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Bodhran

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rusty mahone 01 Jul 00 - 10:10 PM
Amergin 01 Jul 00 - 10:12 PM
Llanfair 02 Jul 00 - 04:58 AM
Peter Kasin 02 Jul 00 - 05:14 AM
sledge 02 Jul 00 - 08:47 AM
Rick Fielding 02 Jul 00 - 09:10 AM
katlaughing 02 Jul 00 - 09:57 AM
Big Mick 02 Jul 00 - 12:32 PM
Peter Kasin 02 Jul 00 - 03:20 PM
p.j. 02 Jul 00 - 03:43 PM
Ella who is Sooze 02 Jul 00 - 05:30 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 02 Jul 00 - 06:59 PM
Gary T 02 Jul 00 - 07:35 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 02 Jul 00 - 07:46 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Jul 00 - 07:53 PM
Peter Kasin 02 Jul 00 - 08:02 PM
rusty mahone 02 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM
alison 03 Jul 00 - 03:07 AM
Ella who is Sooze 03 Jul 00 - 04:44 AM
Ella who is Sooze 03 Jul 00 - 04:45 AM
Willie-O 03 Jul 00 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,MickyMac 03 Jul 00 - 11:52 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Jul 00 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayerwho doesn'tknowbette 03 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM
Big Mick 04 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM
GUEST,Barry Finn 04 Jul 00 - 07:04 AM
keltcgrasshoppper 04 Jul 00 - 09:43 AM
Callie 04 Jul 00 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Barry Finn 04 Jul 00 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Al Maguire 04 Jul 00 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Uncle Sam 04 Jul 00 - 11:22 PM
alison 04 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,Mike Ireland 14 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM
alison 14 Jul 00 - 10:37 PM
Gypsy 14 Jul 00 - 10:50 PM
Sorcha 15 Jul 00 - 12:13 AM
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Subject: Bodhran
From: rusty mahone
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 10:10 PM

I'm considering the purchase of a Bodhran. If you could give me any advice on this subject i would be most gratefull. I'd like advice on the purchase of the Bodhran and any tutor books, videos etc. And anything relavent. Cheers Rusty


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Amergin
Date: 01 Jul 00 - 10:12 PM

If you search in the dumpsters you might find a free one or two....


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Llanfair
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 04:58 AM

I've had a bodhran for a couple of years, but only recently was shown how to use it. I suggest you ask a player to show you how it's done, there's a definite knack!! Hwyl, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 05:14 AM

Northern California musician Chris Caswell has a Bodhran instruction video, sold through the Lark In The Morning stores in San Francisco and Mendocino. If there are any Irish sessions in your area, you might want to go to them and ask around. A warning, though: not to sound snobbish, but it really is an often mis-used instrument, with some players not bothering to dampen the sound and banging away at it. I'm a fan of drumming, so I'm not stating an anti-Bodhran preference, I'm just saying choose your teachers wisely. Good Bodhran players can really drive a session and give it lift.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: sledge
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 08:47 AM

I think the thing to do is play one first by borrowing one or sitting in on a session, get to know the thing.

Choose carefully ensuring it is solidly built with a good goat skin, try and forget those bloody awful ones with guiness harps etc. all over. The ideal size for beginning would be an 18", gives you a good size skin area to not miss.

Ignore the Bodhran knocking peasants.

Have fun and best of luck


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 09:10 AM

I had the distinct pleasure last week to play some music with one of the finest bodhran players I've ever encountered. She's Pam Swan (partner to Dave) and handles it with HUGE skill and sensitivity. Beautiful timing. One of the best musicians I've met in years.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 09:57 AM

Hi, Rusty,

If you go to the top of the Threads and put "Bodhran" in the Filter Box (the one farthest to the left as you look at it), than hit Go, you get a listing of all the threads etc. which have it in their titles. There are several which might be helpful, including "My Bodhran is too tight"; "Bodhran tips"; "Bodhran making - a tale of woe"; and, "Chieftains and the bodhran."

Good luck!

kat


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 12:32 PM

I would suggest that you go to the Ossian USA site and do a search on bodhran. The series that I like is the two book set by Stefan Hannigan. Its simple production will fool you, but it is a wonderful tutorial that teaches excellent basic skills. PJ, or Pam Swan, plays this style, while I play in the Kerry style. If I were going to recommend one to learn, I would recommend the style taught by Hannigan and so capably played by PJ. It is long on technique which will hold you in good stead no matter the seisun.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 03:20 PM

Rick Fielding -

I talked with PJ yesterday and she raved about playing music with you, so the pleasure was mutual. Motion seconded on her handling of the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: p.j.
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for the kind words, chantyranger & Mick (the checks are in the mail to both of you). And Rick, drumming with you truly was a great high for me, but dearie, aren't you worried about damaging your credibility by referring to a bodhran player as a "musician"? :o)

Rusty, for what it's worth I'll pass along some great advice I got when I started out. I was taught Kerry style first (which Mick plays very well). It's a hard-driving, very resonant style which can provide a great backbone for certain kinds of tunes. I think players get in trouble when they learn *only* that style, and then try to use it for everything.

The advice I got from Chris Caswell was to play Kerry for a full year without a beater, so you develop flexibility in your wrist and learn to exaggerate the motion (sort of like the "wax-on...wax-off" principle in Karate Kid). Then when your hand, arm and shoulder are so used to the style that you could do it in your sleep, pick up a heavy beater and (here's the important part) hold it *lightly*. Let your shoulder and the weight of the beater do most of the work for you, and muscle memory will do the rest. The beater becomes an extension of the back of your finger, and you won't have to backslap anymore for doubling, you can learn to double over with your beater.

I'm so glad that I started that way, it gave me a sense of energy and swing that is great to mix in with other styles, or to use on it's own when appropriate. After a year or so playing Kerry I started working with another GREAT bodhran player in San Francisco, Cormack Gannon. He has a style that's clean and elegant, but very rhythmic. He asked me to show him how I would play a polka Kerry, and when I did he asked me a pivotal question (in his sweet Irish accent) "Sure, dear, but why would you want to work that hard?"

It was the first step toward learning a much more subtle, delicate and intricate style that works really well for a variety of tunes. Listen to the drumming in Nomos, DeDanann, Orla & the Gasmen, you'll see what I mean.

One last thing, when you get your drum, get yourself a few great CD's and plan regular sesiuns at home for yourself, just you and the music. Pour yourself a pint, put on a group that makes you want to move, and REALLY WORK IT. It's a great way to pick up little riffs, figure out your own style, and make most of your mistakes in private before sitting in on live sesiuns. My favorites in the beginning were Solas, Orla & the Gasmen and Live at Matt Molloy's. It's also great to pick up a CD of single instruments (whistle, bagpipes, fiddle) playing tunes so that you can refine your playing one-on-one.

Best of luck to you Rusty, I hope you have great fun!

PJ


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 05:30 PM

Hi

Well, my first bodhran was a Malachy Kearns one... Since then I have had one commissioned by a fella who makes them -

I don't know if the videos are any good - I was taught at a music group (part of the chomhaltas Irish Music assosciations) I was shown the basics and all the rest I have learnt from listening to cds etc. And knowing two great bodhran players helps. If you can befriend the like - it is very valuable and 30 minutes with them would beat any video.

My tip for playing... (I teach kids) would be to hold the tipper lightly - like you would a pen resting it on your middle finger. The wrist action I would liken to flicking water off the tips of your fingers.

Don't worry about getting hits with the top part of your tipper - just concentrate on one end first the rest will come later as you practise.

Try to play along with a jig first in a plain running beat.

I agree with the advice posted earlier... don't bother with the touristy bodhrans with the pretty paintingson... You can pick up a good starter bodhran for around £50 - £60 a good price to pay.

Go to sessions (but don't play) and listen to other bodhran players - get chatting to them and you might get helps. We are a friendly lot...

Good tip - don't leave your bodhran in car boots (like dogs they melt) and don't expose to temp extremes.

A good bodhran player knows the tunes! So get to know as many tunes as you can. I like to try to replicate the tune with my bodhran playing. I am used to people in sessions I attend asking me what tune that is - and the key - etc. I usually know. Helps if you play other instruments too.

Most of all have a go - don't be afraid to seek advice and find lessons if you can. Hell I would give you lessons if I was nearby...

Good luck enjoy and have fun

Regards

Ella

Look out for a bodhran that has a nice skin tone - the ones with a nice skin marking (patches) can usually have a nice tone to them. Try to get a fairly thick one (though that may cost more) and twice a year or so give it a treat with a little clear dubbin rubbed in to moisturise and keep the drum nice.

Ta taaa


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 06:59 PM

My husband Dan makes some of the best Bodhrans available on the East Coast. I may be a little bias.. But really all of the comments here except for the dumpster bit have been good. I have played one for almost 25 years now, I learned by going to sessions and listening to the Chieftans, and DeDannan. Dont worry about all of the negative comments you'll hear they are usually ment in fun.. KGH


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Gary T
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 07:35 PM

Wait a minute, KGH--all of the comments here except for the dumpster bit ("If you search in the dumpsters you might find a free one or two....") have been good.--are you saying I may not find a free one that way? What a disappointment! (BG)


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 07:46 PM

Well you may find one, but it wouldn't be one that Dan built!!.. "BG"..


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 07:53 PM

Pam I don't throw the term "musician" around like a frisbee. You rate it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 08:02 PM

But you ought to see PJ throw her bodhran like a frisbee.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: rusty mahone
Date: 02 Jul 00 - 08:38 PM

Thanks for all the advice, you havent put me off yet. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: alison
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 03:07 AM

I agree with Mick, (surprise surprise).. the Stefan Hannigan, book and tape are a great way to learn, (the videos are good too)... the only thing I disagree with is the suggestion that you buy an 18 inch one..... it depends on how big you are..... I think the 16 inch ones are more comfortable to play......

Big Mick has a HUGE bodhran (22 inches Mick?)... but that is a good size for a big man like him... but I couldn't play one that size.......

basically what I'm saying is find one that's comfy for you..... it should be able to fit partially under your arm in comfort....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 04:44 AM

Agrees with Alison on the comfort thing. You have to be able to play the bodhran comfortably.

By the way I know that Chomhaltas have branches all over the world...

I can't do the blue clicky thing but I am going to have a go... click here

Keep everything crossed. Anyway, I think they have lists of branches - if you contact them you may be able to join, or find out about classes the local branches hold near you. They have regular sessions, and usually have regular lessons - plus it is usually a good social thing too.

have fun!

Ella


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 04:45 AM

Blimey it worked.

Faints in amazement. And dances round the room.

That's their web site by the way - in my excitement I forgot to tell you what the blue clicky thing was...

E


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Willie-O
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 09:45 AM

Pam is that good...she starts a song and guitarists comme moi stop playing, cause we can't quite figure out what key she's in, and don't want to make any noise that would interfere with people hearing the bodhran, which is functioning as a complete band! (Bass, melody and rhythm). I ain't kidding and neither is Rick!

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,MickyMac
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 11:52 AM

Fred Jorgensen of Newfoundland based Fine Crowd, master of the bodhran and tin whistles, and drink plenty of Guinness!!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 12:03 PM

MY GOD! FRED IS THE GENE SIMMONS OF CELTIC MUSIC!!!*

Rick

* ask your kid, or your nostalgia rock friends!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayerwho doesn'tknowbette
Date: 03 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM

I would recommend a smaller diameter drum (14" is ideal, but failing that 16" is still better than 18"). I use a 14" bodhran made by Albert Alphonso (www.celticmusic.com)with a small footstool to raise my left leg and to help keep me upright. (I have a tendency to lean forward when I play and this keeps me from overdoing it.) Iwould strongly recommend lessons with a live person as opposed to (or in addition to) a tape. It's easy to think you are following a tape correctly and an instructor can give you feedback based on your playing and help correct any mistakes you might be making. You don't want to end up practicing a mistake until it feels right. It's hard to learn but it can be even harder to unlearn!
As far as a choice of drums I absolutely love Albert's bodhran's but he is expensive, and you wouldn't want to spend that much money on a drum just to see if you really want to play it or not. Seamus O'Kane in Derry makes a good drum and is supposed to be reasonably priced. Brendan White (from Holland) makes a nice drum but I don't know what his prices are like. Look for a thicker skin if you have a choice and definitely go for a tunable drum if you can. It's worth the extra expense. A couple of don'ts: Don't buy a bodhran wiyh a beer label (or any painting, for that matter) on it. Guinness drums are nice things for a tourist to hang on his wall but that's about all they're good for. And PLEASE don't borrow a drum and play it at a session before you learn to play it. I wouldn't go to a session and borrow somebody's box or pipes to see if I wanted to learn.
Best of luck,
Rich

Feel free ro contact me if you want: rrayburg@hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM

I am not sure where you are at, but some of the best sounding drums anywhere are being made by Fred Halpin in Montreal, Canada. One need only look at the folks playing them to know he is onto something. The secret in a good sounding drum is always in the skin. Fred uses a thick goatskin with his own tanning process. He has also devised a tuning system that is the best I have ever seen. Amazing instruments. If you do a websearch, he has a site.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 07:04 AM

Try this resource, the Bodhran Page, you'll find more info there than you can shake a stick at (very bad). I'd have to go along with buying something cheap until you're sure about having a go at it or not, it also gives you time to develop a personal taste for what you'll eventually want in a drum (same thing goes for a tipper) & what you'll eventually want the drum to do for you. If you're stuck & you don't have much choice but learning on your own then get a few different learning tapes/CD's (you'll find a few on the bodhran page) as well as a few different tapes/CD's on people that have recordings that push the bodhran to the forefront (see Mance Grady of B.P.). Still nothing beats a good teacher/player. The session route is a hard nut to crack. Most sessions don't really want a beginner & on the other hand any decent session wouldn't think of discouraging the beginner either. If you find a teacher, after a bit you could ask them if they'd mind you joining in their session for a couple of tunes, that way your progress can also be looked at. Maybe you can mention where abouts your from, someone here may know of a teacher close at hand. Good Luck, Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 09:43 AM

Still say that Dan's Bodhrans are the best. He uses only the best thick skins he can get his hands on. The drums are not tuneable, in a mechanical sense. We feel that this takes away from the real sound. You can tune them easily with a spray of water. KGH


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Callie
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 09:52 AM

I learnt heaps just by buying one and then watching people who could really play and trying to copy them.

Things I wish I'd known before buying my current bodhran:

1. If the drum is practically see-through, it's too thin. You're unlikely to bash through it, but the sound quality won't be tops. 2. better to buy one that has tightening bits on the insides. Once mine gets too floppy (as in, whenever it rains), it's practically unusable unless I can find a fire or heater to warm it on. 3. Don't under-estimate the power of a good tipple. The one that came with the bodhran was hopeless, but I now have one that is the perfect shape etc for my wrist.

Happy drumming! Remember, no matter how annoying your friends might consider you, keep reminding them how lucky they are you're not playing spoons!

Callie


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:52 AM

I can't do links but I did mean to at least give you the address for the Bodhran Page. http://ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/
Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Al Maguire
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 05:55 PM

The best bodhrans can be obtained from Albert Alfonso in Dallas, TX. You can find him on the internet at Celticmusic.com/alfonso_bodhrans/. He only makes up to a 16", but that is all you need. One of the best players I ever heard, Mark Stone, plays a 14". Make sure it is tunable. Alberts have a brass tuning ring. I have seen good Bodhrans for Scotland with a wood ring by Belgath Bodhrans. I like Alberts drums better. I play a 16" but thinking about a 14". If you can get to the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas March 2-3 I think, Albert will be there with drums for sale. He will also make them special order to you specifications and tone requirements, but do dare ask him for a cross bar.

Slan! Al


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Uncle Sam
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:22 PM

What's the rule about putting pictures in threads?
Micky Mac, you look ridiculous


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: alison
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM

better to put the pics somewhere else and put a link to them from the thread... otherwise the threads take too long to load....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: GUEST,Mike Ireland
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 05:58 PM

Hi As a Bodhran player I follow these threads with tongue in cheek as I know some smartass twoapenny insecure banjo/gutiar/fiddle player (grin) is going to come up with some comment that they think is funny.

The advice above is very good, don't buy a 'tourist' drum with thin skin and fancy graphics painted on it. If you buy a drum buy a good one from a reputable maker it will last a lifetime.

One such maker is Eamon Maguire here in Belfast. His tunable drums are not very expensive and he sends them all over the world.

Get a few good forceful traditional CDs and play away with them at home. Get the simple beat/s and build on it/them with practice.

I don't know how to make blue clickity things but Maguires web site is below.

http://www.ogham.irl.net/

Mike


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: alison
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 10:37 PM

Must check him out when I'm home,

thanks Mike

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Gypsy
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 10:50 PM

Find a friendly player and stare at them while they play. If you aren't ready to play along, at least mimic their moves "air bodhran" It helps alot. I still play it better when the local expert is jamming with us, and I can copy him.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran
From: Sorcha
Date: 15 Jul 00 - 12:13 AM

1) Buy a tuneable.
2) Check out beater/tipper styles, there are several
3) Don't forget to loosen the tunable when you put it away
4) Water only on the head, don't use Guinness.........


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