Menu

Login

New to Audio Assemble?

Register

Already have an account?

7 Best African Drums – Review and Buying Guide

African drums are easily one of the coolest instruments out there. If you are looking for a new set of the best African drums on the market, check out this guide.

We’ll be sharing a selection of our favorite African drums, and reviewing their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll outline which drums are more suitable for different levels of playing skill. 

I’ve always loved African drums and percussion. You can always layer in some of these to any type of music to improve the rhythm and groove! This list covers some of the best djembe brands and looks at a few other types of African drums.

Check out these related posts!

Table of Contents

7 Best African Drums Tried and Tested

1. Meinl African Talking Drum

Meinl African Talking Drum

Meet your new best friend. Drumming makes you happy and drumming with Meinl is even better. These talking drums are hand-carved from the best quality mahogany, giving you some of the best sounding drums around. It’s time to get lost in the rhythm and find yourself through music.

The African Talking Drum has a long history of use in various cultures, where it was typically an instrument for communicating messages and stories. These hand-selected goat skin heads provide the perfect tone and clarity for telling your story. Perfect for both beginners and professionals, these drums are hand-tuned to offer the perfect sound to tell your story.

The Meinl Talking African Drum is made of African mahogany and serves as a precious gift for any percussionist. It has a natural sound which can be easily improved with the wooden striker. This drum is for everyone who loves the sound of African drums and wants to become a master drummer with it.

Handmade in Africa by skilled craftsmen, no assembly is required and it is ready to play out of the box. The drums come with a tuning wrench and playing instructions so that you can play your way around the world with a touch of a finger.

Key Specs

  • Drum Material – Mahogany
  • Skin Material – Goat Skin
  • Size – 9.06 x 9.06 x 13.39”
  • Comes with wooden beater

Pros and Cons

  • Classic Talking Drum
  • Hand Made
  • Selected by Meinl Professionals
  • Hard to tune

Summary

If you love percussion and want some memories of the African continent to stay with you forever, this is the instrument for you. These are drums used in Africa today and have been for centuries. They are not just an ornament to hang on your wall but have a deep, rich sound that is perfect for supporting any music.

– – –

2. Hand-carved African Djembe Drum -  Made in Ghana

Hand-carved African Djembe Drum

The African Heartwood Project is a non-profit organization that employs African experienced artisans to create unique hand-carved drums from the rich and diverse heritage of their villages. This beautiful, natural drum has an elegant, classical shape and is perfect for playing traditional African music and more. 

We are happy to say that these artisan drums are hand-carved by skilled craftsmen in Africa and individually inspected by the manufacturer’s team. They tune each drum and play it to check the sound before it is offered to customers. These drums produce a deep and strong sound, owing to their carefully selected wood. This type of instrument has been used for centuries in African cultures as part of ceremonies, celebrations, and storytelling.

Get in touch with your African roots with this hand-carved, high-quality African drum! These drums are made from a single piece of wood and are carefully handcrafted to produce the beautiful, rich sound that is the signature of these drums. They also offer custom engravings for your drum.

Made by master drum makers and ready to use right out of the box, this instrument has a sound that is as unique as you are. This uses a classic djembe style and is a relatively high-quality musical instrument. It features the typical rope tuning system you find on wood djembes. Not only is this an affordable djembe, it’s a stunning instrument, and has a bright sound that cuts through in drum circles. 

Key Specs

  • Skin Material – Goat Skin
  • Size – 8×18”

Pros and Cons

  • Hand Made
  • Great sounding djembe
  • Sturdy
  • Deep sound
  • Heavy

Summary

African drums are a beautiful and powerful instrument of cultural heritage. If you enjoy playing djembe, this is a great choice at an affordable price. This feels like it has good quality construction, and uses a traditional design that all players will find comfortable. 

They are made by an ethical company who provides drum makers with the valuable skills and resources they need to market their products, while also helping them create sustainable livelihoods. Your purchase will make a huge difference in the life of an artisan and their family.

– – –

3. Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa

Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa

The Djembe is a drum that has been used for centuries to create a sense of community. It’s the heartbeat of Africa – the rhythm that fuels people from all around the world. 

We are proud to introduce an instrument that will give you an insight into what it feels like to be in West Africa. Each drum is individually hand-carved, brought over from Nigeria, inspected, tuned, and played for quality.

From the moment you pick it up, you’ll fall in love with the deep, rich sound of this hand-carved drum from West Africa. The drum’s oversize design is a refreshing change from other styles of djembes and is great for people of all levels of experience. It is made from local wood such as mahogany and has a good weight to it. It is 14″x25″ with rings carved for an attractive texture.

The Hand-carved Djembe Drum is made from hand-selected, hand-carved hardwoods for rich, deep bass and warm, crisp highs. The drum’s blend of wood and skin creates a full sound with an open tone and clean high-pitched slaps. It sounds good and looks good right out of the box.

This is more than just a drum. It’s a symbol of hope, a wish for peace, and a reminder that love is the most important thing.

Key Specs

  • Drum Material – Mahogany
  • Skin Material – goatskin head
  • Size – 14” x 25”

Pros and Cons

  • A beautiful instrument
  • Fully tuned
  • Extra tuning rope
  • A large drum

Summary

These hand-carved, West African djembe drums are perfectly tuned and deliver an excellent sound quality. They use an extensive selection of wood to make sure the drum sounds great, with skin from West African goats. The size of this drum is small to medium, perfect for practicing anywhere.

This is a great djembe that provides a pleasant musical experience and a rich bass tone. It uses a solid hardwood body which helps with resonance, and it offers a sound that works for all kinds of drumming styles. 

– – –

4. Djembe African Drum Bongo Congo Standard Size Goatskin Drumhead

Djembe African Drum Bongo Congo Stardard Size Goatskin Drumhead

For those who want to get back to nature and find peace in the world. This Djembe is a great instrument for meditation and its design was inspired by an African Drum. It is an old-fashioned instrument made of natural materials that will make you feel a lot closer to nature.

This is another rope-tuned djembe-style drum, this time using an ABS plastic body and a goat head. This synthetic drum is made by one of the lesser-known djembe drum brands, but still offers a great sound and feel at a reasonable price. The thinner skins of these great djembes offer easy playability, and the body is extremely light compared to other instruments on this list. 

Key Specs

  • Drum Material – ABS Resin 
  • Skin Material – Goatskin
  • Size – 8”, 9”, or 10”

Pros and Cons

  • Light resin body
  • Unique decoration
  • Traditional djembe design in a modern format

Summary

This djembe looks good, sounds good, and is easy to use. We’re sure you’ll love it! If you are looking for an affordable modern African drum, this might be the best djembe for you. The synthetic skin makes it last longer than rawhide, and improves the consistency of its bass tones. 

– – –

5. JIVE Djembe Drum African Bongo Congo Lucky Turtle Hand Drum

JIVE Djembe Drum African Bongo Congo Lucky Turtle Hand Drum

Made from the finest mahogany and hand-carved by skilled craftsmen, this drum makes a perfect gift for any occasion. It’s perfect for musicians or anyone with a love of percussion instruments and African music. 

The JIVE Djembe Drum African is an all-purpose, heavy drum great for making some noise. This drum is perfect for both beginners and professionals that want to play some African music. Produce a variety of beats with the 16″ base and 12″ top of this drum. This is rope tuned with an additional rope for carrying. These drums are made by local artisans in the Ivory Coast and are carved from a solid piece of mahogany.

The JIVE quality Djembe Drum has been designed for use in the home or classroom. It is made of one-piece solid wood construction and is a good place to start for beginner drummers. This drum is designed with a flat bottom and a deep, rich sound but not as high pitched as the smaller drums.

Key Specs

  • Drum Material – Mahogany
  • Skin Material – Goat Skin
  • Size -7.5”

Pros and Cons

  • Made from a single piece of wood
  • Unique carving design

Summary

Do you want to get that natural sound with a premium quality djembe drum? Get the JIVE Drum African Djembe! It features a genuine goatskin drum head for a natural authentic look and sound. With our premium high-grade djembe, your drumming experience will be more than just that of a drummer. It will be one of the most memorable moments of your life.

– – –

6. Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa - Drum Circle Village

Hand-carved Djembe Drum From Africa

Visually appealing, high quality, and well-priced, these hand-carved drums from the African Heartwood Project are perfect for any percussion enthusiast. Incredible sound quality and craftsmanship make them a great investment for anyone who wants to play percussion instruments. 

Your first instrument is your most important, and these are here to make musical dreams come true. From beginners to professionals, these offer unbeatable value and are essential for all kinds of drum circles. 

These are some of the best Djembe drum designs we’ve seen, they are durable and have the crispest sound from their solid wood shells and natural goatskin heads. They are made with love and care by master artisans who take pride in their work. They remind me of some of the classic Remo mondo djembe, but with a more affordable price tag. 

You will be blown away by the sound quality, as you are with any drum that is hand-carved with traditional African designs. This Djembe drum is made out of high-quality materials and has a beautiful, unique sound.

Key Specs

  • Drum Material – Mahogany
  • Skin Material – Goat
  • Size – 13” x 24”

Pros and Cons

  • Classic rope tuned design – no need for a drum key
  • Creates a clean bass tone
  • High-quality body carving

Summary

This could be one of the best djembe drum types we’ve seen. These drums are hand-made by village artisans and crafted by expert drum makers in Africa. They are produced by the Africa Heartwood Project. These djembe drums are a great choice for any level of drumming skill. 

– – –

African Drum Buying Guide: 

Best African Drums

When choosing African percussion instruments, there are a few things you should consider to make sure you get the best kind for your needs. 

Finding the right African drum for you depends on your skill level. Djembes come in a range of designs and are made from many types of materials, in many sizes. To pick the best African drums for your needs, consider the following points. 

Drum Material

The type of material used to make the body of the drum changes a few different factors of the instrument. It has a large effect on the tone but also changes the weight, tuning, and durability. If you are looking for a traditional djembe sound, you may want to choose a drum with a wooden body.

Skin Material 

The type of material used in the drum head has a large effect on the sound produced. Natural hide heads are more common in a traditional design, however, a synthetic head offers increased durability and a tighter bass tone. Not all stock heads are good quality, so sometimes you may want to buy an additional djembe head upgrade. 

Drum Sizes

You can find African drums in a range of sizes. Larger sizes are generally better at producing bass tones and have a lower pitch and louder volume. Smaller drums perform better at high pitches and are also better to transport. Although smaller drums tend to have a slightly quieter sound. 

Tuning

Most African drums use ropes for tuning, however, occasionally they use a standard drum key. You need to adjust the weave tuning ropes to change the pitch of a drum. If you want it to create lower bass tones you will need to loosen the strings and tighten them for higher notes. 

Tuning these instruments can be difficult, particularly if they use rope systems. You will need to experiment with the tension of the strings to find the right pitch for you. Bongos and djembes use different tuning systems, and you will find a range of other tuning types too. 

FAQs

What are 4 types of African drums?

The drums are an integral part of the African culture. They have been used for centuries to accompany many different types of music, and they also have a variety of purposes. There is a huge range of drums that originate from Africa, and even unique types made by experienced artisans. 

Four types of African drums are

1. Talking drum – aka Dundun, these drums are used in West Africa to communicate messages over long distances. The player alters the tension of the heads as they strike them, to alter the pitch of the tone. This can be used to create a talking effect. These usually have an hourglass body shape.

2. Kpanlogo – These drums are found in Ghana and other parts of West Africa. They can be made from a variety of materials, such as animal skins or metal. These are large barrel drums and are associated with a particular dance. They use large pegs for tuning and have a deep, bouncy sound.

3. Tonga – This is a different style of drum originating from Zimbabwe. These have a thinner lower section, with a larger top half of the body. These are traditional drums and are often highly decorated.

4. Djembe – This is the most common type of drum in Africa and it is found all over the continent. These also use an hourglass-shaped body and use a set of ropes for tuning. They are typically carved from a single piece of wood which helps their projection and increases the sustain of the notes. 

What is the most popular African wooden drum?

The most popular African wooden drum is the djembe. It is made from a hollowed-out tree trunk and has a natural, raw look that many people find appealing.

The djembe is often used in ceremonies and celebrations, but it can also be played solo or as a part of an ensemble.

The drum is often decorated with beads, bells, and other items to give it more of an African feel.

Wrapping Up

Have a look through these African drums and find one that suits your style. All of these instruments have a great sound and playing quality, and are expressive enough to work in professional situations. These are a great choice for people looking to start drumming or even those who have been playing for years and are just looking for a new voice in their drum bank. 

For more drum related content, have a read of these posts: