I have been making Bodhran for about 8 years. The first drums I made are still in existence and are played regularly. I don't make a specific line of drums. My intention is to make each drum an individual musical instrument. I'd like to make several good drums per year. I seldom if ever make two drums the same. I am constantly experimenting with three basic parameters; shells, finishes and heads. I might take similar shells and trade heads in order to gauge the effects of each combination. I can for example make a shell from mahogany and get softer tones than if I make the shell from brighter sounding maple or birch. Diameter and depth also influence the sound of the drum. As does the thickness of the shell.
How I finish the shell makes a big difference. I am currently experimenting with epoxy and composite shells. I have finished drums with Epoxy, Paint, Shellac, Oil Based products and urethane/acrylic finishes.
Heads sounds can be affected by a number of parameters such as thickness and how the head is prepared. I use Goat, Calf, Deer and other skins to make heads. All sound different. Each head can be adjusted to sound differently. For example I just made a drum with a deerskin head that I process a few times till I got the sound I liked.
So each drum I make is unique in sound and feel.
Currently I am finishing up a batch of drums that include Two 14inch maple shells with some wonderful Australian goat heads that were initially prepared by my teacher and mentor Darius Bartlett to whom I owe much. I am also working on four 12X5.5 inch drums.12.5 inch Mahogany They have surprising sound, are fun to play and fit in your purse. Los Angeles Percussionist and Brodhran player Bruce Carver says he "can get 2 octaves from his mahogany 12.5 inch drum."
Hear the Firecracker Mini played by Los Angeles Studio Percussionist/Bodhran Player Bruce Carver.