Traditional Irish Music
Please write down what bodhrán maker you can vouch for here, preferably ones who are still alive and in business, for the benefit of people wanting a good quality bodhrán as opposed to those guinness logo thingies that would be best suited hanging on the wall with a lightbulb illuminating them from the inside :)
I'll start off with the ones i personally own and can recommend:
Eamon Maguire - 18 inch non tunable, thin goat skin
Brendan White - 18 inch tunable, thick goat skin (ordered as a "Colm Murphy replica" felt like plywood when i got it, but it is sounding better and better!
Seamus O'Kane - 15,5 inch tunable, Seamus new patented one screw tensioner system, lambeg goat skin.
Breandan De Faoite - 17" tunable, tuners built into the rim. Got this from Colm Murphy who kindly sent it to me, best bodhrán of the lot, pricey but worth it.
Started with Brendan White, single skin, good rustic sound.
2nd Bodhran, Hedwitschak - Rolf Wagles Edition, sounds great and beautiful to look at, excellent craftsmen-ship.
Seamus O'Kane 8 point tuning, just cause I wanted one, great sound, a bit bassier than the Hedwitschak RWE.
Started with a 16" Christian Hedwitschak Tineo with spicy dragonskin...my favorite. a very soft, pliable skin, almost like hitting a moccasin. Good range of tones and mics up well.
2nd. Christian Hedwitschak TrHed 18". Thick nanny goat skin, sharp attack, LOUD, and takes a long time to play in.
3rd. Christian Hedwitschak 16" Rolf Wagels Edition with lambeg skin. Beautiful drum, fiddleback maple, with a totally different sound than the tineo. This one was touchy at first, took a bit of time to settle into a consistent sound.
4th. Still waiting for a 15" Albert Alfonso ultra.
As a novice player of about 3 years I am very happy to have a drum built by Diarmaid O'Kane.
It's so versatile. A bit tempermental to the changing humidity, but when its just right it sounds warm and huge.
I have an ebony tipper thats quite thin that I found at Boston Irish fest but my favorite lately is a fairly large double ended one that I got from Waltons in Milwaulkee.
Being what might be an advanced beginner I have experience with only two drums. The first I don't remember, but it was a drum build in the middle east. Currently have the Alfonso DaBlondeDrum 16". Very nice. Though it doesn't seem to have the broad range of tones that I hear on some recordings (that could be my lack of skill). The Christian Hedwitschak tippers are very nice and give some different sounds.
I'm using Belgarth Bodhrans'from the Orkney Islands. mine is a 22 inch and if or when I order another it will be somewhat smaller with a deeper (6in) frame, same place. Good head made of goat skin, and it sounded good right out of the box. I got it back in 2001 and still play it every week for a couple of hours. It's tuneable. I still love it and it's sound. Never gets old. :-)
link to a picture below
Doesn't "Breandan De Faoite" translate to Brendan White? ;-)
Indeed it does, Mike! Breandan is Brendan's nephew and use his Irish name as to avoid confusion as they are both making bodhráns : )
Ahhh!!! Has he got a website?
No, never got around to it, guess he sell enough by word of mouth.. : )
Thanks for contributing! How about (more) pictures of your bodhráns? As the old saying goes - 'a picture says more than words' : )
Bucks County Folk Music Shop
New Britain, PA 18901 USA
As a starting drummer in 2008 I did considerable research and went for a bodhran from Bucks, based on reports that they made an unusually sturdy instrument. I bought the 18C and have never looked back.
It's body is made from quarter-sawn oak, meaning the wood is taken from the very best part of the tree. It's incredibly dense in grain, and the scarf joint (the acutely-angled ends of the steam-bent board where the glue is applied) is so invisible I called to ask the maker where it was; once he'd navigated me to it I found that the joint was six inches long! Turns out the guy had invented his own stainless jig to glue these things.
He also told me a story, about a man in San Francisco who was walking down a hilly street and heard a domestic quarrel going on overhead in a third-story apartment. Next thing he saw was a drum flying out the window—it hit the pavement and rolled down the hill. He found "Bucks County" embossed on the inside and sent it in for repairs. Needed a new skin but otherwise had hardly a dent.
The only changes I've made are: an oak tuning ring on the inside (no, my scarf joint isn't remotely as nice as his!); cross-bars removed and replaced with a single bar; and a short brace (removable for transport) bolted on the outside to keep the drum from sliding down between my knees when I press with my left hand.
The only thing different I'd do today is order a tunable drum. But my own improvement works fine. I'll post pictures on my page soon as I have the time.