Links to pages of
bodhran accessories, and music books
Bodhrans by Waltons of Ireland.
Bodhrans by Mid-East. Solid bodhrans at budget prices.
Bodhran carrying cases
Spoons and bones
Music books etc. Manuals, videos etc for the bodhran and all Irish instruments
The bodhran (pronounced bow'-rahn; it's an Irish word and they like to throw in a lot of letters you don't pronounce) is a Celtic drum. It has a light wood frame with a skin, real or synthetic, drawn tightly over it. Our bodhrans all have two wooden sticks built inside that cross at right angles; these are used by the player to hold the bodhran, and they also help keep its shape.
Bodhrans come in different sizes, and they are either tacked (the skin, also called the head, is fastened down permanently all around) or tunable.
At left we show a typical tacked bodhran.
Tunable bodhrans come in two variations; some have hardware pieces on the inside, as on the bodhran shown at right, and we have one model with an outside tuning mechanism. Both kinds are tuned with a wrench.
Our bodhrans have goatskin heads, although there are bodhrans with synthetic heads.
The bodhran is played by hitting or rubbing it with wooden beaters, which come in a whole variety of styles (or you can beat it with your bare hand).
If you let your bodhran get too dry, the skin can split. Application of light leather-goods oil will help to keep the head pliable and prevent damage.
The larger the bodhran, the bigger and deeper the sound (this is a matter of physics and mathematics, and there isn't really anything to be done about it!). The dimension given for each size is the diameter of the rim.
What size you choose is up to you; the smaller ones are easier and less awkward to hold; the bigger ones give a deeper sound, as noted above. Every bodhran is a tradeoff of size versus pitch of the sound.
There are also various rim depths available. The standard rim depth is about 3 1/2 inches. The wider the rim, the larger the sound the bodhran makes. There are bodhrans with rims up to 7.5 inches; these have quite a boom.
We currently carry the Malachy Kearns bodhrans (made in Ireland), Walton's bodhrans (made in Ireland), and Mid-East bodhrans (made by an American firm in Pakistan, now called the Roosebeck brand).
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