We believe innovation is traditional, and strive to provide the best Tablas on the planet. TransTablas are intended to serve the user for a lifetime. All parts are guaranteed against defects, and if we create an improvement to the TransTabla components, existing customers are eligible to receive the new parts free of charge. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your TransTabla, you may return it to us for a refund within 10 days of your purchase, provided it is in the same condition we sent it in.
The patented TransTabla system represents a leap forward in Tabla design. The initial reason for creating a mechanical adjustment was to provide musicians the ability to tension the drumhead without pulling the hundreds of pounds necessary to do so by hand. Once the system was in place it became apparent there were other advantages that came along with it.
Tablas are very sensitive instruments; just a tap with a tuning hammer can send the head in a different tonal direction, so it’s critical to maintain even tension and balance. We use the most advanced material currently available for Tabla straps. Known commercially as Vectran, it is comprised of liquid crystal polymer which has no stretch, incredible strength, won’t rot or mold, and is cut resistant. TransTablas also use a Stainless Steel base ring to eliminate all stretching in the system besides the Tabla head. This combination gives unprecedented stability of tone.
The straps configuration also plays a role in keeping the Tabla in tune and balance. There are 32 laps of continuous strap around a Tabla and an adjustment peg or “gatta” for every 4 straps. When 1 or 3 straps out of the 4 is over a peg, the system is imbalanced. 2 and 4 are balanced, with 4 changing the visual aesthetic of the Tabla.
Historically, these pegs were used to compensate for stretch and maintain balance, and are why Tabla shells are tapered wider at the bottom. The Tablas were pulled by hand and configured with 1 strap over each adjustment peg. Once stretching caused the pitch to drop enough, another strap was placed over the peg. This continued until the straps needed pulling by hand again and then put back on 1 strap. This pulling process not only required skill, but great physical strength. Because of this, many newcomers to the instrument would simply stop playing once their Tablas went out of tune. Others would buy a completely new drum.
Using the TransTabla system, the pegs are only used for balance adjustments and can be kept on 2 straps for the life of the drumhead. Once the pegs are set, they may only need minor adjustments from time to time. All global tension is handled by the base mechanism, which tightens or loosens each strap uniformly and simultaneously. The heads or “pudi” being of organic material will stretch in a non-uniform way. Proper use of the pegs will remove this imbalance and keep the Tabla in tune. Regular stretching in the head is now removed with a small twist of our provided tool, which anyone can perform. It is this same method by which entire pitch adjustments can be made and allow a single TransTabla to replace 3 or more Tablas in a players repertoire. Initial balancing such as in the case of a re-head, can be done under little to no tension and requires no physical strength to accomplish. All TransTablas ordered as complete drums will come pre-tensioned, balanced, and ready to play.
The Tabla is still tuned with a hammer. It may be the only instrument in the world that users bang on with a hammer and yet sounds amazing as it does. Unfortunately the hammering process caused the shell and pegs to be covered in nicks and gouges making fine wood finishes impossible to maintain and a waste of time for the makers. With the TransTabla making peg striking unnecessary, shells can now be smoothed and polished for a lasting professional appearance. This contributes to the laymans appreciation and respect of the Tabla, along with the player who can now own a truly unique and beautiful instrument.
TransTabla is a product of VNO Design & Engineering. Our founder David Yovino, studied for 10 years under Tabla master Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA.