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  1. #1
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    Question for Bodhran players from a prospective newbie

    Hi all. I am wanting to add a Bodhran to my instrument collection and was wondering what, if any, pros and cons there are in sizes? Specifically 14 inch vs 18 inch (Guitar Center sells them in both sizes for a decent price). Of course I may just annoy my wife and get both sizes . Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    "May your heart always be full, and your glass never empty."
    -Irish Proverb

  2. #2
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    5th January 14
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    Port Angeles, WA
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    If you simply want one to add to your instrument collection, it doesn't really matter. I'd say 18" is probably the most common. If you want a top quality drum for playing, Mance Grady builds an awesome drum. I love mine.

    http://www.mance.com/acebodhrans/bo.html
    "Life's too short to hunt with an ugly gun"
    U.S. Coast Guard, retired
    Clan MacKenzie

  3. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to 416 Rigby For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    The bodhran has undergone a near-complete transformation in recent years. The new drums look and sound completely different from the traditional drums, and require a different type of stick and different playing technique.

    I bought my drum around 1978 and it was state-of-the-art then, but a total dinosaur now.

    The old-school drum usually had an 18" shallow shell. It had a thick goatskin head held on with Iron Age upholstery tacks at a fairly low tension. It was played with a wooden stick. Though you could get a wide range of notes, the basic purpose was to provide a low basic beat.

    Here's Kevin Conneff of The Chieftains playing an old-school drum in the style heard in the 1960s etc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7pDiO52xSs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44IxVw7Qt4Q

    EDIT: Did a bit of research, corrected the following: Some of the neo-drums have a deep 11" shell designed to accommodate a heavy brass Banjo tone ring inside, and a thin head at higher tension. It's played with a bundle of switches- hit it with a traditional bodhran stick and you get a high-pitched "ping". These drums are often made and played by people coming to the bodhran from rock, pop, jazz, or world drumming, in other words not people raised in Irish music. The approach is to get a single drum to sound like a drum kit, and these guys get pretty darn close!

    Here's the new style of drum, and playing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9HyB5yNS1A
    Last edited by OC Richard; 20th February 16 at 05:43 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    7th February 11
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    My Sweetie gave me one for my birthday, 16", much as Richard has described and I love it. I had wanted a 14" for the convenience, but they were not available in what I wanted.

    The question is whether you want that deep steady background beat (often with silk-screened Celtic art) or a sophistocated instrument that will do all sorts of things. I chose the latter. Now I'm going to see some day if I can get the silk screening done as an "add-on". (Suggestions on that very welcome!)
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
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    I hade a big tambourine and to jazz it up I taped a picture on the inside of the plastic and traced it onto the surface using felt tip pens - with computers and printers it should be even easier to create a design - even to cut out a number of stencils to make the job easier.

    Anne the Pleater :ootd:
    I presume to dictate to no man what he shall eat or drink or wherewithal he shall be clothed."
    -- The Hon. Stuart Ruaidri Erskine, The Kilt & How to Wear It, 1901.

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    7th February 11
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    Anne, you're a genius!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    10th February 15
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    Thanks for all the replies. I think I am going to go ahead and buy a set I found with both 14" and 18", non tune-able. I'm mostly just wanting it to learn the basics so I don't need anything too fancy. My son is 6 and learning tin whistle, so I thought it would be nice to have an instrument that I can use to play along with him without over powering what he is trying to do noise-wise which happens if i use my whistle with him or the fiddle.
    "May your heart always be full, and your glass never empty."
    -Irish Proverb

  13. #8
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    I corrected my post above. The standard banjo tone ring is 11 inches, that's the size of the small deep very heavy high-tension "neo-bodhrans" I've seen.

    Here's some very talented kids. Wow.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaoml9_Ue1g

    His drum is the more modern style, with the deeper narrower shell, probably 14", but a far cry from the 11" ones with the banjo tone ring.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 20th February 16 at 05:50 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  14. #9
    Join Date
    16th January 16
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    long island new york usa
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    They are great! Love that tune.

  15. #10
    Join Date
    7th February 11
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    Good to watch. Despite what one might think, this is actually a fairly young instrument and still evolving in both construction and in the musicianship used with it.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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