The great thing about my drums is no one else makes them as kind as I do.
Yea you can get those really perfect looking drums and they could even sound good but because I consider each one of my staves as a gift, I double wrap my rings,I hand file my rims... my drums have character, soul and personallity.
After pulling the nails from the redwood deck these old boards being the closest any one will be able to get to old growth heart wood and reincarnating for a second time. edged and cut and split allowing us to see the inside and its reflection.
There in the wood, a simple knot split and paired becomes a face and when a knot is cut and split and worked together in a drum to form what appears as a single knot I call that a third eye, a visionary portal.
I got this pile, and pile, and pile of cedar mill ends about 5 years ago it is a mound yet in front of me. I love its availablity. But alas being only one inch thick it can not be split for the book end matching that I used to do with thicker Cedar.
I have access to Ash via a paddle maker in Talent. The wood is very hard and makes a great drum . He does some wood combining and that adds to what I make.
Then there are the roadsides and Dumpsters in Cincinnati. That's where I got some 21/4"*6" Poplar beams that where not kept as they where not long enough (6' and 8'). My shortest stave is about 6" long. Needless to say a little real wood is all I need.
Then there's the energy of filling the wholes a s a good drum will not have any holes or air leaks in it.
Then I get carried away and use the remanents of my cutting to put smaller drums together almost as if the forest where not going to grow any more, using every piece possible. Of cource my colleges will agree these drums with twice as many joint and twice as much glue sound the best.
Here's where I may go a little awry , I take the staves that are all bent up and cut reliefs in them and glue them together. There are very few of these drums but you can recognize them easily when you see them. The Ashiko shape is a great shape for stacking and when a ring is sinching it and the head is on, it is a really sound, portable and likeable structure. Lately I have been experimenting with a three sided drum ,I call it a compound shape. There are many shapes that I make. I will post pictures of some invented drums here in a while.
I am using a Goat skin with hair on most of my large Ashiko's but a hairless or processed water baffalo on my Tribal and smaller ashiko's for durability. Of cource when I make the hoop drum I will use elk or horse , and deer skin if I am making a personal sweat drum.The bigger the drum the thicker the hide should be in general. Cow is used for congas.
Deer works great on ashiko's and djimbe's but the skin streches quite a bit and the deer must be at least 2 years of age or the skin can be too thin.
I feel uncomfortable there along the roadside as I accept these gifts from great spirit. Deer skins bringing me meat at times and there hide allowing a drum to live and its own vioce be heard in another way.
Not left to rot as so many are . Sacks of bones lieing weeks by a cold salted road edge. Useless to the other creatures for fear of the same demise.
But truthfully I feel many of these deer were suffering in some way with some ailment and wanted to be part of a drum.
Well as yet I am hand filing the rim and hand bending the rings before I weld them. The rings are double wrapped; the outer wrapping is to add art and personallity to each drum. I wrap plenty of tunning rope around my drums so you won't need to go out and find some when you run out.
We get these beauties together and listen for that resonating base When the tone produces no ring we get this big ol grin on our face knowing its about ripe. This can take several days of tunning and playing as all the force of the rope and or turnbuckles pulls the head ring and the waist ring together. Where others may laith a groove for the waist ring we are proud that our drums waist ring is frictioned on and holding the staves tightly together.
When a drum is ripe for playing it is generally lighter to carry and easier to play being very responsive. It will give a high pich note as well as a base note if poped in the center. It will wake up other drums and lead in a circle if it should need.
Further my drums are your drums. I allow you to build them at a workshop at a resonable price. copyrighted 2004