Brexit
Dear customers in the UK, please note: Due to the new tax regulations in the UK after brexit the minimum order price for orders to the UK is 150€. If you want to understand why, please follow this link. All orders above 150€ are shipped without German VAT, so the price marked as "netto" is the relevant price for UK orders.
Orders to Northern Ireland are not affected, please use Northern Ireland as your country at checkout. Do not use UK!

Tipper & Drum Heads

Life span of bodhrán drumheads

Can tippers destroy drumheads?

 Prologue 

Reading about tippers online you’ll frequently come across warnings that certain tippers will inevitably destroy the skin of a drum. However, the topic - like so many others - is much more complex, and a general answer would lead to an unnecessary restriction of the sound spectrum offered by the use of different tippers.

The drum head

The range of different drumheads used for bodhráns is just as varied as the range of tippers. The initial basic question therefore is:

Which factors have an impact on the lifetime of a natural drumhead of the bodhrán?

  • Age of the animal at the time of slaughter. The skin of young animals is more flexible and thinner, the skin of older animals becomes thicker and harder.
  • UV radiation. Just as too much sunbathing damages human skin, direct sunlight, especially behind windowpanes, makes the skin brittle.
  • Hand sweat. More than almost any other factor, the pH-value as well as the amount and the composition of the player's hand perspiration influence the break-in behavior and the development of the skin. Whether a skin becomes fluffy or sticky, greasy, rough, or brittle on the inside is significantly influenced by hand sweat and the player's pressure behavior.
  • Animal species. Not only are there great differences in abrasion resistance, tear resistance, and durability between the skins of the most commonly used animal species for bodhrán skins, such as goat, deer, kangaroo, and calf, but there can also be major differences between the individual goat species depending on the way the animals were kept and the food they were fed.
  • Processing of the skin during production. Even if a drum skin is not actually "tanned", the way the raw skin is processed into the finished drumhead has a great impact on the final properties and consequently also on the life of the drumhead.
  • The musician's playing style. Excessive pressure with the skin hand, a steep ("scratchy") playing angle of the tipper, unnecessary damping of the drumhead with the upper body and skin hand, excessive playing on individual areas of the skin, and a generally incorrect playing technique will shorten the life of any drumhead, even a synthetic skin.
  • Tipper selection. Different drumheads require the use of appropriate tippers. It’s also the player's responsibility to check the tipper heads regularly for damage. Chipping and other damage is indeed a major risk to any drum skin.
In short, since there’s no such thing as "the best" drum skin, there’s also no such thing as "the lifetime" of a drum skin.

For example, thin, flexible drumheads can sound incredibly tonal and respond very quickly to the lightest pressure from the skin hand, but they are not as abrasion-resistant and tough as thick skins from old animals, for example, which sound completely different and are usually harder to play or require a much longer break-in period.

The choice of the right drumhead can only be made by the player themself. For the inexperienced player, a universal drumhead such as the EdlauerSelect is ideal, as it is a robust, tuning-stable, and uncomplicated skin that doesn’t have a specific sound pattern but offers a broad sound spectrum. That’s why this skin is the standard skin for the CoreLine. It's a skin that you can't go wrong with and that suits all playing techniques

Experienced players will find their own preferred sound by trying out other drums and drumheads, and therewith also the drumhead that best suits their tonal sensibilities. Here, tastes clearly differ. For one person, a bassy, earthy, soft DRAGONSkin classic is the best, for another, a crisp, lively Lambeg skin or kangaroo is the optimum. 

That's why the individual playing and tonal characteristics of each drumhead are more important than the resulting life span.

Clearly stated, you can basically damage the drumhead with ANY tipper

In a nutshell: When you play, this is exactly what happens: each stroke creates friction. And this friction creates wear. That is an incontrovertible fact. However, the friction doesn’t only produce wear, it also produces music. And just as the strings of string instruments wear out and have to be replaced at some point, so do the drumheads. Every drumhead. Even synthetic heads. New strings are usually very susceptible to tuning at first and need a certain break-in period until they are tuning-stable and sound properly. The same applies to drum skins.

In short, the life of a drumhead can be divided into three stages:

Break-in period - Playing time - Degradation time

Break-in period:
The drum skin stretches out, adapts to the shape of the frame, absorbs hand sweat, and is mechanically processed by tippers. A drumhead is said to be "broken in" when it’s achieved a full sound and good tuning stability. Depending on the drumhead, this can be between two weeks and two years. The regular break-in time for most drumheads is one to three months. Not only the actual playing time, but also rest periods and exposure to hand sweat are part of the break-in process. Therefore, a drumhead can only be broken in by its player.

Playing time:
During this time, the drum skin has developed its full potential, and any further tonal changes happen slowly and moderately. The duration of this stage of the skin’s life is largely influenced by the player and can be many years, even decades. However, it is possible to completely ruin a drumhead within a very short time, for example, by using damaged tippers and a wrong playing technique.

Especially if the drumhead is played in the same spot all the time, it can become very compressed, and then no longer resonates cleanly. In this case, a "skin reset" can be carried out several times in the course of the drumhead's life. By treating the drumhead with water, the skin structure loosens up again and the drumhead sounds as it should.

Basically, the main enemy of the drumhead is friction. Every measure that reduces friction prolongs the life of the drumhead. Just remember that every improvement in playing style is multiplied a million times for every single beat. Therefore, the playing time of a drumhead varies considerably from player to player.

Possibilities for the player to extend the playing time:

  • A shallow playing angle of the tipper prevents scratching on the drumhead and reduces concentrated friction at the contact point. With a steep playing angle, there is a risk of the tipper/hot rod sticks "stabbing" into the skin. This inevitably leads to scratches and hairline cracks, and roughens the surface like sandpaper.

2021 06 09 14 45 06   Microsoft PowerPoint   Hotrodpptx Sm
2021 06 09 14 45 22   Microsoft PowerPoint   Hotrodpptx

  • Minimal force from the tipper hand and the skin hand. The drum must be able to swing, to work. Unnecessary damping only consumes energy and creates more pressure and friction.
  • If possible, constantly turn the drum a little while playing. This distributes the hand sweat and the mechanical impact caused by the tipper more evenly and thus leads to more even playing and greater tuning stability.
  • Tipper selection. See below!. 

Degradation time:
The drumhead finally loses its inner tension and "vitality". Mechanical stress can cause the head to become rough, cracked and brittle, and to develop cracks or friction holes. Now the "second life" of the animal skin is over, and it can be returned to the natural cycle. Even synthetic skins will eventually be "played out" and only sound dull and flat. Now a new drumhead is needed and the cycle starts all over again.

Tipper selection – some tipper basics

From a physical point of view, the main task of the tipper is to make the skin vibrate by means of friction. In other words, it is a tool. Like any other tool, be it a blunt hammer or a sharp kitchen knife, improper use can lead to injuries for the user, or damage to the workpiece or the tool itself.

It is similar with tippers: the greater the sound possibilities, the more fragile the tipper or/and the higher the risk of injury to the drumhead.

Examples:

A solid wood tipper with a large, rounded head has a large attack surface, which means a wide distribution of pressure, and therefore minimal concentrated pressure, but a relatively muffled sound. A solid wood tipper with a small, sharp-edged head produces a precise, crisp, defined sound, but generates high pressure at the contact point with a lot of friction. A shallow playing angle helps to reduce the friction considerably while still producing optimal sound.

With click tippers, longitudinal cuts provide the characteristic “clicky” sound. To avoid damage to the drumhead, the flanks and attack surfaces of these tippers are deburred. A shallow playing angle is absolutely essential here, as a steep playing angle will damage the skin by "stabbing into it", and the flanks of the tipper may break off.

Hot rod tippers consist of many individual rods made of wood, bamboo or fiber materials. The opening angle can usually be adjusted with sliding rings. Since several impact points are created at the same time when hitting the drumhead, these tippers are very popular because of their full sound. Here, too, a shallow playing angle is appropriate, as a steep angle would produce a multiple of impact friction. A steep playing angle would act like sandpaper and roughen the drumhead.

Caution with loose clothing, scarves, and long hair! The rods can get caught and break off. Damaged hot rods are a great danger to the drumhead and must be repaired or replaced without question!

Brush tippers have animal hair, or plant or plastic fibers at the beating ends. These can do almost no damage to the drumhead, but a shallow playing angle increases the lifespan of the fibers.

Split bamboo tippers (frayed ends) have a very soft attack and are particularly suitable for soft, bass-line accompaniments because of their general “bassy” character. Due to the high amount of fiber, there is always a lot of friction. A shallow playing angle is absolutely necessary! These tippers are best suited for use on synthetic heads, which are generally more abrasion-resistant.

Bamboo is a special case: Explicit warnings about bamboo tippers appear time and again.

Bamboo is not a wood in the classical sense, but a woody grass with silica deposits. These mineral deposits can indeed have razor-sharp flanks that act like sandpaper. However, expertly finished attack surfaces (through rounding and sanding) create a unique base material for tippers. The sound of bamboo hot rods is present, crisp and with a fine clicking sound. This makes bamboo hot rods a unique, incomparable sound option that you can safely use if obtained from a quality manufacturer. Again, a shallow playing angle is essential to optimize the life span of both drumhead and tipper. .

Conclusion

HEDWITSCHAK DRUMS and MOISES TIPPERS have been working on the development and improvement of drumheads and tippers for many years. We see our task as creating the widest possible range of sound options and playing possibilities for the musician with our products. 

It is the player's responsibility to use these products properly and to take care of them. A regular tipper check during which all attack surfaces are carefully inspected and any sharp ends that may have developed are carefully sanded should be a matter of course for every player. 

This way you are guaranteed to enjoy our products for a long time!

Christian Hedwitschak, Stevie Moises und Rolf Wagels

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Rolf

IsolatHED

isolatHED Logo Farbe

Iso1

In today’s bodhrán world, tunable bodhráns using a tuning rim inside the frame are quite common. When, half a century ago, the tuning rim found its way into the bodhrán, this really changed the drum’s tonal characteristics. Before that, the wooden frame had been the only part of the drum that caused the drum skin to vibrate. Today, there are many more parts involved. Components such as reinforcement frames, tuning pegs, pressure screws, tuning screws, and holding screws influence the drum’s vibrational behavior through their own natural vibrations. Depending on construction and material, natural vibrations can build up or cancel each other out; they can become amplified or dampened. This can lead to an overall unbalanced frequency spectrum.
A bodhrán player may notice frequency gaps when modulating the sound of the bodhrán with the skin hand. There may be certain areas in which the drum sounds dampened, empty, or “dead“. The more the overall sound of the bodhrán is influenced by the natural vibrations of its components, the higher the potential for interferences and unpredictability.

Christian Hedwitschak:

When I started making drums, I often heard that the tuning rim should have as much friction and contact with the outer frame as possible to ensure the best possible transfer of vibration. But even back then, I wasn’t so sure about that. After all, it’s the skin that is supposed to vibrate, not the frame. And since the frame is also in contact with the player’s body (arm, upper body, thigh), its vibrations are dampened anyway.

So wouldn’t it be better if the tuning rim worked as much as possible with the skin and as little as possible with the outer frame? Wouldn’t it make sense to keep the components that might interfere with the vibrations away from the vibrating system as much as possible?

Christian Hedwitschak again

When I introduced the CoreLine in 2012, this was the first time I used an inner tuning rim that didn’t have any contact with the outer frame, except for the six points where the tuning screws touched the frame. Even before that, I had already changed all my tuning systems by using one continuous inner frame instead of several individual tuning pegs. I did this to reduce the number of individual parts and different materials, and, thus, reduce the amount of natural vibration within the vibration system.

Now the contact points of the tuning screws are decoupled acoustically. This means that the tuning rim is now the only component still in direct contact with the drum skin. The result is a drum inside a drum, so to speak: First, there is the outer frame, which is in contact with the player’s body, holds the drum skin, and supports all components of the tuning system. Second, there is the independent tuning rim, which takes the sound off the drum skin like a pickup or a bridge.
How does it work? By using rubber-encased pressure screws that are embedded in the tuning rim. This preserves the possibilities of a multi-point tuning system without dampening the tuning rim or causing it to “float.”
As a result, the brilliance of sound is significantly improved, and the frequency spectrum becomes much more homogeneous. As less energy is absorbed by the main frame, there is also a measurable increase in loudness.

As of February 2018, all RWE and RWEchange models come with the isolatHED tuning system as a standard feature.

Iso1
Studies carried out at the University of Munich showed that, with the same stroke impulse, the isolated tuning frame (in this case, with a synthetic skin and a basic tone of 90hz), can generate a higher loudness (volume perceived by the human ear) (solid line) than a classic tuning frame. The diagram shows five individual strokes for the same drumskin, the same basic tone, and the same stroke impulse.

Rolf Wagels

I am always looking for a clear and defined tone in my drum. When Christian first told me about IsolatHED tuning rim, I was intrigued: could this be the next big thing? And it proved to be the next big thing, both in the laboratory testing but also when I tested it in person.

Andy Kruspe - bodhrán/percussion performer and educator:

From improved accuracy and ease of tuning to overall improvement of sound from my existing skins, the IsolatHED tuning rim has taken a great drum and made it better. This is an excellent addition to the ChangeHED system.

Martin O´Neill

Drum is very good. At first I didn't like it as it was almost too bright and didn't feel as controlled but as soon as I went into the studio it was instantly better. Open notes sound mega!! Night and day compared to the drum I was playing. I used it for 3 days in the studio and couldn't go back to the other one. So that's a clear thumbs-up from me!

Stevie Moises, tipper maker

"I was instantly convinced! The skins react even more sensitively now, tone modulation is even more precise, and the sound is even louder and clearer, too! With the new technology, I’ll be able to play even more dynamically, and as a bonus, the drum will be better heard when I’m playing with the band. All of these improvements also make a considerable difference when using a microphone. Even our sound engineer is a fan of isolatHED!"

Iso1
Iso 2

In addition to the isolated, rubber-coated pressure point, each isolatHED tuning frame also has a regular, traditional pressure point (the second, small black point next to it). When the tuning frame is entirely relieved and can be loosely rotated, it can be isolated either completely or partly by shifting to the relevant pressure point. This gives (experienced) players the opportunity to experience the different sound/vibration behaviour of each pressure point. In both cases, the tuning frame remains separated from the outer drum frame. Only for the traditional pressure point, there is a higher level of structure-borne sound transmission due to the tuning mechanics, which is prevented for the rubber-coated pressure point. A traditional pressure point can, for example, be useful if the drumskins are very uneven or thick. Since, however, most players perceive the entirely isolated pressure point as a considerable sound improvement, our drums are delivered with the isolatHED pressure point position. Players who aren’t that experienced don’t have to worry about the second pressure point.

Links

Bodhrán
bodhran.de - german forum about the Bodhrán

bodhranweekends.de - a workshop series I organise

bodhran-world.de - Guido Plüschke, bodhránplayer and teacher, part of the BodhranWeekend

bodhran-lounge.de - nice website, aimed mainly at beginners. Great instructions!

Craiceann - The bodhran summerschool on Inis Oirr. Highlight every year for  bodhránplayers from allover the world

Eamon Murray - Website of "Groove Zauberer" Eamon Murray (Beoga)

Martin O'Neill - One of the leading players

bodhrán pages - one of the earlierst ressources on the net

 


Maker
Christian Hedwitschak - Bavaria, Germany

Stevie Moises, Tippermaker - Bavaria, Germany

Finnegan Hill - Ohio, USA

Seamus O'Kane - Dungiven, North of Ireland

Brendan White - Eindhoven, Netherlands

Belgarth - Orkney Islands, Scotland

Ben March - Ireland

Rob Forkner - Texas, USA

Mike Quinlan - Chicago, USA

Paul McAuley - Ballycastle, North of Ireland

Michael Vignoles - Galway, Ireland

Alberto Alfonso - Texas, USA

David W. Settles - Alberta, Cananda

Eamon Maguire - Belfast, North of Ireland

Davy Stuart - Christchurch, Newzealand

Norbert Eckermann - Vienna, Austria

Tipperwrapper - stop loosing your tippers


Bands & Musiker
Cara - my former main band

Steampacket - another band

More Maids - brilliant girls only band

Navan - lovely singing from Wisconsin, USA

Deitsch - Folk from Germany in German!

Jens Kommnick- the guitar man

An Tor - another great band

Nuá - brilliant music with bodhrán player Michaela Grüß

Iontach - super band featuring Jens Kommnick, Siobhan Kennedy and Angelika Berns

Ekhardt Top - another guitar playing friend


Irish Music/Irland

Irish-Trad-D - german mailing list about irish music:

irish-trad-d abonnieren
powered by de.groups.yahoo.com

DUPG - the german uilleann pipes society

Ceolas - the page about irish music

Cantalibre - more than just folk

Folkworld - Online Folkmagazin

Irish Net - the german portal about Ireland

irish-music.net for Traditional Irish Music CDs, festivals, musicians, summer schools, and much more . .

www.bodhran-info.de
www.bodhran-info.com
www.facebook.com/bodhraninfo
www.twitter.com/bodhraninfo


bodhran-info 
Dr. Rolf Wagels
An der Kapelle 10
31311 Uetze
Von-Holthusen-Straße 6F
30890 Barsinghausen
Germany

Tel.: ++49-5175-9569909
Fax: +49-5175-9569908
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

VAT identification number according to § 27a of Value Added Tax Act:: DE814971691


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The Seller is neither obliged nor prepared to attend a dispute settlement procedure before an alternative dispute resolution entity.

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About our shop

Welcome to the bodhran-info shop. Here you will find bodhráns and all the accessories you need. Please look around. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us. The shop is a small family business, run by myself and my wife Karola Wagels.

  • Showroom2
    Showroom in 31311 Uetze, Germany
  • RWEchange
    The RWEchange
  • Shop
    The CoreLine family
  • CL2
    The CoreLine family
  • Showroom2
  • RWEchange
  • Shop
  • CL2

A few words about our products

Logohed

Bodhran-info is a Hedwitschak Premium Partner. The Hedwitschak Premium Partners are closely integrated in all development processes at Hedwitschak drums. They support the development of new drum and tipper models, and the further development of existing products through their vast experience and their innovative approach. The Hedwitschak Premium Partners are Rolf Wagels and Stephan Moises.

Online Shop
All bodhráns in our shop are made by Christian Hedwitschak. He made his way to the top of the Champions League in the last few years  and his drums are in high demand by top class players all over the world.
It's with him that I developed a Signature Line model with a smooth tool-less compressor tuning system and a special treated skin (Lambegskin from the North of Ireland), which has been my favourite drum for the last couple of years: The Rolf Wagels Edition or RWE.
Christian Hedwitschak does not build drums only for the high end sector. He also provides a drum line for upcoming professionals with a smaller budget: the CoreLine starting at 240€!

Tippers, Brushes, Split Tippers and Hotrods
Most of the tippers and hotrods we carry are made by Stevie Moises, with some models, like the RWE snakewood tipper and the RWE MoGrip hotrods, created especially for us. We also have a great collection of special effect tippers, like brushes and split tippers, which are unique in their sound. Make sure you watch the video on the Brush/Split-tipper page for a good impression of the different sounds.

Bags, Accessories and Learning Material
Bags are available in two different versions in accessories. along with learning material, including books and a DVD.

What customers think about us:

Shopbewertung - bodhran-info.de



Showroom
Our showroom stocks all the Christian Hedwitschak drums and Stevie Moises tippers available. All the accessories you find in the online shop are also available in the showroom. You are welcome to test any and all models before purchase. I also offer individual advice, based on my experience over the years.Here are some pictures of the showroom, please click to enlarge:

A few drums
A few drums
CoreLines, RWEs, MOS and MON
CoreLines and RWEs
RWE and MOS
RWEs
MOS, MON, CL black
CoreLines
Tippers and cases
Tippers
ChangeHED skins
ChangeHED skins
Tutorials and stands

You can pay by card in our showroom, the following payment systems are supported:

Ec
Maestro
Girocard
Mastercard Alternate
Visa
American Express

The showroom is located in 31311 Schwüblingsen (Uetze) near Hannover, Germany. See map for details. Please get in touch before you come, by appointment only!

It's good to see that you found the way to my website. I've played the bodhran since 1993, and this drum has become a big part of my life since then. I have met many interesting people at workshops and gigs with various bands.

On this page you will find information about me, my bands, the bodhrán, dates of gigs and workshops, and sound, pics and videos. I also have a shop where you can buy drums and accessories. Please use the menu on top or on the left of the page for navigation and watch out for the latest news in the boxes around this text. If you want to be kept informed, you might want to subscribe to the newsletter.

Now enjoy the site, thanks for having a look!
Rolf Wagels

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Initiative: Fairness im Handel

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