Tongue Drum

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david frassetto
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:55 pm
Location: Milwaukee WI

Tongue Drum

Post 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!!

Dave
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Peter Wilcox
Posts: 1087
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Tongue Drum

Post 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.
done3.jpg

Here's how I removed material from the inside of the tongues with a forstner bit - didn't change the note at all.
tongue.jpg
Here's the bottom of it and the rubber ball mallets - I made the bottom removable so I could try to tune it.
bottom6.jpg
Hope you have better luck than I did.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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david frassetto
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:55 pm
Location: Milwaukee WI

Re: Tongue Drum

Post 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.
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