Bodhrán Tips

Practice, practice, practice.  If you live with or near other human beings, be kind.  Put a tea towel between the cross-pieces and the hide to dampen the sound even more.

Better yet, use Brenda Sutton’s handy dandy paint brush tipper.  You can make your own with two 1″ paint brushes taped together so the metal crimp holding the bristles is completely covered.  (Uncovered metal edges might damage the drum hide.)  Add dimension to the sound by using one natural hair brush and one synthetic hair brush.

Paintbrush tipper, side view
Paintbrush tipper
Paintbrush tipper, front view
Paintbrush tipper, front view

This practice tipper is solid enough to create the sturdy beat, but the brushes produce a wispy, almost jazzy sound.  It’s quiet enough not to make your housemates crazy, and you may even come to enjoy the sound.  It’s great for playing along as a beginner at sessions where you might not feel up to speed.  You can bang away, and nobody hears if you’re off the beat…much.

I play in a tradition Irish trio called Alair where my bandmates play harps, flutes and whistles.  Blamming around with a regular tipper would stomp all over the music, but I can add light nuances of rhythm with the paintbrush tipper and contribute very well to our sound.