Congratulations on purchasing your new instrument, the Riq. While you are probably excited to start practicing, it is essential to learn how to take care of your new Riq drum properly.

Before we get into maintaining your drum, let’s go over a few Riq facts that you need to understand first. The most important thing you need to know is whether you have a more modern Synthetic head or an authentic animal skin head. The type of head you have will play a significant role in how to maintain your framed drum properly.

Synthetic vs Animal Skin Head

In the modern era it’s become increasingly common to see Riq drums being made with a synthetic Synthetic head. However, the original instrument used animal skins, such as fish skin or goat skin—both of which are still readily available and widely used.

It is essential to know what type of head your Riq has as the two types are very different from one another, so the way you change and tighten them will vary considerably.

Mahgaony Riq real skin tunable
Goat skin riq

Tightening an Animal Skin Head

Most animal skin heads are glued onto the frame, which can make it very difficult to tighten. If you find that your drum head is glued then your only option for tightening it is by heating it up a little with a hairdryer.

Technically you can use any heat source but be careful to make sure that it’s not too strong as it could damage your drum. Similarly, this method will only work for a little while before you need to replace the entire head of your instrument.

Another vital thing to take into account is that the more often you heat your Riq, the shorter its lifespan will become.

Tightening a Synthetic Head

Typically a Synthetic head is much easier to tighten than an animal skin head. These modern heads usually have bolts placed around the frame, which you can turn to increase or decrease the tightness.

bronze cymbals
Internal Tuning System

Cleaning Your Riq Drum

After a while, you will notice that your Riq may become a little dirty. But it’s really not any cause for concern, as they’re usually pretty easy to clean.

If it’s just a little bit of dirt, all you need to do is dampen a soft piece of cloth and wipe down the skin of your instrument.

However, if it needs a deeper clean, then it is time to break out the detergent. All you need to do is use a little bit of soap and warm water on your Synthetic head. Gently wipe the surface clean and carefully pat the drum head dry. Voila, a nice and clean Riq!

But, keep in mind that if you have an animal skin drum then you should probably avoid using detergent as much as possible. In this case, you can actually use a small amount of leather cleaner and water to clean it up instead.

Repairing Your Riq

As your Riq drum ages, you will eventually need to repair it. If your drum is wooden, it may be as simple as using a little bit of wood glue to fill in any cracks or holes in the wood, making it look whole again.

However, many traditional Riq drums have a mother of pearl inlay. If this sounds like your drum and you notice that one of these pearls are falling off – make sure you keep the pieces, as you can easily super glue them back onto your Riq instrument.

And if you’ve managed to lose one of the pearls, don’t stress out, here is a little-known trick. Use nail polish to fill in the spot where the pearl used to be. Now, this won’t make it look quite as nice as it used to, but it will definitely do the trick.


um kulthum and husein awad
Um kultum’s world famous riq player Husein Awad


And there you have it! You’ve now mastered the basics when it comes to taking care of your percussion instrument. Now that you know how to maintain your new Riq drum, it’s time to start playing and enjoying the sounds of your authentic tambourine.

We hope that our quick guide helped you learn a little bit more about the maintenance that goes into caring after your precious instrument. And if the Riq’s caught your eye – you can explore our collection of Riq instruments online.

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