Bodhran For Sale - A Buyer's Guide

If you’re looking for a bodhran for sale online, then this bodhran buyer’s guide may be of assistance to you! The bodhran is a traditional Irish frame drum, most popular in Celtic music. The cross braces and laminated rosewood of this musical instrument offers support to its goatskin cover. The bodhran is a fun instrument to play even for those who are just getting started learning the instrument.

The drum gained recognition as a legitimate musical instrument during the resurgence of Irish traditional music in the 1960s, when muscians, particularly Sean O Riada, began to use it in their compositions. Thereafter, bands such as The Chieftains and Ceoltoiri Chualann used the bodhran as part of the second wave roots revival of Irish traditional music. Following that, the musical instrument began to be recognized across the world.[1]

Bodhran for sale
A tacked bodhran

Choosing the Right Bodhran

When searching for a bodhran for sale online, one must keep in mind that there are several different factors to consider. The ideal way to choose a bodhran is to first decide whether you want a tacked version or a tunable version of the same. A tacked bodhran has its head held together with tacks that keep it from being tuned. A tunable bodhran has its head held together with metal hardware that allows you to tighten or loosen the instrument in order to change the sound. While choosing a bodhran, it is important to distinguish between drumheads that are made from natural skin and those that are made from synthetic material. While goatskin drumheads offer a deeper sound, they also require regular oiling as opposed to synthetic heads.
Bodhrans are available in a variety of sizes. While they range from 10 inches to 26 inches, most professional musicians use bodhrans that belong to the 14-inch to 18-inch category. Small-sized bodhrans are recommended for children or musicians of slight stature, who may not be able to hold larger variations of the celtic instrument.

Here are some tips to bear in mind while searching for a bodhran for sale:

  • A high quality wooden frame that is free of cracks, knots and warping is necessary for any bodhran to produce quality sound. The instrument should have a smooth finish and the two ends of the wooden frame must be joined completely without any gaps.
  • If the drumhead of the bodhran is made of natural skin, it should have no holes, rips or gouges. If the drumhead is made of synthetic material, it should be free of blemishes, dents and scratches.
  • Listen carefully to the sound of the bodhran that you wish to purchase. Seemingly insignificant differences in the construction of two similar drums can produce very distinct beats.

Buying a Tipper

A double-sloped knob tipper

The bodhran is typically played with a short stick known as a tipper, beater or cipin. Shaped with a narrow center, a tipper can be single headed or double headed though both ends are likely to be rounded. The tipper can be struck straight or rolled on the surface of the drum to produce the desired sound. Sound variations can also be achieved by tightening or loosening the skin of the drumhead. If a musician is playing Kerry style, the most common technique for bodhrans, the bottom head of a tipper would be used to produce rhythmic beats while the top head of the tipper would be used to produce rolls and ornamentation.

Maintaining and Caring for the Bodhran

The most vulnerable part of the bodhran is its skin. Not only does it have to bear regular beating but also tolerate extreme climatic changes, including temperature and humidity, which could eventually lead to tears or punctures on the drumhead. Resiliency, elasticity and flexibility are key characteristics of the skin of a bodhran.

Here are some tips that would help increase the longevity of a bodhran:

  • Do not store the instrument in a place that is exposed to direct sunlight or intense heat. It is best stored in a cool place that has moderate levels of humidity.
  • If you live in an overtly dry environment, the instrument should ideally be stored in a case with a humidifier. An inexpensive alternative to that is a large garbage bag with a damp sponge or cloth inside it.
  • It is important to periodically condition or oil the skin of the instrument. Some common household items used to do so include lanolin, neetsfoot oil or a moisturizing hand lotion.
  • Small tears and holes on the skin can often be repaired without harming the bodhran or having it replaced unnecessarily. A patch of gaffer’s tape or duct tape serves as a cost-effective temporary repair. For a more long-term solution, a spare piece of goatskin should be used instead of tape. In either case, the patch should be placed on the inner side of the instrument and not on its surface.

Finding a Bodhran for Sale Online

Here are a few online shops to help you find the best bodhran for sale online:

Amazon

As a virtual marketplace that possibly sells all things from across the world, Amazon is a great option to consider while buying an inexpensive or used bodhran for sale.

Ebay

For beginners, who want to try their hand at this musical instrument before deciding whether or not to invest in a high-end version of the same, Ebay has several bodhrans to choose from.

Hobgoblin Music

Whether you are in search of traditional musical instruments or contemporary ones, Hobgoblin is the best place to be. With a variety of sizes and prices, try out every bodhran you lay your eyes on before buying your favourite one.

The Bodhran Maker

Specializing in the construction of this particular musical instrument if you’re in search of a bodhran for sale, The Bodhran Maker is your one-stop solution. Here, you can buy bodhrans that are custom made and high quality but at reasonable prices.

Getting Started Playing Your Bodhran

Bodhran Kerry Style
A bodhran being played Kerry style[2]
To play the bodhran, one needs to be seated and hold the instrument vertical over the thigh. As right-handed players are expected to hold the drum on the left side, left-handed players would be expected to do the exact opposite. The musician places one hand inside the drum in order to control the tension of the skin while the other hand strikes the drumhead with or without a tipper.

Once you’ve learned these basic techniques, you can start experimenting with more advanced beats and tricky sounds, utilizing the hand inside the instrument to produce a variety of sounds.

Bodhran Instructors

If you’re needing an instructor, we suggest checking out Ceolas.org as they have an updated list of instructors that will be able to assist you in your bodhran learning. Otherwise, you can always use websites like Thumbtack to find yourself a local instructor.

I hope you found my guide to finding a bodhran for sale helpful. Happy playing! Remember, pace yourself and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!

References

  1. History. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2015, from https://www.bodhran-info.de/en/the-bodhran-history-and-more/history
  2. 177-bodhran-playing-hinnerk-ruemenapf-0067” by Hinnerk R, Hinnerk RümenapfOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
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9 COMMENTS

  1. its my first time seeing the bodhran. in my eyes I would have looked at it and thought its just a small drum with fancy stick. but it goes to show that even the smallest things have a very interesting history behind them. this is very interesting. I would love to learn how to play it,

  2. I never heard about bodhran. but now i become the big fan to the bodhran. i want to enjoy its magicial sounds. I am very exciting about this.Its history is really good.

    • Thanks, Sunil! The bodhran really is a fantastic instrument. I’m currently saving up some money so I myself can own one and play it. It really is a magical instrument! 🙂

  3. Thank you for you assistance with the purchase and playing of the bodhran. I will definitely be coming back to your site for more information on Celtic instruments and culture.

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