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Danette Dacey Group

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Karen Timofeev
Karen Timofeev

Buy Bodhran Sticks

In this how to video, you will learn how to practice without a Bodhran and make your own tipper. This is useful if you do not have enough money to buy a Bodhran or you want to practice silently. To make a tipper, buy skewers from any place. Take about 14 and put the together. Tie them together with 2 rubber bands. You can get different sounds depending on the distant of the rubber band from the end of the sticks. Next, you must get a practice board. A clip board can be used for one. You can manipulate the board with the hand holding it. A hard cover book also works. A binder can also be used as well. Try using your make-shift board with your practice tipper.

buy bodhran sticks


A bodhran can be used to produce lovely music if one knows how to play it properly. There are so many people out there who only buy bodhran beaters for the sake of their desire to join the music. Only seldom do they have the dedication actually to learn how to play a musical instrument.

We had never heard of the Celtic drum or, Irish frame drum, called the bodhran (officially bodhrán), until we met Eddie MacCormaic. Our Ireland Kerry tour included a bodhran lesson with MacCormaic during our stay in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.

Eddie MacCormaic usually plays the bodhran at Irish traditional music evenings at An Bonnan Bui (The Yellow Bittern) pub on West Main Street in Cahersiveen. For our bodhran class, we met him at the Shebeen Bar & Restaurant on New Market Street.

"A bodhran (pronounced bough-rawn) is the same one-sided drum that North American Indians use, but Irish musicians play it a different way," he said. "A bodhran player places his hand inside the Irish drum to create different sounds."

MacCormaic impressed us with a variety of sounds as he moved the heel of his hand and his fingers in different locations inside the goatskin drum. "The important hand is not the hand with the stick. It's the hand inside the bodhran," he explained.

What does bodhran music sound like? Some people claim it sounds like an Irish heartbeat. Others say that it's more like a sack of potatoes tumbling down the stairs. Anyone who has heard Riverdance music will recall the haunting sound of bodhrans.

The construction of the bodhran drums also varied. Although they all had bent wood frames and goatskin playing surfaces, attached with glue and tacks, some had crossbars of wood or metal inside. The bodhran loops also varied in width (two-to-six inches / five-to-15 cm).

"Some have double goatskins, so they are smooth, inside and out," said MacCormaic. "Decorative bodhrans have designs on them, so you can hang them on walls, but the pattern wears off as you play the drum. You'll pay more for bodhrans with designs."

Bodhran sticks, also called tippers, cipins (in Gaelic, cip'n), beaters and bones, are usually made from wood. Bodhran tippers come in many sizes, shapes, weights and designs. Players often prefer one tipper over another, based on the size of their hands.

"Faster! Go down and up along the full length, then hit the bodhran with the other end of the stick." Someone's stick flew across the table and hit another bodhran student on the other side. "You just have to keep practicing," advised our bodhran tutor.

The more we tried to play the bodhran, the more we admired Eddie MacCormaic's bodhran-playing skills. He turned on a CD player and played along with Irish music from West Clare. At times, his hand moved so quickly, it blurred.

Our bodhran class played along with recorded Irish jigs and reels. "It doesn't have to be Irish music," noted MacCormaic as he switched to a CD of African music played with Irish instruments, including bodhrans.

"I also raided my wife's kitchen for basting brushes, which give a much softer bodhran sound than a wooden tipper. Bodhran players sometimes use split sticks for a rattling sound, and chopsticks or meat skewers, wrapped together at one end, to create unique bodhran percussion music."

Our bodhran lesson ended with instruction on bodhran etiquette, when playing in a band with other musicians. "The bodhran can set the pace, with the fiddle, flute and harp coming in afterward," explained MacCormaic.

"At other times, the bodhran player can join in with the musicians, or all the musicians can start playing at the same time. Bodhran players have to react to the speed of the other musicians. You don't have to play a bodhran loudly for the music to stir passion."

Learning to play the bodhran with Eddie MacCormaic was fun, challenging and informative. The next time we visit Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, we plan to listen to MacCormaic play at An Bonnan Bui. Our bodhran lessons gave us a greater appreciation for the skills needed to play the Irish drum.

Stevie is a master woodturner, based in Bavaria. As a co-founder of the world renowned Troyan Drums, he has considerable experience building and playing all kinds of drums and instruments. As a drummer himself, he was of course using his skills to make his own drumsticks. In 2002 he began working with Christian Hedwitschak on developing a line of bodhrán beaters, or tippers as he calls them, and since then he has expanded the range of beaters he makes for Christian and under his own name, over 50 different models now. In his own words: 041b061a72


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