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I have a question for the group! How does one go about acquiring a quality bodhrán and what is the best type (tunable vs non-tunable)?
I've always wanted to buy one and I always seek out quality in an instrument, or anything else for that matter!

Anyone have an opinion on this?

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the best advice i can give after learning from a master and doing very well in competition, is not to buy from e-bay or anywhere you have not first got hold of the drum, first you need to understad that a tuneable drum will not stay in tune by this i mean that the environment plays a big role in the sound of the drum, ive seen players take ages to get the drum sounding just right only to find the session is over likewise none tunable drums will need different hand pressure on the back of the drum with this you can get a higher tone or lower, the wheight of the tipper also plays a part i dont want to go on but buy a drum you like with goat skin, i find the drums not of goat skin bive a higher tone and are not liked by traditionalists. I will give you specific information on tippers/brushes drums if you require, however has got some good info, remember that BODHRAN means quiet drum it is nota langbeg and should not be played like one. cushti bek
Hi Robert,

I'm Paul Marshall, I run the bodhran website You have received some good advice here but I'll add my own voice.

I'll start by steering you away from anything that has a beer, book of kells or Ireland decal on the skin, those are made for the tourist market primarily (often called wall-hangers) and are just about impossible to achieve a decent sound from unless you replace the skin. You should be looking to spend somewhere from around £130 ($200 ish) for a good drum as it can be somewhat hit and miss below that although there are decent drums out there.

Buy a tunable drum. There's no question that a tunable instrument will make your life easier in so many ways. If you can afford it, go for one with finger tuners because you'll regret not doing so every time you need to reach for a screwdriver in your tipper case also you won't have your screwdrivers or allen keys confiscated at airports :)

Crossbars are now pretty much redundant in most modern drums of any quality but some people do use them so YMMV, but you're better to start off & learn to hold the drum correctly rather than have to unlearn a reliance on a crossbar.

Regarding makers, there are many out there so you are best to look around and see what is available, bodojo offers drums on an agency basis made by a number of the big name makers, I'm not saying just to go there & buy a drum but it will give you a gathering of several makers in one place and that info will help inform your further searching. Drum prices can vary widely and sometimes drums that are more expensive are not always better instruments, often the drums that are slightly cheaper can be better sounding instruments because they are made individually by a craftsman who doesn't charge for every second of their time. The 'quality' bodhran market is still in transition between traditional skills and process-based manufacturing so both types are available. The drums are usually of good playable quality when you get above the £150 mark pretty much and after that it's how a particular drum sounds in your hands. Two players playing the same drum can have a wide variation in the sound.

If you can get to a session and listen to how a few drums sound, get talking with a few players and develop an ear for the subtleties and nuances of different instruments and styles then you'll be well placed to eventually make an informed decision and get a decent instrument that will facilitate learning rather than frustrate you and cause slow progress.

If you are looking for practical bodhran information and a learning resource, bodojo has an academy (free), (free) and a very dynamic community of 1200+ users who are delighted to offer their input and help regarding our noble wee instrument. You'll find me there too :)

Best of luck with your search, I hope this has been useful.


Well I have had all my Bodhrans made by Billy Fairley he was in a lot of groups through the years in Scotland Ireland England and Canada and has now settled here in Alliston Ontario I will be trying others in the future but I love the sound i have and the quality. His name can be found on the net and the groups he played with.


I'm biased but is good


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