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Bodhran - care of - any advice

GUEST,Rich 30 Jan 08 - 05:27 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 08 - 05:34 AM
redsnapper 30 Jan 08 - 05:51 AM
redsnapper 30 Jan 08 - 05:52 AM
Ella who is Sooze 30 Jan 08 - 07:07 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Jan 08 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 30 Jan 08 - 07:49 AM
Tig 30 Jan 08 - 08:44 AM
gnu 30 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Jan 08 - 09:22 AM
Mr Happy 30 Jan 08 - 09:26 AM
redsnapper 30 Jan 08 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Rich 30 Jan 08 - 09:42 AM
Mr Happy 30 Jan 08 - 09:50 AM
gnu 30 Jan 08 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Rich 30 Jan 08 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 30 Jan 08 - 10:38 AM
The Sandman 30 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM
Midchuck 30 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM
catspaw49 30 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM
BanjoRay 30 Jan 08 - 12:32 PM
coldjam 30 Jan 08 - 02:36 PM
Jack Campin 30 Jan 08 - 06:35 PM
Tig 30 Jan 08 - 06:41 PM
Barry Finn 30 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM
MaineDog 30 Jan 08 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Jan 08 - 11:36 PM
Stewart 30 Jan 08 - 11:42 PM
Greg B 31 Jan 08 - 12:22 AM
skarpi 31 Jan 08 - 02:23 AM
Ruth Archer 31 Jan 08 - 02:55 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jan 08 - 03:19 AM
Llanfair 31 Jan 08 - 04:38 AM
Folkiedave 31 Jan 08 - 06:33 AM
Dave Hanson 31 Jan 08 - 06:38 AM
Leadfingers 31 Jan 08 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Ray 31 Jan 08 - 11:44 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jan 08 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Curmudgeon 31 Jan 08 - 03:43 PM
Jack Campin 31 Jan 08 - 05:44 PM
gnu 31 Jan 08 - 07:47 PM
Dave Hanson 01 Feb 08 - 03:05 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Feb 08 - 03:54 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 08 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Rich 01 Feb 08 - 07:29 AM
redsnapper 01 Feb 08 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,Rich 01 Feb 08 - 09:10 AM
Jon Nix 01 Feb 08 - 09:20 AM
Jon Nix 01 Feb 08 - 09:21 AM
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Subject: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 05:27 AM

I recently bought a second hand Bodhran. I have been told to use a little water on the inside of the drum, to help stop it drying, however, I wanted to know whether I should be doing anything else to help maintain the skin.

For example, should I be using some kind of oil or dubbing or something on the outside of the skin to stop it cracking over time?

Any advice on this subject would be most appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 05:34 AM

I used to use (very sparingly) a lanolin-based hand cream, maybe once a month if you're playing regularly. Lanolin is made from sheep oil (I used to love rolling fleeces on a local farm because it made my hands so soft!), which seems a logical thing to use on goat skin.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: redsnapper
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 05:51 AM

A little water dabbed with a sponge or sprayed lightly on the inside will help in adjusting the tension if too tight and the bodhran is not tunable.

The oil from your hands should be sufficient for the skin (I suffice with that and do not apply anything extra) but a little lanolin or neatsfoot oil could also be used very sparingly if you wish.

RS


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: redsnapper
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 05:52 AM

P.S. I expect the razor blade merchants will be along soon! Just ignore them!

RS


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 07:07 AM

I endorse what redsnapper said...

Maybe, and MAYBE IF the drum skin does feel dry and unused for a while then a bit of oil or dubbin (not much) and then just play it. The oil from your hand will be enough to keep it going.

ewis


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 07:09 AM

Hydrofluoric acid works very well but don't get it on your hands.

eric


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 07:49 AM

My bodhran is a cheap non-tunable bought from Hobgoblin about 25 years ago.
I apply Neats foot oil once a year to both sides of the skin, leave overnight and wipe off the excess. Don't expect to play it for another day as the skin slowly re-tightens.
For decoration I have used Windor and Newton's inks applied with a small paintbrush rather than a pen. This was applied before any oil!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Tig
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 08:44 AM

I once made the mistake of allowing a friend to apply neetsfoot to my much loved and very old bodhran. It was unplayable for weeks! As the others have said a drop of water if it's really being awkward - a small damp sponge rubbed over the INSIDE is usually enough. The oil from your hands should be sufficient to keep the skin supple.

My bod is now 30+ and played regularly. It's skin is superb.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: gnu
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM

And, that there wax what some sell... no.

Whatever you use or do.... start with the smallest amount possible and see how it goes. If you use or do too much of anything, you can render a Hran useless.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:22 AM

Anything that can render a Hran ? what the feck is a Hran ? is this text speak or code or what ?

Anything that can render a bodhran silent must be a bonus.

eric


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:26 AM

Make sure you get the right stuff!

Guide & description here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neatsfoot_oil


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: redsnapper
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:30 AM

I agree only for a badly played bodhran Eric. Or particularly for the dreaded "bodhran section". A well-played bodhran however is an excellent addition to a session in my opinion.

RS (stringed instrument player but also used to teach bodhran)


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:42 AM

Thanks folks, I think from the sound of it I shall stick to a light water spray on the inside before playing. It is a tuneable one, so I can always loosen it off a bit if I need to.

I was really wondering whether it aged/ cracked if nothing else was applied but from the sounds of it, that doesn't look like its a problem.

I'm pleased with the one I got, I went for a good quality second hand (Malachy Kearns) as opposed to a cheap new one, so i'm hoping it will last.

Oh and while were on, is removing the cross beams completely safe, with respect to the strength of the Bodhran? or are they important structurally? Mine has two and it is difficult to get any movement up and down the drum with my support hand as a result.

Many thanks for the helpful comments,
Rich.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Mr Happy
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:50 AM

'it is difficult to get any movement up and down the drum'

Are you playing it on the right side?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: gnu
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:55 AM

I also have a Kearns tuneable... love it. Do not remove the "cross beams". You'll get the hang of it.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 10:37 AM

Yes Mr Happy I'm playing it correctly, the cross beams make it difficult for me to move my left hand around on the inside of the drum against the skin, while playing it with my right.

Cheers Gnu, I'll leave them on!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 10:38 AM

A bloke I used to know, who fancied himself as a sort of re-incarnated Celt (I think that that was the word he used?), used to rub Guinness into his bodhran - but then he was as mad as a hatter!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 10:54 AM

be careful, if you play too much you could turn into a goat.
aka the Third Policeman.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Midchuck
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM

One of these will do a good job of taking care of a bodhran.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM

My old friend Redsnapper is always on target as he is here. Excellent advice. Now to aid in the truth of the rest of his post, let me suggest:

Buy some tape that leaves no residue when removed and use it to tape off all openings in the frame of the Bodhran. To avoid added "mess" also cut to pieces of thin plywood to sort of box in the drum. I know this will all sound like a lot of work but the end result is worth it. Go to your local aquarium store and buy some high quality silica sand. The higher grade is most easily acquired from aquarium retailers and it is more pure and of a finer and smoother grit. Buy enough to fill the inside of the Bodhran. You will then also need about a pint each of glycerin, neatsfoot, vinegar, and olive oil. Mix those 4 together as best you can. The better you mix it the better it works together.

You're now ready to treat the instrument. Again, I'm sorry for all the hard work this takes but once done you will never have to repeat it and it will provide everything the Bodhran needs to last a lifetime! Place the drum, open end up on one piece of plywood. Fill the inside, previously taped as I described above, with the silica sand, and spread evenly. Give your mixture a final stir and then completely saturate the sand with it. Place the other piece of wood on the top and use duct tape to secure the two pieces of wood together. You may need some help in doing this but be careful not to spill out any sand mix or put undue pressure on the outside of the drum head. When lifting or moving the instrument be sure to keep it flat.

Okay, almost finished. This final step can be taken at anytime over the following two weeks but you know your own schedule so set aside an hour to complete the process. On whatever day you choose take the wrapped Bodhran to the nearest body of water and submerge it in a deep part. Go home and promise yourself you will never buy another one of these damn things.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: BanjoRay
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 12:32 PM

Never strike the skin of a bodhran with anything - it's very bad for it.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: coldjam
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 02:36 PM

Spaw, you're a vewwy bad widdle kiddy.

I used a small amount of lanolin on mine and haven't needed to do it again, I wouldn't us Guiness or any drink as the sugar and stuff might eat away at it, or make it smell funky at the very least!

I pretty much beat the heck out of mine, using it as an native american drum and sound effects for songs. I almost never mute it, which would probably make me unwelcome at a celtic jam. I sometimes pour a small amount of water inside to loosen it, but it's tricky-too much and it only thuds. I like the idea of a spray and will run right out and get one!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 06:35 PM

I'm getting lots of skin care ads served up by Google when reading this thread.

Oil of Ulay ought to work, surely? Or treat it with Avon SkinSoSoft and use it to keep insects as well as musicians away?

I've got a def which I bought in Urfa - similar to a bodhran but no crossbar and with a "snare" made of linked rings like chain mail. It's developed white spots which I suspect are some kind of microbial growth. I've treated it with antifungal foot powder and it seems not to be getting any worse, but I'm just guessing the right treatment.

You get much more spectacular problems with those African drums made of hide with the hair on. I have one that has most of the hair eaten off by an infestation of clothes moth, and a friend of mine has one that occasionally showers him with live maggots when he plays it.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Tig
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 06:41 PM

A drop of Guiness was given to mine to 'Christen' it by some of my friends when it was new. Since they are VERY well know Irish musicians who's father also made bodhrans I trusted them - and my skin didn't look back until it was hit by neetsfoot (see earlier posting).

Luckily it has now recovered!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM

Stay away from anything that's not organic, nothing with chemicals, never. My son's drum is probably 25+yrs (my old one) & my new one is 12 yrs this winter (both are Mance Grady drums). I've never used anything more than water & what ever oils seeps out of my skin & the've both been a wonder. Check out the articals on the Bodhran Page


Good Luck
Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: MaineDog
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 09:44 PM

A friend of mine who plays such things advises me that one should bury it in the ground for several years (while you may rethink the value of playing it in public). No shit, its good for the skin.
MD


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 11:36 PM

My husband plays, and we got our advice from a man who played for 15 years before him.

The skin is sensitive to humidity. When it is too dry, it sounds like a cymbal(sp?). Rub water into it with a circular motion. Be sure that you get water into every bit of the drum head, not leaving any dry patches, which might break.

When it's too wet, it becomes floppy and loses resonance. Sorry I don't have any advice on how to dry it out best. Obviously, gently and evenly. Some people use a hair dryer at a safe distance, or so I'm told.

We never put any kind of oil on our drumheads.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Stewart
Date: 30 Jan 08 - 11:42 PM

There's a Hole in My Bodhran by Les Barker
To the tune of "There's a Hole in the Bucket"

Oh I've got a bodhran, dear Liza, dear Liza
Oh I've got a bodhran, dear Liza, a bodhran

Oh good, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Oh good, dear Henry, dear Henry, oh good!

With what shall I play it, dear Liza, dear Liza
With what shall I play it, dear Liza, with what?

With a pen knife, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
With a pen knife, dear Henry, dear Henry, with a pen knife

There's a hole in my bodhran, dear Liza, dear Liza
There's a hole in my bodhran, dear Liza, a hole!

Oh good, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry
Oh good, dear Henry, dear Henry, oh good!


Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Greg B
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 12:22 AM

Depending upon where you live or travel, the head can really dry out.

Good guitar stores sell a guitar case humidifier designed to keep fine classical guitars from drying out and cracking.

You can simulate same by taking a small (couple ounce) food container
and making holes or slots in the top. Then put a damp sponge inside and
and keep it in the case (you do have a case) with your drum.

You might also find a humidity device at a cigar store.

Check on it every so often and make sure that you're achieving the
right balance.

That cigar store will have a humidity meter that may be useful.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: skarpi
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 02:23 AM

firts of all , no acid this is a crime to tell people to use that
acid, and secondly , a HRAN is just a BodHRAN .

got it brb.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 02:55 AM

"You get much more spectacular problems with those African drums made of hide..."

indeed - in the news recently was a chap who played one at a village hall drumming workshop. The beating of his hands released anthrax spores, which he inhaled. What a bizarre and unfortunate way to die.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 03:19 AM

I believe that holding it over a blazing fire helps the sound; the closer the better.
Don't worry too much if it begins to smoulder.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Llanfair
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 04:38 AM

I use my non-tuneable one every week at the market. If the weather is very damp, the skin slackens, so I run it under the hand dryer for a minute till it tightens up again.
Sounds fine to me.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Folkiedave
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 06:33 AM

Sorry I don't have any advice on how to dry it out best.

You could try a flamethrower.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 06:38 AM

Or napalm ?

eric


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 07:07 AM

Perhaps we should have a Permathread for all the 'Anti' jokes ? Or perhaps one for each instrumment ?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 11:15 AM

I strongly suspect that the people who post all these snotty remarks have never gone to concerts and heard fine bodhran playing.   I picture them spending their lives in basement rooms (painted white) and surrounded by drying pizzas and empty chip bags. Glued to their keyboards, they search for people to insult.

Ignore them. They are just another branch of the 'you shut up and just buy recordings' brigade.
=====
I would not use one of those humidifiers discussed above in my bodhran case because I don't think it could be trusted to humidify the skin evenly.

(I got the warning about even moisture for the drumhead from a woman whose college major was percussion music.)


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 11:44 AM

'fraid I'm one of the stanley knife brigade. Yes, there are people who can play them but 99% of those who turn up to sessions with them seem do so because they haven't a musical bone in their body. I was encouraged by the news last year that an ethnic drum make suffered a bout of anthrax from untreated shins.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 02:36 PM

'I strongly suspect that the people who post all these snotty remarks have never gone to concerts and heard fine bodhran playing.'
I live in an area where you can't throw a stone without hitting an excellent fiddler flautist, concertina player, piper - yo name it -we've got it.
I have lost count of the number of excellent sessions naused up by visiting bodhran players.
The bodhran is an extremely intrusive instrument and if it is badly, or even indifferently played, the effect can be devastating.
There are other instruments that can have a detrimental effect on the sessions, but bodhrans appear to be the chosen weapons taken up by those biding their time until they can master a real instrument.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Curmudgeon
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 03:43 PM

As James Galway once said "I am a flute player, not a flautist. I don't have a flaut and I've never flauted".

Jim Carroll if you're going to show your ignorance about our music please get your terms correct.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 05:44 PM

The bloke who got anthrax from his drums was making djembes out of roadkill in the Scottish Borders. (He was a Buddhist and doing it the cruelty-free way). No African products involved.

"Curmudgeon", you either haven't read any of Jim Carroll's postings or you are *extremely* stupid.
It's a great privilege to have someone with Jim's depth of knowledge on this forum.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: gnu
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 07:47 PM

Aye, and Tom's. Easy lads... easy.

Says Ray : "Yes, there are people who can play them but 99% of those who turn up to sessions with them seem do so because they haven't a musical bone in their body."

Ray... me ZON? Where do ye come from what would say that 99% of the population ere so fookin stooned what they can't even keep a beat? I'll bet that yer friends and relatives is just proud O you right now as ta crown ye.

Drink lots of cold water and walk slow, eh.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:05 AM

I strongly suspect guest leeneia has had a sense of humour bypass.

I banjo, so I know all about instrument jokes, and love them all.

eric


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:54 AM

Curmugeon,
Here in Clare 'The Home of Traditional Music', musicians refer to themselves as either, depending on how they have come to the music. The same applies to 'violinists' and 'fiddle players'.
All of which does not in any way alter the detrimental effect that bodhrans can have on the music, and the bad manners and insensitivity that all-too-often accompany them.
In fairness, bodhran players are not the only culprits, but they predominate here, especially during the summer months, probably because of the portable nature of the instrument, coupled with the fact that making some sort of an display seems to take the least effort and talent. Most other instrumentalists I know of appear to have attempted to arrive at a certain level before they appear in public, not so with the bodhran. There used to be a saying when I worked in the building trade, "If you can piss, you can paint"; in the same way, around here they say, "if you can scratch, you can play the bodhran".
Whatever my personal tastes, there does seem to be a plague of visitors who choose to practice in public on them in our sessions, which does nothing for either the music or the reputation of the instrument.
Jim Carroll
Sorry - all this is a sore point with me -which may be stating the obvious.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:42 AM

From Jack Campin:
"The bloke who got anthrax from his drums was making djembes out of roadkill in the Scottish Borders. (He was a Buddhist and doing it the cruelty-free way). No African products involved."


From The Telegraph:
"It was previously thought that Christopher "Pascale" Norris was infected by contaminated hides he used to make drums himself.

But the NHS Borders report said he is likely to have contracted the illness after playing or handling anthrax-contaminated West African drums at a drumming workshop."

Anthrax is extremely uncommon in British wildlife: only 4 cases have been reported in the last 10 years, apparently. So badger and squirrel drums are, it would seem, perfectly safe.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 07:29 AM

Just wanted to say thanks for all the genuine advice, and thanks for the jokes and the good-natured p_ _ _ taking, I particularly liked the Gatling Gun link from Midchuck and the lengthy one from catspaw49 - I thought it was genuine until near the end!

However, I am disappointed that another Mudcat thread goes beyond good natured banter. You just can't seem to reign yoursleves in can you. I don't think statements such as "bodhrans appear to be the chosen weapons taken up by those biding their time until they can master a real instrument." are necessary, good natured or humorous. Also, given this thread was started by someone (me) who has recently acquired said instrument, do you not think it is a little unnecessary?

Also, you'll never know whether your generalisation applies to me or whether I am going to ruin a session, because you have no idea of whether I play anything else, why I want to play the Bodhran, where I intend to play it, whether I want to play it at a session at all or whether I'll be any good. Anyway, now I'm getting drawn in.

I think I will still visit Mudcat to keep an eye on things, but I will be disinclined to post again. I was going to post a thread to ask about tuition, but sod that I think I'll just search the internet while I listen to Christy Moore's 'The Hackler from Grouse Hall'.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: redsnapper
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:00 AM

I did warn you to ignore them Rich!

It happens all the time (and I've been here the best part of nine years). Some people just can't resist posting half-baked, mean comments. I hope however you'll continue to post as the good does outweigh the bad here.

RS


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:10 AM

RS - you're right you did warn me, I should have listened!!


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jon Nix
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:20 AM

The vehemence against bodhran players is mostly expressed by those who cannot play themselves.
Both instruments require a lot of skill to play well.
Certainly a poorly played bodhran is painful to hear, but no more so than any other instrument played badly.
A well played bodhran is a delightful accompaniment to some (but not all) tunes. Personally, I love Christy Moore's use of the instrument.
But then it is always a matter of taste.

I'm sorry that Tom Carroll, whose beloved Ireland is responsible for the things in the first place, is so distressed by their misuse. Cheer up Tom, at least you live in the home of traditional music. The rest of us are just trying to create our own little "traditional homesteads" many miles from Spancil Hill.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran - care of - any advice
From: Jon Nix
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:21 AM

Errata......sorry JIM Carroll


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