Kpanlogos - Advice? Information?

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Postby Bachikaze » Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:15 pm

I've read mention of kpanlogos a couple of times in these forums, but haven't seen a thread devoted to them.

I'm considering buying a kpanlogo, and probably two. I'll take a trip in the next two weeks to two distant music stores to check out what they've got. I'm pretty well versed in many world drums, from Asia to South America, but have little experience with kpanlogos.

Do any of you have much experience with them? Do you have any advice? I'm looking for something somewhat conga-like: warm, woody, but with some quinto-like brightness when tuned up. I've considered various ashikos, bougarabous, etc., but I want to be able to play more than one (i.e. play them on the ground). From what I've seen and heard, kpanlogos seem to fit my needs.

They are available with antelope, cow, and goat hide heads. Any preference? I'm considering cow. I know little about antelope, other than a few descriptions.

Thanks for any advice or info you can give.




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Postby windhorse » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:15 pm

I have two Twinchin.. Both with antelope skin, and peg tuning with the twisted string rope tightened method.

They're about 23 and 25 inches in height.
I learned to play drums initially on these drums as that was what my teachers were using for Haitian rhythms.

They were much easier on the hands than congas would have been to a newbie who didn't know the difference in djembe technique and any other hand drumming. They're also easier on the ears.
You can get good tones and especially slaps, but the basses are mostly lost on these drums. Technique is very close to congas, but you don't use as much hand on the tones, and slaps are more cupped on the African drum. The slap is a like a whip cracking, and the tone is a short sustain and very mellow.
I paid only about $150 for each drum, which I'm sure is a steal considering the amount of work that must go into hand hollowing a log and hewing out the pegs, etc.
You'll find they should be much cheaper than congas.

They were great fun and I loved playing those drums. We still get them out mostly just for rhythms with sticks like Arara, most Haitiano, and stick bembes..
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Postby Sakuntu » Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:15 am

I have 1 kpanlogo drum and 2 obrentens (a kpanlogo drums Grandfather). All drums are peg tuning. They are in my my opinion the Ghanaian "conga". I have heard some that sound like youre hitting a carcass, and others that sound so incredibly wonderful you just couldn't stop playing. Rich Basses, full opens and as wind horse put it-"whip cracking" slaps. :laugh: Antelope is the best skin in my opinion. Goat will sound to ringy...Cow too much like a conga. (i've tried them all)There was an old company based out of Rochester NY that has since gone out of business called Afena Akoma. They sold some great kpanlogo's. If you can find one of theirs you'd be in good shape. A 23-5 inch high kpnalogo with a 9-12 inch head is what you should be looking for. Check out some these recordings by Mustapha Tetteh Addy: les Percussions du Ghana and Master Drummer of Ghana if you wanna hear some smoking kpanlogo playing!
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Postby Bachikaze » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:30 am

Thank you. Both of the above responses are very helpful. I normally avoid goat myself. I don't like ringy drums (like djembes and doumbeks). Both of you seem to like antelope, so I'll keep that in mind. Since I plan to buy in person, I'll be able to hear them.

I've never had a peg tuned drum. I've been hearing that you can de-tune them. I didn't realize before that that was possible, because I thought they were tuned by hammering in the pegs. How are they de-tuned?

I have found them pretty cheap online, but I am wary of tourist drums and decorative drums.

By the way, thanks for the CD suggestions.
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Postby Sakuntu » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:57 pm

yes you can detune them but its a lot of work. I usually take a rubber mallet and gentley tap up on the underside of the rim. If you really want it detuned then you would need to take the rubber mallet and tap on the undersides of the pegs while pulling on them. This is not always easy...depending on how hard they are stuck in there. I don't really recommend detuning kpanolgos on a regular basis.

On a side note...Once you select your drums and bring them home, you may find that if the pegs will slip out of the holes if they're in too dry of an environment. this will make tuning hard and give you a really crappy sounding drum. In that case get some "lock tite"-found in the paint dept of your local hardware store and put some around the pegs where they meet the drum body. this will swell the pegs giving more friction so they'll hold the tuning better. Good luck! You better post some pix on the forum once you get your drums! :;):
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Postby Sakuntu » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:04 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klYQJ_jNoDs

Heres a link of a guy playing a kpanlogo drum. The rhythm he's playing is called Oge or Woka Gibo. You can see him tune it by hitting the rims as he's playing it. (around 2:10-2:13) This is always the first step to tuning a kpanlogo drum before hammering in the pegs.
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Postby Bachikaze » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:53 am

Sakuntu,

Thanks for the great replies!

I will indeed post photos once they're in my grubby hands. I'll recommend the shop if I'm satisfied.

I appreciate your advice on the tuning. I have some Loctite®. I build drums, so I don't mind a little tweaking if necessary. I wouldn't have thought of Loctite®.

I have downloaded all the YouTube videos I could find for kpanlogos. One of them was the one you linked to, but I had not noticed that tuning maneuver he did. A sign of kpanlogo inexperience on my part!

Back a couple of years, I found a website that gave lessons in reheading and tuning peg drums, specifically kpanlogos, but I haven't been able to find it again.




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Postby Bachikaze » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:25 am

I received the kpanlogos, but I seem to have already made a mistake. I had to put the pegs in myself and it seems I didn't twist the ropes enough. From the photos I've been seeing, other owners have their ropes twisted to a point where they spread only up near the head and the loop that is anchored on the peg is much longer.

In order to get my drums as tight, I'll have to pound the pegs in farther, leaving less leeway for the head to stretch out in the future.

Image

Image

I've given a small try to pound the pegs out from the inside, but it only tends to smash the points.




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Postby windhorse » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:00 am

It'll do your hands good to pound the pegs in further anyway. Those pegs are so far up right now that if you get your hands anywhere close to them, well,,, it'll be ugly..

And BEAUTIFUL drums BTW!




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Postby Bachikaze » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:28 am

Thanks for the quick response. Yes, I noticed the pegs were high. They're still tuned low. I thought if I wanted to back these suckers out, I'd better not drive them in any farther than they already are.

Can they be driven as far as needed, or is there a limit on how far they can go in? Do they ever split shells? This wood is mansonia.




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Postby Bachikaze » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:18 am

Well, I finally tightened up the drums, and I was very impressed at our drum practice. I was surprised how loud they were. They could drown out the other drums.

One of the other drummers loved them so much, he and I sent in another order, one for him and a third, slightly smaller than the ones above, for me.

Thanks for the advice; it really helped.
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Postby Sakuntu » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:41 pm

Good Stuff! Kpanlogo mache!
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Postby Bachikaze » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:35 am

Guess what, the parents had a child!

Image

It might be hard to tell, but the drum in the foreground is a little smaller than the others. I plan to play three of these. The fourth will go to another band member.

Here are the proud parents the day before the "delivery".

Image

Now, which do I sell . . . ?
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