Updated: Nov 15
Making your own shaman drum is a creative, educational and rewarding experience, which can result in a drum that you carry with you for the rest of your life.
All the material you will find in our drum making kit is handpicked for its high quality, and is excellent for making drums.
Therefore, you cant go wrong if what you want is a great, unique and strong drum, which sings with a powerful voice. On the other hand, there are some things we can do to influence the qualities of our drum, and this is worth thinking about when choosing which drum you want to make.
First step is choosing frame size
You can choose between 16", 18" and 20". The first obvious difference between the three is that the 16" frame is both smaller and lighter than the 18" and 20"frame. Next, it is also worth knowing that the frame size will affect the voice of the drum. If you are looking for a brighter drum voice, then the 16" frame will be a good choice. If you want a deeper drum voice, this will lead more towards the 16" and 20" frame.
In contrast, it is worth to emphasize that a 16" drum can also have a really deep voice, sometimes even deeper than the other sizes.
Next, we choose the animal skin.
Which animals you want to make a drum from will have a big influence on the drum's voice and qualities. I can tell a little about how the different animal skins sing, and then you can feel if something in this description appeals to you.
Reindeer usually have a rather thin skin. This primarily means that it is light in weight. Next, it also means that it vibrates a lot when you play it. This can produce a deep resonance that is heard for a long time. Due to their thin skin, Reindrums are somewhat more sensitive to weather fluctuations (temperature and humidity). Reindeer skins are often light in colour, and sometimes carry patterns and pigments with them.
We recognize the voice of the reindeer drum from the Nordic shaman drums, which have a long history with both the Russian shamans, and as the Sami's rune boom.
Hear Reindeer drum HER.
The deer skin is usually somewhat thicker than reindeer skin. This also means that it can weigh a little more than the Reindeer. A deer drum is often perceived as more robust when played than, for example, a reindeer drum, and can have a somewhat deeper voice. Due to its robust skin, deerskin often withstands weather fluctuations well and is less sensitive than, for example, reindeer skin. The color of the deerskin is often characterized by a beautiful blue tone, and a spectrum of shades and patterns. The sound of a deer drum can remind us of the timeless drums we still find among the North American Indians.
Hear Deer Drum HERE
The goat also has a rather thin skin, and is somewhere between Reindeer and Deer in thickness and weight. In contrast, this leather is quite robust and stiff, and seems to withstand weather fluctuations very well. Aesthetically speaking, the goatskin comes in everything from lots of colors and patterns, to more stylish and neutral ones. The goat drum sings deep and long when it is played and is also somewhat reminiscent of the North American drums.
Hear Goat drum HERE
Buffalo calves, like deer, have a rather thick skin. This also naturally weighs a little more than Reindeer and Goat skin. Buffalo calfskin is, in the same way as goatskin, a stiff and robust leather, which seems to withstand weather fluctuations very well. Buffalo calf drums have a big and warm voice that sings for a long time when you play it. Buffalo leather can come in everything from neutral and almost transparent, to having different pigments and colors. Buffalo calf is also reminiscent of the North American drums, and has a voice that is perhaps closest to the traditional bison drum.
Hear Buffalo Calf Drum HERE
The second aspect of material selection is more abstract and non-technical. It's more about listening to your inner voice. The ritual of making a drum and playing it is a spiritual practice. We thank the tree the animal, from which we make the drum, for its gifts. However, we also recognize the animal's unique qualities and strengths as part of the power that the drum possesses when it is finished.
You may feel a pull towards one of these animals, which you want to use to make the drum. There can be many reasons for this. You may have had a close relationship with the animals, such as reindeer herding, or farming with goats. You can feel a special affinity with the animal, its qualities and symbolism.
Again, which animal you want for your drum can be based both on the technical details of the skin, but also which one you feel drawn towards.
Regardless of which materials you choose, the most important thing is that you treat the drum with the respect and honor it deserves. A tree and an animal have given up so you could get the materials.
In conclusion, I want you to remember this. No matter how many drums have been made over the thousands of years we've been using drums, or how many will be made in the future, there will never be a drum like yours.
It is therefore completely unique!
Just like you.