So, you have decided to buy a drum. Which drum should you choose from the wide range of native hand drums for sale? What is the most important when you buy a shaman’s drum?
Hand drum classification
At stores and in the Internet, you can see a broad range of different hand drums with similar sizes and appearance. At the first sight, only prices differ. Of course, every customer would ask how they differ and what shamanic drum is worth buying.
Every master values his work himself, so it is often expensive to buy a handmade shamanic drum. At our website, you can buy a native hand drum for a reasonable price. Before buying a drum you need to decide what you want from it.
- If you need a hand drum for trance and altered consciousness states, it is better to buy a shamanic drum with low flat sound.
- If you want to use the instrument for musical concerts, you need to buy a drum which is rich in overtones.
- For a hand drum’s rhythmic sound, a short sound after the beat and the sharp sound are necessary. For the tambourine instrument’s back sound, it is better to buy a shaman drum with a long and strong sound.
- A shamanic tambourine with a high sound is the best for dance accompaniment, it is also good for dynamic meditation and traditional dances.
- For shamanic practice, you should buy a shamanic drum made according to the shamanic tradition. Such instruments are usually made individually.
Hand drums with 35-40 in diameters usually don’t sound as firmly as large ceremonial drums. When choosing, you need to hear the sound example and make your choice depending on your own needs.
Shamanic native drums belong to certain traditions. The drums themselves are fully free from the spiritual overrun. A tambourine is just a resonant percussion instrument made in a certain tradition. It is becoming really shamanic in the hands of a person using it.
If you want your drum to become your friend and to serve you for long, you should firstly pay attention to several details: what are drum frames made of, what leather is drawn on it and how it is fixed on the frame.
Drum frames can be made of:
- Solid wood. Imagine a tree which is more than 60 cm in diameter and higher than a five-storey building. A vast green crown has been home for birds and insects for many years, connecting earth and sky. Having transformed into a hand drum, wood still contains the energy of connection between the earth and the sky, with yourself being the medium. This drum will make you grateful to your existence and lit the light on the connections between everything in the world. A wooden tambourine made of solid wood is a steady and strong choice, especially if it is made from a vertical wood cut. You can buy a shamanic drum with the solid wooden frame at our website.
- Glued plywood. Here, the kind of glue and pressing technology for plywood layers are important. Remember the main thing: if you see the smallest asymmetry in the drum frame structure, then the geometry will break and the frame will hog by the lapse of time under the burden of the sun and the fire. For a high-quality native drum with 50 cm in size, five plywood layers or more should be used, for 70 cm in size, there should be at least eight. The drum frame’s thickness should be 1 cm or more. Shamanic instruments for sale at our www.ethnomagic.com website are made with this technology.
- Pressed cardboard. Some modern masters giving birth to hand drums use large tubes taken from industrial manufacturing, cut them vertically and then process them. This method is quite steady and much easier than glued plywood.
The other important moment is the kind of leather drawn on the drum and the way it is fixed on the frame
To let the drum vibrate with a true live and firm sound, leather should be processed naturally, without the use of chemicals. If the leather on the hand drum has sole light white color, then it is usually chemically processed, so it has lost a part of its acoustic and elastic qualities. If the leather is hairy, has spots of the same color as the animal’s fur and speckled surface, it is natural. In some shamanic stores you can buy a drum with fur which is specially kept by the master, such drums have deep low sound. A hand drum with fur at the membrane will a more deep-voiced character, a bald drum will be rich both in low and high overtones.
Goat skin is the most wide-spread material for drum creation. It has all the necessary qualities, doesn’t contain fat, is elastic and able to pass low and high tones. A dark stripe from the animal’s spine should be located in the middle of the leather membrane. It is important for the even leather tightening and the same sound of the edges and the center of the drum. It is hard to process the leather right without the use of chemicals, especially in humid climate. In Russia, leather masters usually use salt for keeping its qualities, but is is quite an aggressive reagent slightly changing leather features. In hot Asian countries leather for hand drums is prepared during the dry season. Hot bright sun drains the leather, previously taken from the animal and cleaned, very well. That is why even salt is not used during the process. Buying a drum in our online store, you can be sure about the instruments’ quality and strong sound.
The sound of the drum depends on the way the leather is fixed on it. A shamanic drum is a living creature which needs conversation with the fire and the sun. Try to play the tambourine in the forest without fire, and you will see that the leather will moist in 20 minutes, and the drum will not sound. Near the fire, the leather shrinks and stretches due to the heat. At that moment, the leather clamp at the drum frame comes under the biggest pressure. If the leather is fixed by glue, big drawing pins, nails or threads, the drum will not pass the pressure test. Leather in a high-quality shaman’s instrument should be fixed firmly, evenly and symmetrically by ropes made of leather or firm nylon. The ropes crossed in the middle of the drum should be good not only for holding the instrument in hands but also for leather stretching. If the leather on the drum is woven around it and is wired manually in the middle, this can be not enough for necessary membrane stretching.
Another important moment in drum stretching is the primary stretching of the leather. The leather is ‘living’ so it has the ability to stretch, especially during the first shamanic mysteries. During the heating process, the water boils off from the leather, the leather area diminishes and when the drum is chilled, it shrinks losing the necessary stretching. For keeping the tension of the drums after heating, the leather is preliminarily fixed and kept under the sun for getting the maximum stretching and not shrinking after the final fixation at the drum. This is the technology which is used for giving birth to our shamanic tambourines which are presented for sale at our website.
For making the mature bass, the strong wave of the vibe which influences the material, changing its structure according to your intentions, your hand drum should be at least 50 cm. A 60 cm drum is the medium choice, a 70 cm drum is really strong. A 40 cm drum is excellent for a child or a woman due to its light weight of about half a kilo.
The size of the drum has its influence on the comfort of its transportation. The instrument weight also depends on its size. If you buy a shamanic drum which is too big, its weight on the hand while playing will increase and you will need additional problems while transporting. The best solution is choosing the drum according to the hand size and the person’s height. For example, a short and slim young woman can easily hide behind a bug hand drum but it would be difficult for her to play such an instrument and she would be able to play it only for short time until her hand is tired. At the same time, a tall and heavyset man wouldn’t feel comfortable to hold s small shamanic drum in his hand. Besides the size, the handle and the frame also have their influence on the hand drum weight. Drum frames made of thick wood pieces and heavier than those made of thin ones.
Before you buy a drum you should also understand the ways of its usage: for native drumming at home, for trips or just as a wall decoration.