This drum is fixed.

   Well I tried to work quickly and get the Valje conga fixed and repaired for the rumba today, but it turns out today's rumba is cancelled. Oh well.

   I had several pictures taken of this conga during the repair process, but somehow my pictures folder got dumped into the trashed and deleted, so I'm scrambling to find some sort of deleted file recovery program. I want to recover about 1,000 photos of mine, so if any of you out there in the blogosphere could hellp me out it would be appreciated.

   Anyways, onto the repair. Conga repair really isn't all that difficult:
  1. You probably want to remove all the hardware from your drum. So take it off and mark where each lug plate goes, so it will fit back into the same spot. It is also a good idea to mark the crown and skin, so that can be placed in the same spot as before as well.
  2. Now that the hardware is off you need to glue the crack. First prep the crack by lightly sanding it to remove the old glue. If the crack is not on a seam, you don't need this step. Try not to remove any wood, just remove the old glue.
  3. You may need to spread the crack open a little wider to get the glue inside all the way. I use a thin putty knife and also a syringe to shoot the glue into the crack.
  4. The glue you use is up to you. All wood glues work. I've used Titebond and Gorilla glue. They both have advantages. For this last fix I used Titebond glue.
  5. The hardest part to fixing a crack is applying enough pressure to keep it closed. The best method I know of is getting some lengths of rope and tying loops into each end. Place this length of rope around the drum and then put a drumstick into the loops. Twist the drumstick around so the rope tightens around the drum. Tighten it until the crack is closed and glue is oozing out. 3 of these rope clamps are good, one for each end of the crack and one for the middle. Smaller cracks might need just 2.
  6. The one problem with using the rope is that it wants to slide down the drum because of the drum's shape. I overcome this problem with string. Loop some string through the holes for the lugplates and tie the ends together at the length you want to place the rope. The string will hold the rope in place and keep it from sliding down the drum.
  7. The drum sticks will also want to unwind so you need to prevent that. You can tie these off with string as well in a similar matter to the rope. Or you can lean them against something like a table top.
  8. When the glue dries. The repair is done. Your going to have some glue to remove. The Gorilla glue usually comes right off with a razor blade, Titebond usually needs sanding.
  9. Refinishing depends on the drum. My drums are all natural wood. This Valje got a coat of Watco Danish Oil in Natural finish. The Watco is very easy to apply, looks great and dries fast. It is easily repaired as well.
  10. When it comes to placing everything back onto the drum, you may want to soften your skin a little to get a nice tight seal again. Just flip the skin upside down and put about 1/2 inch of water in it. After 30 minutes or so the underside will be a little soft and ready to put back on the drum.
  11. When the hardware is off is a good time to put a little lube on the threads of your lugs. I use bicycle chain lube, because I'm a cyclist. Sewing machine oil, WD40, lug lube oil from LP all work as well.
    So that is it. It really is not a difficult thing to fix your conga drum. I think it's a lot of fun. Now I'm going to be busy trying to get my deleted photos back. Wish me luck.


Oh, No! My drum broke!

       No sooner than a reader emails me about advice fixing his Gon Bops that I notice my 40 year old Valje has gotten two new cracks. Well TG, looks like it's your lucky day. Guess what readers? The next few posts are going to be on my Valje repair.

      These are some chunky cracks, so it's going to take a bit of work. I'll also be working against the clock as the rumba is coming up this Sunday, and this is one of the drums I bring there.

     Repairs are a fact of life for old wood instruments. I recently had an 80 year old Martin guitar fixed for my father. Double basses, violins, guitars and especially congas eventually need some sort of repair. I'm pretty sure this drum cracked just yesterday when the bag strap slipped in my hand and I accidentally dropped it on it's end onto the concrete about a foot and a half, and then I continued to play it for about two hours. One crack is along a seam that has already been repaired twice, and the other one is new. Well we'll see if third time is the charm.


Bongos Not Bombs!

    This is a little piece of artwork I made up a few years back. It was inspired by an anti-war drumming demonstration here in San Francisco a while ago and also by the Food not Bombs charity organization.

   It was a fun little graphic to make, I ended up making stickers of the graphic. The words Bongos not Bombs eventually became my handle for some internet forums and stuff. I got the conga hardware from the Isla Percussions drums, the hands are from the Incredible Bongo Band album cover.

¡La Rumba Es Todo Del Mundo!

     3,000 visits already!!!

         A big thank you to all my visitors. I am very grateful for all the visits. Rumba is truly an international music. I want to express my appreciation to my visitors from such far away places as beautiful Japan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Morocco, Finland, Germany, Kenya, Nigeria, Poland, Singapore, China, Bulgaria,  Hungary, Switzerland, Ecuador, Mexico, France, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, Denmark, Brazil, France, Australia, the Phillipines, Malaysia, Greece, Cypress,  India,  Turkey, Hong Kong, Trinidad and Tobago, Italy, and of course my many visitors from the USA, and the rest of the rumberos visiting my site from all over the world.

   Being able to reach out to so many people worldwide makes it all worthwhile. Muchas Gracias.


Samba Quinto!

    Well not really, I'm just making a little joke about my current rumba quinto practice material. When I first started learning to play the congas my first teacher gave us 3 sheets of rhythm transcriptions which were patterns for the Brazilian Timbau drum for Samba Bahia and Samba Ijexa. It was practice material; homework for working our timing, sticking, slaps and open tones. Lately I've been using these patterns for rumba quinto practice.

      I will be the first to say, that even though I love samba, and maracatu and batucada, I'm not as well educated on the Brazilian percussion styles as I am on the Cuban. I can't really explain what the role of the timbau is or what the differences are between Samba Bahia and Samba Ijexa. My first guess is that Samba Ijexa is related somehow to the Cuban Iyesa and the Samba Bahia comes from the state of Bahia in Brazil. But these are just guesses.

   The Brazilian percussion importer Espirito Drums has this to say about the timbau drum.
Timbal (Timbau)
A drum reportedly designed by Carlinhos Brown when he formed Timbalada, the band that bears the drum's name, the timbal is a similar concept to the West African djembe. However, the timbal is much lighter in weight and has a plastic head that keeps consistent tension in even the dampest weather. These drums are incredibly loud and can be heard even in a full bateria.

     Anyways, you guys want to know about rumba quinto. So here are a few of the Samba timbau patterns I practice for rumba quinto. They make pretty good quinto licks. One thing I like about them is they usually have different sides like clave does, or they travel from one side of clave into the other. They also have that samba flavor, I like that.

   Attached are a few examples of the timbau patterns I use for quinto practice. I mix it up. I repeat one pattern several times or one pattern followed by another; creating improvised phrases from the memorized patterns. I've got three pages of these, but I'm only posting a few here. I've got to save some for myself, you know!


Behind the Beat

    A little graphic I came up with to illustrate some points about timing. I thought my readers might enjoy it, and I wanted to get a post up to keep the blog updated. It's actually a pretty informative little graphic if you meditate on it a little.

    Rumba and music related posts soon to follow, once I get some distractions out of the way.