The MON 'Signature Series' bodhrán is the result of a five-year collaboration of Martin O'Neill and bodhrán maker Christian Hedwitschak.
Martin's playing style can be described as very melodic and 'perfect in tune'. The drum Martin plays must have a huge spectrum of sound, yet be evenly present across all frequency ranges.
In order to play the drum with as much tuning stability as possible and to play it evenly, Martin turns the drum over and over again while playing. Accordingly, the heart of the MON signature series bodhrán is an extremely homogeneously selected DRAGONSkinspicy without a spine.
After a very detailed development phase, numerous studio tests, frequency analyses and a lot of practical experience, the final MONss model was created.
Also available as a discounted bundle with case and tippers designed by Martin O'Neill.
On this page, Martin tells us all about his Martin O'Neill Signature Series - the MONss.
"I wanted a drum that sounded completely balanced across the frequency range and responsive whether tuned low or high.
As my playing is a hybrid of ‘bottom end’ and ‘top end’ style, I wanted something that was a ‘one stop shop’. It’s important to have a drum that can respond musically to whatever is required, especially for studio work. Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve played all different sizes of bodhráns but in the past few years I seem to be most comfortable on the smaller frame.
My style of playing lends itself towards having a clear tone and few harmonics. The tape around the rim, which has been popular with drum makers for several years now, helps control unwanted overtones/harmonics. However, to my ears, with the smaller frame you get much more of the fundamental frequency and it is very precise. This is extremely useful when playing bass lines etc. but also in an ensemble setting where it takes up less of the spectrum."
"We use the ‘DRAGONSkinSpicy’ to achieve the sound I was looking for. The skins chosen for this drum reflect my own playing preference. I apply a lot of pressure to the skin when playing and therefore turn the drum constantly to prevent excessive wear on one area and to keep the tuning even. For this reason, I prefer the skin to be consistent all over and without the thicker part from the spine/backbone that can be quite common on bodhráns.
When deciding on the finished look of this bodhrán, I wanted something that was understated and also reflected my own personality. We settled on a sunburst finish, from grey to black, which really draws you in to the concave shape of the frame. Rather than continuing this finish to the inside, we felt that the natural beech interior complemented this and worked well together."
"I also wanted this to be lightweight and comfortable to play. We decided to go with a concave frame and use the new compressor tuning system. The concave frame not only helps stabilize the drum, it keeps it light. It also greatly enhances the aesthetic of the drum, which is no bad thing. With the black nylon ribbon around the frame I get the right amount of friction whilst still able to turn the drum whilst playing.
The compressor tuning system developed by Christian and Rolf Wagels, with support from Jim Higgins, helps to achieve a balanced frequency response in the lower register and is especially useful both in the studio and on stage. Furthermore, it provides the clarity and definition I always associated with the smaller frame on a larger drum. It also makes for a more comfortable playing experience and with the angle of the rim you can bend notes with ease.
In 2018 we added the IsolatHED technology which provides an even more precise tone."
In the years 2010/2011 we developed the so-called compressor tuning system in close cooperation with Christian Hedwitschak. This is a relatively high, funnel shaped tuning ring which influences the overtones and the overall frequencies of the bodhrán in a positive way.
The drums fitted with the compressor rim give a defined and dry sound which on the one hand makes recording and mixing easier and on the other hand allows the drum to cut through very well acoustically without being loud.
The entire frame construction of the MONss is extremely elaborate and well thought-out. For a good insight, please click on the picture.
With the isolatHED technology all contact points of the tuning screws are decoupled acoustically. This means the outer frame, which is in contact with the player’s body, holds the drum skin, and supports all components of the tuning system and the tuning rim, which takes the sound off the drum skin like a pickup or a bridge, are totally separeted.
As a result, the brilliance of sound is significantly improved, and the frequency spectrum becomes much more homogeneous.
“I’ve worked with Christian giving feedback on the different drums and carried out studio tests comparing the different sounds. Most importantly for me is the ‘road test’, putting the drums through their paces night after nig. When it came to designing this signature line, I knew exactly what I was looking for in one drum particularly after having had the opportunity to test out and give feedback on all of these drums.But achieving what I wanted was no small feat.”
*for delivery within Germany, information in business days. Delivery times and information about delivery times calculation to other countries, please see here.
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Dr. Rolf Wagels
An der Kapelle 10
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