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Bodhrán Information and FAQs



DEFINITION


Single-headed frame drum of Ireland; membrane, of animal skin, usually nailed to frame; hand-held using criss-cross system of cord, wire or sticks over open end.

INTRODUCTION


The Bodhran (or more accurately Bodhrán) is the traditional Irish Drum. Made from a round wooden frame, with an animal skin stretched over it. The bodhrán (pronounced bow-rahn) is the heartbeat of Irish traditional music, and is a hugely popular choice with our customers. Capable of surprisingly complicated rhythms, when played well it can really lift the music. You don't need to be able to read music to play; get yourself a Bodhrán and you will soon be able to join in with the music.

CHOOSING

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All our Bodhráns are good value for money, and they come with a full guarantee - that’s why we’ve sold many thousands of them! However, all Bodhrán skins should be treated with dubbin or oiled regularly so as to avoid difficulties with changes in the weather. This process also gives a new drum the softer sound most players look for. All Bodhráns come complete with beater.


CARE AND MAINTENANCE

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Bodhrans can be temperamental instruments and need good care. If you follow these simple guidelines, your bodhran will be very appreciative!

1) Never allow your bodhran to become overheated. Don't store it near a heater, in sunlight, or in your car - even in the boot. If you live in a hot place, it is best to store it in a case or a cupboard, in very dry places you could leave a damp cloth with the drum to aid humidity. As the drum gets hotter, the skin tightens and can split or pull away from the pins holding it in place.

2) Treat the outside of the skin (the playing surface) regularly with a softener - dubbin and lanolin-based creams are best. This helps keep the skin supple and in good condition. Don't overdo it or the skin will soon feel sticky to the touch and it will be difficult to get a "clean" sound.

Obviously, we are unable to honour our guarantee on your bodhran if you disregard these two points.

3) Before you begin to play, rub a little bit of clear water into the BACK of the skin. (Experience will soon tell you how much you need - you will only overdo it once!!) This lets the skin stretch a little and allows you to produce more variations in sound. If you are playing in a warm place the skin will tighten up again as you play, so you will probably need to do this more than once.

4) If the skin on your bodhran has become a bit too damp and is very slack, it can be tightened by vigorous rubbing with the palm of your hand, or by VERY GENTLE heat (be careful - see 1!).

If you observe these points, you and your bodhran should enjoy a long and happy friendship! Enjoy your playing!

Read our Full Article on Percussion Care & Maintenance