How to Choose a Shamanic Drum

Jeff Oxford

Thrum of the Drum

Every shaman needs a music maker. Sound and music are used to call in energy and spirit guides; transport one on journeys; support ceremony and ritual, and facilitate meditation. Drums frequently serve this purpose. If you have ever had the privilege of participating in or listening to the beating created from a drum circle, you know how powerful the hypnotic, trance-inducing rhythmic sound of the drum can be.

Natural Rhythm

The hand-held hoop or frame drum is a favorite choice of shamans and healers. Our frame drums are crafted in the traditional Native American style– stretching animal skin across a natural maple wood hoop frame. Hold these drums by their back handle which is wrapped in recycled mink or leather. The type of animal skin used carries with it different characteristics and sounds. In order of thin to thick, elk skin is typically thinner and lighter; cow is next, then buffalo, with moose being thickest. The thicker the skin, and larger the drum, the deeper the sound. Animal skin drums need protection from changes in temperature and moisture. Moisture fluctuations cause skin hides to expand and contract and it’s best not to expose them to the elements.

A Different Drum

Yet, technology touches everything and these days that includes the humble drum. Remo Belli, founder of the Remo Company, was an American jazz drummer who developed and marketed the first successful synthetic drumheads. These drums have all the benefits of a natural drum, without the use of animal skin or direct impact on trees. With heads made from synthetic material and shells made from recycled wood fiber, there is no worry from the effects of temperature and moisture. They are durable, inexpensive, lightweight and weather resistant while attaining that drumbeat that you long for from a drum.\

The Spirit of the Drum Heartbeat

We recognize that our customers have preferences when it comes to selecting a drum. While some would not consider using a product made from animals, others prefer to follow a more traditional natural path when selecting their instrument. We hope our choices provide a balance for all. Shamans Market’s selection of painted drums heads and skins capture images and motifs from nature and legend. Others have plain skins and heads to embellish or not. And every drum comes with its own beater and is made in the USA.

Photography by LG Photo.