Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions. Please contact us if you don't find the answer you're looking for!
How and where can I get one of your pieces?
First and foremost we invite you to call or email us directly. You can also consult our calendar to see if we have an upcoming event near you.
You don't have any upcoming shows in my area; is there anywhere else I can see your work in person?
Our work can be found at select stores and galleries throughout the United States. A list of these locations is coming soon!
Do you do special/custom orders?
Yes. We are happy to discuss any design ideas you have in mind. We often get requests for pieces to match home design schemes or even specific musical ideas. Please don't hesitate to ask about the availability of any of our woods or tunings.
Do you have a price list?
The prices of our work are variable and impacted by factors such as wood choice and custom design elements. As such, we feel it is simpler to discuss price by phone or email.
How do I select a drum?
There are a few basic questions that you can answer to help us pick the right instrument for you:
1. What is the drum going to be used for?
2. Is a particular tuning desired?
3. Are particular woods desired?
4. Do you have a price range?
Some people enjoy using our instruments in their live performances while others use them strictly as design elements. Answering the above questions will help us design the perfect piece for you!
What are these instruments and where do they come from?
Our instruments are known as hardwood drums or tongue drums. They are a modern day incarnation of an ancient Aztec tribal and ceremonial device known as the Taponaxtli. The Taponaxtli was basically a hollowed-out log with two tongues carved out to create a non-specific high and low pitch.
Are they tuned to specific musical notes and scales?
Yes. Our hardwood drums are tuned and keyed to specific musical notes and scale patterns. Some of our tunings feature chord progressions that make it easy to play particular songs. Since our beginning, several dozen unique design patterns and more than 100 different tunings have been conceived. The only challenge is picking a favorite.
Do I have to know music to play them?
Michael likes to say "if you can walk, you can play our drums." We have always kept the non-musician in mind with our instruments. While they are tuned to specific notes, we emphasize open harmonic tunings in our drums. Since every note in a given drum is in the same key as all the others, there are no "wrong" notes to play. Simply alternate hands, gently bouncing the rubber mallets across the wooden tongues to create your own musical improvisation.
Do recording artists use your drums?
Yes. In fact one of our most popular current tunings is based on an instrument originally created for the song Blesssed to be a Witness by Ben Harper.
How does it work? What makes the sound?
Our drums are hand crafted entirely out of fine hardwoods. The sounds are simply the vibrations of the wooden tongues echoing off the bottom and sides of the sound-chamber box. By varying the length, width and shape, as well as hand carving the underside of each tongue, we are able to control and specify the exact pitches we want in each instrument.
What are the dots for? Do they serve a functional purpose?
This one always makes us laugh. Though it may seem silly, we are asked this question more than any other. "Do the dots turn it on or change the volume?" While that would be a great trick, they are purely decorative and serve no functional purpose at all. We just like the dots and our whale and duck drums seem to enjoy having "eyes!"
What woods do you use?
We incorporate a modest variety of exotic and acoustically fine hardwoods including padauk, purpleheart, canarywood and wenge as well as some rosewoods and a few others. The woods we use on the sides of our drums include maple, walnut, cherry, mahogany, lyptus and sapele among others. A complete list of woods is coming soon!