Of Drums and Weather

Jan - 05 2010 | By

My newest drums have a lot to tell me about how sensitive and moody drums can be. Raven Laughs is the crankiest thing in the house after me. We both wake up in the morning slack and grumpy. That drum…now it’s the temperature. Give it a blast of heat and it sings, but at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit (“room temperature” in my house most of the winter) it goes flabby. In summer, it will probably have fainting fits because of humidity. It’s something I’ll just have to live with, at least if I want to learn bodhran style. Gotta make a tipper yet. 🙂

Raven Laughs -- front

bottom

bottom

side-detail

side-detail

Note the double edge binding of the head. From a video by Don Shulz (found on YouTube) I learned the trick of going once around and then running the main binding through the edge lacing rather than the holes in the head. It gives strength. After the disastrous first attempt to head this drum, I decided to go it one better. Once around, winding rather than in-out; then when that is fitted to the frame, another lace straight through around it. The second lacing anchors the main binding.

On the bottom edge I used a strong synthetic cord that is probably intended for macrame jewelry. The holes it goes through are lined with eyelets.

The small drum that I finished the day after is also very sensitive. I can tune it lower in a few seconds by blowing on it. This morning, it was almost as depressed as RL (that’s a pun, BTW), but when I warmed it by rubbing with hands and cheeks it cheered up. I think I could have made it tighter, but then it could get way too high-pitched and possibly be in danger of self-destructing under the right (wrong) circumstances.

small shaman drum

small shaman drum

This handy 8″ drum is no thunder-maker, but it can hold its own. The frame is of the same steel hoop, cardboard, layered paper, and fabric construction. I made it more quickly and simply, however. Less layers, less fussing — it doesn’t show much anyway. You can see the duct tape on the top edge. LOL

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