SOK Top Ten Sites

1. The Trad Centre
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4. Frankie Gavin
5. Óige
6. Cara Dillon
7. Neill Lyons
8. Altan
9. The Kane Sisters
10. Flook

Photo's of Seamus O'Kane's Bodhráns


Four Bodhráns on the Wall

This photo shows four bodhráns sitting on display on the wall outside Seamus's house in the very aptly named townland of 'Drum', just outside Dungiven in County Derry. All four bodhráns are a fine example of the current range of bodhráns Seamus O'Kane is producing at present. In the bodhrán to the left of the picture, the eight tuning pegs can be seen as well as the optional single cross-bar.



Selection of Bodhrán Sticks

In this picture a selection of bodhrán sticks can be seen. The brush-end sticks give a more reserved and gentle sound. Seamus O'Kane reccomends 'thin' bodhrán sticks (abouth the width of a fiddle bow).

However, Seamus does not include bodhrán sticks with is instruments so it is advisable to take note of this thin stick reccommendation.



Construction of a Tone Ring

Here, Seamus is making a 'tone ring' for a bodhrán in his workshop. The tone ring is the device that actually alters the pitch of the bodhrán to make it tunable.

It is inserted inside the frame and and is pressed up tight to the goatskin at the head of the bodhrán to tune the bodhrán accordingly.

Tone rings are extremely benefical for musicians who travel to different countries with different humidity levels.

Through the aid of the tone ring the skin can be loosened right down, so that the skin does not stretch and tear in areas with high humidity like Scandanavia and Northern Scotland.

In the picture Seamus is using clamps to hold the tone ring in the desired position while the glue dries.

Frames can be seen in the background.


Sanding a Frame

Seamus is sanding a bodhrán frame in this picture with the aid of an electrical sander.

It is of integral importance to Seamus that the highest standard of instrument is produced, as the bodhráns that Seamus O'Kane makes are made to be played by musicians, as opposed to the novelty painted contraptions found in shops that sell itchy wooly jumpers and shamrock layden paddy-whackery.

The bodhráns that Seamus O'Kane builds are made to be played and not for wall ornaments.

Once the frame is sanded, it can then be sprayed, re-sanded then given a final coat, before stretching the skin, and adding the tone ring.




Single Screw Tensioner / Band Tensioner System Bodhrán (New System)

Band Tensioner System Bodhrán.

Single Screw Tensioner / Band Tensioner System Bodhrán

This is my new drum model and is now available. I call it the Band Tensioner System because the old bicycle makers used a similar system for brakes on their tricycles in the 1880's. They called them band brakes.

The big advantage of the system is that the drum cannot be knocked out of tune by uneven tension that can be caused by loosening / tightening one screw more than another, in the first tone ring system. The single screw on the outside is easy to operate with a T-Bar Allen Key.

The Patent Application Number is 0803435.7.



I now sell 3 types of stick:

3 sticks

Stick A
This is simply the fiddle bow type made from rosewood, with a slightly weighted end for balance. The rosewood has the right density and springiness - not too light and not too heavy. The fiddle bow makers have agreed after 300 years of testing that 8.5 mm is the best grip diameter. It has no balls on the ends, no ridges in the middle and no rubber grip aids to change the optimum diameter size. This stick is light and fast to use and good players agree that the balance is very good. It is just about the right weight for use on medium to light skins and 240mm (9.5 inches) long. Many good teachers recommend this stick.

Stick B
This is a new design to many but I have been making and improving this type for these past 30 years. The design evolved from efforts to soften the sound of the stick on the skin. Later on, it was an attempt to revive the rim playing from the old Kerry styles where players alternated from playing on the skin, to playing on the rim. Ordinary solid ended sticks give an unacceptably hard rattle, grating to the ear. These sticks give a nice light clicky sound and bounce back extremely quickly. Crucially the grip size is 8.5mm and again the length is 240mm (9.5 inches) and from rosewood. It is much livelier than the skewer type sticks, yet gives the same soft sound.

Stick C
This stick is even faster than Stick B. Made from a long grained type of hickory. The wood is springier and lighter than stick B so that it jumps back even faster again. It has the same dimensions as B and is ideal for playing triplets using one end.

2 sticks


I have bodhrán bags for sale to fit my drums. They are 16” diameter and have an extra heavy zip that opens three quarter way round, rather than the half way round opening, as in other bodhrán bags. This makes them less prone to damage when putting in the drum. Black in colour, they are without any advertising written or drawn on them. They have the minimum of padding, so that when travelling, the bag folds flat. The bag can be put into a suitcase and the drum sat on top of it and thus, the drum can be carrried without taking up space. When you arrive at your destination, the drum can be put into the bag. Thus, you don't have the hassle of taking it on a plane as hand luggage or carting it around airports when you need 2 free hands. They are ideal for snare drums as well.

front of bag

Front of bag - Pocket for sticks etc to front and handle on top.

back of bag

Back of bag - Back strap for carrying bag on back.

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