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Tongue Drum

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:55 pm
by david frassetto
I would like to build a tongue drum for my nephews first child ( every kid should have a drum!) and could use some help.
I have stock that is 6 x 12 x 1/2 (Purple heart, maple and bubinga) . I was thinking of 4 notes (tongues). Is there anything special that has to be done to the tongues so they vibrate better? How do you tune them? How large do you make the box? Which wood would be better?

Thanks For Any Help!!


Re: Tongue Drum

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:19 pm
by Peter Wilcox
I made one about 5 years ago for a challenge here - that was before posts were saved, so the thread is gone to cyberspace. I was not happy with it as I could not tune it - I don't know why it wouldn't tune, despite huge alterations of the mass of the tongues. I'll post a few pics of it. The top was padouk, the box maple.

There's a large amount of info on the web on building them, plans, etc. Just google it.

Here's how I removed material from the inside of the tongues with a forstner bit - didn't change the note at all.
Here's the bottom of it and the rubber ball mallets - I made the bottom removable so I could try to tune it.
Hope you have better luck than I did.

Re: Tongue Drum

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:58 pm
by david frassetto
Thanks Peter.

I did Google it and found some advice on tuning, mostly involving removing mass at the base of the tongue. A few said to narrow the width from the base to the head. I'm not too particular about exact tunings, I just want something a 2 yr old can make noise with.