Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Finding My First Hand Drum
I had spent three days and nights at a men's retreat on Vashon Island in Washington state. A beautiful, tree-filled magical place. During our breaks from the retreat ceremonies, I had the opportunity to play on the Conga drums that a local drum shop had brought to the conference. I couldn't stop playing - I pounded out rhythm after rhythm for 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time. I vowed right there and then that I would find myself a matched pair of Conga and Tumba drums when I got back to home.
A few months later, after saving up a little bit of money. I went to my drum group, feeling a bit awkward, as the only drum I owned was a Native American drum that was used with a beater. Everyone else had a Djembe or a pair of Bongos, some kind of hand drum. I mentioned that I'd like to find a Conga drum. One of the other participants mentioned he'd heard of someone who was called "the drum guy" who lived on top of the Sunset Hill. He bought and sold drums and might have Conga drum available. I didn't have a phone number, a name or the address of where he lived or worked - all I had was his title "the drum guy" and that he lived somewhere up on Sunset Hill.
So, one Saturday morning, I got in my car, a few hundred dollars in my pocket and a desire to find a drum. I drove up the Sunset Hill, past housing developments, a Thai Restaurant, a motel, an Arboretum. At the top, was a trailer park. I stopped and found the manager's trailer. Feeling a bit sheepish, I knocked on the door. "Sorry to bother you," I said, "I don't know this guy's name, but I'm told that somewhere up in this neighborhood is someone who buys and sells drums - they call him "the drum guy." "I don't know anybody who is called that - but there is a guy down in trailer #36 who plays his drums all hours of the night - maybe that's him." I walked over to trailer house #36 and knocked on the door. A lady came to the door and asked "can I help you." Again, feeling sheepish, I mumbled "I don't know his name, but I've been told that someone who is known as "the drum guy" lives around here somewhere. I'm interested in buying a drum." "Oh," she said. "He's in the shed out back - that's where he keeps his drums." His name is David." (name has been changed to protect privacy).
I walked to the shed and knocked on the door. David had me come in and sitting there was a beautiful Meinl blond Conga drum. I asked him how much it cost, and he said he normally sells them for $500, but he could sell it to me at 1/2 price - for $250, which included the stand. He said that particular one was already sold, but he could order me another one just like it for the same price. I ordered one and have been very happy with it ever since. Several months later after I'd saved some more money, I bought the matching Tumba (a little bit larger than a Conga drum- they are played together).
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