The idea came from wanting shorter beaters that might better suit smaller hands and single ended playing styles. But these designs are even more versatile – they feel lighter and more agile in the hand for any bodhrán player, ideal for playing faster rhythms, and suit any style of grip. Without the weight of a longer beater, they also can make a lighter, more articulate and delicate sound on the drum.
BODBright is a bundle of 19 x 3mm bamboo rods, just 19 cm long and approximately 25 grams. By comparison, Stevie’s own Emo and Christian Hedwitschak’s HR 3 Bamboo are both 24.5 cm long and weigh 29 to 30 grams. All three have similar bundles of bamboo rods, but the length, weight and grip style are different for each. The BODBright comes with an O ring to adjust the bundle of rods: close it down for a more solid sound with minimum click, or push the O ring back to open up the rods for a clicky, swishy sound.
Here’s a short demo of the BODBright – we played it with the rods fairly open, setting the O ring about 2/3 of the length back from the playing end.
The BODBass is again a bundle of 19 x 3mm bamboo rods, but for this beater, the rod ends have been distressed to create a brushy finish (we made the prototype years ago by beating on the rods with a couple of hammers). This makes a lovely sound, a velvety attack followed by a gentle swishing, ideal for creating softer moods or accompanying vocals.
BODBass is 21 cm and weighs approximately 27 grams. By comparison, Stevie’s own MellMo is 24.5 cm long and weighs 25 grams, with the classic wooden MoGrip. The BODBass is a tiny bit heavier, but 3.5 cm shorter, so it definitely feels more agile. Like the BODBright, it comes with an O ring to adjust the degree of attack versus swishiness you want for your music, and for the recording we set the O ring about 2/3 of the way back from the beater end. Have a listen:
We have demonstrated the beaters on three different drums: our own 14″ BODDrum with centre spot head, then on a Renegade Rhythms bodhrán which is 15″ across, with traditional goatskin tacked on a wooden frame, and finally on a Rolf Wegels Edition 40 cm x 15.3 cm deep (15.75 inch x 6 inch) bodhrán with taped lambeg skin (made for Rolf by Christian Hedwitschak).
For those of you who do some gigging, you may be interested to know how we miked this up. On a stand about 2.5 to 3 feet away and pointing at the back of the drum we used a Sure SM57, and forward but to the side we used a portable Zoom recorder. Listening again to the recordings, the Renegade Rhythms bodhrán sounds tuned a bit high, and the mike was picking up the sound of our hand moving across the back of the natural skins. With the BODdrum synthetic head we didn’t have that problem.