The tongue drum is of Aztec origin, also called log drum or tone drum. The slit drum is a similar log drum of African origin. Traditionally made from a hollowed log; the modern version is a wooden box with tongues cut into the top, played with mallets.
Hardwood Music Tongue Drums
Hardwood Music Tongue Drums are handcrafted in Arizona by the father and son team of Michael and Joah Thiele. They use beautiful hand-selected domestic and exotic hardwoods, and tune each model precisely to a specific scale. These drums are used extensively throughout the recording industry by major performing artists (including Ben Harper), but are also extremely accessible to those without musical experience. It's not difficult to make them sound beautiful! They are widely recognized as the "Strad" of tongue drums. Anything less is just a box!
Please note, while we stock an extensive selection of Hardwood Music drums, we may not have every model or every tuning listed below currently available. We may also have additional models in stock that are not listed here. Contact us for our most current selection. Also, since each drum is individually handcrafted, wood selection may differ. "Red Elm" models come standard with Red Elm tops and spruce sides. They offer great sound at an affordable price. "Choice Standard" models may be made of woods such as canarywood, shedua, mahogany, lyptus, padauk, chocolate cedar, or purpleheart. Choice Standard drums may be customized with specific woods and different tunings. If you have a specific request, let us know.
Each drum is signed by Michael or Joah Thiele, and the woods used are also listed on the bottom of the drum. Two rubber mallets are included with drum purchase. Additional pairs of mallets can be purchased for $8.00.
Hardwood Music blends the highest level of visual and acoustic excellence to create a drum of exceptional melodic quality and visual appeal. The open harmonic tunings allow the novice, as well as the veteran musician, to create new and exciting music. Their careful selection of woods and years of research have enabled them to enrich the simple wood tongue drum with a bright resonance of unmatched quality. Each drum is designed and crafted to guarantee the best possible instrument within the limits of size and pitch selection. To hear some of the tunings on these drums, visit Hardwood's website at www.hardwoodmusic.net
In the video below, store owner David Eisner demonstrates a few drums and talks about their construction and use:
A note from David Eisner, HMT owner, on Hardwood Music drums: "There are suppliers, and then there are suppliers of instruments in Michael Thiele's elite category. Working side by side with his son, this two-man shop produces (to our knowledge) the only TUNED hardwood tongue or slit drums. Michael is careful not to use endangered hardwoods, and hand-selects each piece of wood individually. Michael has had a long time friendship with the musician Ben Harper, going back to the days when Ben was a young teenager. If you view the video "Ben Harper Live at the Hollywood Bowl," you'll see one of Michael's drums made especially for Ben being used as the encore selection. Michael and I have had our differences over the years, but they are ones that never concern his fine instruments. He is a Dodgers fan and I am a Yankees fan!"
Here's an older video from when Michael Thiele visited our shop: