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  1. #1

    any Bodhrán players?

    I have a few qustions concering the Bodhrán. Tuning and staying in tune. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    25th December 08
    Lotus Land
    I've one, but I wouldn't say I really know how to play it well. My brother Nathan is much better. World class really.
    He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher ... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. ~ Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Orange County California
    I've played bodhran for many years. My first one was one I made, rather crudely, back around 1976. Around 1978 I bought a Bo Hinricks bodhran, at that time a rather high-tech one, and I still play it.

    With old-school drums that have a goatskin head tacked onto the rim, you control the tuning by spritzing the skin with water when it's too tight and blasting it with a hairdryer when it's too loose.

    Of course you're always controlling the pitch with a hand inside the drum anyhow, rarely if ever playing the drum "open". I'm usually aware of the drum's basic lower pitch and keep it in tune with the tonic chord of the music I'm playing along with. Then at times I might play higher for effect, but this is easy to overdo. Better for the drum to keep a low fundamental pulse than do a lot of fancy stuff which distracts the listener from the melody instruments.

    Nowadays many drums have adjustable-tension heads.

    Also, bodhran design has changed radically over the last 10 years or so. I still play the old-school drum in the old style, a shallow-rimmed 18" fixed-pitch drum with a thick goatskin head.

    At some point the bodhran was radically redesigned. I don't know by whom, but in any case many/most of the top professional bodhran players nowadays are playing these neo-bodhrans.

    They have a deep 16" rim with a tunable head. The skin is much thinner and there's a heavy solid brass tone ring inside like a Bluegrass banjo. The playing style is completely different and they use a different style of stick. I can't play these new drums at all, I don't have a clue.

    Here is an excellent demonstration of the more traditional style of bodhran and how to play it. Don't worry about the language... the playing is good traditional Irish style playing, well demonstrated


    Here's a video showing the new style of bodhran. It looks and sounds completely different, and is played a different way, as you can see

    Last edited by OC Richard; 23rd April 12 at 05:08 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

  4. #4
    Join Date
    13th September 11
    Your question begs other questions, such as is you drum tuneable or non- tuneable. If there is no tuning mechanism then the usual way to try to tune it is two fold. 1. if the head is tight and you want to lower the pitch, you moisten the inside of the skin with a little, I emphasis little water and rub it around on the skin. Test the drum to see if lowered to the pitch you want, If not add a little more. I if it gets too wet let it dry or use a hair dryer to lightly dry it. 2. If it too low and the skin seems loose, then either use the hairdryer or hold it up to a light bulb to dry it out. Do not over due. Remember it is animal skin.
    If you have a tuneable drum with sometype of tuners along and internal ring then you adjust these to the pitch you want it at. Tune them in order like you would tighten lug nuts on a car tire, meaning do one then go directly across and do the opposite one, etc. It balances out the tone. A tuneable is nice since you don't have to have water or a drying method as above, especially if your playing where it is very humid or dry( you'll be adjusting often). I hope this helps. There are other sites on the web that could offer more tips, one I used in the past is called "bodojo.com". I'm not sure if it is still running, but give it a try. Good druming to you.

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