Thursday, May 15, 2008

How to improve your Hank Drum

I'll be building several new hank drums in the coming weeks. I plan to photograph and videotape the whole process in greater detail this time. In the meantime, I am considering several improvements to the next build. Below are some of my ideas. Feel free to comment if you have anything to contribute to the discussion.

Idea 1 - Move both of the high A and high C tongues further out towards the perimeter of the drum surface. If you've attempted to build the Hank Drum by religiously following Dennis Havlena's plans, (link: http://www.ehhs.cmich.edu/~dhavlena/for-webpage-lp-hang.htm) then you'll find that these two tongue end up in the metal between the low D and the low F and low G tongues. They're darn hard to tune and they don't ring too long. Thus, the experiment to move them closer to the perimeter of the drum.

Idea 2 - Replace the high A and high C tongues with other notes within the D pentatonic scale. The idea here is that if these notes are too short to make a nice note, replace them with a longer tongue and a note that will sound better.

If you not familiar, the basic D minor pentatonic scale is made up of the following six note (in order lowest to highest):

D F G A C D* *octave

The notes currently in Dennis's plans (for the eight tongues) are (in order lowest to highest):

D A C D* F G A* C* *octave


One proposal is to replace the high A and C with the following configurations:

D F G A C D* F *G * *octave

Idea 3 - Of course there are other scales which can be made from eight notes. The easiest extension is to create the D minor scale which would use all eight tongues to create an full octave of notes:

D E F G A A# C D


Idea 4 - One of my favorite scales is called the Spanish Gypsy or "Abba Rabba" scale. In the key of D, this would be:

D D# F# G A A# C D

5 comments:

dennis said...

HI Mikeo neat to see
folks experimenting with
my invention. You've some
neat ideas.
Dennis Havlena

SerKnoR said...

Some other nice scales in D if you want:

C=do
D=re
E=mi
F=fa
G=sol
A=la
B=si


Major: re mi fa sol la la# do# re

Harmonic minor: re mi fa sol la la# do# re

Melodic minor: re mi fa sol la si do# re

Diminished: re mi fa sol sol# la# si do#

Major pentatonic: re mi fa# la si re

Minor pentatonic: re fa sol la do re

Neopolitan minor: re re# fa sol la la# do# re

Hungarian minor: re mi fa sol# la la# do# re

Arabic: re re# fa# sol la la# do# re

Blues: re fa sol sol# la do re

Skr dim: re fa sol# si

AkeBono: re mi fa la la# re

Pigmy: re mi fa la do re

John said...

do you have a template layout for this scale? Idea 4 - One of my favorite scales is called the Spanish Gypsy or "Abba Rabba" scale. In the key of D, this would be:

D D# F# G A A# C D

Steve said...

Hi All,
very cool ideas!!
I have made 2 Hank Drums now.
not doing well on hands play...can't get the volume.
but have deveploped a mallet that has awesome tone on this drum.
I use 8" of auto brake line. find a soft Superball( you can sink 1/3rd into it pressed between fingers). drill an under sized hole 1/2 way into ball.
add adhesive, insert & WoW!
Slim49

DAVID said...

Or you could use superballa and stuff em inside a glove then put on the gloves...best of both worlds for mallet and hand play.