Bodhran Care

Bodhran Care

Keep It Alive And Happy

Traditionally, the bodhran is a goatskin drum which lives in damp, green Ireland. However, since wandering Irish minstrels have spread the music all over the world, the poor bodhran often finds itself far from the cool green shores.

Bodhrans who live in hot dry places need special help to stay alive. If you have a goatskin head on your drum, and live in an area where the weather is very dry or hotter than 75 degrees for long periods, you will notice that the drum head becomes very tight. Drums have been known to split in extreme conditions. To prevent this, you can store your drum in a case with a humidifer or if you have no case, storing your drum in a closet or other small area with an even temperature. In really dry areas, you can put the drum in a plastic bag with a damp rag. Punch a few small holes in the bag to prevent mildew and store in the closet. When you travel cross country through different weather zones, you should provide a case or bag and try to keep the drum at a constant temperature. Wrap it in a thick blanket and set it under pillows. Never leave your drum in the back window of a car or in the trunk.

If you live in a very damp area and your drum always seems to be too soggy to play, it needs to be heated slightly and carefully. Rub vigorously or hold near a heat source until the skin tightens up properly. Playing the drum will also heat it up.

Sometimes, when playing on a stage or in a hot session, the skin will becomeoverheated. Pour a small amount of water inside the drum and rub it around until the drum loosens. It's a good idea to rub some water around the rim in extreme cases of dryness.

If a bodhran is always too loose you can thoroughly soak the head on both sides, then put about a 2" piece of wet cloth or paper towel on the center of the skin than let it sit over night than remove the wet cloth and let it dry all day and it should be tightened up.

The more your drum is played, the more alive it sounds, so play it often.

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    Josh Mittleman