The Bendir is certainly a different type of frame drum. What sets this frame drum apart is the snare type device, in the form of gut, or more commonly in modern times, a series of plastic lines, stretched along the back of the head, from edge to edge. When the frame drum is struck, this adds a buzzing like quality to the tone. This tends to give a more sustaining sound. The amount of the buzzing varies, depending on how hard and where you strike the skin. The model that I tested recently conveniently allows one to remove this line, thus eliminating the buzz tone and creating a more traditional frame drum sound. I prefer the tone without the snare, so I have removed it, but it can be re-installed as it is merely fishing line stretched along the back of the Bendir head.
The frame of the model I tested is fashioned from an attractive solid rosewood piece that was formed into a round frame. The goat skin head is stretch over the top and tacked to the edge with attractive brass nails. It is tunable via a convenient inside tuning system. Inside the Bendir frame drum is another ring of wood, that with the aid of the tuning devices, pushes the head out from the inside, thus creating more tension and tightening the drum. While this system certainly adds some weight to the frame drum, the convenience of being able to tune it makes it worth the extra heft. This is especially important in geographic areas that are typically not dry, or have varying humidity levels, because the natural goat skin is greatly affected by this. The tone becomes dull and loose quite quickly in a moist environment, so being able to tune this drum up is great. There is a convenient thumb hole in the frame, allowing for the standing method of playing. I am very pleased with the warm and deep tone I am able to achieve with this Bendir frame drum, much deeper and more sustaining than I expected from this relatively small 14″ Bendir. The edge tek tones are nice and sharp, and the wood helps maintain a natural sound, which is enhanced by the warm tone of the goat skin head. I really also like the soft rubbing tones produced, as well as a pronounced kah, or slap sound.
You can view a YouTube video that I posted where I demonstrate this Bendir with and without the snare device, and show in detail the construction and materials used. Please view this video by clicking on the following link:
Rosewood Bendir Frame Drum
Source by Ted Mabbatt