The Cormac Byrne Signature Series is the result of a collaboration between Christian Hedwitschak and Cormac Byrne, one of the leading exponents of modern bodhrán playing.
Sometimes we have to look to the past in order to move forward.
"For me this was the concept behind the collaboration. I met Christian several years ago when I was first invited to teach at the Craiceann Bodhrán Summer School and was instantly struck by his unique skill as a Bodhrán maker, his precision, attention to detail, and dedication to his craft. I set about trying various different models of his bodhráns and although there was so much to offer, it was clear that the direction of Bodhrán making had gone somewhere that I could no longer identify with and the sound of the more ‘modern’ drums - smaller diameters, taped heads - was not right for me. I have always favoured the traditional style of Bodhrán - 18” diameter, 5” depth and untaped.
So after several conversations, we set about creating something truly new…a traditional style bodhrán equipped with all the modern advances, concepts and innovation of a modern drum … and the Cormac Byrne Signature Series was born!"
- To keep with the traditional feel I wanted a natural finish. Just like the Koa finish I have on my Drum Kit and Honduras Rosewood finish on my Cajon, I like my drums to look natural and the overall look to fit together. With this is mind the finish was created in natural wood to blend with the Koa and Rosewood finish of my entire setup.
- The tacks are exposed on the outer shell, again in fitting with the traditional look, but they are also great for adding additional sounds to tracks such as replicating Guiro lines for example.
- Treated Goatskin – Spine positioned at 3/10. The spine is really important to me as it enriches the overtones. I always play the drum the same way round so the position of the spine is crucial. I find that over time the tones warm to the exact frequencies you require if the drum is played in the same position. My first task with any new drum is to locate the best position where there is just the right balance between harmonics, bass notes and high tones. I then mark the drum and stick to that position. The spine usually (but not always) ends up positioned just above my knee at about a 45 degree angle, and I play my bass tones right on top of the thicker skin of the spine.
- The skin is extremely responsive across the range whether tuned right down where the bass tones are massive, or up high where the top end has lots of extra punch. Although the drum is large, I like to tune it high, normally to a D, where the frequency range across the drum is just right and in addition, enables me to play pedal bass lines with tunes in the key of D as well fitting nicely with tunes in G and A.
- There is NO leather bearing edge between the tuning system and the skin allowing for maximum brightness and response.
- 10 turning wheel tuners allow for extremely accurate tuning by hand without the need for any sort of tuning key (The CBss COMPACT feature 8 tuners due to it’s smaller size). This has saved me so much time and hassle in the tuning process especially in live situations where time is tight and the pressure is high. Under hot stage lights or when playing outdoor festivals it is absolutely vital to be able to retune in seconds. This feature has proved crucial in my playing.
So after several years and many emails, messages and calls later, when the road tests have been done, and the studio tests completed, when so many prototypes were created and rejected, and when this drum even took a trip to University, this, I’m proud to say, is the result … a truly traditional bodhrán for the modern player – now available in two sizes – I hope you like it as much as I do.
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