From concept to creation
The Signature Drum
When it came to designing this signature line, I knew exactly what I was looking for in one drum particularly after having had the opportunity to test out and give feedback on all of these drums.But achieving what I wanted was no small feat. I wanted a drum that sounded completely balanced across the frequency range and responsive whether tuned low or high. As my playing is a hybrid of ‘bottom end’ and ‘top end’ style, I wanted something that was a ‘one stop shop’. It’s important to have a drum that can respond musically to whatever is required, especially for studio work. Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve played all different sizes of bodhráns but in the past few years I seem to be most comfortable on the smaller frame. My style of playing lends itself towards having a clear tone and few harmonics. The tape around the rim, which has been popular with drum makers for several years now, helps control unwanted overtones/harmonics. However, to my ears, with the smaller frame you get much more of the fundamental frequency and it is very precise. This is extremely useful when playing bass lines etc. but also in an ensemble setting where it takes up less of the spectrum. However, I realised that I wanted this drum to be slightly bigger than the one I had been using. This is because of my posture when playing. My approach has always been about being as relaxed as possible when playing, though I’ve found with the 12” & 13″ drums I tend to be more hunched over the drum. This is something that concerned me a lot, as I was becoming aware of the stresses on my back and shoulders. So here was the next challenge. Increase the diameter without losing any of the benefits of the smaller shell. After discussing it with Christian, we decided to try 35cm (14”), and for the depth to remain at 15cm (6”) and we’d use the ‘DRAGONSkinSpicy’ to achieve the sound I was looking for. The skins chosen for this drum reflect my own playing preference. I apply a lot of pressure to the skin when playing and therefore turn the drum constantly to prevent excessive wear on one area and to keep the tuning even. For this reason, I prefer the skin to be consistent all over and without the thicker part from the spine/backbone that can be quite common on bodhráns.
When deciding on the finished look of this bodhrán, I wanted something that was understated. Something which reflected my own personality. We settled on a sunburst finish, from grey to black, which really draws you in to the concave shape of the frame. Rather than continuing this finish to the inside, we felt that the natural beech interior complemented this and worked well together.