Ok, so as you know, as an Artist, it’s not about saving money primarily, though why spend money unnecessarily when you can make it yourself and have fun learning and doing it. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to take things apart, reverse engineer them, put them back together and build things myself from scratch. My mom even says when I was a kid she quietly watched me as I took my crib apart screw by screw and placed them neatly on the floor before I started crawling away. Anyhoo, the point is I am always learning something new and looking for a creative outlet. I recently went through Boot~Camp; as in Bateria~Boot~Camp, learning to play Brazilian Drums. Being 6’2″ and 225 lbs. I figured the best place for me would be in the back doing the heavy lifting and beating on the Primera Surdo. The Surdo, they say, is the Heart beat of all of Samba. I played bass drum in grade school orchestra and marching band, so I guess I have a feel for it. Austin Samba School is an amazing community of folks that are passionate about traditional Samba and keeping it alive. Have no worries; traditional Samba is alive and thriving, and I owe a debt of gratitude to Tio Jacare, Lee, and all the other folks for sharing their knowledge, passion and dedication. Every year they out-do themselves with creative productions for Carnival Brasilero. Throughout the year the different troops are providing grooves for numerous parades, parties and public events while sharing the joy of Samba. !Alegria~ Bateria!
So, I could buy a Surdo beater for
30 bucks, but why? I can’t pass up the creative challenge of making a beater from scratch. I’ll tell you about my next challenge at the end of this post.
MATERIALS : Everything on you will need can come from the same party/Art/craft section of the Mart stores, or alternately you can re-purpose household items.
~ 1″- 1.5″ diameter wooden dowel 12-18 inches long depending on your hand size, what size Surdo you are playing, and what is comfortable for you. I have huge hands and play a huge drum, so I need a longer grip and reach. I bought a three-foot wooden dowel from a Mart store for $1.50, so I can make 2 beaters that are a foot and a half long.
~ Batting also known as pillow/comforter stuffing. This is the white polyester cotton candy looking material.
~ Party Balloons,
~ 1 pair of socks
~ electrical or duct tape
Alternatively, you can skip the shopping and just re-purpose items from around your home. Mop/broom/hammer handles can be used in place of the dowels. You can get batting from an old pillow. Sacrifice a pair of clean socks, 2 balloons, twine and electrical tape and you have your beater for no cost at all.
- Step 1 : Use some foam or sponge to cover the end of the dowel.
- Step 2: Compress the foam/sponge and tape it around the end of the dowel leaving as much of the foam / sponge as possible exposed.
- Step 3: Cover the foam / sponge with the party balloon squeezing the air out while taping the rim of the balloon around the wooden dowel.
- Step 4: Wrap the balloon evenly and tightly in batting material.
- Step 5: Cover this batting with another Balloon and tape balloon rim around dowel while squeezing the air out.
- Step 6: Cover this balloon tightly in a clean sock tip (5-6 inches) and tape the rim around the dowel and then wind string about a dozen times around the sock where the bulb meets the wooden dowel. Tie the string off tightly and trim excess sock and string.
- At this point you can dress it up and modify it any way you like. I added a sweatband around the beater bulb, and made a softer and smaller bulb on the opposite end. I then re-purposed an old snake-skin belt by slicing it open and using spray adhesive to seal it firmly on the dowel. You can also add leather, or a rubber bicycle grip. I made mine with a long reach and a firm mallet because I need the reach and like the responsiveness. You can make yours anyway you like.
- Alegria Bateria~