In 2005, I developed the drum of my dreams together with Christian Hedwitschak. Christian decided to call it the RWE (Rolf Wagels Edition). I wanted a Lambeg skin on a my drum, and with the help of Seamus O'Kane we managed to source these skins in the North of Ireland. It was also important to me that the drum features a tool-less tuning system.
In the RWE all my demands for a high end drum are fullfilled: Not only a great design with brilliant usabiltiy, but also a universal sound.
The Lambeg skins are produced using methods refined over centuries by Tommy Louden in the North of Ireland. For the RWE and the skins offered here, we choose homogeneous, not too thick skins, mostly without spine. (In some cases we use skins with the spine, but only if the spine is thin and unobtrusive). The skin reacts quickly and has a great range of tones. The attack is very present, esp. compared to a softer skin like a DragonSkin. This means the RWE-Lambeg skin works great for traditional playing but also gives the full range for top end style. It's a lively drum, easy to change tones, and gives a lovely feedback to the stick and to the player. Great attack and enough overtones for harmonic playing, but not too many overtones that wouldn't allow the occasional open bass playing. The innovative isolatHED techology and the compressor tuning system help a lot to get the desired sound!
With the isolatHED technology all 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. All details can be found here.
The compressor tuning frame is a funnel shaped, relatively high tuning rim which influences the overtones and the overall frequencies of the bodhrán in a positive way.
Drums fitted with the compressor rim show a more defined, clear and dry sound compared to a classical tuning system, therefore these drums can be heard better when mixed with other instruments without being loud or obtrusive. The compressor tuning frame performs offers superb qualities for studio and stage. Everything about the compressor tuning frame including studio tests, can be found here.
- Lambeg skin from the North of Ireland
- IsolatHED technology
- Compressor tuning rim
- Toolless tuning system
- High quality by Hedwitschak
- Exclusive design
- 40 cm diameter, 15,3 cm depth
Every single RWE drum goes through my hands to ensure top quality.
It carries my name, so I want to make sure all the drums are in brilliant shape and sound the way I would expect it. The RWE is a high end classic drum that established itself in the international bodhran scene in the last couple of years.
By now, people like Eric Cunningham (Frankie Gavin & DeDannan), Eamon Moloney (Full Set) Kieran Munnelly, John Joe Kelly (Flook), Eamon Murray (Beoga), Jimmy Higgins (Altan & Lunasa), and Stiofan O'Brion play the RWE regularly.
Eric Cunningham (De Dannan)
I only use one bodhrán on stage with 'Frankie Gavin & De Dannan' and that is the RWE bodhrán made by Christian Hedwitschak. It is simply a terrific instrument and it doesn't surprise me that after every gig I did in the USA recently I was asked all the time who made my drum. It has a bass end Steve Gadd would be happy with and a top end Zakir Hussain would take delight in. There is a great feeling knowing that night after night I spend minimal time sound checking as the drum has all the natural tones inbuilt and available instantly.
John Joe Kelly (Flook)
I just love it! It sounds great, I can't get over it. I think it's one of the best I ever played, and I played many
The Lambeg skin will settle in the first 3-6 months, depending on the skin and how much you play. You will notice now that the skin reacts quickly to weather changes and even if somebody opens a door, it will react. This will stop once the skin has settled. Also, you will get more bass over the next couple of months. Sometimes, these changes are gradually, but esp. with the Lambeg skin, the change may occur from one day to another.
Natural skin! Colouring may differ from the pictures shown above!