These hoop drums are the result of years of development. I have had, and played, so many hoop style native drums, tars, or Irish bodhrans that sound like cereal boxes. Raw hide lacing dries over time and becomes brittle and breaks. The skins are poorly stretched and vary widely with the humidity. The use of heavy skins always makes a thumper. NOT these hoop drums! They can boom and whisper, be played with fingers like a tar, with a beater like a native drum, or with a double sided stick like a bodhran.
This drum is LARGE at 14.25 inches in diameter, by 2 " thick. Though made of stoneware it is light enough to hold in one hand and play easily. The goat skin is beautifully tie dyed, tough and without blemish on this drum. Comes with a padded deer skin beater mallet. Has a hanging or thumb loop built into the circumference rope. Available in a plain goatskin head, to lightly paint or henna yourself.
My hoop drums are based on a stoneware 'wheel rim' shaped ring. Stoneware is incredibly strong under balanced compression, so the light weight goatskin can be stretched until they sing! I use a polyester 1/8" climbing rope, that maintains its tension. The use of rope allows you to re-tension the head should it stretch, using an African weave method on the back (though I have never needed to re-tighten one! ). They do drop slightly in tone in extreme humidity, but I have even played them in a sweat lodge. NEVER try to tune a drum over a fire, you may get a temporary raise in pitch, but mainly just dry and harden the skin, greatly shortening its life.
A wood hoop drum's resonance is deadened by the wood. When struck, these stoneware drums resonate like a deep low bell. You can waiver the drum and get an amazing throbbing sound great for healing work and guided meditations. When using a beater, a slight finger pressure on the middle of the skin from the back raises the pitch for another sound. Played with only the hands this drum offers a super responsive pallet of tones for an intricate rhythm.
While doing a repair on an antique East Indian battle drum, I learned this technique of lacing to the edge of a thin skin. It is similar to lacing a African dun dun head on with out the use of metal rings.Folded under the flap of skin on the edge is a length of rope. The pulling ropes puncture through both layers at each rope lope, catching the circumference rope between the skin. This allows the rope to grab a thin skin and pull it tightly without tearing! Try the sound of our Stoneware Ceramic Hoop drums for hand playing and you'll never go back to wood!
A Ceramic drum can break, so hey, don't drop it! These drums need care, don't treat it like a tree wrapped in buffalo skin and throw it in the car trunk, it is a fine instrument ! The center ropes in the back can be wrapped with cloth or leather to make a more comfortable grip. I highly recommend you store it on a wall hook, away from sunlight and moisture. They are gorgeous as a wall piece when not in use.