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Guide to Bodhrans

Bodhran : What is it?

Bodhrans

The bodhran is an Irish frame drum 10 to 26 inches in diameter and three-and-a-half to eight inches deep. It features one open side and another side covered in animal hide, particularly goatskin. The hand is placed against the drum head through the open side to control the pitch. The bodhran is also used in Scotland, Cape Breton, Cornwall, and Newfoundland. 

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Types of Bodhrans

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Kinds of Bodhrans include the following:

Tipper style bodhran

  • The tipper style bodhran has a diameter of 16 to 18 inches.
  • It can be struck by one arm or by a lathe-tuned piece of wood (beater).


Top-end style bodhran

  • The top-end style bodhran has a diameter of 14 to 15 inches.
  • It has a depth of four to six inches.
  • It has a thin resonant skin similar to that of a Lamberg drum.
  • Most of the action is concentrated on the top end of the drum.
  • It produces a more melodic or rythmic sound than the tipper style.
  • It has a wider range of tones.


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Choosing Bodhrans (Buying tips)

Frame:  Choose a bodhran with no crossbars for more freedom to modify the tone.  

Tuning:  If you want a more professional sound that you can play around with, look for a bodhran with an integrated mechanical system just like the one in drums in a drum kit.

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