Bongo Mania!






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     When the hide is ready, set all the hardware parts within easy reach. Put the base ring where it goes on the base of the drum shell, and support it with a board or something similar.

     Place the hide, shiny side up, centered over the drum shell. Place the flesh hoop centered over the hide, and place the crown over the hoop.
     (You may want to put some paper towels over the other drum head to keep it from getting wet.)

     Hold the rim in one hand, and use the same hand to also hold the hoop and the hide in place. Use your other hand to fold the hide up over the hoop.

     Try to catch the folded-up sections in the rim, by holding the rim up over the hoop and tucking the hide up into the circle of the rim. After you have a few folds caught, you can rest the rim down onto the hide and the hoop. Press down on the rim lightly with your fingertips to hold it in place while you tuck the hide up into it with your other hand. Be patient, this is the tricky part. Keep tucking all of the outside part of the hide up between the hoop and the rim.

     When you've got it all tucked in, press down on the rim to hold your work together.

     ••This is the best time to make sure that the rim and the tuning ring are lined up so the lugs will be straight vertical and will be positioned "squarely" on the bongos.

     Once you've got those straightened out, you need to finesse the tucking of the hide. Press down on the rim with one hand, and pull up on the tucked-in tabs with the other. You want to feel an even amount of tension all around the head. You also want to have the folds or wrinkles of the tucked-in hide be even in size and spacing, with no part folded over itself. Ideally all of the wrinkles will be small and in equal little "wave" shapes. Then push down on the rim with both hands, carefully squeezing the hide and rim into an even, centered position. Push down until the top edge of the rim is level with the top edge of the shell, or a little lower.

     The hide will pull through between the rim and the skin hoop while you do this; just make sure it doesn't pull all the way through. This is why you needed the extra 7" of hide!

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