Tongue Drum

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Project by Steve posted 11-26-2013 01:42 PM 3241 views 19 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a tongue drum (or slit drum) made from red cedar with a mahogany top. Thanks to those who have posted these on LJ before because I think I looked at them all during my research. It has 12 tongues and the longest tongue is 10”, then each one gets shorter by .5” each. I tuned each tongue to it’s closest natural note using a tuner app on my phone (PanoTuner). To tune a tongue, I used a Forstner bit to remove material from under the tip to raise the pitch, or from under the base to lower the pitch. These are lots of fun and everybody who sees it wants to play it. They make great gifts.

Click Here to watch my video on this project that explains a lot about these drums and how to tune them.

Click here for my free PDF tongue patterns you can use to make your own.

Click here for my research notes on this project.

Thanks, Steve…

-- Steve in Lawrenceville, GA -

4 comments so far

View naked_wookie's profile


35 posts in 2805 days

#1 posted 11-26-2013 01:55 PM

Looks like quite a bit of fun. I might just have to try this out myself.

-- nate.

View MasterSergeant's profile


1407 posts in 3142 days

#2 posted 11-26-2013 05:15 PM

Most excellent, project. I purchassed a 1/8” router bit awhile back to attempt one of these. I inspired me to get busy!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View PaulDoug's profile


2062 posts in 2157 days

#3 posted 11-26-2013 09:45 PM

Very nice looking tongue drum. I’ve made several over the years. Fun to make and well received as gifts. Some where out in Youtube land is or use to be one that was completely tunable. The tongues could be adjusted. I always wanted to try one like that someday, although I don’t know if I’d be smart enough to figure it out just from the video.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Medickep's profile


574 posts in 2192 days

#4 posted 11-27-2013 01:49 PM

Great project and video, your tutorial was great by the way!

-- Keith

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