The Cormac Byrne Signature Series is the result of a collaboration between Christian Hedwitschak and Cormac Byrne, one of the leading exponents of modern bodhrán playing.
The CBss comes in two versions: As CBssOriginal with 45 cm diameter and as CBssCompact with 40 cm diameter. Always without tape, always with a spine in the skin and always with a wild sound.
Also available as a discounted bundle with case and Bodhrod tippers designed by Cormac Byrne.
On this page, Cormac tells us all about his Cormac Byrne Signature Series - the CBss.
"I met Christian several years ago when I was first invited to teach at the Craiceann Bodhrán Summer School and was instantly struck by his unique skill as a Bodhrán maker, his precision, attention to detail, and dedication to his craft. I set about trying various different models of his bodhráns and although there was so much to offer, it was clear that the direction of Bodhrán making had gone somewhere that I could no longer identify with and the sound of the more ‘modern’ drums - smaller diameters, taped heads - was not right for me. I have always favoured the traditional style of Bodhrán - 18” diameter, 5” depth and untaped.
So after several conversations, we set about creating something truly new…a traditional style bodhrán equipped with all the modern advances, concepts and innovation of a modern drum … and the Cormac Byrne Signature Series was born!"
"To keep with the traditional feel I wanted a natural finish. Just like the Koa finish I have on my Drum Kit and Honduras Rosewood finish on my Cajon, I like my drums to look natural and the overall look to fit together. With this is mind the finish was created in natural wood to blend with the Koa and Rosewood finish of my entire setup.
The tacks are exposed on the outer shell, again in fitting with the traditional look, but they are also great for adding additional sounds to tracks such as replicating Guiro lines for example."
"Treated Goatskin – Spine positioned at 3/10. The spine is really important to me as it enriches the overtones. I always play the drum the same way round so the position of the spine is crucial. I find that over time the tones warm to the exact frequencies you require if the drum is played in the same position. My first task with any new drum is to locate the best position where there is just the right balance between harmonics, bass notes and high tones. I then mark the drum and stick to that position. The spine usually (but not always) ends up positioned just above my knee at about a 45 degree angle, and I play my bass tones right on top of the thicker skin of the spine.
The skin is extremely responsive across the range whether tuned right down where the bass tones are massive, or up high where the top end has lots of extra punch. Although the drum is large, I like to tune it high, normally to a D, where the frequency range across the drum is just right and in addition, enables me to play pedal bass lines with tunes in the key of D as well fitting nicely with tunes in G and A.
There is NO leather bearing edge between the tuning system and the skin allowing for maximum brightness and response."
"10 turning wheel tuners allow for extremely accurate tuning by hand without the need for any sort of tuning key (The CBss COMPACT features 8 tuners due to it’s smaller size). This has saved me so much time and hassle in the tuning process especially in live situations where time is tight and the pressure is high. Under hot stage lights or when playing outdoor festivals it is absolutely vital to be able to retune in seconds. This feature has proved crucial in my playing."
"Getting the sound right is the most important part….and the most difficult. I love a drum to be as ‘wild’ as possible, I feel it’s my job to tame it just the right amount for whatever musical situation I find myself in. Whether it’s a big fat open tone, or pure harmonics, huge bass notes, or a pop as crisp as a Djembe slap, a top end with the clarity of a Bongo player or a bending tone to rival any Tabla player, I want to have it all available from one drum! Bright, percussive, alive, lots of attack, resonant, wild overtones, clear harmonics, and rim shots as big as gunshots, it’s all these things and more! Just as capable of being subtle as it is being the solo voice.
And the only tape you’ll find with this drum is on the box!!"
"So without the tape (I hear you ask), is it not difficult to control the tone?
Not at all, and here’s why: I see the use of tape as an excellent way of controlling the tone of a drum, just as drummers use moon gel to rid the drums of unwanted resonance. However bodhrán players have a huge advantage over drummers in the simple fact that our bodies are constantly in contact with the skin. I find it just as easy to get the same level of tone control over the skin by simply dampening it with the chest. Even minimal body dampening can get huge results. And this has one major advantage over taping….you can let go and un-dampen the head when you want to and let the drum go wild with the natural resonances and frequencies. Like taking a sports car into ‘sport mode’, the control is off but the possibilities are much greater. All you need to do is learn to control them and you can let rip when the time is right!!"
"So after several years and many emails, messages and calls later, when the road tests have been done, and the studio tests completed, when so many prototypes were created and rejected, and when this drum even took a trip to University, this, I’m proud to say, is the result … a truly traditional bodhrán for the modern player – now available in two sizes – I hope you like it as much as I do.
If you are outside the EU, you pay the price without German VAT, it’s price marked as “netto” in the shop.
VAT will be deducted, once you have chosen the acountry outside the EU for delivery when entering the site or when finishing your order at the checkout.
Dr. Rolf Wagels
An der Kapelle 10
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