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.
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
- Bell n Ball: Maple
- Shorty: Ebony
- Merlin’s Key: Ebony
- JJs Speed: Maple
- Gordon’s Spike: Maple
- 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):
- The generic tipper that came with my first bodhran, a Pakistani special
- A no-name-brand knob tipper I purchased from a folk music store (it was the only kind they had in stock)
- A Hedwitschak SW3
- A homemade bamboo rod tipper
- 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:
- Bamboo skewers – Niell Lyons style (great on the SOK bodhran)
- “Fat Lad” hotrod – Thick centre oak dowel with 3/16th inch hardwood dowels (designed specifically for my Belgarth – packs a real punch)
- “Slim Jim” – thin centre oak dowel with hardwood dowels (slightly longer- good swishy/clicky sound)
- 3/16th Hardwood dowels double ended. (Newly made – not played it yet)
- 3/16th Hardwood dowels – single ended. (Good all round ‘clicky’ hotrod)
- ‘Half’n'Half’ hotrod – bamboo skewers with four 3/16th dowels.
- Snakewood – (Eoin Leonard – Belgarth) – My favourite tipper
- Snakewood – (Falconwood Tippers)
- Ebony drumstick style (Falconwood Tippers) – custom-made, a cross between the Robbie Walsh and Colm Phelan Signature models.
- Hammer brass insert tipper in cocobolo wood (Whistle and Drum) – great for slow reels, hornpipes, marches where you need to give a real punch.
- Paint brush – rich two-tone sound (brushy and pop)
- Ebony tipper (eBay purchase) Hand turned by a chap in N.Ireland. Weighty tipper, sounds great on my Vignoles 18″.
- Felt covered ball tipper
- Pear-drop tipper. Came with my first non-tunable Waltons, but has a nice balance. Much better than most starter tippers.
- Bell/ball tipper. Came with my used Vignoles. Nice weight and balance.
- “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper with grip from Bone Dry Music)
- “Bow-hran Stick” (Fiddle bow tipper without grip from Bone Dry Music)
- Carrot – I’m right out of radishes
- Wood stick. Used for left-hand accompanying beats.
Dave Cooper - Derbyshire, UK, now Oklahoma City, USA
From left to right top row:
- Tipper hand carved by Glenn Stout
- Tipper with ridge in middle made by Cas Smith
- Brush tipper from Michelle Stewart
- Tipper with center groove made by Bill Alexander
- Snake wood tipper
- Ebony tipper from Brians Bodhrans center groove is offset
- Bottom Row: Cocbollo tipper from Davey Drums
- Center groove offset tipper from Davey drums
- Center ridge
- 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
Left to right:
- Glenluce Bodhran Whacks. 16 pieces of cane 23.5cm long, taped handle and adjustable ring
- Glenluce Bodhran Brush, Double. Beater/tipper with brush ends. Can be cut to desired length
- Glenluce Cocuswood Beater. 21cm long bodhran tipper
- Glenluce Rosewood Beater. Straight 23cm long bodhran tipper, around 10mm thick
- Ball ended 23cm long bodhran tipper.
- Glenluce Leather ended beater. Bodhran tipper made from Rosewood with leather covered ends
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
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Family Tipper Collection:
Most of my tippers are made from cocoa bolo wood.
Here they are left to right:
- 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
- Next one over with the mother-of-pearl is also a Jim Hunter tipper again a jig tipper
- 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,
- Made by Dr. T
- 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.
- Ray made the one with the bell end.
- The next two are split tippers, both made by the good Doctor. The darker of the two is split on one end.
- The other is double ended split these are for marches
- 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
From left to right :
- Dayly tipper
- 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…
- 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
- 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…
- Dayly tipper#1, made from snakewood by a french flute maker, Louis Jourdan. One end is covered with a felt pad. Amazing sound.
- Another one from Louis, a bit heavy for top end play
- Standard drummer brush, great sound, hard on the wrist.
- Tipper from another french flute maker “La flûte en chantier”. A bit too short
- Standard painter brush. Too heavy, I keep it because it is blue. And, you never know when you need a last minute paint up
- 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 !
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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