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Thread: Tongue Drums **PICS**

  1. #1
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    Tongue Drums **PICS**

    Because of health issues I have pretty much stopped making large stuff and am always looking for other small items to make. My 26 yr old GS brought a friend over a couple weeks ago who had a tongue drum which he purchased off of E-Bay for what I believed to be a rather expensive price (over $200). My GS wanted me to make one for him.

    We did some searching on the internet in an attempt to find information as to do's/don't's, how to tune them, etc. My GS then comunicated via e-mail and telephone with a couple of folks making them and we gave the first one a shot finishing it this weekend.

    While having a yard sale Saturday, my GS was doing some playing and tweeking the toning of the box and a neighbor from over a block away came down to see what the druming was about. It is amazing the sound that eminates from such a small (15" x 7" x 5") wooden box. Drum sticks are rubber "super balls" on the end of dowel sticks.

    We found lots of pattern variations on the web and plan on making some more using various patterns, some very simple, some kinda complex. Some examples of other folks' drums we plan on using modifications of can be seen here on my web site

    There apparently is quite a difference in sound with various species of wood used for the top, shape/size of the tongues, open spaces in design, etc. We are in the experimenting stage, but QUITE pleased with the first one


    Any information, hints, tricks, etc when making these would be appreciated to keep us from reinventing the wheel.


    This is the first attempt. Made from spalted Beech and Poplar:








    Here is a pic of two more tops we made one curly cherry, one poplar:
    (lighter is shown for size reference)


    Last edited by Ken Salisbury; 05-30-2005 at 12:50 PM.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  2. #2
    Oh Ken...That is such a great idea!! My kids attend a school that is always looking for different instruments like these. A while back, I made a Xylophone and also experimented with different wood to check out the different tones and such. My findings were that I preferred the sound of padauk. I'd like to continue to watch your progress. How much do you intend on selling these for?
    ~john
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    VERY cool!
    If you're looking to make some other small stuff that you can hit, you might want to check out making sets of temple blocks. Here's a few examples:
    http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdiction...pleblocks.html
    http://www.blackswamp.com/wp/tblocks.html
    http://www.vaughncraft.com/index.php?id=18

    This site has a few interesting things too:
    http://www.rhythmweb.com/homemade/index.html
    Use the fence Luke

  4. #4
    That is too cool Ken... I would love to make one for my daughter...
    I am assuming you cut the tongues on a scrollsaw.. but I am wondering what size blade you used and what the kerf on the cuts is... I would assume that contributes greatly to the sound...
    Could you elaborate more on the box design also...
    Thanks...
    Tom Mullane
    Hagerstown, MD
    If you work with your hands you are a laborer
    If you work with your hands and head you are a craftsmwn
    If you work with your hands, head and heart you are an artist

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mullane
    That is too cool Ken... I would love to make one for my daughter...
    I am assuming you cut the tongues on a scrollsaw.. but I am wondering what size blade you used and what the kerf on the cuts is... I would assume that contributes greatly to the sound...
    Could you elaborate more on the box design also...
    Thanks...
    I originally cut the pattern on my scroll saw, however I found it necessary to go over it with a jig saw after it was assembled to clean out and widen the kerfs. As a matter of fact since an "el cheapo" Skil jig saw was all I had available I went and bought a new Bosch JS (hidden gloat). As far as the design goes, since it ain't mine, I can't comment. I will learn more as we proceed with some others.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart
    My findings were that I preferred the sound of padauk. I'd like to continue to watch your progress. How much do you intend on selling these for?
    Padauk also seems to be a favorite of some of the people my GS talked with about these. As far as prices, all I can say is we need to test the waters.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  7. #7
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    Ken

    I was always going to make one of those for my boys. Now they have grown and are not interested. I got the idea from Mother Earth News. They called it a "Bonker Box".

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/libra...n__Bonker_Box_

    Terry
    Last edited by Terry Quiram; 05-30-2005 at 10:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Ken,

    That is really neat! I have never seen anything like that.
    Jeff Sudmeier

    "It's not the quality of the tool being used, it's the skills of the craftsman using the tool that really matter. Unfortunately, I don't have high quality in either"

  9. #9
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    Ken.

    Excellent !!! Great for gifts and very much fun!!
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Quiram
    Ken

    I was always going to make one of those for my boys. Now they have grown and are not interested. I got the idea from Mother Earth News. They called it a "Bonker Box".
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/libra...n__Bonker_Box_
    That article is calling for 3/4" thickness on the top. Is that right? It sounds way too thick to get any decent resonance. (I would have expected something closer to 1/4".)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud
    That article is calling for 3/4" thickness on the top. Is that right? It sounds way too thick to get any decent resonance. (I would have expected something closer to 1/4".)
    All of our research to date indicates 3/4" lumber for the tops. Some are using " for the sides and bottoms. A few we found had " bottoms. The one shown that we made is 3/4" thick all around.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart
    How much do you intend on selling these for?
    Here is one I found on the internet using the same pattern as our first one. The wood used is a little nicer but check the price ($329.00) http://www.africantreasures.com/deta...UCT_ID=TONGUE7

    There is a whole bunch of audio clips for various tongue drums on this web page. Click the links listed on the far right side of the page:

    http://www.africantreasures.com/drums/tongue-drums.asp
    Last edited by Ken Salisbury; 05-30-2005 at 1:05 PM.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  13. #13
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    That looks very nice and I bet it sounds nice. (Link not working

    for me though) Thanks for posting this unusual project.
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  14. #14
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    Here's a site with some interesting tongue drums

    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  15. #15
    This looks to be a very interesting project. When I look at these links, I don't really see justification for the price other than "what the market will bear"...But then, I thought, "I bet there's a price associated with the tuning". I wonder if you need to cut the tongues to precise tonal qualities and have a cool design and beautiful wood.

    Ken...this is really cool!!
    ~john
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

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