Virtual Dojo - Practice instruments
For taiko practice at home, you don't need a real taiko drum! There are a range of options to use as a practice instrument.
You will definitely need bachi drumsticks of some kind. We can provide you with bachi, or you can make them yourself easily from dowelling. We recommend using lighter bachi than you would on a real taiko drum, to minimise injury. Our own lighter shime bachi are made from maple and are 2cm in diameter and 42cm in length.
Here are some easy alternatives to taiko drums - our taiko are usually played with the skin at 68cm in height (the height on its stand), at a slight angle towards you, and the skin is typically 46cm in diameter:
- an old tyre - wrap the tyre in an old towel to prevent marking on your bachi. The rubber of the tyre provides good bounce. Try hanging a small trailer-tyre on the back of a chair.
- upturned bin - a layer of foam and / or rubber will improve the bounciness of the "skin"
- drum-kit practice pad - these are easily purchased online - look for one with a larger diameter of 12-inch or more
- drum-kit floor-tom - strengthen the skin by taping the underside of the skin with gaffa tape. Taping down rubber or cloth on the rim will protect your bachi while playing the rim
- a pillow on a chair, a sofa arm - careful not to damage your furniture!
We also have practice drums for sale - "Yaruzo Taiko". The drums are made from plastic barrels and canvas skins, and are quieter than cowhide taiko drums, so they're ideal for home practice. We have a range of drums: wee shime drums, silent katsugi drums, small barrel drum and large barrel drum, with special prices for Virtual Dojo members. Find out more
If you want to make your own practice drum, this can be done easily from an old tyre or plastic bin & packaging tape - please see videos below.
If you want to purchase an authentic Japanese taiko drum, the two top manufacturers are Asano Taiko in Ishikawa Prefecture and Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten in Tokyo, who both also make and sell bachi. If you have the good fortune to visit Japan, both manufacturers have excellent showrooms and museums.
If you're interested in excellent quality UK-made taiko drums, which are less expensive than importing from Japan, contact Dave Samuels of Woodworks who hand-crafts okedo-style drums on the Isle of Arran (david (at) davidsamuels.plus.com). Dave also makes taiko stands, as does Jared from Tengu Taiko, who has also done an excellent job of re-skinning our nagado drums (tengutaiko (at) hotmail.com)
In addition to importing bachi from Japan (with our own Dojo logo, which we also sell on), we also source our shime bachi from Ruth Mae of Nagare Woodturning (ruthmae.nagare (at) gmail.com) and our katsugi bachi and odaiko bachi from Dave Rodwell of Devon Bachi (davethenutter (at) hotmail.com).
How to make a Tyre Taiko Drum, courtesy of "DerbyGrammarMusic"
Video courtesy of "Living on Road Time". Materials needed: 1 cleaned car tire, 4 rolls packing tape, 1 roll duct tape, and 1 pair of sharp scissors.
Takashi Takeuchi, a professional taiko player, teaches how to make a practice drum with materials you can easily get at a home improvement store.