How to Make a Bodhran
Have you ever wanted to build your very own bodhran? Now’s your chance!
What will you need to build your very own bodhran? First, you need to start by buying your very own DIY bodhran making kit.
What You’ll Need
16” Plain Bodhrán Rim.
20” Goat Skin.
2 Dowels for cross bars.
14 Upholstery Studs.
1 Length of Webbing.
4 3.0×20 screws for securing cross bars.
1 Circle of 20mm elastic.
Wood Glue. (Blue Bostik)
- Sand the rim to a smooth finish.
- Cut the dowels to length to fit middle of rim in X shape. This is to keep the integrity of the bodhrán shape.
- Fit the dowels and secure them with screws.
- Before varnishing, allow 20mm at the front of the rim to allow the skin to be glued to the raw timber. Note: the skin will not glue to varnish. This can be done by taping 20mm masking tape around the outer top of the rim
- Varnish the rim and cross bars. Allow to dry and remove masking tape. It can be varnished with a natural finish or stained finish if required.
- Soak the skin for 30 minutes in cold water until soft and pliable, and allow the excess water to drain off.
- Apply glue to the bare timber at the top of the rim and smoothly draw the skin over the front. Secure with elastic. Note: Make sure that the skin is taut over the rim.
- Cut off excise skin below the elastic with scissors. Allow to dry overnight.
- When dry, remove the elastic and fit the webbing supplied with upholstery pins. These pins have to be cut shorter (approx. ¼ inch shorter) with pliers, so as not to protrude through the rim.
Congratulations! Your bodhran is now ready to play. We hope you have many years of enjoyment with your new instrument!
What is a bodhrán stick called?
The ‘stick’ used to play the bodhrán is often called a cipín, tipper, or a beater.
What is the best bodhrán for beginners?
The best bodhrán for beginners is a lightweight non-tuneable bodhrán with a plywood rim depth of approximately 4.5 inches and a 14” or 16” diameter across the head. Cross bars also help the beginner bodhrán player to position and hold the bodhrán while playing.
Where does the bodhrán originate from?
There are many theories on this but one that seems most likely is that the bodhrán originated from Persia and can be traced back to over several millennia ago. In its original form it was used for the act of winnowing, i.e separating seeds. This would appear to be the origin of the basic frame drum template for most of the other frame drumming cultures.
How do you say bodhrán?
Bodhrán is pronounced [BOW] [RAWN] – BOW as in ‘Wow!’ and RAWN like ‘Brawn’ or ‘Faun’