Thursday, 08 October 2015 03:47

A customer's feedback - Joanne Ranney.

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The Tale of Two Drums

Over the years I have worked with Christian Hedwitschak to develop the perfect drum for my particular style of playing which includes folk, blues, jazz, Quebecois, Appalachian, Scottish and even Irish, sometimes surrounded by bagpipes.

After some experimentation we decided that two drums, an 18” and a 15” were needed. For me each drum has very different uses and sounds.

For the 18” drum I wanted a deep bass sound. I wanted a single strike to reverberate off the drum as in Shamanic or meditational drumming. I wanted a deep sound to open the heart yet I also wanted to to be able to play it in bodhran fashion for jigs and reels and polkas, etc. It needed a big sound for the bagpipes.

For the 15” drum I wanted it to be more session friendly and crisper with a lot of top end tonality yet still emit some good, supportive bass sounds.

Both drums would need to tolerate extreme weather fluctuations. I wanted a head that was thin and flexible enough for my arthritic wrists and hands. I also wanted a beautiful instrument.

Here is where Skyntone entered the room. I said “NO, No, Nooooo!” and Christian said “Try it, you’ll like it.” I relented with the promise that he would change it back for me if the results weren’t satisfactory.

Here is what Christian created:

The 18” drum is 6” deep. It has a synthetic Skyntone® head on a Compressor ring with shallow taping. The frame is made of Olive and Walnut wood. The drum gives a very deep and open bass that is a bit on the wild side. When played with a padded tipper it creates a wonderful, mesmerizing drone sound. The sound reverberates to the very edge of the rim but still keeps some control over the overtones for traditional playing.

The 15” drum is 6” deep. It is a ChangeHED with two interchangeable heads.One is a DRAGONSkin® spicy and the other is a synthetic Skyntone® head. Both are mounted on Standard Comfort rings with bearing edge covering appropriate to each head. The frame is Olive and Apple wood. Both skins preform well, giving great sound whether I want a crispy, poppy sound or a smoother, deeper sound. I use this drum when I want more precision in sound or a bit quieter, more refined drum.

About the synthetic skins:
I love that I can switch between drums all evening and not have to adjust the tuning. They have a consistent, predictable sound that remains steady in spite of changes in the humidity.

A goatskin has a slightly warmer sound but to be honest I don’t think most listeners notice. It is simply a little different, neither better or worse. I live and play in Vermont where the winters are very cold and dry and summers can be hot and humid. With the Skyntone® I am able to achieve the sounds I want where ever and when ever I need them. The goats really don’t like these extremes.

Skyntone® heads do not feel like natural skin heads. They are very smooth and lack the ability to absorb hand sweat or oils so occasionally a little baby powder is needed on the inside surface to allow for a smooth hand glide. As for the appearance, most people can’t tell the difference.

It was nice to be able to leave a drum in a hot car this summer for several days while traveling and pack it in my suitcase and send it in my checked luggage on airplanes without worry. At the end of the day the synthetic heads seemed unaffected by any adverse situation.

Finally, the custom drum frames are a combination of woods that are both beautiful and artistic, reflecting my love of the oceans and the mountains. They are a work of art and testament to fine craftsmanship .

So now I have to say it. I tried synthetic. I like it!!!!!!!!!

Joanne Ranney

Read 5614 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 October 2015 04:11