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spasmsproject @ 06:18 pm: Tar
Just picked up a Glen Velez Signature Series Mondo 16" tar and I'm loving it. Anybody have any experience with these? It's hard to hold it up properly for extended periods of time using the left hand and right thumb. Also, I'm not understanding how I'm supposed to play the "doum" while keeping my right thumb on the frame. Any ideas?



Date:June 23rd, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
The Velez series tars are awesome--I'm glad to hear you're enjoying yours.

I can tell you from playing mine that learning to balance the drum in your left hand is probably the most difficult step. If you can, it might help to temporarily forgo using your right thumb for support. Just use your left hand to hold the drum, and walk around your house with it for a while to get used to balancing the drum. After you're used to balancing the drum and how it will move around in your hand, go back to resting your right hand thumb on the drum when you're playing.

As far as the "doum" goes, when I play, I rotate my wrist away from the drum head while keeping my thumb resting on the frame. Then, it's a quick rotation toward the drum head, using my ring finger for the hit. If you find that you lose your position on the drum, the best I can tell you is to start out practicing very slowly and lightly. As you get a feel for how to keep the drum balanced and how the drum is going to respond, you play louder and with more speed.

Hope this helps!
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Date:June 23rd, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
Great advice! Maybe you can tell me: Is it okay to hook my left thumb in the notch, or keep it upright and loose? Hooking it is awkward, but so is upright.

I've been succumbing here and there to the temptation to play it like a bodhran, using my right thumb and ring finger as the tinker. What a great sound!
Date:July 1st, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Sorry it took so long to get back to you on this--I haven't gotten back to LJ very often lately. How are things going with the new drum? I'm guessing that you've found a good method for how to hold your left thumb? I will tell you that I tend to hold my thumb slightly hooked through the notch, but without using it as a main support for the drum. If I use my thumb to hold the drum in place...wow, does that hurt after I've been playing for a while.

I think I'm going to try your trick of using a tar as a bodhran--sounds like it might be fun!
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Date:July 1st, 2008 11:12 am (UTC)
Basically got the hang of the thumb now, thanks. Your advice was spot-on. Been working on flicking my wrist and fingers for a nice, clean sound as I strike the head without throwing the drum off balance. What sound!

I like using the tar as a bodhran. Also found that I can mimic basic rock rhythms on it, which really came in handy at a jam last week.

Do you play anything else? I play conga, bongos, ashiko, djembe, (very basic) doumbek and a standard drumset. But not all at the same time...
Date:July 3rd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear you're getting the hang of playing your new drum. Honestly, I never thought to use the tar for rock rhythms either--but yeah, it works!

Outside of the frame drums, I play the surdo, tamborim, and some basic pandeiro, and also some puk and janggo.
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