© copyright 2000 by Wyatt Knapp

American Indian Style Drums


I enjoy making tom-toms and drums influenced in style by the ones made traditionally by the American Indians. I especially like Northwest Coast Indian art and try to employ that style of painting on my drums. Above is a very large drum that I made for my son. It has a spruce hoop and I cut the lacings and the top out of rawhide. After punching the holes around the perimeter of the top, I soaked the rawhide in water until thoroughly softened and then stretched it over the hoop. Now it could dry for a few days. I always enjoy the sound of the hoop and the lacings ticking and popping as things tighten up!

After, everything is dry I freehand draw the artwork for the drum on a large piece of drafting paper and then transfer it to the drum head (Aaron said right from the start that he wanted a whale). Using appropriate colors I then paint everything in. (In the picture above that blue color is supposed to be more of a dusty blue color. The camera didn't catch it right.) I think the result makes a beautiful display and they have a really great sound. I've also made a double sided drum out of a hollowed out cotton wood log. Next I think I'm going to try and make a huge drum with my Dad out of half of an old wooden barrel complete with drum skirt and four hanging poles. I bet that thing's gonna ring out!

I really like making them and have done it since I was a young man. But one of my earliest memories is my Dad making me a drum when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I still remember the magical feeling I had when he gave it to me and I first heard the thrilling sound it made! So of course I had to continue this tradition with my own kids!

I'll try and put some information up that tells how to make the beater or drum stick, and I'll also try to get some pictures of my other drums up soon as well.



 This page was last updated on 15 March 2012.

Copyright © 1998 & 2012 by Wyatt R. Knapp

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