We've been carrying Hardwood Music tongue drums (made by father-and-son team Michael & Joah Thiele in Arizona) for many years. It's always a particular pleasure to get in one of their Jumbo 12-key drums! This one came to us used and in need of some TLC, so we sent it to Hardwood Music. Their complete restoration process included removing the entire finish, gluing some cracks, adjusting & smoothing any warping, re-sanding/re-sealing, fine-tuning to pitch, refinishing and re-polishing. This drum truly looks and sounds like-new.
The "Big Ben Jumbo" drum (measuring about 24 inches long) was originally designed for Ben Harper for his song "Blessed To Be A Witness" on the "Diamonds on the Inside" album. It was the first time Hardwood ever built a drum and composed a tuning with "chord groups" in each of the 4 corners which would allow Ben to exploit those chords when playing entirely with the hands and without mallets. The chords on the drum are D G A and Bmin (see photo for specific note layout). The vast majority of these were built in African Padauk and Mahogany or Sapele sides, and at the time offered exclusively through Ben Harper's family store called "Claremont Folk Music Center" in Claremont, CA. Only a very few were ever built in other wood combinations such as the African Wenge on this drum built in 2005.
If new, this drum would be built-to-order with a few weeks wait, and priced in the $1,400 range (and likely not available in the Wenge wood).
One pair of rubber-tipped mallets will be included. These drums are designed to be played only with the mallets supplied by Hardwood Music, or with the hands. They must be played with a light touch to avoid damage to the wood and tuning.