Bodhran Tippers Of The World-Part 2

by MichelleStewart on June 3, 2013

A few months ago I asked the bodhran community to send me photos of their tipper collections, big or small.

The goal was simply to share our mutual passion for bodhran and possibly even enlighten others about tippers from around the world.

I figured I’d get a good response, but I didn’t anticipate quite so many entries so I’ve had to break the album down into several parts to showcase the collections best.

So, here it is, Part 2 of the ‘Tippers Of The World’ album.   If you’ve sent me your photo, but don’t see it here or  in Part 1 don’t worry. It will be featured in an upcoming instalment.

Enjoy the wealth of information shared here, but please don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy twenty new tippers. Many of the larger collections have grown over the years, but all you need is one really good tipper to get started.

With that said, if you’re looking for a new tipper I suspect these collections and accompanying descriptions will be extremely helpful.

For a larger view of each collection click on the individual photos.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

                                    Part 2

Crieff, Scotland, now living in France

Attached photo of my collection: (Left to right)

  • 1 – 3: Rosewood tippers bought as a batch on eBay for £9, I like them all, but #1 is my overall favourite
  • 4:  Came with my Victor Barral drum – quite heavy, for when I need to thrash
  • 5 & 6: Bundle and click tipper from Brendan White
  • 7: Home made bundle
  • 8: First ever tipper , came with the Pakistani drum.

Homemade tipper roll bag – designed to be able to cope with a few more additions to the collection.

Kind regards,
Jen Newstead – France


Hi Michelle!
Here’s a pic of my tippers: (From left to right)
  1. Made in furniture shop-from unknown origin out of unknown wood 1993 : )
  2. Christian Hedwitschak ebony tipper, heavy!
  3. Seamus O’Kane ‘fiddle bow’ tipper
  4. Seamus O’Kane ‘clicky’ tipper
  5. Eamonn Maguire African blackwood stick, early 90’s
  6. Kebab stick tipper made by myself after Seamus O’Kanes spec. (individually rounded and burnished sticks)
  7. Brendan White, unknown wood, wrapped with self vulcanizing tape 2011
All the best!
/Lars Mott – Sweden

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

This was a fun one. I didn’t realize I had so many tippers or how international my collection was until I had to round them all up for a photo shoot. I have 17 in total, but 6 of them are never used because I either don’t like the weight, feel or sound. Hopefully I can gift them away at the Gaelic College this summer. Still, 11 tippers seems to be a bit excessive, but they are all just so wonderful.
So here they are from left to right:
  • 1 & 2 – Maker/wood unknown, both ~ 9 inches. Came with a drum.
  • 3, 4 & 5 –  Ebony. Made for me by a friend here in Nova Scotia. ~ 9.25 inches (3 & 4) and ~9.5 inches (5)
  • 6 – Made by Brian’s Bodhran Beaters in the US. Wood unknown but it’s very lightweight. ~ 10.5 inches – Great for triplets!
  • 7 & 8 – Effects tippers by Christian Hedwitschak in Germany. #7 has thin skewers tapered at the end for a nice soft sound. #8 has thicker beech skewers for a higher, louder more clicky sound.
  • 9 – Split tipper by Christian Hedwitschak in Germany. Made of ebony, it has a beech centre at the split end and has a nice subtle click sound. ~ 9.5 inches. Great for triplets too.
  • 10 & 11 – Falconwood Tippers in The Netherlands. Not sure of the wood as I bought them secondhand, but I think #10 is ebony and #11 is snakewood. ~ 9.25 inches. They are very thin and light making them very fast and quiet if needed. I use these a lot when I want to play, but don’t want to disturb the rest of the household.
  • 12 – Christian Hedwitschak in Germany. Snakewood ~ 9.25 inches. This one is really fast and light.
  • 13 – Pretty rainbow laminate. Unknown maker ~ 9 inches. I wish I knew who made this one, I love it! Great solid sound, but not too heavy. This one, along with one of the CH effect tippers came with my drum. (purchased used from another BEPM student).
  • 14, 15, 16 & 17 – Made by Alan Kirkpatrick in the US. #14 is rosewood ~ 10.5 inches, #15 is laminate ~ 10.5 inches. #16 is rosewood ~ 10 inches – this one arrived broken neatly in two (glued together by Hubby, but I doubt it will hold). I contacted the maker asking for suggestions on how to repair it if possible and he immediately sent me a replacement (#14). Great customer service! #17 is ebony ~ 9.5 inches and my current favorite. It reminds me of Michelle’s famous “birthday tipper”.

 Valerie Turner – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wales, UK

Hi Michelle, no idea where most of them came from.
The ones I actually use are the ones on top of the wrapper in the middle. namely a 
  • Cormac Byrne Bodhrod
  • Seamus O’Kane weighted fiddle bow type
  • Couple of home made hotrods, one single ended and one double, weighted with a brass rod through the middle.
There’s a few good ones in there, but most are really kindling.
My favourite thing there is the old Test Tube stand from a school chemistry lab. It still smells of “Chemicals”.
Also included a picture of my Bodhran Collection, well most of them, there’s a few others scattered about the house.
Mike Quinn – Wales, UK

Oregon, USA

Left to right:

  1. Glen Stout
  2. Home made fiddle bow
  3. Rod
  4. Bamboo skewers
  5. Bamboo skewers
  6. Brian’s JJ Speed Beater
  7. Merlin’s key
  8. Christian Hedwitschak snakewood
  9. Christian Hedwitschak ebony
  10. Click
  11. Hi-hat
  12. Chili pepper brush
  13. Mexican brush
  14. Alfonso laminate
  15. The Unknown Tipper that just showed up one day.
By the way, the Hedwitschak ebony (ball ends) is perfect for the beginner as it makes triplets super easy.
Tippers 11, 12 & 13 have foam pencil grips. Tippers 6,8 & 9 have gel pen grips.
Joy Hagler – Oregon, USA

New South Wales, Australia

Hi Michelle,
Wendy Flannery from beautiful Lennox Head, New South Wales, Australia here.
Thought I may as well share my tippers with you as well.
So here they are 🙂 left to right:
  1. Honduras Rosewood tipper (my favourite at moment) bought from Lee Allan maker of Beagan Irish Drums (also my fav drum), however I think it is a Falconwood tipper.
  2. Christian Hedwitschak Makassar Ebony split tipper
  3. Christian Hedwitschak Snakewood SW3
  4. Hot rod made by Aussie named Glen who I have met a few times at different schools/workshops!
  5. Brush tipper also made by Glen
  6. Glen again
  7. And again from Glen
  8. Split tipper from Paraic McNeela –
  9. Weighted double ribbed tipper from Paraic McNeela –

Just need to find myself some foam pencil grips. Not available in Australia 🙁 Find it hard to get hand on a few things bodhran related (in particular good bodhran bags) as lots of people still don’t want to post to us down here for some reason. But that will not stop us…

Drum on,

Wendy Flannery – New South Wales, Australia

North Carolina, USA

Robert Boer – North Carolina, USA

Minnesota, USA

Starting from the bottom:

  • Beater that came with my Pakistan drum
  • Rosewood by Roosebeck, Pakistan, ordered off eBay

The rest are self-made:

  • double ended felt (cherry wood)
  • small single end felt (East Indian rosewood)
  • “stick” (Brazilian cherry)
  • bamboo skewers

Patrick Conroy – Minnesota, USA

California, USA

Lindsay Stark’s Collection#1

Above left to right:
Davey Drums
  • 1. Cocobolo bell end 9”
  • 2. Paduk-ball end. I really liked this one, so asked for a heavier one (it was my dogs favorite too)
  • 3. Same tipper in Cocobolo
Brian’s Bodhran Beaters
  • 4. I sent Brian the paduk one to copy before Dave sent me another. Also in Cocobolo
  • 5. Brian modified what I sent and made this one. It’s a bit shorter, thicker and made of kingwood
  • 6. Purple Heart, Bell n Ball 9” 2 oz.
  • 7. Old Growth Walnut (200 yr old tree, under water 150 yrs) 9” 1.4 oz. shows that all are 1 of a kind
Brent Cuyler – Finnegan Hill Irish Percussion
  • 8. Cuyler’s Ebony, T-Rod 9.5” .90 oz.
  • 9. Ebony 9”. My first tipper bought from e-bay
Falconwood Tippers
  • 10. Snakewood FW-02 SW 22.5 cm
  • 11. Kingwood FW-02 KW 22 cm
  • 12. bbq skewers ½ end cap and shrinkwrap with o ring. Sanded/Rounded ends 9”
  • 13. 6 craft rods. Glued in the middle, drum stick wrap, sanded and rounded to protect drum skin. 9”

Psychedelic Tipper Wrap













Lindsay Stark’s Corgi Tipper Collection By David Robson

Above Left to right:

  1. Blk/Tan acrylic with Padauk wood kerry style. 23cm
  2. Blk/Tan acrylic with Padauk wood click tipper. 23cm
  3. Tiger HotRod with Lime Dowels. 23.5 cm
  4. Orange/White acrylic with Mountain Ash wood brush tipper 24 cm with brush
  5. Orange/White acrylic with Mountain Ash wood wooly tipper 23.5 cm
Lindsay Stark – California, USA

Alberta, Canada

Hi Michelle, It’s not a huge collection, but I’m lucky; it didn’t take me long to find my “perfect” tipper.
Fanned out above on my drum, “Braith” – From left:
  1. Lisconnor – from Walton’s – made of birch, I think.
  2. “The Caber” – bought this from Dave Settles, my drum maker. It’s great for BOOMING BASS and it’s so heavy it’s like tossing a caber – hence the nickname. Perhaps Cocobolo???
  3. “Smokin’ Andy” – my perfect tipper made right in front of me by master turner, Andrew Glazebrook of Innisfail, Alta. Made of Figured Hard Rock Maple. It’s the perfect weight and balance for smokin’ triplets, light enough I can play for hours, heavy enough I get some real bass.
  4. My perfect tipper. 🙂 Off-Centre – Another one from Dave Settles; rosewood, I think.
  5. Rattlin’ Willy – LOL – I watched a Michelle Stewart video about how to make a practice tipper and voila!
Terri Mason – Alberta, Canada

To view Part 1 of the Bodhran Tippers Of The World Collection Click Here

Check Out Part 3 Here

To view Part 4 Click Here

To view Part 5 Click Here

If you have any of the tippers featured in the collections or want to share insight that might be useful to your fellow drummers please leave a comment below.



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Bodhran Tippers Of The World-Part 1

by MichelleStewart on April 3, 2013

A few months ago I asked the bodhran community to send me photos of their tipper collections, big or small.

The goal was simply to share our mutual passion for bodhran and possibly even enlighten others about tippers from around the world.

I figured I’d get a good response, but I didn’t anticipate quite so many entries so I’ve had to break the album down into parts to showcase the collections best.

So, here it is, Part 1 of the ‘Tippers Of The World’ album.  If you’ve sent me your photo, but don’t see it here yet don’t worry. It will be featured in an upcoming release.

Enjoy the wealth of information shared here, but please don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy twenty new tippers. Many of the larger collections have grown over the years, but all you need is one really good tipper to get started.

With that said, if you’re looking for a new tipper I suspect these collections and accompanying descriptions will be extremely helpful.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

                                    Part 1

Savage, Minnesota, USA

Below from left are my 2 JJ Speed tippers Crüe first in white maple and the second kingwood. They are the 2 that I use almost exclusively for practice and playing. The third is a Merlin’s Key made of ebony. Fourth is an ebony Shorty for single ended play with the top butt nestled in the center of my palm. The are all made by Brian of Brian’s Bodhran beaters. The 5th one you see you might want to go ask Cameron as I dare not speak his name. 🙂

Brian McGill – Savage, Minnesota, USA

A few months later (tipper collection grown since sending in first pic) Below from left to right

  1. Bell n Ball: Maple
  2. Shorty: Ebony
  3. Merlin’s Key: Ebony
  4. JJs Speed: Maple
  5. Gordon’s Spike: Maple
  6. JJs Speed: Kingwood

Then next 4 are my own design that I have been working with Brian LeTourneau on, so he is making modifications as I ask. He has called this design the ‘mcgill’

  • 1: Burmese Teak mcgill
  • 2: Lignum Vitae mcgill
  • 3: Red Teak mcgill
  • 4: Maple (this was the original and Brian inserted a metal slug in the end for balance. I think a little too forward balanced myself)

The last one on the right I don’t know the name of, nor do I know the wood. I cannot even remember where I picked it up. ~ Brian


Mariposa, California, USA

From left to right, they are (in the order I obtained them):

  1. The generic tipper that came with my first bodhran, a Pakistani special
  2. A no-name-brand knob tipper I purchased from a folk music store (it was the only kind they had in stock)
  3. A Hedwitschak SW3
  4. A homemade bamboo rod tipper
  5. A Hedwitschak NEF3.

The NEF3 is my favorite because of its balance, punch, and versatility. It is a dream to play with. The homemade rod tipper also plays very well, despite its stocky appearance; I believe I got the idea for it from your YouTube videos. I was initially very fond of the SW3 tipper, but have since found that it is somewhat too light for my playing style — if I ordered from the same SW line today, I would go for the SW6 or SW7. And, believe it or not, the el Cheapo Pakistani tipper gets a fair share of use, too; it’s actually pretty nimble. Kind regards,

Chris Coyle – Mariposa, California, USA

Derbyshire, UK, now Oklahoma City, USA

Michelle – here’s my tipper photo. I have a few ‘firewood’ ones that I absolutely never use so I didn’t include those. Tipper listing left to right:

Hotrods 1-6 self made:

  1. Bamboo skewers – Niell Lyons style (great on the SOK bodhran)
  2. “Fat Lad” hotrod – Thick centre oak dowel with 3/16th inch hardwood dowels (designed specifically for my Belgarth – packs a real punch)
  3. “Slim Jim” – thin centre oak dowel with hardwood dowels (slightly longer- good swishy/clicky sound)
  4. 3/16th Hardwood dowels double ended. (Newly made – not played it yet)
  5. 3/16th Hardwood dowels – single ended. (Good all round ‘clicky’ hotrod)
  6. ‘Half’n’Half’ hotrod – bamboo skewers with four 3/16th dowels.
  7. Snakewood – (Eoin Leonard – Belgarth) – My favourite tipper
  8. Snakewood – (Falconwood Tippers)
  9. Ebony drumstick style (Falconwood Tippers) – custom-made, a cross between the Robbie Walsh and Colm Phelan Signature models.
  10. Hammer brass insert tipper in cocobolo wood (Whistle and Drum) – great for slow reels, hornpipes, marches where you need to give a real punch.
  11. Paint brush – rich two-tone sound (brushy and pop)
  12. Ebony tipper (eBay purchase) Hand turned by a chap in N.Ireland. Weighty tipper, sounds great on my Vignoles 18″.
  13. Felt covered ball tipper
  14. Pear-drop tipper. Came with my first non-tunable Waltons, but has a nice balance. Much better than most starter tippers.
  15. Bell/ball tipper. Came with my used Vignoles. Nice weight and balance.
  16. “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper with grip from Bone Dry Music)
  17. “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper without grip from Bone Dry Music)
  18. Carrot – I’m right out of radishes 😉
  19. Wood stick. Used for left-hand accompanying beats.

Dave Cooper – Derbyshire, UK, now Oklahoma City, USA


Newfoundland, Canada

From left to right top row:

  1. Tipper hand carved by Glenn Stout
  2. Tipper with ridge in middle made by Cas Smith
  3. Brush tipper from Michelle Stewart
  4. Tipper with center groove made by Bill Alexander
  5. Snake wood tipper
  6. Ebony tipper from Brians Bodhrans center groove is offset
  7. Bottom Row: Cocbollo tipper from Davey Drums
  8. Center groove offset tipper from Davey drums
  9. Center ridge
  10. The remainder are from a pkg of tippers bought on ebay

My favorite is the brush tipper as I can use this as a brush only or by changing the angle slightly I can have a tipper w/o brush and can alternate during a tune w/o changing tippers. I like the tippers with center or offset grooves for playing fast jigs and reels as I can get a good grip on the tipper. The tipper from Cas is nice and light and great for triplets. The ebony is good for 2am when everyone is loud so the drum has to be loud also ! Its a very heavy tipper though so does tend to fatigue the wrist after a bit. Glenn Stout tipper is small and light for soft playing I have added some fabric to some of the tippers to soften the tone.

Dean Bailey – Newfoundland, Canada


North Carolina, USA

I didn’t like the tipper that came with the Bodhran. There aren’t any stores locally, here in Shelby, NC, that sell them, so I had to order one, all the way from Belfast. It’s a no. 7 from Walton’s. If it weren’t for the rubber band, I’d forever be chasing after it. Thanks for the tip. 🙂

Deb Kinney-Soltis – North Carolina, USA

Hong Kong

Hello Michelle, here is my tipper collection.

Left to right:

  1. Glenluce Bodhran Whacks.  16 pieces of cane 23.5cm long, taped handle and adjustable ring
  2. Glenluce Bodhran Brush, Double.  Beater/tipper with brush ends. Can be cut to desired length
  3. Glenluce Cocuswood Beater.  21cm long bodhran tipper
  4. Glenluce Rosewood Beater.  Straight 23cm long bodhran tipper, around 10mm thick
  5. Ball ended 23cm long bodhran tipper.
  6. Glenluce Leather ended beater.  Bodhran tipper made from Rosewood with leather covered ends
Fung Ever – Hong Kong

Michigan, now Colorado, USA

Not a very exciting collection but I’m new to the Bodhran. I made them all except the one on the right. Although I’m new to the bodhran I have played drums for over 50 years. Much easier to carry around just one drum. 🙂

Gary J. Simpson – Michigan, now Colorado, USA



Hi Michelle

My name is Georges VASSEUR, I live in France and I like celtic music very well. In 2012, I was for 10 days in Irland where I bought a Waltons bodhran and I’ve learned to play with it.

Later I bought a secondhand bodhran “Brendan White” and I play with it almost every day for 20 minutes. Now I’ve begun to make myself tippers and it’s very funny. I send here a photo from my tippers with them I play.


Georges VASSEUR – France

1 & 2.  Made in France (Jura)
3 & 4. Buy in France (Tiar Sonerien)
5. Brendan White
6. Buy in France
7. Buy in France
8 to 21. Made in France by myself, Georges Vasseur (8 for a giant)
8 to 19. Black-wood (acacia in French)
20. I don’t know

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Family Tipper Collection:

Most of my tippers are made from cocoa bolo wood.

Here they are left to right:

  1. Fashioned by Jim Hunter out of Ottawa, Ontario. This was my first child. She has brass ends which gives me a nice weighty hit. I mainly use it for jigs
  2. Next one over with the mother-of-pearl is also a Jim Hunter tipper again a jig tipper
  3. The next two are from the same wood type. These ones are made from Dr. Ray Thomas (Dr. T) He made most of my tippers (I play with Ray at our sessions). They’re again both jig tippers,
  4. Made by Dr. T
  5. The next two really skinny lads are my speed demon reel tippers. The string bean one was actually made for John Joe Kelly by Jim Hunter and was my second child. John Joe has one of these. I got the second one made.
  6. Ray made the one with the bell end.
  7. The next two are split tippers, both made by the good Doctor. The darker of the two is split on one end.
  8. The other is double ended split these are for marches
  9. 10. & 11. The last three are my brushes for the softer side, or if play to jazz (which happens more often than you think). All my brushes where made again by the good Doctor. The bristles are from a push broom. The rubber on the end change the sound and protect the bristles when traveling.

All my Hunter tippers come with a mother-of-pearl inlay.

Well that’s the kids, hope this helps. Take care Michelle.

Greg Clark – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lyon, France

From left to right :

  1. Dayly tipper
  2. Made during a masterclass with Francis McIlduf (At First Light) at the Irish festival Celticimes’2011 (France). There’s 3 different types of scotch-tape on this one, it is a technical masterpiece… 2/ an attempt to copy it later, it is cleaner, but can’t play with it…
  3. Great mahogany tipper made by Brendan White, fantastic irish bodhran maker in Holland, customized with a piece of leather, for a gong-drum sound. I got this one with my first real bodhran (from Brendan), loosing this one would break my heart
  4. A split one, from Brendan too, on a great afternoon of heavy sun in Lorient Interceltic Festival in summer’2012, when Brendan told us why he began to make bodhrans…
  5. Dayly tipper#1, made from snakewood by a french flute maker, Louis Jourdan. One end is covered with a felt pad. Amazing sound.
  6. Another one from Louis, a bit heavy for top end play
  7. Standard drummer brush, great sound, hard on the wrist.
  8. Tipper from another french flute maker “La flûte en chantier”. A bit too short
  9. Standard painter brush. Too heavy, I keep it because it is blue. And, you never know when you need a last minute paint up
  10. Not on the picture. Can’t find it. this one is (was?) made of light-yellow boxwood, lathen by a wood-plate maker that I met quite by chance at a rock festival. We talked about bodhrans and he tried to make one for the first time… and it was a crack one !
Blandine Moraweck – Lyon, France

To view Part 4 Click Here

To view Part 5 Click Here 

If you have any of the tippers featured in the collections or want to share insight that might be useful to your fellow drummers please leave a comment below.

Stay tuned. Lots more great collections coming soon . . .


Registration for BodhránExpert Platinum Membership Summer Class of 2016 is now open for a limited time. 

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Bodhran Tipper Spotlight & Give-Away

by MichelleStewart on December 14, 2012

I can’t boast to have as big or as fancy a bodhran tipper collection as many of my students, but I AM the proud owner of one very unique beater I have yet to see anywhere else.

I’m referring to this very special moose antler tipper that was gifted to me by one of my online students and dear friend, Dean, from Newfoundland.

The hand-carved bald eagle ends only add to its uniqueness.

I’ve been inspired by another one of my student’s tipper collections in my previous blog posts “I Have Bodhran Tipper Envy’ PART 1 & PART 2, that featured my friend Lauraileen’s impressive collection.

Send In Your Tipper Collection Pic To Be Entered In The Give-Away

I want to start an album entitled ‘Tipper Collections From Around The World’ and I would love to see your collection.

Everyone who sends in a photo of their tipper collection (big or small) by Thursday, February 14, 2013 will be entered into a draw to win a special gift from me. If you could include a description of each tipper, listing left to right makers if possible, your name, where you’re from and any other additional that would be great. Please send all entries directly to me at with the subject line ‘Tippers Of The World’.

The goal is simply to share our mutual passion for bodhran and possibly even enlighten others about tippers from the world with your own tipper collection.

Keep Calm and Drum On!

~ Michelle

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Summer Bodhran Classes At The Gaelic College Announced For 2015

by MichelleStewart on December 14, 2012

I will be teaching bodhran at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada for one week this summer (2015). Anyone who has ever been will tell you it’s an experience of a lifetime. 

I’ll be at the Gaelic College for Adult Session 1 – August 3rd – 7th, 2015.

The reason I’m only teaching for one week this summer is so I can be back in Scotland to watch my husband and son compete in the World Pipe Band Championships. 

There are five classes a day and you can choose from a variety of instruments, dance and language. Click here to find out more about Adult Session 1. 

You certainly don’t have to be one of my Platinum students to attend, but once again many Plats from around the globe are reserving their vacation time and planning to come.

There’s even a private Gaelic College SUM15 facebook page for Plat, and non-Plat, bodhran students who are coming. In there they share helpful travel and packing tips, class timetables, and everything you’d ever need to know to prepare.

The last couple of years people shared rides, flights, B&B’s, etc. By the time they arrived for registration on Sunday night they felt like they already knew each other before classes even started on Monday. 

It’s pretty incredible to witness such instant bonding through a mutual love of music.

If you are coming let us know so we can add you to that private FB group. You can drop me an email or send me a private Facebook message.

Below: Our annual after-class ‘Tipper Making’ Workshop 

Below: Platinum Reunion Party And Photo-Shoot At My Mum’s House

Interested In Attending? Here’s How To Find Out More

If you would like more info about the courses please visit or phone (902) 295-3411. You can also email the Director Of School Operations, Kevin Dugas, at 

What If I Don’t Have A Drum?

Note For Beginners: If you don’t already have a drum, and not sure what to buy, you can borrow one of my extra workshop drums and use it for the week. Just let me know so I can put one aside for you. There will be students there with drums of different makes and sizes so it will be the perfect opportunity to try lots of different drums before buying one. 

 The Bodhran Class Photo Tradition

I’ve made sure to take a bodhran class photo every year since I started teaching at the Gaelic College in the mid-90’s. It’s now not only a highly anticipated tradition among the bodhran students, but the shenanigans going on behind the scenes during the shoot is one of the things I look forward to the most.  



I think the Gaelic College should also include the fact that you have all your meals cooked for you (which also means no dishes to wash up) in their marketing campaign. It’s like ‘band camp for adults’. Many people find learning in this incredible environment to be a life-changing experience and a priceless gift to themselves. 

Hope to see you there,

Drum On!

~ Michelle

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My Personal Top 5 Favourite Celtic Christmas Albums

by MichelleStewart on December 14, 2012

Since these cd’s have been playing almost non-stop in our house leading up to Christmas I just wanted to share some of my personal favourite Celtic holiday cd’s with you. Of course, I’m also partial to a bit of Sarah McLachlan, Michael Buble, Kenny G and even Alan Jackson’s Christmas album, (yes, I have some country in me too), but here are my favourite Celtic ones. I’d love to know what YOUR TOP 5 would be so please feel free to leave a comment below to share yours. Sending a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of you in this wonderful bodhran community (and your understanding families : 0 ) ~ Michelle

Barra MacNeil’s –  ‘The Christmas Album’

Barra MacNeil’s – “The Christmas Album II’

A Celtic Celebration Volume 1 – Night Heron Music

Atlantic Standards Christmas

The Chieftains – The Bells Of Dublin

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I Officially Have Bodhran Tipper Envy – Part 2

by MichelleStewart on August 31, 2012

(Aug 2012) Check out the other half of my friend Lauraileen’s bodhran tipper collection that she brought to the Gaelic College this year. It was certainly fun playing around with them.

I wish I could have seen my own face when I tried number 10. It’s not just incredibly cool to look at either. It sounds like nothing else I’ve ever tried before so I’ll definitely be ordering myself one of those funky little numbers. In fact, I think I’ll start making up my bodhran tipper Christmas wish list and conveniently leave it where my husband is sure to see it.


Tipper Collection 2nd Half

1. Albert Alfonso
2.Brian’s Beaters T-Rod
3.From the music store in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland
4.Brian’s Beaters
5.Albert Alfonso
6.Albert Alfonso
7.David Robson Woolly Top at Craiceann
8.Falconwood Tippers
9.Brian’s Beaters T-Rod
10.David Robson Acrylic Top Clicker at Craiceann
11.Falconwood Tippers
12.Allen Kirkpatrick of Bethesda Woodworks
13.Brendan White Clicker
14.Brendan White
15.Allan Collison at Craiceann
16.Christian Hedwitshak Snakewood
17.Cormac Byrne  Bodhrod – Blayne Chastain uses this on his online Bodhran course 

If you haven’t seen the first half of the collection yet click here.

AND, as always, I love it when you share info about your tippers, where you got them and your own tipper stories. It’s a great help to everyone else who is thinking about investing in some new tippers too.

The posts left under Part 1 (1st Half Of the Collection) were super so thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute there.

Please leave a comment below to add your two cents on tippers and feel free to click the Facebook ‘recommend’ or Twitter ‘tweet this’ buttons to share this post with your bodhran playing friends.

Keep calm and drum on.

~ Michelle



Registration for BodhránExpert Platinum Membership Summer Class of 2016 is now open for a limited time. 

Click here to join.

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I Officially Have Bodhran ‘Tipper Envy’ – Part 1

by MichelleStewart on August 13, 2012

(August 2012) Back in Scotland after three weeks home in Cape Breton. I had the most amazing week with my bodhran students at the Gaelic College.

We had a bit of a BodhranExpert Platinum members reunion with drummers flying and driving in from Ireland, California, Ontario, Manitoba, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania as well as locals from the Maritimes.

Lots of photos still to come from that, but I am really excited to share this incredible tipper collection with you. I have huge ‘tipper envy’ for my friend Lauraileen O’Connor’s bodhran tipper collection.


Tipper Collection (1st Half)

The tippers in the photo are numbered so you can see who made it below. Most names are hyperlinked to take you directly to the maker’s site.

1. Valentin at Craiceann (Aislin Ceoil on FB)
2. Don’t remember who made it but it was made for Craiceann 2011
3. Allan Collison at Craiceann
4. Allen Kirkpatrick of Bethesda Woodworks
5. Christian Hedwitshak
6. Ben March
7. Neil Lyons
8. Falconwood Tippers Robbie Walsh edition
9. Falconwood Tippers
10. Christian Hedwitshak
11. Belgarth???
12. Falconwood Tippers
13. Allen Kirkpatrick of BethesdaWoodworks
14. ChristianHedwitshak
15. Christian Hedwitshak
16. ???
17. Falconwood Tippers
18. Glenn Stout
19. Falconwood Tippers
20. ChristianHedwitshak
21. ChristianHedwitshak
22. ChristianHedwitshak
23. Brian’s Bodhran Beaters (made from the wood of table damage in a fire – still has a burn mark on it!)

I was lucky enough to get a brief try with most of these and realized it’s time to invest in a few new beaters myself. This is only HALF OF THE COLLECTION. Click here to see the 2nd Half.

Can you do me a favour? Could you please leave a comment if you have any of these and share what you think of them so others can benefit from your first hand experience.

Also feel free to add any information you might have about the unknown make and contact info for any of the names not linked to a maker’s website or Facebook page.

Lastly don’t forget you can click  the Facebook ‘Recommend’ button below to share this collection with any of your friends.

Keep Calm and Drum On!

~ Michelle


Registration for BodhránExpert Platinum Membership Summer Class of 2016 is now open for a limited time. 

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Video Library

by MichelleStewart on October 27, 2011

I’m in the process of gathering some of my students’ favorite bodhran videos for you to listen to and learn from as well as playing along with. So, no more excuses for not knowing what to practice during your 10 Minutes A Day Practice Challenge.

I’ll be posting more videos here on a regular basis so please send me the link to any of your own favourites in the comment section below.

You know I love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment about any of the videos or how you’re doing in your bodhran journey.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

Donnchadh Gough

Moving Hearts – Live In Dublin – The Lark on MUZU.TV.
Moving Hearts – Live In Dublin – The Lark

The History of the Bodhran 1973-1982

John Joe Kelly

Steafan Hannigan

Lucy Randall

Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh

Jim Sutherland

Jim Higgins

Cormac Byrne plays bodhran at Craiceann in Inisheer 2010

Beoga – Eamon Murray

Mance Grady bodhran solo from 2007 CCCF

Robbie Walsh

Tommy Hayes demonstrates his Bodhran Technique with and without beater.

This video is one that inspired many to learn bodhran so it’s only appropriate to post it here.

Some truly amazing bodhran playing by Martin O’Neill.

In this soaring demonstration, deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums.

Rocky Road to Dublin – Kelly Family + Chieftains

Billie Jean on the bodhran by Tad Sargent

Documentary featuring Seamus O’Kane and Rolf Wagels

Cormac Byrne

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What’s Is BodhranExpert Platinum Membership Program?

by MichelleStewart on October 2, 2011


BodhranExpert Platinum Membership is year long online program and downloadable course, but a truly unique experience. Yes, you get all the videos, transcripts and audios from me that make you feel like I’m there in the room talking to you and teaching you directly, but you also get to connect with me and your classmates so you actually feel like we’re in this journey together.

Once you register you will receive login details to a private membership site where you can watch, read, listen and download everything to keep forever.

The Main Program Lesson Vault includes:

  • 45 Never Seen Before Video Lessons (Over 2 hrs total)
  • 45 Audio Recordings of the Video Lessons (Over 2hrs)
  • 45 Files of Written Transcripts from each lesson (118 pages in total) with the easy to follow Bodhran Notation.
  • Progress Checklist so you can track your progress
  • All material is downloadable.
  • Everything is not only viewable on regular computers and notebooks, but it is also Ipad and Iphone ready.

gift-graphicYou also get SIX BONUS MODULES

Once you’ve covered the Main Program these Bonus Modules will help to take your playing to the next level and keep you motivated. These six, very in depth lessons, with Video, Audio and Transcripts with Bodhran Notation, will be schedule released which means two weeks after you’ve registered and you’ve had some time to watch most or all of the Main Program you’ll get  Bonus Module 1 – Offbeat Reels. These Bonus Modules are so involved because when I was creating them I just couldn’t stop teaching and they ended up being much longer than I even intended them to be. Each one of them could be released as their own individual course, they are that involved.

Then 21 days after you start you’ll get Bonus Module 2 – Mastering Triplets and Rolls.

On day 28 of the program you’ll get Bonus Module 3 – Slip Jigs.

Bonus Module 4 – Marches, Waltzes and Polkas comes to you 35 days into the course.

Intermediate and Advanced Jigs – Bonus Module 5 will be released in the private membership site  42 days in.

And then Bonus Module 6 – Bodhran Solos will be released on day 49. So the sooner you start the sooner you’ll get access to those. And did I mention that all of these modules have multiple videos and you will get the transcripts and audios too?

BUT you’ll still have access to the private membership website for six months so you’ll have more than enough time to download everything. And there’s even a video in there to show you exactly how to download everything.

mod-1 Bonus Module 1 – Offbeat Reels

In this module you will learn all about the Offbeat Reel Rhythm and how to use it in scores. I originally planned to include one tune to play along with, but got so carried away during recording that we ended up putting together a four tune set. This is a 9 video module totalling over 97 minutes.

mod2Bonus Module 2 –  Mastering Triplets And Rolls

In this lesson you will learn how to master triplets and rolls once and for all. This is a complete blueprint to cracking what many find to be one of the most frustrating rudiments to learn and control. In this very detailed lesson you’ll learn how to use triplets in the score for the very popular ‘Toss The Feathers’. Five videos for another 85 minutes of high quality instruction.

mod3Bonus Module – 3 Slip Jigs

This module is all about the Slip Jig. Not only will we cover various Slip Jig Rhythms, but we will learn a score to use it in AND I’ll also teach you how to change between 9/8 and 6/8 time when the tune calls for it.  You will also learn what to play along to Rocky Road To Dublin.

mod4Bonus Module 4 Waltzes, Polkas and Marches

This module will cover an introduction to Waltzes, Polkas and Marches. You will learn suggested beatings to play along to the featured tunes and much more. Includes O’Sullivan’s March, John Ryan’s Polka and Fanny Power Waltze. Five more great videos totalling 74 mintues.

mod5Bonus Module 5 –  Intermediate and Advanced Jig Rhythms

This module will cover intermediate and advanced jig rhythms and a really neat tune to use them in. This lesson really makes you think outside the jig box and see the cool possibilities beyond the Mother Of All Jig Rhythms. Five more videos of intense jig work will keep you busier than the 54 minutes of video time. As in all the modules the notes will really support you here, especially the 30 pages for this module alone.

mod6Bonus Module 6 – The Bodhran Solo

This module will cover how to piece together a bodhran solo. Here I will teach you two sections of one of my own solos. First we’ll cover the ‘Jig Fanfare’ and then what I call my ‘Salsa’ section. Almost another 100 minutes of video content in the module itself.

Inside the Private Members Website you will also find the following sections:

tuneroomTune Room

This will be your own private session training ground. As we cover a new tune recordings of it at various tempos will be placed here. You will also have the option to play along with the uilleann pipes with and without my bodhran accompaniment. Playing along with my drumming will help you gain confidence and when you are ready to play on your own the track without drumming will be there for you.


This section will host a variety of helpful resources that will not only assist you in learning the bodhran, but it will also help you become more educated and show you how to guide yourself along your musical journey.


This section is for you to exchange information about bodhrans, tippers, playing goals and a host of other topics. It’s the ideal place to brainstorm, get help and make friends.

facebook-graphicPrivate Facebook Group

Consider this area to be your ‘Bodhran Help Hot-Line’. You wouldn’t believe the amount of information, valuable tips and support that is here on a daily basis. The sense of community here is one of the best things about this program.

The Next Class Of BodhranExpert Platinum Membership Will Be Coming Soon!!!

To get FIRST NOTICE of ANY open seats enter your email here for ‘early bird’ notification.

Drum On!!!

~ Michelle

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Practice Just Got Alot Easier

by MichelleStewart on October 1, 2011

I remember when I first started playing bodhran most of the tracks I wanted to play along with were so fast. I thought I’d struck gold when I found a cassette player that slowed down and sped the tape up, but the downside was that the pitch either dropped dramatically or made every group sound like the chipmunks gone Trad.

I just uploaded this free video to show you exactly how to use one of my favourite tools, the Amazing Slow Downer, to slow down your most loved music tracks to practice along to.

Some Free Solutions

I’ve been a fan of the Amazing Slow Downer for several years now because it’s so easy to use and as a music teacher it’s worth the $50 investment or $15 for the app. However, I realize not everyone is going to use it as much as me so here’s a free option I learned from my buddy, Steafan Hannigan. He shared this great tip with me recently on facebook as to how you can also slow tunes down with QuickTime. I couldn’t believe I had it on my computer all this time and didn’t even know it was there or play around with it. Most of you probably have it on your computers too.

So, here’s your Step By Step Instructions as to how use this free QuickTime Player to slow down or speed up music to play along with:

1. Go to QuickTime Player (if you can’t find it on your desktop just type it into ‘Search Programs and Files’)

2. Below ‘File’ select ‘Open File’ (pick a fave track)

3. Once it comes up go to ‘Window’

4. Scroll down to ‘Show A/V Controls’

5. When the AV Controls box pops up you’ll see Playback Speed in the bottom right hand corner and you can adjust the track tempo there.

I will try to do a screen capture video to actually show this at some point, but thought you’d like to try it out asap if you have a fave track that you thought was just way too fast for you. Now you’re all set.

GarageBand Can Do It Too!
I’m looking forward to getting a Mac very soon and know you can adjust the tempo in GarageBand. If you’re on a Mac just go to Youtube and search something like ‘GarageBand slow down’ or ‘GarageBand change tempo’ you’ll find a video of someone showing you how to do that.

“Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.”

― Bruce Lee

Continue to live with passion and drum on!
~ Michelle

UPDATE: Just moments after posting this one of my Platinum students,
Bob from Texas, told me about gAssisant, another great option free from
the Mac App Store.

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