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Old 06-30-2012, 10:32 AM
salty 1322 salty 1322 is offline
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Default Steel Drum from The Bahamas

I just returned from an estate sale about an hour ago where I purchased a steel drum. It is 14 1/2 X 4 1/2 so it fits nicely onto a snare stand. It appears hand-made. The signature of the artist, "Little Sparrow" is painted on the inside as well as the city of "Freeport". The inside is divided into segments with the notes painted in. Thank God my wife is working. She may not appreciate my experimenting with this instrument too much! Has anyone had any experience with these instruments? So far, it's a lot of fun. Thanks.
Brian
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:37 PM
salty 1322 salty 1322 is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

This thing is fun! I've been using mallets and it seems to be responding! I know that stubby little sticks are used traditionally but, I don't have any. Since I can read music (but not too quickly), the actual progressions are not that hard. Most of us at least know what an L pattern is.All I have to do tomorrow night is to convince my band mates that this drum might come in handy in a couple of tunes! Any help would be appreciated though. Thanks!
Brian
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:37 PM
Ralf Ralf is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Hi Brian,

send me pics, please, and I'll upload them for all for reference here.

Ralf
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:35 PM
RogerSling RogerSling is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

In a pinch, you can always take thick rubber bands and wrap them onto the ends of pencils. They work just fine.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:53 AM
salty 1322 salty 1322 is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Thanks, Ralf and RogerSling! I'll try to get some pictures, Ralf. The local music shops don't carry the mallets, Roger but, there are several pairs offered on ebay. Thanks for the tip though. I'll give it a try! This is really a fun little drum. Even my guitar player gave it a try!
Brian
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:06 AM
calfskin calfskin is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

They are supposedly, originally to have come into being , made from the bottoms of 50 gallon oil drums.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:12 AM
RogerSling RogerSling is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by calfskin View Post
They are supposedly, originally to have come into being , made from the bottoms of 50 gallon oil drums.
Precisely.
The large containers were left when the Americans pulled out of the airfields. The locals originally beat on them as is. It didn't take long for them to begin cutting and shaping them. In time, the variety of pitched steel drums came into being. The wife and I spent time in our military fun days slogging around the oceans and islands and such. This isn't the origin of the pan, but it is the localized origin for groups of islanders.
Those drums could put a smile on most anyone's face. They are so much fun.
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Last edited by RogerSling; 07-05-2012 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:25 AM
dieconashi dieconashi is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Hi, i have had lots of experience with steel drums and they are awesome! First off i highly suggest getting mallets because they are extremely fragile instruments (one slightly strong hit and they go out of tune) that can only be tuned by experts. Other than that, what would you like to know?
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:00 AM
salty 1322 salty 1322 is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Hi, dieconashi!
Thanks for replying. I will order some mallets immediately. I appreciate the tip. Every fall, there is a local fair which always features a steel drum band. These players are amazing! If I remember correctly, most often they employed two sticks simultaneously. They must have been striking the same note or designated area but, the hitting areas in this drum are very small. Their drums were bigger. By using the two mallets together, do they produce a richer, more vibrant note? These musicians must have been trained. They were fantastic. I just want to have a bit of fun. Any tips? Striking angle? Anything you think might be useful would be greatly appreciated. Thank you VERY much!
Brian
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:09 PM
dieconashi dieconashi is offline
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Default Re: Steel Drum from The Bahamas

Hi Brian,

As you may know, steel drums come in several "voices" ranging from bass (full 55 gallon barrels) to the soprano or lead. The ones that you saw using multiple mallets were likely the middle voices. They are the primarily "chording" instruments and can play two notes (usually 5ths or 3rds) at a time. The drum you have is not full size, so the notes are likely much smaller.

As far as tips, I can't stress too much that they need to be played gently. If you hear any oscillation/buzzing in the note, you are hitting it too hard and in danger of whacking it out of tune. As far as striking angle, you will see that the mallets have large flat sections. It is best to try to hit the notes fairly flat. Fully flat is not possible, but you don't want any of the wood or metal (depending on which material mallet you get) to touch the pan itself.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Steel drums are way fun! The drum set and percussion played with them are also a blast. Soca, Calypso, Reggae, etc.
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