Ugly duck – bronze bell-drum

Many concepts has risen out these last years. Hang drum the most known, or it’s classical brother Steel pan, or Tank drum a cheep concept of both.


My concept took the Idea from all of them at once.
The idea is to make an instrument out of common material, based on pure ‘knowledge” and basically make something for fun, something I made up and never seen before.
So I bought a bronze tube, which I wanted to be bit of bigger diameter first, but turns out that such a diameter is problematic to be found. Then eager to make at least something I went to local metal store and bought 80cm long, 76mm diameter, 2mm thick bronze tube.

The first impression.. Wauuu that is thick!
Second impression after I hit the tube which makes something like “phm” and that was it… I was like, well another waist of money ;)
Third, the decision… will see.

Before I have started to make the tongues I made couple concepts taking in to the account the length of the all the tongues, the sound, of the tube, the resonance of the tube and the shape of the tongues indeed.
I left piece of the tube uncut, in order to have a resonator, I put the low end tongues close to the resonator, and decided to make tongues touching one another. Letting the tongues touch one another saved me lot of work and makes the instrument nice for the eye.

The process
I borrowed the hand cutter bought some extra tools and cut the first hole in to the body. First hit of the tongue produced 435Hz tone which is almost the 440Hz the A. Hmm, that stretches the smile on my face and I went further.. The process of braking one of the cutting extension after the other has no make sense to describe here. It was simply tedious. I actually did find a way how to cut it nicely with less effort lately, but that doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that the concept of having lows close to the resonator while having the tongues touching one another which actually make the whole shape one huge mouth .. it was not good idea. It turns out that the lows has nice peaks in heights automatically and the height are keeping low not having any shines.
My concept “failed”. If I let all the tongues sepparate it would work (will see in next version) but not in this case.
Regardless of this misconception I kept working. After while it started to obey my aim and all the tongues started to take the increasing tonnes, with lows close to the resonator (body) and highs close to the end… It is important to be told, that if I cut them the other way around, the sound will be just much more natural, and could advantage from the tube nature. What I have done is more or less raping the native sound shaping of the instrument.. anyway.. this is just a first test.

To make the story shorter I did not tuned it in any way than to make gradually different tone generators. All the 14 tongues produces more then less a tone which is higher then the other (depends which way you go ;) )
I also cut by a mistake a small tongue on the “other side” of tongues, which actually happend to produce way clearer sound then the rest. All the 14 tongues has the disadvantage to be connected with one another and so they vibrate with one another, so you never have a clear tone generator. Unlike this extra tongue which is exceptionally clear. I made 2 more the same way as this one, and succeded to have them as clear as the first one… Finally here is the way how to… The tongues should not be long, so they vibrate just a bit using the tube as resonator, not trying to overcome the body resonance by the self vibration..

The final instrument sound not like Hang in any way, it cannot be played by hand only, the material is too thick for such a play. If played by stick with rubber on the end it is super duper loud and fun to be played.

I know you would like to hear the result but for that you have to wait a bit… since then, check these pictures out.

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