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So, I've just started playing the doumbek. I've started trying to pick up finger rolls, but they don't have the same ring or intensity as my tek or ka strokes. While this is probably to be expected to a degree, I don't really think it should sound flat....should it?

In any case, I would greatly appreciate an explanation of the technique of these rolls.

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The fastest fingers on darbuka: and the best darbuka teacher: – asdf_enel_hak Apr 11 '12 at 16:23
To clear up any confusion, the doumbek is also known as a goblet drum, chalice drum, debuka, dumbec, tablah, and darbuka, as Moguzalp mentioned. – American Luke Apr 11 '12 at 18:15
Another similar percussion instrument from Iran culture and great show with tombak: and tombak with daf – asdf_enel_hak Apr 11 '12 at 19:28
@moguzalp: That second link is how I discovered that the technique exists. Truly the best instructional video I've found online. – Babu Apr 11 '12 at 20:39

I've played a little doumbek, but don't consider myself a "player" - and after looking at some of those videos, I'm even more humbled ;-) But it's clear to me that you need strength in a part of the hand that normally isn't well-developed - the big knuckle in the hands. Most of our hand strength comes from muscles way back in the forearms, but the velocity of the strike in those finger rolls appears to come from them being extended and moved from the big knuckle.

So you might take a look at an exercise that I use to help my guitar students develop their "bar chords", which require a lot of strength and independence in that part of the hand:

I'll be interested to hear if it helps - good luck!

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I assume you mean the exercise where you snap your hands open and closed? I'm definitely willing to give it a shot. I'll try to check back in a few weeks to report on its effectiveness. It wouldn't surprise me if I just needed to buy a better (i.e. not $20) drum... – Babu Nov 28 '12 at 6:04

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