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Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe

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John in Brisbane 17 Mar 98 - 01:49 AM
Barry Finn 17 Mar 98 - 02:30 AM
Jon W. 17 Mar 98 - 10:35 AM
Alan of Australia 17 Mar 98 - 05:28 PM
alison 17 Mar 98 - 07:02 PM
Jon W. 18 Mar 98 - 10:36 AM
Pete 19 Mar 98 - 06:54 PM
Dan Mulligan 20 Mar 98 - 08:38 PM
Jon W. 23 Mar 98 - 10:57 AM
John in Brisbane 25 Mar 98 - 09:26 PM
Ole Bull 01 Apr 98 - 07:53 PM
John in Brisbane 22 Apr 98 - 09:39 PM
Bob Bolton 22 Apr 98 - 10:04 PM
alison 23 Apr 98 - 04:42 AM
alison 23 Apr 98 - 04:46 AM
Jon W. 23 Apr 98 - 11:05 AM
Martin Ryan. 23 Apr 98 - 02:28 PM
Barry Finn 23 Apr 98 - 08:16 PM
Grubby 23 Apr 98 - 08:34 PM
Martin Ryan 24 Apr 98 - 03:59 AM
MarcB 24 Apr 98 - 03:07 PM
Grubby 27 Apr 98 - 04:14 AM
Ted from Australia 27 Apr 98 - 09:25 AM
Ted from Australia 27 Apr 98 - 09:28 AM
Ted from Australia 27 Apr 98 - 09:33 AM
Jon W. 27 Apr 98 - 09:49 AM
Alice 27 Apr 98 - 12:01 PM
Alice 27 Apr 98 - 12:04 PM
dick greenhaus 27 Apr 98 - 01:25 PM
Bert 27 Apr 98 - 03:00 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Apr 98 - 06:42 PM
Jon W. 28 Apr 98 - 11:16 AM
Bob Bolton 28 Apr 98 - 09:56 PM
Ted from Australia 30 Apr 98 - 06:26 PM
alison 30 Apr 98 - 07:47 PM
Ted from Australia 30 Apr 98 - 08:53 PM
alison 30 Apr 98 - 11:55 PM
Ted from Australia 01 May 98 - 07:50 AM
Bob Bolton 03 May 98 - 08:47 PM
Alice 10 Jan 99 - 09:31 PM
Jack Hickman 11 Jan 99 - 12:47 AM
John in Brisbane 11 Jan 99 - 06:23 PM
John Andrew 11 Jan 99 - 06:44 PM
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Subject: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 01:49 AM

It all started when I decided to help my 11 year old son with a school music project. His task was to select any folk song and to play (with the help of 3 class mates) at least one instrument from the song's country of origin.

Selecting the song was easy enough - Crooked Jack - and apart from the fact that I am not really sure of its exact origins, he was happy to accept the Irish roots of the tune and to teach himself and/or one other member of the budding folk group to play tin whistle.

"Dad, can you please buy a bodhran for me", asks my son.

"They cost about $120, how about I make one for you" replies the great white hunter, father-provider and rugged bronzed ANZAC. "I've seen some instructions on the Bodhran Home Page on the Web. Rather than waste the money on buying one, I'll buy a couple of green goat skins and treat and stretch the hides. It doesn't look that hard".

Buying the fresh hides was surprisingly easy, and at $6 (AUS) each I decided to buy two - that way my two kids could both have a drum each. The skins were a wee bit pongy, but had been salted and were only a few days old. (They are a by product of slaughtering feral goats in Western Queensland for human consumption in S.E. Asia).

Both goat skins had a goodly crop of hair, and because bodhrans require a bald finish, I consulted the instructions. My chosen path was to place them in a barrel of water to which lime was added. I presume that they meant garden lime rather than the tropical citrus fruit, and because the recipe was silent on the quantity I added about 1kg of the lime powder to about 50 litres of water. At the end of 'a few days' the theory is that the hair should be then loose enough to easily pull out.

The next day I left for interstate.

If you have never been to Brisbane, just a brief note about the climate. It is sub-tropical, and while technically at the start of autumn, temperatures are still warm enough. Day time max is about 35C (say 95F for our non metric friends) down to about 22C (72F) overnight, and most days Naturally enough given sufficient moisture Mother Nature is quite bountiful in this climate.

I didn't believe my wife's claims while I was absent that thw whole hide barrel was threatening western civilisation until my return a week later. The fact that it was a Sunday probably saved my neighbours from calling the local council to complain about the smell, but I have to admit it was pretty potent, was generating some minor effervescence and had a crop of maggots on top that were a sight to behold.

I may never know, but I think that it was my decision to add chlorine powder to the barrel - in order to neutralise the odour and the wildlife - that may have caused the final end. It foamed immediately like a witch's brew out of some B grade movie and spewed forth a foul DNA concoction of hide scraps, fatty deposits, goat hair, maggots and sundry unmentionables.

Could anyone please advise where in Australia I can source a ready prepared skin for a bodhran?

Happy Paddy's Day John


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 02:30 AM

Dominic Behan wrote Crooked Jack, using the tune of the Star Of The County Down. Can't help much about the rest, could suggest a cheap way to go, trying a small drum (tamborine size). Played in a session in San Francisco bout 17 yrs back & a guy brings in a bunch of small sized drums (drums weren't his main thing) from different cultures & they all went great with the Irish Music, didn't realize it to be Johnny Moyinahan (sp?) until he started up with a song. You might also have the makings of a good garden mix going, minus the maggots. The guy that made my drums, Mance Grady, used to anyway, buy his skins ready for the drum head, from a large slaughtehouse, I'm sure some of the drum makers on the Bodhran Page or on the newsgroup( rec.music makers percussion hand-drum ), would be more helpful. Good luck, Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 10:35 AM

Another method I've heard of is to just rub the lime onto the hair side of the skin (hardwood ashes are said to work also), roll the skin up, and put it in a trough of water for a few days. That would eliminate measuring the lime. Mind you, this is all stuff I read and not practical experience. I'd like to try it myself sometime though.

Actually you could probably just leave the hair on, clip it down short, and it wouldn't interfere terribly with the sound for a drum. I wouldn't recommend it for a banjo head though.

I've got a cousin who made some frame drums out of deerhide, should be similar. I'll try and get hold of him for more advice. For one of the frames, he used a automobile wheel trim ring, which worked pretty well except for being kind of hard to hold.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 05:28 PM

John,
Alison will probably respond to this message sometime today. She & another friend recently obtained a couple of skins which they are having made up by a professional bodhran maker somewhere in the blue mountains. She'll also tell you about the effect of the Sydney climate on bodhrans - they dry out quickly & need lots of water before being played, otherwise they go as tight as a drum! We played for a St Pats gig yesterday & she needed to add about half a cup of water each time she played it.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: alison
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 07:02 PM

Hi

You can buy a ready prepared skin at most good music shops for around $15, or from a tanner (they should have already done all the hard work for you.)

Having said that.......... I got fed up with my Irish one last year because it really HATED the Aussie weather and needed gallons of water to loosen and still only stayed playable for one tune at a time. so I decided to make one... I thought I'd do a small one to see how easy it was...... it's not!!. The skin is very difficult to get to the right tension, so in the end I bought an Aussie made one... thinking it might like the climate better... and it does sort of....... it lasts about 2 tunes between drinks!!

However a friend of ours built himself one using an old sieve and sheep skin.... it always plays well.

Another friend got one out of a Sydney music store for $50 and it's the best one I've ever played!!!

Have fun

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 18 Mar 98 - 10:36 AM

Click here to go to a Lark in the Morning catalog page where they sell bodhrans including one with an artificial skin, which they claim can be played in any weather conditions. Might cure your (and my) dry-weather woes.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Pete
Date: 19 Mar 98 - 06:54 PM

Alison & Alan are right when they say the climate where you live effects the tightness of the skin. I make Bodhrans here in Hobart Tasmania and the tension needs to be different compared to the ones I have brought from other parts of Australia. The way around the problem is to make a tunable one , where you can adjust the tension of the skin according to the conditions. If that can't be done it is just a case of trial and error to get the initial tention right. It's amazing just how much a wet skin will shrink during the drying process. It can be up to a third of its size depending on the individual skin.

As far as preparing the skin, I know what you mean John when you talk about the smell and the mess and don't forget the amount of nasty bacteria it creates. I don't bother now I just buy prepared skins and enjoy the rest of the making. The mass produced Bodhrans normally have a much thinner skin on them which adds to the tightening process much more in hot conditions. In my experience a slightly thicker skin give a better result in sound. But as with every thing it's a personal choice and there would be many people that would disagree with this opinion.

John If you require more info in relation to making you Bodhran you can conntact me at the following address

grubbco@netspace.net.au

regards Pete


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Dan Mulligan
Date: 20 Mar 98 - 08:38 PM

Rawhide goat skins are pretty easily attainable (with the hair already removed.) If you get one from a music store it will probably be intended for congas, and too heavy. They can be made usable though, by sanding them down with a large , flat sanding block. But it is much easier to start out with a lightweight skin.The "artificial skin" heads that Jon W. is referring to are made with "fibreskin" heads. They sound....... ok, but I don't think that you could build one. You have to tack the head while streatching it since soaking it will not give you any slack. The manufacturers of these drums have a special tool for this. When I tack the head on the soaked head is so loose that it sags at least for inches in the center when horizontal (and it is not nearly as dry here in Michigan as it is there.)I have done it with the hair left on, and later sanded the hair off in the center. It made for a very "barbaric " looking drum, with a very muted sound. Dan Dan


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 23 Mar 98 - 10:57 AM

One other material I've tried to research a little, but in the context of banjo heads rather than drum heads, is heat-shrinkable mylar. This is a plastic film that shrinks tight when heated with a blow dryer. So far I know of two commercial (retail) uses: large model airplanes and winter window insulation. Both seem a little thin to me. But since conventional mylar is used for both banjo heads (6-8 mil thick?) and drum heads (10-12 mil thick?) if the heat shrinkable variety is available in the greater thicknesses, it ought to do a good job for those of us who live in extremely dry or extremely wet climates where natural skins are somewhat unsuitable. Anyone know a source?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Mar 98 - 09:26 PM

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I will try again after Easter.

Regards John


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ole Bull
Date: 01 Apr 98 - 07:53 PM

Follow these instructions for do-it-yourself skin heads. Lay a sheet of polyethelene (visqueen) plastic on the floor of your barn more than twice the size of the hide. Set out the skin, hair up. Cover completely with hardwood ashes, don't skimp. Dampen down the ashes with a sprinkling can of water, it'll become like a paste. Cover over with the rest of the plastic and fold the edges over to hold in the moisture and drop a sheet of plywood over the whole thing to keep out the dog. In three to five days (depending on the temperature) check it with a putty knife, the hair should slide right off, if not, set a while longer or reapply if you have a stubborn spot. Not too smelly, little fuss, and not too much of a mess. Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 09:39 PM

If persistence counts as a virtue then I have at least one item to counteract my armory of vices.

Have contacted a local mylar supplier who will provide small quantities at (I think) a very reasonable rate - they had no clues about heat shrinking.

Jon W, you refer to drum heads being 10-12 mils thick. I presume that this is not expressed in millimetres, but rather as thousandths of an inch. Can you confirm please?

Ole Bull, I get to light a fire here only in the depths of winter, and then only on 6 - 8 occasions per season. I'll keep the ashes to try your technique.

Thanks John


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Apr 98 - 10:04 PM

G'day John and Alison;

I did hear a rumour that bodhrans could be made more stable with a humectant -specifically "Guiness" - poured over the skin to maintain the correct dampness longer.

This remains a rumour (a Folk Myth?), as I have yet to meet the folkie (especially the type that plays Irish drums and music) that would contemplate pouring a Guinness anywhere but straight into the mouth.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: alison
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 04:42 AM

Hi,

It's not true..... and Guiness is very bad for the skin (well ...the drum skin anyway.) Only water should be used.

I have just got a great tuneable bodhran (very reasonably priced too!!) from Earl Bartlett, in Hartley Vale NSW. Haven't had to use any water on it yet.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: alison
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 04:46 AM

Hi,

Just submitted a message to this but it didn't move up the list....... here goes again.

PS It's been raining here all week and my Irish bodhran is very happy again.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 11:05 AM

John, I believe you're right - mils means thousandths of an inch. It's how plastic thickness is measured, at least in the US. 2 mils = very thin disposable raincoat, 4 mils=mulch film for gardens, 6-10 mil = heavy duty plastic sheet used as vapor barrier in construction.

I doubt you will be able to get normal Mylar to shrink with heat, I think it's a special formulation. Another common application of the material is in tube form, as insulation for electrical connections - you slip the tube over the connected wires, heat it with a match or soldering iron, and it shrinks tight.

If you're going to go with non-shrink mylar, you'll need to have some mechanical means (tension hoop) to tighten it. This means a rim or "flesh hoop" of some sort around the edge of the head for the tension hoop to bear against. At that point you might as well break down and buy a commercial plastic drum head. I've been round and round this in my head and have always come to the same conclusion.

One more idea just struck me - a temporary tension hoop. I suppose this would properly be called a tensioning jig. Cut two large circles (hoops) out of 3/4" (19.5mm?) plywood, inside diameter just larger than your drum frame, outside diameter a couple of inches more, and one solid disk the same outside diameter. Sandwich the mylar between the hoops and clamp together with a bunch of C-clamps. Leave plenty of slack in the mylar, enough so that you can drop the drumhead over the drum frame and leave enough mylar exposed around the side to tack the mylar to the drum frame. Put the plywood disk under the drum. You can use large C-clamps over the disk and the hoops to pull the skin down tight before you tack it, or long bolts through the disk and hoops. Then remove the jig and trim the excess. Alternative to tacking - rout a shallow groove around the rim and use some kind of band to clamp the drumhead into the groove - maybe a few of the metal band clamps used for clothes dryer vent hose, fastened end to end, would work. Or, what the hey, just get some bailing wire and wrap it around a couple of times and twist it tight. Depends on how primitive you want to be. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 02:28 PM

Can I take it all you bodhran-fiends have the words of at least two good bodhran-songs?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 08:16 PM

Martin, try some of these songs with just Bodhran. Crooked Jack, Darby O'Leary, With My Swag Upon My Shoulder, Queenslander Overlanders, Geordie (Silly Sister's version), Matty Groves, Jack Haggerty, The Limerick Rake, see how you like these. Good Luck, Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Grubby
Date: 23 Apr 98 - 08:34 PM

My first contribution to this thread was under the name of Pete but now I have joined Mudcat I will be using my lifelong nickname of Grubby. Thanks Ole Bull for your suggestion re the dehairing of skins. I currently have two ready for preparation and have been putting it off because of the mess and smell. I now look forward to trying your method and report back. I'm with you Alison when you say Guinness is bad for the bodhran. The alcohol in the Guinness drys out the natural oils in the skin at a quicker rate than normal. Besides, the price I pay for a pint of of guinness here in Hobar,t the only place it should be poured is down my throat.

regards Grubby


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 03:59 AM

Barry,

I realised my posting was ambiguaous as soon as I sent it! What I meant was songs ABOUT bodhrans! There are at least two very funny ones in circulation in Ireland for the last few years - one by Brian O'Rourke, the other by Tim Lyons - both fine singers and songwriters.

Speaking of Brian: his magnum opus is a brilliant account of a mid-life crisis called "Chantal du Champignon"! Its twenty minutes long - so don't expect me to type it in! If I can scan in a copy I'll do so.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: MarcB
Date: 24 Apr 98 - 03:07 PM

this thread has been enlightening. I have a bodhran I ordered through a folk music shop in Alabama for about 50 bucks. It was made in Pakistan(So the Khyber Rifles must be till alive and well and hiding out somewhere).

It actually is a fine bodhran, except is in the high, tight end of things. I'm not sure what the head is made of, synthetic calf-skin or something would be my guess. Anyway, it's really tight so it lacks that great low sound that a goatskin has. And doesn't seem very variable with heat, moisture, etc.

So I've been contemplating either a) buying and stretching a new head on it or b)discovering some way to loosen up the existing head no matter it's material.

Given the above conversation anybody got some advice?

Cheers. Marc

Marc


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Grubby
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 04:14 AM

Marc I know the Bodhran you mean I owned one once. OK for getting started, but if you want to play seriously you should be looking to upgrade. Try applying a small amount of water to the skin before you commence playing (refer previous discussions in this thread) Because the skin on those Pakistan drums are so thin you will find it will continue to dry out while plasying, due to the heat from your hands. Just keep the water up to it. If you want a deeper sound replace the skin with a thicker one. I am afraid there is not much else you can do. They are what they are a $50.00 Bodhran

Regards Grubby


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 09:25 AM

Marc, try that great standby, Gaffa tape , stick some to the back of the skin it will soon get rid of that "high lonesome sound" and it's cheap. Does it for me on mine which was made from 18" tom from a drum kit and has a tunable mylar head. But no matter how much I let it off it simply wouldn't go low just flappy

Regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 09:28 AM

Also you get two bodhrans out of 1 tom abd we won't even start (or shall we ) to talk about baters. Regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 09:33 AM

and don't let the fear of technology (or someone else's fear)get in the way of a good sound and an unbreakable bodhran


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 09:49 AM

Is gaffa tape the Australian name for duct tape or electrical tape, or is it something else?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Alice
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 12:01 PM

Duct tape ...Reminds me of the way Uncle 'Red Green' would make a bodhran. Do you get the Red Green Show in Australia? (It's Canadian... we get it in Montana.)
www.redgreen.com

alice


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Alice
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 12:04 PM

.... never mind, I just checked Uncle Red's website, and saw that it is broadcast in Australia and New Zealand, also.
So, is Gaffa tape what we call duct tape?
Is this the beginning of an Australian Cultural Oddities thread?

alice


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 01:25 PM

Many years ago, and probably in a different galaxy, I was faced with the same thin-skin problem with a banjo head. My solution, which lasted or over a decade, was Con-tac self-adhering vinyl film (the stuff they sell for shelving. It comes in enough different patterns to satisfy anyon'es esthetic sense; I put it on the outside osurface of the banjo head, and had the only brick (that was the pattern) banjo in semi-capti


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Bert
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 03:00 PM

Oh Dick,
What a great story, a true folk instrument.

Someone should write a song about that.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Apr 98 - 06:42 PM

G'day Alice and Jon W,

Gaffa (Gaffer) Tape is not really Duct tape, eevn though musicians have come to think so. Gaffer tape is used by the "Gaffer" (Head lighting technician on a movie site - his offsider is called "Best Boy") to stick down anything loose in the lighting and cabling. Real Lowel brand Gaffer tape will hang a movie light off a rough brick wall (and costs as much as any other specialised movie product).

Musicians settle for cheaper duct tape and are cheered to know that they won't rip the brickwork away when they untape their mike leads. The description of duct tape as "Gaffa" (never "Gaffer"?) tape is becoming somewhat generic - even as a marking on cheap brands.

Gaffer is, of course, an old English term for an (or The) old man - a contraction of Grandfather. It was applied to what we now (influenced by the Boer term Baas) call a Boss.

For instance, in the Australian shearing song "The Backblocks Shearer" (about blade shearing, so it dates from before the introduction of shearing machines in the 1890s), the shearer (who claims he is about to "shear a tally" - do spectaculary better than usual) says: "Tomorrow you'll find me at my pen, when the gaffer rings the bell ... "

So: Gaffer (Gaffa) is an interesting survival of an old English term, originally used in most contexts, and remaining as a technical/trade term in the American film industry.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jon W.
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for the explanation, Bob. I remembered after I posted the question the term gaffer as in head lighting technician so I half-expected the answer would be electrical tape - the black vinyl stuff used to insulate electrical connections. But duct tape it is.

I found this article on making a cheap banjo and it contains a section on using a piece of synthetic drumhead for a banjo skin, sewing on a flesh hoop, and tensioning with wood screws, that might be germain to the current discussion of bodhran making.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Apr 98 - 09:56 PM

G'day again Jon W,

I would make a pedantic point and say that REAL Gaffer tape is not duct tape, but the (usually) silver-coloured cloth tape sold at mind-boggling price by movie supply houses and possessing legendary powers of adhesion. No musician uses this grade of tape because:

1/ No musician can afford it,

2/ The rolls are too small (as well as too pricey),

3/ Venue owners like you to successfully remove tape at the end of the gig!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 06:26 PM

Ok, the tape I used, whilst branded "Gaffa Tape" was obviously not "the real thing" it is black, only cost about $11.00 a roll 10 metres and 50mm wide (2"). However I put it on ten or more years ago and it's still stuck there. Interesting stuff about Gaffer/Gaffa origins and tape though ("tho" for the American cultural oddities thread) Has anyone got anything to say about baters (the thing you hit the bodhran with) I have a friend who is a talanted woodcarver who made one for me about 200mm (8") long with carved fists at each end, looks and plays great regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: alison
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 07:47 PM

Hi

I like one about 7.5 inches long with a bump about halfway. Your fingers tend to slide off the long thin ones if you're going fast!!!

Sorry Ted but you did ask....

I also have a couple of modified tippers. One has felt over the ends to give a more dampened sound. A friend of mine achieved the same effect by cutting the tips of the fingers off a pair of ladies leather gloves, stuffing the a bit, and supergluing them onto a bit of dowel.

I have another with lead in either end which gives a very precise sound.

My hubby made me a great brush. The books recommend that you get two nylon jazz type drumsticks and stick them together, I haven't found any nylon brushes yet, so I went to an art store, and bought two of the biggest brushes I could find and cut them approx 1.5cm behind the metal of the brush. Then he drilled a hole in one, put a screw in the other one and superglued the screw into the hole. It gives a great sound but the friction makes you arm get tired very quickly.

A small tipper is handy if you're playing very fast, you don't have to work your wrist so hard.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 08:53 PM

Thanks Alison I like the brush and leather tip ideas ,mever thought of that! I agree about the bump in the middle it would help.

I have some others made of various woods (don't ask me my woodcarver mate knows)[to me they are all bean, been a tree:-)] and of various weights for different sounds.

BTW he aso makes great wooden "bones" out of some very hard timber.

Tipper? to me they have aways been baters, but then again I am not Irish.

Regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: alison
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 11:55 PM

Hi,

If you don't have a bump in the middle...... it's easy to wrap an elastic band around it a few times. Keeps the fingers in place.

I've always known them to be tippers, beaters, or sticks.

And of course you don't necessarily need one at all... you can play with your hand.

(This is all starting to sound like a bad "Carry on" script.)

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 01 May 98 - 07:50 AM

Bad script indeed, Alison whatever do you mean? (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

regards Ted


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 May 98 - 08:47 PM

G'day: Ted from Australia,

I think I am about to jump threads here: maybe I should start a separate thread on wooden "bones". I seem to have entered another of my 7-10 years spaced obsessions with wooden "bones". One of my areas of interest is the effect on the development of Australian music traditions of the need for portable and improvised instruments. I keep getting references from old timers/stage players/etcetera to wooden "bones" ("you can't get the real old time, heavy bones - the 'ivory' ones - these days"). I would be very keen to correspond with your "woodcarver mate" about his experiences, wood types, designs, results, preferences, etcetera.

One of my troubles is that every one of these old blokes has a different idea of what is the best (or "only") timber suitable. One particularly frequent reference was to Lignum Vitae (now difficult to get due to CITES legislation). I did obtain some ~late '80s/early '90s from a friend at Naval Docks and have made several different designs but I have not covered all the other references.

I recently obtained some Tasmanian timbers, during a family visit, and have made "bones" of Tasmanian Blackwood (very successful from solid or steam-bent), Tasmanian Maple (not so good), Blackheart Sassafras (fair), Huon Pine (poor from heartwood but very good results from a flitch taken off the outer bole!).

I have also used some mainland timbers: Queensland Walnut (good, after some work), Coachwood (not too loud and does not steam-bend well), old Tallow Wood (too brittle - possibly just to well seasoned), (possibly) Red Ironbark (very good, but does not bend too well and the rather old plank I had was too thin to make up from solid or band-saw). I was given some Australian Purpleheart (a beautiful Mulga) but it was so hard that playing bones was like playing with two pieces of curved steel!

My reference piece is a pair of Brush Box bones Dad made about 30 years ago. These were band-sawn straight from the plank and are nearly perfect! - Well, I guess they keep me honest!

I would really like to discuss the subject with someone else that has experience of a range of woods - both with Australians, using our local woods and anyone else using their own timbers in America (or anywhere else). I guess I should post a copy of the appropriate bits of this rambling epic on a new thread "Dem Bones", but if you can pass on a contact for your woodcarving mate I would appreciate it. I might even post the words to Phyl Lobl's Woodturner's Love Song (one of my old favourites).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Alice
Date: 10 Jan 99 - 09:31 PM

refresh for new bodhran discussion


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: Jack Hickman
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 12:47 AM

The proper name for the stick used to play a bodhran is a tipper, or in Irish a cipin (pronounced kip-een.) If we're going to frequent the bodhran sub-culture, let's get the language right.

I prefer a long, thin cipin, about 9-10" in length, but fairly thin with a knob on either end. One end I have covered with a piece of soft fabric which serves to dampen the sound a little. I plan on replacing it with a soft leather, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I leave the other end bare for rim shots.

Works for me.

Jack Hickman


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 06:23 PM

Having started this thread a long time ago I can now report that my 12 year old son is now the proud owner of a fine instrument that we 'made' at the Woodford Festival on his birthday on New Year's Eve. OK, OK so everything was pre-cut to size, and pre-drilled, and the laminated rim was pre-assembled, AND the skin was already prepared. But it's the best $95 home-made bodhran that a boy could get for his birthday.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Bodhran Making - A Tale Of Woe
From: John Andrew
Date: 11 Jan 99 - 06:44 PM

Congratulations, John.

And I think it's worth more to your son, than had it come from a factory right out of a box!

Don't give up on the "project", though.

Best, John Andrew


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