technique to create them) that work very well for some music I am working with. But I may have trouble with the ringing of the LP's (I still have to try them out in the studio). But I hate to switch out my skins without having a better idea of what I may get. So let me ask you this--- can you easily get a good tone out of them by bumping them with your thumbs? Or is there no real tone or volume when you bump them with your thumbs?


There is a tone when you hit the skin with your thumb of course, but you would get big thumbs soon :lol:
LP ringing is inherent in the shells indeed, so you will not get rid of that completely.
But honestly, if you want to play your LP congas with your thumb very often, then a skin that is way thinner than these mule skins would be better. Calf maybe (although TOO thin perhaps) or even goat? Or even synthetic. Recording is such an intricate matter itself. I can´t help you much there I´m afraid.

BTW Will, what conga do you plan to mount the Greek mule skin on?
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby seisporocho1 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:50 pm

Congrats on your mules Mike!!!
Isn't it great when you know you just did yourself (and the congas) a huge favor by mounting a great skin!? The hard part is waiting for them to fully dry... :roll:
I ordered some Greek mule skins from EL GRECO last week. I can't wait to get 'em. I got one for the macho on my bongo and another for a conga. It'll be my first time ordering these and I have a bit of excitement built up from all the wonderful things I've heard about Theo and his skins on this site! So far he's been great.

I have a question though: What thickness where your skins when you bought them?
El Greco sent me the following: the 19.50" is 2.7mm and the 12" is 1.2mm. I am very much into rawhides and have worked with cow, bull, buffalo(bison), steer, mule (jcr), etc. and I like my skins thick! One thing I noticed was that the thickness measurements seem to be on the thin side. (I must also admit I am a bit confused when people tell me the "mm" of thickness their hides are.) For example, I get Bill Confer's Texas Bullhide and when I order, I ask for 55mm or 65mm. So needless to say, I see numbers like 2.7mm or 1.2mm and I think they are going to be paper thin in comparison!! :) I KNOW that is NOT the case but perhaps someone can tell what the deal is on that! Perhaps it's a european measuring difference? Although I think it's happened to me here in the states too.
So back to El Greco's mules:
I know the right thickness for a drum depends on the skin's integrity and perhaps some are better a little thinner (like JCR's mule in my opinion) than others.
Mike: Did your mules stay thick (thicker than when you got them) after drying?
Can anyone compare the two mules : JCR vs El Greco?

Again, I am excited about the Greek mules...I will post pics once I get them. The color alone is something to look forward to.

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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:32 pm

Hey Seisporocho,
some questions, here are some answers..
seisporocho1 wrote:I have a question though: What thickness where your skins when you bought them?

The two unmounted flat skins El Greco sent were precisely 3.0 and 3.4 mm respectively.

One thing I noticed was that the thickness measurements seem to be on the thin side. (I must also admit I am a bit confused when people tell me the "mm" of thickness their hides are.) Perhaps it's a european measuring difference? Although I think it's happened to me here in the states too.

Now you are confusing me :lol:
We Europeans in our strange way adhere in many things to the metric system...
Perhaps I should write 40 mm instead of 4.0mm? But that would read like 4 centimeters to me! You say
"I get Bill Confer's Texas Bullhide and when I order, I ask for 55mm" = REALLY? That would a very thick skin indeed if that meant 5.5mm, which is way too thick for a conga skin IMO. Perhaps your fellow Americans can help there :?

Mike: Did your mules stay thick (thicker than when you got them) after drying?

Of course they stayed thick, now the two mounted conga skins are even slightly thicker,the thickest one on the Afro being 4.0 mm, and the other one is about 3.5 mm thick, which is precisely the thickness of the side plates. I do know that this is is the maximum they can take, but they can ("Yes, we can" :wink: ).

Can anyone compare the two mules : JCR vs El Greco?

Difficult to say, the texture is different. But a good comparison would have to include a similar type of conga,
I have got a JCR mule skin on my Gio quinto, and it is perfect there.
The Matador and the Afro Elite conga serve different purposes - thus the thicker skins.

One thing that is different though as far as maintenance / skin treatment is concerned:
As far as I can remember, Isaac told me not to apply oil to the skin as it would be not necessary (at all, depending what the conditions are like), whereas El Greco speaks of a special cure that my skins should undergo in a few weeks´ time. If I got him right, he will post something about that oil treatment on this forum.
At least it seems as if you can make El Greco´s skin somewhat smoother that way.
But then Isaac can pick so many different mule skins for you too, they are all different too.

One thing is certain:
After three days of drying, I can slowly but steadily enjoy playing my freshly mounted two congas!
Mami me gusto! 8)

Hope this helps a bit to clarify your questions.

Mike
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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby seisporocho1 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:51 pm

Mike,

Thanks for the replies.

1) I think you might be right on the measurements. It should be 5.5mm NOT 55mm. When you said ..."and the other one is about 3.5 mm thick, which is precisely the thickness of the side plates", I looked at the sideplates of my LP Matador and I think you're right because I get skins that are thicker than that!

2) On the comparison between the two mules, I would like to hear more about their difference in sound and feel! I once put a JCR mule skin on a Matador quinto and it was so stiff and hard on the hands, I ended up not playing it and switched the hide for a Texas Bullhide (it sings like crazy now). I still have another JCR mule in the closet that I might try some day on another drum or customer.

Thanks for taking the time to reply! This whole world of skins is my favorite topic for sure!!

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Re: Mounted mediterranean mule = magnificent!

Postby Mike » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:50 am

seisporocho1 wrote:On the comparison between the two mules, I would like to hear more about their difference in sound and feel! I once put a JCR mule skin on a Matador quinto and it was so stiff and hard on the hands, I ended up not playing it and switched the hide for a Texas Bullhide (it sings like crazy now).


Yes, mule can be hard on the hands, especially if not broken in or tuned up very high.
I do find the JCR muleskin I have on my LP Gio quinto for 1 year now is a perfect match though:
JCR Mule Skin.JPG

So if you are after a rather dry quinto sound, mule might be your choice.

One more pic of the freshly mounted El Greco mule on the Afro conga:
Freshly mounted top.JPG

The skin has also regained some of its previously darker color.
Compare four days later:
Afro after 4 days.JPG
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