Drum Care

The drum is a deep tradition in Native American life. The drum represents the circle that is our life, and the four directions. The beat of the drum is the heartbeat of our mother earth. We respect the drum and the traditions we hold sacred.

Elk hide is the best hide for hand drums, it gives the greatest resonance of any natural hide. Mark’s elk hide drums are strung with respect and tradition. Making a drum is a way of honoring our native ancestors and the sacred road they walked. The way Mark makes a drum is done to honor the four directions and the circle of life. When a drum finds its way to you, it is a lifelong relationship.

Mark makes his drums to be played, to last and to be handed down for seven generations. If we take care of the drum, it can be played by our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Mark offers an artist’s lifetime guarantee. As long as he lives, he will repair or replace your drum, no matter what happens to it.

Your drum is easy to care for but there are some things to remember. Your drum is made from natural materials that are affected by temperature humidity and light. The hide will absorb moisture when it is damp, and will dry out when it is hot or dry.

Drums need care as does our skin. Mark recommends natural Aloe Vera from the plant to moisturize your drum. The head or playing surface needs no moisture. Around the sides where the hide meets the wood is where moisture is needed. If you are in a humid climate, once a year is fine. If you’re in the desert or a very hot climate, or at a high altitude, consider several times a year or more. Just rub the aloe on the sides of the drum on the hide.

Drum Care

• In a Vehicle: Never leave your drum in a hot car! Intense heat in a car can ruin your drum! It can cause the hide to dry out to a degree you’re your drum may split from the edges. Find a shady spot in the car and cover drum well, with hide down. If you live in a hot dry climate it's not a good idea to leave it in your car at all.

• In a House: Do not store your drum near heater, stove, fireplace, anywhere it is likely to get very hot.

• In a Sweatlodge: When you take your drum into a sweat lodge, it absorbs heat and moisture. This is why many sweat lodge drums are made of buffalo rawhide. Buffalo is a heavier hide than elk and it absorbs less moisture.

• Around a fire: A drum is made to be used indoors or outdoors. Remember to protect your drum from intense head of an open fire. Keep it a comfortable distance from any source of heat. You can know by your own comfort. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your drum. Your drum's sound may rise a little from the warmth because the hide tightens. If this is unwanted, just spray a little water on the drum surface, it will lower the tone a bit.

• In your home: If you hang your drum on the wall, avoid any especially hot area. As a rule, if you’re uncomfortable, don’t put your drum there. Drums love the sun, but too much direct sunlight too close to a window or heater is not good.

• Travel: Mark’s larger drums come with a free carrying bag, excellent for travelling. However if you are in an extremely hot or cold climate, it’s good to wrap a light blanket or pillow case around your drum inside the bag.

A drum hide is the same as your own hide. It absorbs moisture, dries out, gets cold, gets hot. This affects the sound of the drum. If your drum gets hot, the tone will be higher, and cool or damp will make it deeper. A few minutes in the sun can tighten a damp drum, just as a little water sprayed on the hide can cool down a drum that’s too tight from heat.

You will learn all about your personal drum, it is a connection that will express your feelings, songs, and the heartbeat of our mother earth.
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