YOU BRING THE QUESTIONS


WE'LL BRING THE ANSWERS

ORDERS & SHIPPING

Do you ship internationally?

Yes, we ship internationally by Fedex international airmail. The cost is typically around US$95.

Do you charge sales tax?

No!

How long does it take to receive my order?

In-stock drums usually ship within 48 hours. If we do not have your drum in inventory, it typically takes us 2-3 weeks to build and ship your instrument. Shipping transit time is typically 3 to 5 business days depending on location. Please contact us directly if you need a drum rush-shipped, as we offer expedited shipping options at an additional cost.

What does my drum come with?

Your drum comes with a set of mallets and a care card. Our Geo and larger drums come with two pairs of mallets and for our "chorded" drums, a note progression map outlining the layout of the chord and scale structure of your drum.

Can I customize a drum?

Yes! And we are always happy to entertain an email or phone call regarding an idea or question about a particular design, choice of wood combination or tuning composition. This is something we love to do and several of our favorite tunings over the years have been the direct result of a request from one of our customers. Follow this link to submit a custom order request.

What is the cost and lead time for a custom drum?

This depends on a number of factors, including complexity of design, lead time and availability of desired materials, and our backlog of custom orders. We are often able to deliver custom drums within 1-2 months and typically able to provide an estimated cost and lead time after an initial discussion.

Do you offer financing options for your drums?

At this time, we do not offer financing for our standard drums. For custom drums, we ask for a 50% deposit upon placing an order for a custom drum. The remaining balance is charged when we ship the instrument.

Do you offer gift certificates?

We do not offer gift certificates at this time.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS

How should I care for my drum to ensure a long lifetime?

Store your drum in a temperate environment indoors. Avoid storing your instrument in direct sunlight, or areas of extreme heat or cold, as this can affect both the color and condition of the wood. Do not stack things atop your drum, stand, kneel, or lean on the tongues. Also applies to traveling.

Remove dust from your drum by wiping down occasionally with a microfiber cloth. Condition every few months or as desired with a soft cloth and pure lemon oil polish (for wood). For best results avoid household cleaners.

How should my drum be played to ensure a long lifetime?

Only play your drum with the included mallets, your hands, or fingers. Replacement mallets can be purchased in our online store here.

When playing with mallets, we recommend you play your drum with an easy tapping motion, alternating the mallets back and forth gently. Striking the tongues (notes) hard or aggressively can cause damage to the microfibers of the wood resulting in a buzzing, muting or deadening of the tones on your drum. Thus a light touch is the way to play.  

We encourage you to experiment playing with your hands or fingers! This type of play opens the possibility for fresh rhythmic patterns and warmer tones.

Check out our youtube for videos demonstrating different playing techniques to achieve the best tone, and life out of your drum.

How do I help ensure that others play my drum safely?

It is important you take the time to show anyone new to our drums how your instrument should be played. For children, we describe our drums as being made from a "glassy" wood that must be played gently, and encourage them to play with their hands. One safe approach is to store mallets away in a drawer and only bring them out under supervision.  

If you plan on playing your instrument in a drum circle, we suggest you play exclusively with the hands in order to avoid the tendency to play too hard on your drum.

Where can I play my drum?

Anywhere! It is perfectly acceptable to play your drum indoors or outdoors. Please enjoy it at home, at the park, on a hike, camping trip or even day to the beach to enjoy a little outdoor music. We suggest you follow our recommended care instructions, being mindful not to leave for long in a hot car or unprotected out in the elements. Take care of your drum and it will bring you years of enjoyment!

How should I pack my drum for travel?

Follow care instructions as with normal use at home! Avoid exposing your instrument to direct sunlight or areas of extreme heat or cold. Pack carefully, being mindful to pad your instrument and avoid placing heavy items on top of it. A suitcase or percussion travel case is also a good option.

RETURNS, REPAIRS, AND EXCHANGES

What is your return / exchange policy?

Returns within 7 days - Applicable to ONLINE PURCHASES ONLY

We will refund your purchase (less any shipping fees), provided the purchased items remain in new, undamaged condition. We just ask that you cover the shipping fee back to us. Simply return the undamaged product to us in the original box and all included materials, postmarked by 7 days from the day of receipt and we will return your purchase in full.

We don’t currently process exchanges, but we’ll be happy to process a return as noted above and help you select an instrument that better suits you!

Do you offer a warranty for your instruments?

In the case of a defect in our workmanship or a failure of the materials we selected, we are happy to replace the instrument free of charge. We ask that you complete an RMA request, describing the nature of your issue, and we will reply as promptly as possible.

Note that, as each our instruments is unique, there may be lead time associated with building a replacement instrument of the same woods. We will work with you to identify the quickest and best option to get music back in your hands.

QUESTIONS ABOUT DRUMS

I love your instruments! How do I choose?

We understand it can sometimes be a challenge to decide which drum is right for you. First, let us say that we are always available and willing to provide guidance and support for any questions you might have regarding our instruments. We find it can be easier narrowing the options by having a direct conversation with us.

If you prefer to make a selection on your own, we’ve provided details about each model. Please visit our Collections pages here.

What are these instruments and where do they come from?

We refer to our instruments as hardwood drums or tongue drums. They are a modern day interpretation of an ancient Aztec tribal and ceremonial device known as the Teponaztli. The Teponaztli resembled a hollowed-out log with two tongues carved out to create non-specific high and low keys that could be played with mallets or hands.

Are your drums tuned to specific musical notes and scales?

Yes! Our hardwood drums are tuned to musical notes and scale patterns within certain given key signatures or modes. In fact, since our beginning in 1974, we have designed several dozen unique design patterns and composed more than 250 different tunings.

Do I have to be a musician to play your instruments?

You absolutely DO NOT need to be a musician to play our instruments and this is probably the most favorite feature of our customers. We have always kept the non-musician in mind with our instruments. We call the tuning compositions in our drums "open-harmonic". This means that anyone, regardless of prior knowledge or musical ability, can create music that sounds pleasing to the ear without a worry of playing a "wrong note".

Do musicians play your drums?

Yes. Because our instruments are tuned, and because of the tonal quality of our work, the beautiful sounds appeal to musicians, teachers, composers and recording artists as well. Musicians are often particularly attracted to our Chorded series of instruments such as the Chorded 12-, 14-, or 16-Key. We call our Chorded 14- and 16-Key the “Concert Series”, as they are the most musically versatile.

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 of the sound chamber (box). By varying the length, width, and shape of each tongue, we are able to specify and control the pitches we want in each instrument.

Does the type of wood matter to the sound?

Yes, the wood we use for the faces of our drums is responsible for the sound of its particular voice, or tonal character. Built from the exotic hardwoods of the world, each of our drums offer a unique musical voice. Since no two planks of wood are alike, no two drums are either.

What woods do you use?

For our drum faces, we incorporate a modest variety of exotic and acoustically fine hardwoods including Padauk, Canarywood, Pau Rosa, Purpleheart and Wenge as well as some rosewoods and a few select others.

The variety of woods we use for our drum sides is a much longer list and includes woods such as Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany, Shedua, and Sapele among numerous others. To this day, we still hand-write the woods used on each drum onto its bottom.

What are the dots for? Do they serve a functional purpose?

This question 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?”, “Do they change the tuning?”… etc, etc. Actually, they are purely decorative and serve no functional purpose at all. Michael Thiele, (our dad and founder of HMC) used to tell us that he liked for all of his children to have birthmarks. But we often say we just like dots!

Is there any place I can see one of your drums in person?

We have shown our work directly at finely juried art shows and events around the United States since our start in 1974. There remain a few stores around the U.S. that carry a small selection of our work. Please feel welcome to email or call us and we can let you know if any of those locations are in your area.

Do you build with CITES woods?

All of our materials are sourced and shipped in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

  +1 (928) 522 0211

  sales@hardwoodmusiccompany.com