Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

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Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KevBo » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:19 am

I just finished up this "Conga" Shell. I'll be roping it up more like a djembe in the next few days, but with a thick steer hide. The customer wanted the sound of a conga without the weight so he could play it on stage, strapped on like a djembe or ashiko. I built this the same way I'd build an ashiko, but I added a slight belly to it for a bit more conga sound. Wood is Walnut with Yellow Heart accents. The big groove on the bottom is for the bottom ring to sit in. This keeps it level and makes sure it doesn't slide up the shell overtime gouging the wood. It's 11.5" head, 12.5 at the belly, and I think 7 at the bottom. 28" tall.

CongaAshikoHybridShell.jpg
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby Madlatin » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:51 pm

Beautiful work! Even the yellow heart inlay is very clean........ impressed. Were the staves steam bent or cut to shape?

ML
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby RitmoBoricua » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:01 pm

Beautiful work on that drum, that walnut is something else.
You do great work on them djembes. http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com/
Have you ever made a full blown conga with hardware? A full blown conga
made out of walnut would be something real special. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby Marcus » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:17 pm

Hey KevBo

Being a real novice, I put a 2.2mm plus full mule skin on a bougarabu and had some difficulty getting a good stretch out of it. Was not thin rope at all--thick and strong. Consequently it just would not tune up. It also dried with a slight bow, another lesson. I know steer is a bit less than mule in toughness but a thick steer you might have some problems.

Now I just put a 1.8mm and thinner split mule on my Quinto and it sounds great and appears to be stretchier than that full mule I placed on the boug. Different applications, conga hardware is surely a lot stronger and the split skin and thinness maybe made a difference----all combined

Sounds like you have the experience, just wanted to share my heart break.

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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KevBo » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:23 pm

Thanks for the comments and feedback.

These staves are cut and beveled, not steam bent. I actually do them in sections, so the yellow heart rings go all the way through. This way I use straight face grain and everything stays very stable. So this drum was a total of 2 little drums and 3 accent rings (yellow - walnut - yellow)

RitmoBoricua wrote:Beautiful work on that drum, that walnut is something else.
You do great work on them djembes. http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com/
Have you ever made a full blown conga with hardware? A full blown conga
made out of walnut would be something real special. Thanks for sharing.


Thank you so much. One is in the works. This was a mini version, sort of a tester. I'm hoping to team up with Manito Percussion for some top quality stainless hardware. I'd like to do at least one full set with my design and see how it goes. Just have to get caught up on paid drums before I can play with projects :) But I did have a lot of fun with this build, and have the steer mounted now. I would have liked the rings just a tad lower, but I'm very happy with it. I'll get some final photos and hopefully a sound clip / video up here as soon as the hide drys out and I do a final tune up.

Thanks for the input Marcus. I don't know a lot about congas, but I'm learning. I've worked a lot with different hides on djembe / ashiko / dunun drums, and I have a shop built mechanical puller that gives way more leverage than needed to pull this down if I run into issues. The rings on this conga were just a tad too tight so the they didn't come down as far as I wanted, but are about as far down as they would have been for an ashiko, and playing the drum, I dont hit my hands... so it's all good. But yes, this skin is thick, I'd say at least 1/8" .. about 3mm I guess.

Stay tuned... :)
Building custom hand drums at http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby RitmoBoricua » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:36 am

Thanks for the response, keep up the good work, and
hopefully one day we will see a conga or bongo set
made by you. Take Care!
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby rack56 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:30 pm

KevBo,
You are a true Craftsman Extraordinaire!! :) Keep up the good work.

rack56
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby Sakuntu » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:19 am

can't wait to see this roped up. Kevbo, do you use biscuits when glueing up the different peices?
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KevBo » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:19 am

Got it tuned up and photographed tonight. I got a nice video recorded playing this drum along side some LP Matadors... I'll post that as soon as I'm done! I'm really happy with the sound. Not thrilled about the color of rope, but, it's what the customer wanted, and I think its' ok :)

CongaAshikoHybridFinal.jpg
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby CongaTick » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:15 pm

Your craftsmanship is superb, however I don't buy the shape, look and idea of the concept. A first-rate attempt at conga/djembe mishmash, but no.....
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby Marcus » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:53 pm

I think this looks more like a bougarabu/conga rather than Djembe. The bottom ring sit in that groove so that the tuning does not cause digging into the shell. Drumskulls has roped tuned congas made from Djembe wood.

KevBo. I do like the rope color as it does not distract from the walnut. A bright color would have been too much I think. Must sound great with that thicker steer, must sound like a conga.

great work and looks, it is a real skill to produce a staved drum and then rope tune it so that it looks great.

....marcus
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KING CONGA » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:55 pm

Wow, awesome work KevBo.
How difficult is it to tune those drums?
Thanks.
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KevBo » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:06 am

CongaTick wrote:Your craftsmanship is superb, however I don't buy the shape, look and idea of the concept. A first-rate attempt at conga/djembe mishmash, but no.....


Thanks for your comment/opinion... This drum was for a performer in Japan that likes the sound of the conga but the playability of an ashiko.. holding it with a strap as he walks around the stage. It was designed specifically for that purpose with a smaller belly so it has the conga sound, but still playable with a strap and not too bulky. Weights about 15lbs, much lighter than my Matadors. Wasn't at all attempting to mash a djembe with a conga. You didn't buy the shape, my customer did and he will be ecstatic when he gets it. It's exactly what it was meant to be.

Marcus wrote:I think this looks more like a bougarabu/conga rather than Djembe. The bottom ring sit in that groove so that the tuning does not cause digging into the shell. Drumskulls has roped tuned congas made from Djembe wood.

KevBo. I do like the rope color as it does not distract from the walnut. A bright color would have been too much I think. Must sound great with that thicker steer, must sound like a conga.

great work and looks, it is a real skill to produce a staved drum and then rope tune it so that it looks great.

....marcus


Thanks Marcus. I've seen Drumskulls African made congas. Those are sweet (not heard them, just seen photos) If I do attempt congas in the future, which I plan to after this one came out so well, that I'll probably be doing some stainless hardware and going away from the rope tuning unless its asked for.

KING CONGA wrote:Wow, awesome work KevBo.
How difficult is it to tune those drums?
Thanks.

:)
Not really hard at all. It's more difficult and time consuming that using a key to tune up / down hardware, but it's just a matter of learning a specific knot that weaves in the rope. 10 knots should be enough to tune / detune. I imagine most will just keep it where it's at like with a djembe. I only tune up my djembe every 6 months or so if it needs it. I keep tension on the skin all the time. Of course djembe skins usually only last a year or two for guys that play them hard... so I think detuning a conga is more important... which is why I'd move to hardware if I decide to build some full size.
Building custom hand drums at http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby KevBo » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:03 am

Building custom hand drums at http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com
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Re: Hand Made Conga - Rope Tuning

Postby stride88 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:53 pm

Hey KevBo,

I'm a woodworker myself - just curious as to how you attached the two "little drums" and the accent rings together?

I think this is awesome, btw.
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