What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

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What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Mike » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:19 am

The question says it all.
Well, apparantly Congalou seems to have had a candidate: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7352&start=30#p73790

Yesterday I struggled with a similar beast, and worked up a fine sweat when putting this skin on a Meinl Woodcraft tumba:

P1000839.JPG

P1000843.JPG

The pics show the skin after having already started to dry overnight.
The soaked skin was far more than 5/16" thick, appr. 9mm.

The skin in the pics is the thickest I have mounted so far I think, but it is thin compared to the bull hide you have conquered, Congalou :oops:

Anyway, which "alligator wrestling" stories related to thick conga skins have you got to share? :wink:
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby torpedo tom » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:55 am

I have never mounted one, but it looks like you did a fine job with yours.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Omelenko1 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:44 pm

Thick skins will eventually make a conga go out of round, all that pressure will bring distortion to a conga head.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby joaozinho » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:51 pm

I agree.I think you dont need a monstrous skin to have a good sound.4/5mm in tumba and 3/3.5mm in conga is more than good to have a tradicional sound,with less overtones!
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby jorge » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:22 pm

I like pretty thick skins on big low drums, or occasionally on some quintos but those skins looks like what we call cuero de elefante, too thick for the drum. As mentioned, skins that thick can deform or crack the shell, and can also take forever to break in. Although slaps tend to be much easier to get than with thin skins, you have to hit them harder to project the tones, and most important they tend to be hard on your hands if you are playing with a loud group.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Mike » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:37 pm

Guys, thanks for your input.
I thought the oak shell and the ultra-beefy Meinl harware might
cope with the extra stress of a thick skin, but after reading your posts,
I was not so sure any longer. Of course I do not want that beautiful drum
to go out of round.
Well, I kept the original skin anyway, so reskinning it would be no prob at all.
Oh naggin doubts...
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby rhythmrhyme » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:42 pm

I'd let it cure and play it for a bit - just be really diligent about tuning it down between sessions so it doesn't sit under strain. Also, was the head exactly the same thickness throughout? If it was a bit uneven it will pull the drum out of round a lot quicker.

Does your drum have an alma?
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby bongosnotbombs » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:49 pm

Mike, depends on how high you tune it and if you detune it. Give the head a try, the Meinl can probably stand up to it as long as you don't keep cranking the lugs down and keep the drum tuned evenly. I kind of feel as long as you can tune your drum you don't need that thick of a skin, some people like the sound of thick skins, but they sound kind of muted and flat to me, I've been leaning towards thinner skins now. But try the skin for a while, might as well, it's on the drum.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby vinnieL » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:41 pm

Personally I think that is way too thick. I mounted a thick skin one time and hated tbe way it sounded. And Omelenko is right sooner or later it will damage the drum. But as they say opinions are like bung holes everybody has one. :)
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Mike » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:51 pm

You know what I did?
I took it off, as no sound came out of the tumba any longer.
Even after thorough drying the skin was or rather is monstrously thick,
so I put on the old Meinl skin (which was not so bad after all, and thick enough).
BTW when I received the white hide it was 2.6mm thick, but now it is about 6mm! :shock:
I agree, that is way to much to handle, for both my hands and the shell.

The complementary Meinl conga has received a new skin though
which makes the drum sound awesome.
Lesson learnt - uniform outward appearance is not as important.
Main thing is to save drums from damage.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby jorge » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:21 pm

When you soak a skin and let it dry, it often dries up thicker than it started, similar to those sponges that come dried out and compressed and expand to normal size the first time they get wet. From 2.6 to 6 mm is more expansion than I am used to seeing, are you sure it was an even 2.6 mm all the way around?
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Mike » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:40 pm

Yes, it had been a VERY even skin throughout - well it is still even, only more than twice as thick... :roll:
You´re right, Jorge, that was an unusual swelling :lol:
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Thebreeze » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:11 pm

Mike...are you sure it was a skin and not a piece of flattened sea sponge?? haha.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby Mike » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:13 pm

Thebreeze wrote:Mike...are you sure it was a skin and not a piece of flattened sea sponge?? haha.

:lol: Or an obese sea elephant... :)
As I said, the skin was top notch quality, but rather suitable for Taiko players or the like.
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Re: What is the thickest skin you ever put on a conga?

Postby vinnieL » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:16 pm

Mike I purposely did not say that my experience left me with a dead non-resonating conga. I see now that you experienced the same thing. Whenever I see that someone is mounting a really thick skin I kind of cringe. A little thicker than the factory skins is good but theres a point of diminishing returns as the drum begins to sound very dead or dull and does not resonate the way it should.
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