The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

The Renovation Project: Part IV

Phase VIII (Paint and Clear Coats)

Knowing how often I take this doumbek to gigs, and how often those gigs are outdoors, I went with exterior paints for my colors.

Gunmetal exterior.

I chose a textured paint in gunmetal dark grey for the exterior.  The textured paints are much thicker than normal and have a coagulent in the mix of the paint to insure that they dry uneven.   This leads to some random bubbling or pooling on the paint surface which in turn gives the textured finish.

The really important thing was how thick it would be.  I hoped that between the thickness, the dark grey color, and the texture, the paint would hide the worst of the flaws of the aluminum.

Right away I could see that it gave the doumbek a very stylized and industrial look.  Kind of like the worn and pitted surface of a ship or a ship’s engine.  Being a geek I thought of it as Steampunk, and decided to capitalize on that and go all the way.

Gold rim. Maroon inner rim. Sanded drum head.

Gold rim.   Boom baby!

I initially sanded my drum heads a long time ago for a couple of reasons.

  • Reason 1: I think it gives the drum a slightly warmer tone, more like a natural skin.
  • Reason 2: I hate the dippy painted logos that come on the doumbek heads.

Let us add

  • Reason 3: It makes the drum look like an industrial spotlight.

The interior of the drum is painted a deep maroon color, and that included the edge of the inner rim.   This gives a nice looking outline, and creates a further contrast between the gold rim and the sanded opacity of the drum head itself.

The other thing that the gold rim does is to draw the eye up and away from the dark grey body.   It really pops with color, and is very unique looking.

Honestly, I was beyond thrilled at this point with how the paint job came out.

Gold rim. POP! (Lurking Evil Assistant Optional.)

All told I applied two coats of primer, four coats of the gunmetal textured paint, four coats of gold, and two coats of maroon on the interior (with an extra coat on the inner rim).

I then chose a UV resistant clear matte laquer to finish it off and make it user friendly.  I did not skimp, as this will be used on a daily basis.  It gets a LOT of handling.   Four coats.

With a drying time of forty-five minutes between coats I spent all of Sunday painting.  It was a great day because it was very exciting to see all the colors coming together and make my doumbek presentable again.

Maroon inner rim. Gold rim. Gunmetal exterior.

Gunmetal exterior. Maroon interior.

More than presentable in that I think it looks spectacular.   Totally unique, very striking, and following a new theme.

Time for a bit of before and after…

The Red Neck Doumbek. (Before)

The Steampunk Doumbek! (After)

Yes, yes, yes… but how does it sound?  How does it sound?!?

It sounds great!

It sounds almost exactly the same as before.   The teks are just the slightest bit brighter.  The doums have just a bit more sustain.  Overall I think it sounds better, but I might simply be enthused.

The rest of the Troupe agrees however, that it still sounds phenomenal.

The Renovation Project was a labor of love, and like many such things went from an exuberent start, to a period of the blackest despair, to a gathering of resolve and finally to a triumphant finish.

The doumbek gets a lot of compliments at gigs now, and the look on the dancer’s and drummer’s faces when I first unveiled it was worth all of the hard work and attention.

Needless to say, I am very, very pleased.

One Response to “The Renovation Project: Part IV”

  1. I just wanted to let you know that this drum renovation has inspired me to do something similar with my old mother of pearl inlay Alexandria. The inlay is in horrible shape and flakes all the time, so I am stripping it then having it sandblasted and powder-coating it.


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