I’ve owned a bodhran for several years now, but never actively pursued learning how to play it.

Bodhrans are traditional Irish drums, of goatskin stretched across a wooden frame. Unlike many traditional drums it is played in a upright position rather than a horizontal one. In other words, it is struck from across the skin rather than down onto the skin.

I first heard one being played by Charlie Zahm, and fell in love with the sound of the drum, and how well it blended into the folk music style I love so much. I promptly went out and bought one to add to my musical instrument collection, and just as promptly, never learned it!

That is changing! I’ve started practicing it more and more lately and I’m beginning to have a lot of fun. Mine is a rather poor quality one, by Mid-East, but I’ve been working the skin with neatsfoot oil and glycerin/water to loosen and improve it’s sound. On a quality bodhran you needn’t do anything other than play the drum, but on mine, the skin is stretched v.e.r.y. tight and it gives an unpleasantly high sound.

I’ve also purchased a new tipper (it’s what is used to strike the drum) which will hopefully give better sound and be easier to use. The one which came with my dru is not a very good style for the type of playing I intend to use it for.

I found this website to be particularly helpful once I began to seriously work at it.  And Bodhran Expert has lots of great videos on YouTube which are tremendously helpful!

To close, here is a fantastic bodhran solo! Enjoy!

And a bodhran, tapdancing video by The High Kings.


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