Drums have been around for thousands of years. They are commonly documented in African and Native American tribal paintings and have a distinctive sound that anybody who appreciates music will be able to recognize.
They were all of different sizes and ranged from tiny hand drums all the way up to tall war drums. The ancient drum makers would use a wide range of materials for their bases, from wood to bone, and even ivory in some rare cases. The surface was almost always a tanned piece of leather.
Whether it was a morning wake-up call, coming-of-age celebration, festival, or a cry for war, the drums were always present and played a very important role in almost every Native American society. To this day, you can still visit the reservations (or just go on YouTube) and listen to the beautiful rhythm of the drums. It's as entrancing as it is energizing.
Possibly one of the most recognized drums is the traditional Native American frame drum. Chances are, you probably had one as a kid. They used to be popular toys, and souvenir shops would often sell them to travelers on the road, especially if you were near reservation land.
They traditionally consisted of a small cylinder (about 4 or 5 inches wide, and 6 or 7 inches tall) that had a tight piece of rubber drawn across both sides of it. If you grew up like most kids playing Cowboys and Indians, then this was an essential part of your gear.
Today, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to make your very own DIY drum. Whether you’re bored and looking for a weekend project, need to design a new stage prop, or you’re just looking to introduce your kids or classroom to the wonderful world of drums, making your own drum can be a fun and rewarding experience!
Let’s start out by taking a look at some of the tools and materials that you’ll need to start with, and some common substitutions that you can use.
Tools And Materials
The first step is going to be to find a drumhead. This is going to be the surface which you are going to be beating. It needs to have a nice amount of reverb which will be created by stretching the surface tight.
This means that it will need to be flexible enough to stretch, but strong enough not to rip or tear. You will want your drumhead to be about 2 inches wider than the circumference of your drum base. Here are some common choices:
Next, you need a good drum base. These can come in all different forms and sizes as long as they have a cylindrical shape. It’s a good idea to stay away from metal, however, unless you enjoy spending hours of time and burning out drill bits. You may also want to purchase some paint to color your drum base with. Here are a few drum base ideas:
Finally, you’ll need some strings. You’ll use these to secure the drumhead to the drum base. Traditionally, Native Americans would use strips of leather. However, those can be a little bit harder to come by these days, and a strong cotton or nylon string will work just as well.
Now Let’s take a look at some of the tools that you’ll need to put your drum together.
How To Make A Frame Drum (Step-By-Step)
Now that you've got your materials let's take a look at how to make a homemade drum!
And there you have it! You've just made your first diy traditional drum. If you did a good job and pulled the drumhead tight, you'll hear a wonderful sound. If you feel that it does not sound the way that you had hoped, try to tighten or loosen some of the strings one at a time.
Making your own drum can be a great experience, and if you put time and effort into it, then you can end up with a truly unique and beautiful instrument at the end of the day. The best part is that you don’t need a lot of materials either. You can purchase most of the materials for under $10, and you probably have all of the tools that you need sitting in your garage.