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Tabla Head Sizing

 In general, once a tabla (or baya) head has ripped or the gob (shayi) is chipped and buzzing badly, it is not possible for us to repair the head on the drum. The head will need to be replaced with a new one. Many people call us and order a certain size head, and then complain that that head is the wrong size and doesn't fit. We will explain herein how to get the best measurement for your replacement head.

The best way is trace the outline of your shell and send us that template. We will use the cutout to find the best fitting head.

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1) Remove the tabla strap and the previous head.
2) Put the shell upside down on a piece of paper, and trace it.
3) Mail us the tracing..
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We will use the cutout to find the right size head.

If you want to give us a measurement, then make sure you are giving us a measurement from outer rim to outer rim of the shell.

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Keep in mind that some tabla shells are out of round, in which case you must give us the largest measurement and know it may tricky to balance.

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Important information about replacement tabla heads:

Tabla heads are hand built on a shell at tension. A new tabla has had that head made on that shell. When that head wears out the replacement head will have been made on another shell. Obviously it's not quite the same thing. Since there is no standardized tabla shell size, you won't always get a perfect fit.

Tabla heads shipped to us from India regularly shrink, sometimes as much as 1/8th of an inch or more. Therefore sizes written on the heads are most likely larger then they actually measure. So if someone asks us for a 5 ½” head, we start by looking in our 5 5/8” box.Please don’t return heads because the size written on the head is not the size you ordered. Please measure it first.

We measure the replacement head's diameter from inside edge to inside edge of the inside of the head. We do not measure from the top of the head and the braid is never included in measurement. There is a certain grey area in this measurement because the head is made of 2 layers of skin and there is crease where the 2 layers overlap. This is why the template method is best.

If we do not have the perfect size head we will overestimate by not more then 1/8th of an inch. A too small head is useless, but a slighty too large head is eminently useable. Just be careful when putting it on to keep it equally balanced as you tighten it. Go slowly around the drum when adding tension so as not pull it off to one side. 

If the head is a hair too large, just lacing the straps through will likely pull it flush against the shell. If a head tightly fits on the shell before the straps are laced it will be difficult to thread the straps through the 16 openings in the head. Additionally if the head does not have any wiggle room, the braid will not pull down sufficiently over the edge of the shell and may sit too high to play comfortably. Basically, it is not a problem if the head sits a little loosely on the shell; this is normal and does not necessarily mean it is “too big” to be a good replacement head.

It is the responsibility of the customer to furnish the AACM Store with accurate information regarding your replacement head. If the head does not fit up to your standards we are happy to replace it but the customer must pay shipping both ways.

The AACM Store sources our tabla heads from reputable makers that we have been dealing with for many years.We do our best to select the best quality tabla heads we have available in stock for the customer.  We look forward to providing you with the finest quality tablas and tabla accessories available.

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