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Darbuka and Doumbek Head Replacement

How do I replace the head on a copper, aluminum or mother of pearl doumbek?


Instructions for Replacing the Drum Head on Darbukas and Doumbeks with Removable Collars

1.  To insure the original and best alignment when the head change is complete, first place one piece of tape on the collar and a corresponding piece of tape on the body.  (This step is strongly  recommended by the manufacturer.)   You can also keep your screws (lugs) in order, so each screw goes back in it's original location.

2. Remove the screws (use the Allen wrench that came with the drum to loosen and remove the screws.)

darbuka wrench

Tip: Put a little oil on the threads of every screw (or put the oil in the holes where the screws go).

3. Lift up collar (rim) and old head from the shell.

4. Place the new head on the shell.

5. Pace the collar over the head.  Line up the pieces of tape on collar and shell (see Step 1).  (If you skipped Step 1., then line the collar up with the shell until you find the best fit and alignment.)

6. Insert the screws and tighten a little at a time; do NOT over tighten.  (The gap between collar and top of drum shell will decrease as you tighten the head.  But the head is usually tight enough before the collar touches the top of drum shell.  There generally should be a tiny space between the top of drum shell and the collar.)

7. Tune in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.  While tuning, as soon as you tighten each screw (lug) strike the drum and listen.  Continue with each lug until you're satisfied with the sound and response of your drum and new head!     

Tip: If head doesn't appear to be going on evenly, then remove collar and adjust head.  Take your time to align the head as evenly as possible so the head and drum will sound and respond their best for you.


Mother of Pearl Darbuka Drums

Copper Darbuka Drums


FAQs on Drums & Percussion