Time Honoured Tradition
Taiko Drums are simple instruments. Timber, leather and steel tacks make up the essential elements, but the craft of building a drum is a highly technical and refined art.
Japanese traditional taiko start from a tree stump which is slowly and carefully hollow out over a period of months and carved by hand to achieve a sturdy, beautifully proportioned shell. Due the time and labour involved, the price of a taiko drum can be more than a family car.
Luckily for us there is an easier way to build Taiko, which is also more conservation conscious. Coopering techniques of making barrels can produce an excellent substitute for a Nagado Taiko shell, and used wine barrels and readily available here in this great wine making country.
We have been continually improving our methods to create stronger, tighter, more impressive sounding Taiko drums, and developing new drums which can be built quickly and easily, but which can stand up to the heavy beating Taiko Drumming demands.
Tassie made Taiko Drums
We have had the great fortune to find people locally who have the skills and enthusiasm to help bring together our efforts to build local taiko drums.
The group have at the moment seven Tassie-made Nagado daiko (barrel drums) along with some bought nagados, many Okedo daiko (rope-fastened), and one huge Odaiko (Okedo style).
Our Shimedaiko Drums
On September 21st. 2003, Prof. Miyamoto donated four custom-made shimedaikos to our University on behalf of Mie University, Japan. The drums are wonderful, and a huge help to our group, in that we can extend our repertoire and add more colour to performances.
We have regular drum-making workshops for those who are interested in some hands-on experience. There are no costs associated, just good fun hard work.
Most Sincere Thanks
We are indebted to Marcus Tatton of ‘Log Drums’ for his assistance and advice on skinning our drums and supplying excellent quality skins to us.
We are also indebted to John Murphy of the Tasmanian Cask Company for his enthusiastic support for our project to make high quality Taiko Drums, and the use of his workshop to build them.
John’s generosity extended so far to building for us a fantastic Odaiko, which measures a mean 1200 mm (4 shaku) in diameter. We planned it together and devised the methods from the small bits of information we were able to acquire, and the results have far surpassed our hopes for a first attempt. The Odaiko is spectacular both in appearance and in sound, so thanks heaps John.
Thanks also to the Australia-Japan Society and the Japan Club, who generously donated the funds to build our very first drums at a time when we were but a fledgling group of drummers with no financial support.
More about our drums:
Here is an article by Simon Vanyai about our drums, written around 2003.