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Blog

My baya has a dent. Is this a serious problem?

Q: My baya has a dent. Is this a serious problem?A: No. Bayas are sometimes dented in shipping or day to day jostling. This has no effect on the sound. When you rehead the baya, you can gently bang out the dents.

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What about tablas that use metals hooks to hold the heads on, eliminating the strap altogether?

Q: What about tablas that use metals hooks to hold the heads on, eliminating the strap altogether?A: We have never seen a serious tabla player use such a drum. The hooks get in the way of your strokes.

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Are there alternatives to the traditional cow or goat strap?

Q: Are there alternatives to the traditional cow or goat strap?A: Some people these days are using nylon strap. In our experience, it takes a lot longer to tighten this strap. But once the tension is right for the head, they hold the pitch longer than regular strap.

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The straps on my tabla or baya broke. What should I do?

Q: The straps on my tabla or baya broke. What should I do?A: It is possible to splice broken strap. We try to get a video up soon of this process.

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What do I do when my heads wear out?

Q: What do I do when my heads wear out?A: You have to replace the heads. In India you can take your shell to the local tabla-wallah and have a new head made right on your shell. Outside of India you will have to put a replacement head that has been made on another shell onto your [...]

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There is a buzz in my tabla. What causes this, and is it bad? What can I do about it?

Q: There is a buzz in my tabla. What causes this, and is it bad? What can I do about it?A: It is a matter of taste, but some people want a small amount of buzz in their tabla. This is called jawari - similar to the jawari buzz of a sitar or tanpura. A loud buzz [...]

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There is a small crack in my tabla. Does that matter?

Q: There is a small crack in my tabla. Does that matter?A: Small hairline cracks are common in tablas. Especially if they are in the foot of the drum, they shouldn't be a cause for concern.. Remember that tablas are carved out only about 2/3 of the way down, so a hairline crack in the feet won't [...]

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What materials are the tabla and baya made of?

Q: What materials are the tabla and baya made of?A: Tablas are made from wood (although we have on occasion seen some clay and even cast glass tablas). Most tablas are made of shishum wood. Shishum is a member of the rosewood family, and usually considered "light rosewood". Some tablas are made of dark rosewood. This is [...]

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How long should the heads last on my tablas?

Q: How long should the heads last on my tablas?A: The bottom line is your head is going to wear out and need to be replaced after some time. There are so many factors involved it is hard to say how long that period of time will be. It can be months or years. Climate, changes in [...]

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How much of the sound of a drum is determined by the shell, and how much by the head?

Q: How much of the sound of a drum is determined by the shell, and how much by the head?A: A really bad head is not going to sound much different no matter how nice the shell. On the other hand, a nice shell will enhance the sound of a well made head.

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