If you want to start learning the bodhran, there are a few key points you should keep in mind. These tips can help enhance your bodhran skills while making learning enjoyable.
Bodhrans are ancient Celtic instruments which can be found across multiple genres. Easy to play and giving an authentic Irish sound.
Choosing a Bodhran
Finding the appropriate bodhran to meet your needs is essential to playing it successfully. A suitable instrument should be comfortable to hold and play while producing the sound you are looking for.
Choose a drum with suitable skin, as this can affect its sound output and vary depending on factors like its size, type and quality.
Bodhrans are typically constructed of wood with an animal skin stretched across it – often goatskin but there are modern models using synthetic leather as well.
A bodhran comes in many different shapes and sizes. Height and depth play an especially critical role when considering its tonal capabilities.
The bodhran can be fitted with optional bars at its back that allow players to customize its sound timbre by way of single bars, T-bars or cross bars.
Tuning the Bodhran
A bodhran can be a challenging instrument to learn, taking some practice and time. But with perseverance and commitment you will soon be playing like a pro!
A bodhran drum is typically comprised of a wooden hoop frame covered with goatskin. Additionally, crossed wooden bars may be inserted to stabilize and provide a handle to provide added support and handle.
As temperatures and humidity fluctuate, the skin of a bodhran may tighten or loosen due to fluctuations in temperature or humidity levels, so purchasing one that can be easily tuned can be advantageous.
Tuning the bodhran will also ensure that its rings are evenly tightened on both sides of the skin, which will have an impactful influence on its sound timbre.
Choosing the Right Beater
Beaters are an essential element of the bodhran sound. Different beaters produce various sounds, so it is essential that you find one which matches your playing style and sound preferences.
There is a wide selection of bodhran beaters to choose from, such as hard tippers, split tippers, hotrod dowel beaters, mixed beaters and weighted beaters. To select the most suitable beater for you and your needs, it may be worthwhile trying different brands and styles of beaters before settling on one.
Often the right beater for any particular player depends on their hand size. For example, smaller hands may prefer shorter or lighter beaters.
Bodhran players who use beaters that fit their hands properly will experience less wrist and hand discomfort while playing, enabling more rhythmical and smooth playback that contributes to building strong technique.
Consult professional bodhran players when selecting your beater, they will know which works best and can give advice to enhance your technique.
Choosing the Right Tips
Choose the appropriate tips for a bodhran to ensure optimal playing and sound production. Look for tippers made of ash wood which have great acoustic qualities for maximum sound production.
Purchase of inappropriate bodhran tips can make playing this instrument difficult for those just beginning their practice of it. This is particularly true if it is your first experience.
A bodhran’s skin is extremely responsive to environmental conditions, and can loosen or swell when temperatures become too cold or warm, potentially altering both its tone and quality of sound.
Now, most bodhrans come equipped with tuning systems that enable players to tune them as often as desired – an invaluable advantage for both novice and expert musicians alike.