My Bodhran – Size Questions Answered

by MichelleStewart on October 1, 2014

I get asked about my bodhran a lot so I took some time to measure it, take a few photos and add some detailed notes.

As you read on you’ll see how I even learned something new about my drum just in measuring it for this article.

My intention was to try to answer the most common questions I get asked and to simply help and share from my experience.

It’s not to say anyone looking to purchase a new drum should try to go by these exact measurements.

Although most people who try my drum find it quite comfortable I have only included measurements here as a guideline.

Transitioning From A Larger To Smaller Diameter 

When I first went from an 18″ drum to just under 15″ I would get extra (unintentional) rim shots because I was used to working with a larger playing surface and extending my tipper arm further out. It took a while to adjust to the smaller size, but I’d never go back to regularly playing an 18″ drum. Now I personally prefer this smaller size because it’s what I’m used to.

My next drum will most likely be a 14″ diameter bodhran, mainly due to the tonal opportunities it can offer, but also partly due to the fact that I already have a drum of the 15″ family. 

It is difficult to get as wide of a range of tonal changes out of an 18″ drum as you can out of a 15″ drum. For this reason I would suggest going smaller if you currently have an 18″ drum and looking to upgrade and want more notes to work with.

Finding The Right Size For You

The 14″ – 16″ diameter range suits most people. Your choice of drum isn’t determined by your general physical body size, but if you are a larger-breasted female or a man with very large hands you may find a 14″ diameter bodhran too restrictive. The 15″ – 16″ range would probably be more comfortable. I know an inch in the difference doesn’t sound like it would give you that much more room, but it really does. I’m 5’3″, and of average size, and now find even a 16″ drum too big for me. 


My drum was made by my husband, Mark, and myself. When we lived in Canada in the ’90’s we had a successful drum making business, Cape Breton Bodhrans. We even had an apprentice working with us at one point. 

We moved back to Scotland in 2001 and set up a small workshop. This drum, the one I play in my videos, was one of the first drums we made in it. However, we’ve since knocked down our workshop and old house to build new houses on the same plot of land. Although we’re now in our new house, and plan to set up a small workshop in the future, we expect it will be more for our own personal use rather than commercial production. 


Depth – Playing Side

I play in the same ‘sweet spot’ all the time so it only makes sense that one side of the skin would end up being stretched more than the other. Due to this the playing half is tuning higher – meaning the half of the drum I play on all the time is measuring just slightly deeper than the half that is tucked against my body. This playing section of the goatskin has lost more of its natural elasticity than the other half of the skin.

I know, you’re probably thinking ‘Couldn’t you just adjust the tuning so both sides were even?’. Yes I could, but it doesn’t sound in tune with itself when I do that due to the difference in skin elasticity of each half of the drum head. 

What you have to realise though is that this is an extreme case. I play my bodhran more in a summer than most people will play their drum in a lifetime. Some days I may be teaching, performing, and playing my drum up to 7 or 8 hours A DAY!

As the skin was stretched more on one half than the other through playing the inner tuning ring needed to come up more on one side merely to help the more stretched side come up to the same tension as the other and make the skin a good playable tension.

The crusty line on the skin edge shows how the inner ring’s height changed over the years. It reminds me of how rings on a tree trunk show how old it is.

Another thing to remember is that working with an animal skin is quite different from working with a man-made product. More transparent areas of the drum head are thinner than the less transparent sections. You can see this more clearly if you hold you drum up to the light of a window. 


How Deep Is Too Deep?

When we made this drum (about 12 years ago) it most likely started out with a depth of 5 1/4″ (14 cm). It took me a while to get used to the smaller diameter, deeper shell and no crossbar, but this change was a good one. I wouldn’t recommend going any deeper than my drum. A depth closer to 6″ is really too deep for my liking. It’s difficult to get your arm around and as a result awkward to get any back hand pressure or movement to change tones.

Teaching hundreds of people in person over the last two and a half decades, and having them try various sized drums, gives me the confidence to guide you on this.

Tuning System 

The tuning mechanism consists of 7 lugs pressing against a free-flowing, wooden inner rim. These aluminium blocks (anodised black) are the only part of the drum we did not make from scratch ourselves.  

The Skin

The skin is goatskin and super soft after years of excessive use. In the photo you can see how after years of playing the natural oils from the heel of my hand have stained the drum skin. Up close  the darkened spot is quite shiny and looks  as if I’ve poured extra virgin olive oil on to it, but it’s just the natural oils from my hand. 


For years I thought my drum was 15.5″ in diameter (you would think I would remember since we made it), but it was only upon recent measuring that I realised it was actually closer to 14 3/4″ in diameter.  

Why My Bodhran Isn’t Taped

My drum is not taped. Tried it, but removed it after deciding I liked the sound better without it. However, tape does improve the sound of some drums. It can even offer a nice ‘slappy’ sound for those offbeat pops. I enjoy playing other people’s drums that are taped so don’t be swayed by my drum. In fact, it’s likely my next drum will have tape on it.  

Depth – Body Side

The photo below shows the skin edge that lays close to my body. You can’t see as much of a crusty looking line as in the playing side photo and the depth is a bit less than the playing side depth.

The Finishing Touch 

The brass tacks were longer than the depth of the shell so all 56 of them had to be individually snipped and then filed down on one side to make a sharp point. The skin was stapled and glued to the frame under the black, scalloped leather finishing band. These finishing touches alone were quite time consuming so when you look at the price of drums and think they are expensive think of how much time has gone in to making them. If my memory serves me right my drum took approximately 40 hours to make.

I hope this article helps anyone looking to upgrade to a new drum. 

I really hesitate from suggesting any one particular maker because I think there are a lot of amazing makers out there today. It wouldn’t be right to direct all the traffic to just one – and I wouldn’t be able to pick anyway. 

Be sure to check out my ‘Bodhran Makers Of The World’ list. Here you’ll find makers categorised by county and direct links to their websites.

You will love your drum so much more knowing that you’ve done the research to find the drum that best suits you. It’s ok for us to all have different preferences.

Drum and Dream On!

~ Michelle








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Touch The Sky

by MichelleStewart on June 4, 2014

I recently had the privilege to witness some great Celtic music getting recorded from behind the scenes at the top ‘go-to’ studio in Scotland, Castlesound Studios.

As if that wasn’t enough I also got to meet one of my percussion heros, Jim Sutherland.  I tried to act all cool, but inside I was thinking of all amazing rhythms I learned from him while listening to Gordon Duncan and Dougie MacLean albums over the years. I mean this guy is a legend. He even taught Evelyn Glennie how to play bodhran.

Jim and his crew were really friendly and made me feel very welcome. He was going to even have me participate on one of the tracks, but unfortunately the studio was a three-hour round trip for me and I had to get home to collect my son from after-school club. Honestly though, I was just so chuffed to meet Jim because he has been a big influence on my drumming.

You might also recognise Jim’s name as the producer of the track ‘Touch The Sky’ by Julie Fowlis from the movie, ‘Brave’. A few months back someone asked me if I could do a video on what rhythms to play along to the track, but I don’t cover copywritten material. (That’s why it’s handy to have my husband, Mark, as my own ‘in-house’ piper, to record lots of traditional and original tunes for me to teach my Platinum students.)

What I could do though was scribble down some very simple patterns to get you started. Clicking on the arrow notation image below will enlarge it.

You can play along to the YouTube video here, but the link for buying ‘Touch The Sky’ on iTunes is right below it.

I hope you like this track. Playing along to it is like taking a happy pill.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

ps. Struileag – Shore To Shore was the recording project Jim was working on at Castlesound.















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Metronomes & Apps For Bodhran Practice

by MichelleStewart on February 20, 2014

I often get asked what metronome I use so here’s a little run down.

My favourite metronome has always been the Korg MA-30
(The blue one I’ve used in some of my YouTube videos).

However, I’ve recently discovered the Tempo Metronome App (by Frozen Ape) which is pictured below.
It’s now my new favourite metronome app because it lets you choose the time signature and offers lots of subdivision of the note options.

If you’re looking for metronomes with ‘Tap’ Functions To Figure Out Beats Per Minute here a few others:

Steinway & Sons Metronome App

Pro Metronome App

Metronome TS App

If you’re a drummer and not already using a metronome as part of your regular practice I would highly recommend doing so.

If you don’t already have a metronome I hope this info helps you find the right one for you.

~ Mickey

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I Have A Book Coming Out . . .

by MichelleStewart on September 6, 2013

I wanted you, my bodhran family, to be the first to know that I have a book coming out and a new website launching soon. Feel free to head over to for a sneak peek.

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Bodhran Tippers Of The World-Part 3

by MichelleStewart on August 19, 2013

I’m just back from spending the entire summer in Cape Breton where I was teaching bodhran at the Gaelic College for two weeks. I’ll post more about that in another blog soon, but now that I’m back in Scotland I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of this awesome tipper series with you.

As most you of already know, 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 3 of the ‘Tippers Of The World’ album.   If you’ve sent me your photo, but don’t see it here, or in Part 1  or Part 2 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 3

Farmington, New Hampshire, USA

Michael Cummings’ Collection

Here is a shot of my collection. There is a bit of redundancy, but each is a different weight and slightly different balance point or striking tip.

  1. (Top Row) 11″ tipper made from cello bow. Wrapped with hemp cord for grip and additional weight at tip. O-rings added at tip to allow two striking points hard teardrop tip and rubber. Uncertain of wood type.
  2. 11″ cello bow tipper rosewood with hemp cord grip.
  3. 11.25″ violin bow tipper hemp grip.10 in
  4. 10″ cello bow tipper hemp and o-ring grip rosewood.
  5. 10″ violin bow tipper hemp/o-ring grip
  6. 10.25″ tipper which I hand carved taper and tip from an oak timbale stick w/hemp grip.
  7. 10.25″ tipper hand carved from hickory timbale stick
  8. 10.5″ top end tipper from Rich at Top notch tippers. Very well balanced at 25.1 grams.
  9. 10.5″ top notch tipper in cocobolo 35.9 grams.
  10. 10.5″ top notch tipper in rosewood 35.6 grams.
  11. 10.5″ top notch tipper unknown wood type 41.5gm
  12. 10″ rosewood Meinl with assorted grip points
  13. 10″ tipper with padded striking points.
  14. 9″ Kerry style straight tipper.
  15. 8.75″ original goat wacker in rosewood 38.3 grams
  16. 9.5″ Kerry style teardrop end 17.5 grams.
  17. 9″ ball end Kerry tipper in maple,( I think,) 13.4 Gr
  18. 8.5″ ball end Kerry tipper in Oak 28.7 gr.
  19. 8.75″ ball end tipper, Brendan White 24gr.
  20. 9.25″ Ball end Kerry tipper 31.8 gr.
  21. (Horizontal)  21. jazz brush
  22. 8.5″ top notch Kerry style
  23. 7 ” olive wood (I think) Kerry
  24. Nylon Heavy jazz brush
  25. (Bottom Row) 25. 12″ cello bow tipper with a cord affixed to one end for special effect.
  26. 10.25″ homemade bamboo brush with hemp grip and rubber tip at top. Very poppy
  27. 11″ home made hardwood “clicker” with hemp grip and top end striker.
  28. 10.5″ bamboo brush/hot rod B. White.
  29. 10.75″ hot rod made with 1/8 in birch dowels. (Thumper)
  30. 10.5″ mixed hardwood brush (home made)
  31. 9.75″ bamboo brush with rubber/felt end. Special effect.
  32. 9″ bamboo brush with rubber top end.
  33. 9″ clicker made from chop sticks.. One of my personal favs.
  34. 8″ bamboo clicker tipper.
  35. 8″ split end clicker w/ hemp grip Brendan White.
  36. 10.25″ double ended split end clicker by Dave Drager.
  37. 10.5″ rubberized bamboo tipper with felt covered end home made.
  38. 9.5″ corn whisk brush tipper
  39. 10.75″ double ended timpani tipper with flex center shaft
  40. 8.75″ original goat wacker in heartwood 29.5 gr.
  41. 8.25″ teardrop Kerry style tipper in rosewood B. White 21gr.
  42. 9″ teardrop Kerry style 29 gr.
  43. 9″ teardrop Kerry style 41.4 gr.
  44. 9″ teardrop Kerry style 35 gr.
  45. 9″ teardrop Kerry style.

Well, there you have it. Best Regards, Michael Cummings 

Hobart, Tasmania

Jeremy Sibson’s Collections

Most Used Tippers Left to Right:
  1. Hedwitschak dowel’hot-rod’ bundle
  2. Cormac Byrne ‘BodhRod’
  3. Makassar Ebony Hedwitschak top end
  4. Hedwitschak snakewood top end
  5. Seamus O’Kane split tipper
  6. Seamus O’Kane straight tipper with metal core

    Other Tippers Left to Right:

  1. Hedwitschak thin dowel ‘hot-rod’ bundle
  2. Mike Maddock short top end ‘hot-rod’ bundle
  3. Hedwitschak snakewood tipper (my first pro tipper)
  4. Simon Garth marbo wood tipper
  5. Blue Gum homemade tipper
  6. Walton’s tipper
  7. Mike Maddock top end heavy tipper
  8. Mike Maddock O’Kane copy
  9. Walton’s heavy tipper


London, Ontaria, Canada

Jim Dwyer’s Collection


I do not yet have any tippers that feel good to me.  Here is my collection:

The one that came with the bodhran that I purchased and two that I made myself from broken drum sticks.

Jim Dwyer – London, Ontario, Canada

Chicago, USA

Tim Jedlicka’s Collecton

Attached is my collection on top of my Albert Alfonso drum. I usually have 3-5 of these first 5 tippers next to me on the table. Depends on what sound I’m after for a particular tune:

  1. My favorite. A David Draeger e-notch tipper.
  2. My heaviest tipper (other than number 10 – but I’m not sure how that thing is supposed to be used)
  3. My other favorite – homemade. I stained the rod and left the knobs natural. I like the contrast.
  4. Another homemade simple tipper. Feels faster so I use it for hornpipes. Gives a nice pop attack.
  5. Homemade bamboo brush tipper, I really like this sound. I use the other end with blue fabric if I just want a bass drum beat. Sometimes if there is more than one bodhran player at a session I can lay down a basic beat like a kick drum.
  6. These stay at home or in my case most of the time:   6. Homemade – a complete failure! The rubber tips are horrible.
  7. Somewhat heavy. Came in a pack of 4 tippers (7,8,9,10)
  8. Nice tipper but I don’t use it. It has most of the weight at the ends – a different kind of balance.
  9. Just too light and boring for my tastes.
  10. The club. Still trying to figure out how one is supposed to use this thing.
  11. Very light 8″ tipper.
  12. A slightly thinner and longer version of my favorite brush tipper (number 5).

Tim Jedlicka from Chicago. My daughter plays fiddle so I get to play with her at sessions – we both have so much fun. And if there are ever too many bodhran players, I can just sit back with a Guinness and enjoy her playing.

Tim Jedlicka – Chicago, USA



Søren Jensen’s Collection

I use to had two other tippers, but they got lost :). Then I just make myself a new one.

Here is my description (Left to Right):

1. I made this tipper before I got my bodhran back in August 2011. On a tracking trip with two of my friends I found these fine piece of Danish Ashwood, which was telling me to make a tipper out of it. It is hand cut and quite big, but has a soft, round sound to it.

2. This tipper was brougt back from Paraguay summer 2012 by my girlfriend. Originally this was a cocking tool used in the kitchen in Paraguay, but we found that the wood smelled funny and I made a tipper out of it. I have put a small piece of choth on this one to make a soft sound.

3. This is a samba drum stick. It is a bit too big, but I’m trying new techniques and playing with this tipper.

Søren Jensen – Denmark

Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada

Randy Feener’s Collection

1-8: My own multi Rod design of hardwood and bamboo dowels soaked in Linseed oil. Carefully sanded, and grip wrapped with sponge wrapping. O-Rings adjustable for amount of desired snap and click
9-10: Brand new Christian Hedwitschak “ Hedrods” HR3-bold and HR5-bold
11: Ralf Seipmann multirod
12: Christian Hedwitschak EF7
13: Christian Hedwitschak EF11
13-A: Christian Hedwitschak EF1
14:Christian Hedwitschak N-EF-8 Dynamic click type (very cool!!!)
15: Falconwood FW 02 LS slim… (Really cool!!!)
16: Christian Hedwitschak Snakewood SWA
17: Christian Hedwitschak Snakewood SW3 (lightning stick….so fast, Super cool!!!)
18: Los Cobos Sean McCann “Great Big Sea edition” beech tipper
19: Alan Collinson EF10 Gattling Beater
20: Christian Hedwitschak N-EF-5 brush. (Super sexy sound…beautiful soft brush with some thump)
21: Christian Hedwitschak Makassar Ebony ME5
22-23: Vator Poly Brush, retractable brush heads that can be adjusted for amount of brush exposed (Endless sound capabilities)

24: Regal Tip Stationary brush head. Great for using in shuffle beats and mixes

Geez…don’t show my missus……….. Keep Calm and Drum ON…… Randy Feener 

Indiana, USA

Robert Kirkman’s Collection

Over a time of 18+ years I have made or had made and then modified most of these. I use the straight beater on the left most days. Occasionally I will use the click stick. Rarely do I find a quiet location I can use the brush stick.

Robert Kirkman 

New Hampshire, USA

Robin Weisburger Collection
Here’s mine!
From left to right:
  1. Glenn Stout special
  2. From a Montreal music shop
  3. Skewer stick from Saratoga
  4. Top end from the New England fall week-end compliments of Laurileen
  5. Stick that came with my drum
  6. Brush stick from Babs, aka BJ
Robin Weisburger – New Hampshire, USA

Texas, USA

Sherri Rhein’s Collcetion

The only tipper I bought without playing it was the Hedwitschak Ebony ME1. All the others- I played them before buying. My favorite and currently the one I use the most  ***ebony 9″ Maker: Albert Alfonso. My first tipper **Rosewood Tear drop 6.25″

Starting at the far left —

  1. Pine 5″ teardrop shaped – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  2. Oak 5.5″ barrel ended – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  3. Oak 5.5″ barrel ended – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  4. Rosewood 6 barrel ended – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  5. Rosewood 6 with center ring barrel ended – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  6. Pine with center groove 6 – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  7. Cocobolo 5.6 – Maker: family friend
  8. Ebony 6.5″ Maker: Albert Alfonso
  9. Laminate 6.5″ Maker: Albert Alfonso
  10. ***Ebony 9″ Maker: Albert Alfonso
  11. Hedwitschak Ebony ME1
  12. Dark Oak Ball end 6″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  13. Oak Ball end 6.25″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  14. Rosewood Ball end 6″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  15. Pine wood Ball end 6″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  16. Rosewood Tear drop 6.5″ (these were my favorites when learning triplets)
  17. Oak Tear drop 6.5″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  18. **Rosewood Tear drop 6.25″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  19. Rosewood Tear drop 6.25″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  20. Light Oak Tear drop 5.5″ – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival
  21. Rosewood 5.5 – Drum store in Austin, TEXAS
  22. Light Oak Ball end 5.0 – music store at Texas Renaissance Festival

Sherri Rhein – Texas, USA


Colorado, USA

Stan Hill Collection

Left to right:

1-6   — snakewood, various shapes/weights, hand turned by Emery Hutchins (nice!)

7      — 9″ off-center knob tipper from Roosebeck

8      — 9” knob tipper from Roosebeck

9-13 — experimental bundles

Stan Hill – Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA (Jan. ’13)

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

To view Part 2 Click 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 5

by MichelleStewart on June 3, 2013

Wow, just when you think you’ve seen it all even more cool bodhran tipper collections keep pouring in from around the world. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in this fun project.


I highly recommend clicking on the pictures for a great close-up view and a better appreciation of the collections.

Drum On!
~ Michelle

California, USA

Kerry Osborne’s Collection

Left to Right:
  • JJ Speed Beater Change-Up Pair from Brian’s Bodhran Beaters: lighter tipper – Purple Heart, heavier tipper – Katalox (Mexican Ebony)
  • Homemade bundle tippers using hardwood, duct tape/electrical tape, and 0-rings
  • Meinl FDT5 knotted end tipper (Ash) – leather knots untied and cut into fringe
  • Leather-ended tipper with rubber-band grip (eBay)
  • My best-loved, default tipper, hand crafted and signed by BEPM classmate Glenn Stout, from a Black Cherry tree in Vermont (double o-ring grip)
Above, Left to Right:
  • Brush tipper (eBay)
  • Brush tipper #4 from Art Bodhran (Christian Hedwitschak)
  • Tipper purchased from BEPM classmate Valerie Turner at Gaelic College, 2012
  • Brian’s Claddagh Ring (Maple) from Brian’s Bodhran Beaters
  • “Dynamic” split stick with Beech center (Makassar) from Art Bodhran (Christian Hedwitschak)
  • Hardwood tipper that came with my first bodhran (a used Malachy Kearns on eBay)
  • That one elusive tipper everyone has of unknown origin
  • Meinl – FDT2 (Ash)
  • Meinl – FDT3 (Ash)
  • John McPrange tipper with brass rod insert
  • Pink Ivory – Falconwood Tippers
  • “Fish Tipper” – handcrafted hollow wooden fish with seeds inside, used as a rattling tipper (hold the tail, strike with the head)
  • Two honey dippers sent by BEPM classmate Joe Glynn as a challenge, in response to the “Fish Tipper”
Kerry Osborne
California, USA

Ontario, Canada

Art Solomonian’s Collection
Here are most of my tippers – the ones I use from time to time. There are more!!
Kerry sticks
1. Jim Hunter # 235 – Ottawa
2. Custom Blackwood – A&J Turners (My friends in Almonte Ont)
3. A&J copied this from a cheapy I bought along the way
Hybrid sticks
4. This one started life as a spurtle. I removed the top section to bring it to size. My favourite
5 & 6. Two more A&J custom pieces
Top-down sticks
7. End of a fiddle bow
8. End of a cello bow – don’t worry, they were both broken before I got them
9. Custom Blackwood rod by A&J
10. Ebay purchase. Split at one end
Bamboo collection
11-14. Four hand-made bundles of BBQ skewers of different lengths and weights. The fourth one has a shorter stick in the middle so the end is hollow
15. Paul McAuley Irish Bodhrans. I got this from him on my first trip to Ireland
16 & 17. Both barrels are A&J. The Blackwood has a fiber bristle, the lighter one is a soft paint brush (good only when plugged in)
The Specialties
18. Padded heavy beater when I want that Lambeg sound (perfectly justified as I play a Seamus O’Kane with a Lambeg head)
19. To be used in case of emergency
20 & 21. The T-Shaped key was turned by A&J and the bulb-shaped one is by Paul at Irishbodhrans.
My Custom Tipper Holder (below)
Art Solomonian
Almonte, Ontario, Canada (Home of Almonte Celtfest)

Oregon , USA

Sandi O’Regan’s Collection
Wow! There are some VERY interesting Tippers here. Thank you for sharing. Makes my collection seem sparse by comparison, as I just started learning to play my wonderful Bodhran just 3 weeks ago!Here is my little collection, all made of Rosewood ~ (top to bottom) 
  • Knob Tipper, Sloped ( I use this one the most. It is a bit heftier which I prefer.)
  • Tipper that came with my Bodhran
  • Knob Tipper with Off-Center Double Ridge
Thank you for all your help with video lessons and the informational emails.
Best wishes!
Sandi O’Regan (formerly Olsabeck)
Rhododendron, Oregon , USA

Connecticut, USA

Joe Glynn

Below is a list of the tippers & their makers I have quite thankfully come to know & enjoy (& which make amazing gifts as well) … and a few pics (above) … ones from the car wash as well … and also the honey dippers (for me all good things seem to come from the Kitchen (spurtles) & the Women who have influenced my life’s journey) … as well as my fingers … and anything else I can adapt … once used a pen & small  paper plate … while in a pub close to & listening to some trad musicians minus a bodhran … felt the need … lol!  ~ Joe

  • Ralf Siepmann – jazz rods
  • Neil Lyons tipper
  • Falconwood (Gordon Falconer)
  • Jacob McCauley: two snakewood tippers
  • Colm Phelan: snakewood
  • Robbie Walsh: macassar ebony
  • African Blackwood straight
  • Pink Ivory straight
  • Los cabos tipper -GBS – Sean Mcann
These tippers: came with a used Del Eckels drum I was fortunate to get to know (son has it now): 
  • 10 1/2″ single ended, Top End style tipper made from ebony 
  • 9″ double ended “E-Notch” style tipper made from Lemon Wood by Ken Larson
  • 8″ long double ended tipper made from a wooden dowel with padded leather ends.
  • Emery Hutchins, Maine : snakewood; ebony
  • several made by Brian Letourneau (Brian’s Bodhran Beaters)
  • a few from other cipin makers here stateside …
Joe Glynn

Connectictut, USA

Arizona, USA

Gale Leach’s Collection
I never sent the tippers before because I only have two and they’re not that special … although they’re special to me.
Gale Leach,
Arizona, USA

Florida, USA

Jim Hull’s Collection
I have made my own tippers as follows:

Left to Right:

  1. Bamboo Rod Brush: 9” x 9/16” dia., 24 gr.; flat end; made from 19 small diameter skewers bristles.
  2. Bamboo Rod Brush: 9 1/4” x 5/8” dia.; 30 gr.; round end, made from 19 medium diameter skewer bristles.
  3. Ting Ting Tipper Brush: 9 1/4” x 1/2″ dia.; 24 gr.; made from floral Ting Ting bristles.
  4. Split Bamboo Brush: 9 3/4” x 5/8” dia.; 37 gr.; made from finely spit bamboo bristles.
  5. Nylon Brush: 9 3/4” x 1/2” dia.; 29 gr.; made from .094 plastic bristles.
  6. Nylon Waltz Brush (Boom-Chee-Chee): 10 1/4” x 1/2” dia.; 37 gr.; similar to #5 with 1 1/4” medium felt ball on top end.
  7. Felt Ball Tipper: 9” x 3/8” shaft with center bead; 34 gr.; 1” medium felt balls; rosewood.
  8. Teardrop Tipper: 9” x 3/8” shaft with center bead; 1/2” ends; 28 gr.; rosewood; my standard most used tipper.
  9. Teardrop Tipper: Same as #8 but in ebony; 24 gr. (unwrapped).
  10. Heavy Teardrop Tipper: 8 3/4” x 3/8” Center shaft with center bead; 5/8” ends; 32 gr.; rosewood.
  11. Trumpet Tipper: 9” x 3/8” shaft with center bead; 9/16” ends; 24 gr.; ebony.
  12. Teardrop Tipper: 9” x 3/8” shaft with two beads 3” apart; adjustable o-ring at center; 1/2” at ends; 25 gr.; ebony.
  13. Lightweight Combined Style Teardrop Tipper: 9” x 1/4” shaft with adjustable o-ring; 7/16” ends; 13 gr.; IPA.
  14. Combined Style Teardrop Tipper: 10 ¼” x 3/8” shaft with adjustable o-ring; 1/2” ends; 18gr.; ebony.
I use “Ahead Grip Tape” drum stick tape for taping my tippers. Wrapping adds approximately 2 gr. to tipper weight.

I also have a few Christian Hedwitschak top end style tippers; excellent, excellent,  tippers. Above, left to right:

  1. N-EF 4: Original Mexican Fiber Brush Tipper; 23 cm long plus brush; 20 gr.; ebony. Neat sound. Love playing it.
  2. N-EF 8: Split end tipper with built-in beach center;  24 cm long; 18 gr.; ebony.
  3. ME-A:  Single ended and combined syle tipper; 26 cm long; 9.5mm at tip, 7 mm smallest to 14 mm; 190 gr.; ebony.
  4. ME 12: “Tear drop head” 25.5 cm long; 16 gr.; ebony.
  5. SW 3: “Topend and Trad/Kerry Style” tipper; 23.8 cm long; 17 gr.; Snakewood.
  6. SW 6: “Topend and Trad/Kerry style” and “combined style” tipper; 24 cm long; 20 gr.; Snakewood.


  1. Bones: 5 ¾” long;  made from dog chews from local grocery.
  2. Wooden Spoons: Made by a friend of mine, Bill Bear; Chinaberry wood.
  3. Kick Stick: 10 3/4” long; 1 1/4” dia.; 83 gr.; I turned from hollow bamboo.
  4. Sound Pipe: 10” long; 1 1/2″ dia.; made from chrome drain pipe.
  5. Rawhide Egg Shakers: made by NINO.
  6. Wood Cylinder Shakers: 4 1/4” long; 1 5/8” dia.; made by Rhythm Fusion.
  7. Various wire and nylon drum stick brushes (not shown).
  8. The Laptop by Rhythm Tech. Play like a Bodhran or a snare drum.
  9. I use Blue Heron Bodhran carrying cases


  1. Main drum I play is an Eckermann 39 cm x 10cm, tunable double goatskin.
  2. The second most played drum is an Eckermann 42 cm x 10 cm, tunable double goatskin, tuned lower than the first for contrast between songs.
  3. I also have an Eckermann 35 cm x 10 cm, tunable double goatskin.
  4. And I also have an Eckermann 45 cm x 10 cm, tunable single goatskin.

(Note: All 4 Eckermann bodhrans “nest” inside each other in one case).

  1. Albert Alfonso 16” x 4 3/4″, tunable single goatskin.
  2. Brendon White 18” x 6”, tunable double goat skin.
  3. My First Bodhran, like you, was an 18” x 3 ½” non-tunable Pakistan type frame drum. (hole by grandson).



I play, Traditional Irish – Plus, regularly with Chris Morgan and Darin Graves around Central Florida.

Nevada, USA

Kathryn Oxoby’s Collection

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Alma Donovan’s Collection

West Virginia, USA

Tracy Seffers Collection

I have a small collection, but well-loved: (top to bottom)

  • Ebony top-end tipper by Albert Alfonso. I haven’t learned top-end playing (yet), but still use this in certain settings for a nice crisp attack and pop that cuts through lots of instruments.
  • This is the generic tipper that came with my first Walton bodhran–modified since purchase, as you can see, to be quite fancy. I cut the toes from a pair of my husband’s white socks, and bound them down with a couple of rubber bands from the Sunday Washington Post. Surprisingly, it was a very effective change, and brought out a beautiful bass I never expected! I have worn the decal almost off the drum with this one–that’s the dark green stripe around the ball.
  • I found this in a fabulous DC music and instrument store, the House of Musical Traditions. It was beautifully balanced and heavy in the hand–this is one that got me my first triplets! The extra weight just pulled the top end over like magic. Boom! Has a nice solid strike against the skin.
Thanks for being such a great teacher and encourager!
Tracy Seffers
Charles Town, West Virginia, USA

Hampshire, England

Pete De Courcy

Of this lot my favourites have to be the snakewoods for top-end and largely replace the weighted rosewood in the centre of the shot. The home made bbq skewers come a close second. The small brush fills in on our waltz sets beautifully and the leather covered tippers certainly add something to a LOUD Irish session.

Keep up the good work.
Peter de Courcy
Hampshire, England

London, Ontario, Canada

James McDonald’s Collection
I have an 18″ Waltons Bodhrán.
Left to right:
  • Waltons Bodhrán cream
  • Waltons tipper (came with bodhrán)
  • Los Cabos tipper
  • Two hand made brushes – hollow brush made of bamboo around a short pine core
  • Bamboo top end brush
  • Bodhrán stand (my wife, Chris, made this, the tipper roll, my bodhrán bag and a patch for it)
James McDonald
London, Ontario, Canada

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

Click Here To view Part 2

Click Here To view Part 3

Click Here To view Part 4


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 4

by MichelleStewart on June 3, 2013

Another awesome collection of bodhran tippers from around the world. One of my personal favourites is featured here. It’s Julie’s David Robson fleecy tipper. I have one and everyone who tries it wants it. I love watching people’s facial expressions when they play this one for the first time.

You can click on any of the photos for a larger view.

Enjoy – and try not to get drool on your computer 🙂

Drum On!

~ Michelle

                                    Part 4

Manitoba, Canada

Julie Leduchowski’s Collection

So here are the old faithfuls.- above from L to R:

  1. Original tipper that came with MIP drum. No details. Actually a decent all-round tipper to use. Was the only one I had for ages.
  2. Snakewood tipper – by Eoin Leonard of Belgarth Bodhrans.  Best for pops, but otherwise a bit too skinny for my liking.
  3. Walnut tipper – Belgarth – one of my 2 favs – solid and heavy, but agile.
  4. Ash tipper – matches wood on drum – Belgarth – used to use this one a lot, but now I find it too light.
  5. Weighted, ribbed tipper – traded it with Paul Mason at the Gaelic College last year for a big thick Oak tipper I had that really needed man hands to play it. This is my other fav. Also responsible for scratching the skin on my drum while playing the “stick clicky thing” at GC. I prefer to think of it as character. I use this one most during noisy sessions, and refer to it as the “more obnoxious” one, as it is a bit louder because of the weight. Also like to tell people it is ribbed for extra pleasure.
  6. I made a couple of brushes from a whisk broom and duct tape as well, use them to play waltzes mostly. Nice and swishy.
Above L to R: first 5 are the new long-awaited David Robson set – personalized with my nickname Bossy Boots (given to me by David Robson).
  1. Double clicker, I think it is paduak wood. Love this one, light and not too clicky, just clicky enough.
  2. Single-ended click stick – good to play with, but I suspect it might suit a top end player better. Nice weight to hold, lovely balance of deep attack and light click.
  3. Double-ended brush – still learning how to use this – it is useless in a noisy session, but quite effective on a quieter tune or song. The black end is stiffer, I tend to use it most.
  4. Leather-tipped acrylic – this is a monster to use. Very heavy, but has a lot of volume, leather adds a mellow sound. Wouldn’t use this on a regular basis, maybe outside…
  5. Hot rod – I don’t really like this one. It is too thick and clumsy for me. I can’t seem to get the hang of it, and tend to switch to others favourites.
  6. Hot rod made at the Gaelic College under the expert tutelage of Michelle Stewart. Also, she had the supplies. LOVE this tipper.

Fleecy top tipper. This one was a total surprise to me – it is AWESOME – subtle, but so very talkative. The mellow tones it produces make one think it is a whole new drum!

Julie Leduchowski – Manitoba, Canada


Alison Goodman’s Collection

My collection so far. Some tippers I have modified to play different sounds.

I get my inspiration from other drummers and what they use.
Left to right
  1. Old tipper given away to me because “he couldn’t get it to work!” I added the black tape and now it’s my favourite but I have to hit it hard.
  2. Pine with fat ends – designed after meeting a guy that had pipe band influence.
  3. Old regular drum set stick cut to length and groovy leather finger grip added. Plays one ended only
  4. Reed stack modified with grip tape and bands to keep them under control.
  5. Standard Waltons
  6. Brush that I can use behind the drum for “marching” tunes

Alison Goodman – Australia

Connecticut, USA

Teresa Mecca’s Collection

From left to right:

  1. Glenn Stout original
  2. Brian’s Bodhran Beaters
  3. Great Big Sea
  4. Davey Drums
  5. 2 others
….a meager collection, but I use my Glenn Stout original about 97% of the time!
Take care
Teresa Mecca – Connecticut, USA

New York, USA

Anne Grey Savitt’s Collection

The last 5 just arrived with my new (used) Belgarth drum.  Fun all around!
Left to right, the tippers are:
  1. Tipper that came with my Waltons drum
  2. Brian’s Bodhran Beater “Celtic Knot” (one of my favorites)
  3. Christian Hedwitschak Makassar “ebony” tipper
  4. to 8.  New tippers that arrived with my drum, source unknown.
Anne Grey Savitt – New York, USA

Illinois, USA

Michelle Golden’s Collection

Here are the pictures of my tipper collection. Brian of Brian’s Bodhran Beaters made each of these.

The first pic is left to right:
  1. Tiger Maple “Sailor” with Celtic Knotwork and a Shamrock
  2. Maple “JJ Speed Beater”
  3. Cocobolo “Bobbin Style”
  4. Ebony “Shorty”
The first three were crafted specifically for me, to help me learn to play despite moderate spastic cerebral palsy. The cocobolo one is special because it contains wood of two different densities, which gives each side a different weight, feel and sound.
The “Shorty” is actually one of Brian’s personal tippers he sent to me as a gift.
Have a wonderful day,
Misha (Michelle Golden) – Illinois, USA

Nevada, USA

Lindsey Panton’s Collection

Here is my very small tipper collection: (Left to Right)

  1. Large tipper made by a friend
  2. Rosewood knob tipper with fleece-glove-finger-tip covers for playing softly with singers at sessions
  3. Favorite rosewood sloped knob tipper
  4. First attempt at making my own tipper on the lathe
  5. & 6. Two home made rod bundle tippers.
Lindsey Panton – Reno, Nevada

Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Katherine Power’s Collection

All but one of my tippers come from Ireland: (Left to right)

  1. Ireland – first one I got – came with my first bodhran
  2. Picked it up in Roundstone, Ireland
  3. This one I got in Canada – it’s a Steafan Hannigan – he’s a multi talented session artist. I was introduced to it by Ewan Baird of the Paul Mckenna Band (they are Scottish – maybe you’ve heard of them). The tipper is a whole bunch of sticks held together and I like the sound it makes – one of my faves ’cause it’s different.
  4. It’s made of Oak – from Ireland
  5. Two kinds of Oak – I bought ’cause I thought it was pretty
  6. The dark one – made of ebony – love this one.  It came from Custy’s Music Shop in Ennis, Ireland. It has great weight – easy to hold – nice sound.
  7. The reddish one – one end is rubber (I don’t think it shows up in the photo I sent you) – it’s also from Ireland. I’m not sure about the wood because it’s stained. I like the sound from the rubber end better than the wood end.
  8. It had really rounded ends so I wanted to try it. It came from Roundstone Ireland as well – hardly use it so that must mean something:)
  9. From Ireland – use it when my hands are tired – it’s light weight.
  10. It’s longer than all the rest – thought it would make triplets easier and it does.
  11. Same as the first one – not sure why I have two – hmm – I could trade it.

Katherine Power – Ontario, Canada

Arkansas, USA

Patrick Lindsey’s Collection

All of my tippers were gifts from my Bodhran playing wife, so I don’t know much about their origins.

The outer two are the ones I use most. They are identical, but I tend to drop tippers, so it is good to have a spare.

The second from the right is a light maple tipper that I zip- tied scraps of a guitar polishing cloth to, so as to lessen the attack on some quiet ballads.

The other two see only occasional use. They are sitting on my 16″ bodhran which is sitting on a Deagan marimba from the 1930’s all is well with us.

I hope you and yours are well.

Patrick Lindsey – Arkansas, USA

New Brunswick, Canada

Kate Armstrong’s Collection

Here is my meagre tipper collection (compared to yours 🙂

I am Kate from beautiful Belleisle – not the Bay but up the Creek – Belleisle Creek – Canada

I started playing bodhran after I gave my son, Jerad, a Malachy Kearns bodhran that sat in the box for years as I didn’t know how to play it. He found your free YouTube videos and it was love at first sight! We both started our journey on the love of the bodhran. I joined your Platinum Bodhran Expert Site and took your online tutorial having no idea the challenge that was about to unfold. It was through the Facebook Bodhran Expert Platinum Group that I learned about Christian Hedwitshak drums and was able to purchase one of his last Lite Line Drums as he is not producing them any more. This drum is the love of my life! and I am hooked for life!

My tipper collection includes from left to right:
  1. My favourite  – Christian Hedwitschak – his original china bristle tipper that I purchased along with his Lite Line Drum
  2. Just a generic tipper purchased at a local music store
  3. Another favourite made by a local drum stick maker – closest to my area in Hanwell – near Fredericton, NB – speciality made for Sean McCann of Great Big Sea
  4. The tipper that came with my very first bodhran made by Malachy Kearns and is weighted on the ends
  5. & 6. Walton’s tippers unfinished wood and finished wood that also came with Walton’s bodhran purchases – hence the Walton’s bag
Michelle, I really am truly thankful for how much you share of yourself with all of the world and am truly grateful for your inspiration and mentorship. 
Thank YOU, THANK you, THANK YOU!!!!
Kate Armstrong
Belleisle Creek, Canada

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

To view Part 2 Click Here

To view Part 3 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 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 . . .


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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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