Frame Drum Basic Lesson (Lapstyle)

Video sample from the beginning chapter of instructional DVD “Worldpercussion 1 – Frame Drums”

Drums like these are played in the middle east with hands and fingers. Glen Velez created a new style of playing this instrument, adapting techniques from different framedrumming traditions. It is basically a framedrum without a thumbhole between 14″ and 20″, modern versions sometimes even bigger. Sometimes there is a cross in the inside of the frame.


Sit on a chair and place the instrument on your left leg. The left wrist rests on the frame of the drum and keeps it stable. The left hand and fingers need to be free to move to execute the different strokes.



The bass tone on the bodhran is executed with the right thumb. You start in a position where the thumb points away from your body and your hand is open as if someone is giving you something. Then you turn your wrist and “throw” your thumb towards the skin. After you hit, you let your thumb bounce off immediately.

stroke stroke


The rimstroke “Tak” is executed with the right and left ringfinger. In both cases you hit the edge of the skin. Try to make the sound as clear and open as possible. For the right hand “tak” start with the back of your hand pointing up and then turn your wrist to hit the drum as showed on the picture. For the left hand stroke place your wrist and thumb on the frame of the drum. Hit the skin with the ringfinger as shown in the picture. It takes some time to develop the necessary strength in your finger.

stroke stroke


For this stroke hit the skin with your hand slightly cupped. Hit with the fingertips of all four fingers and of the thumb. Keep the fingers on the skin to dampen the sound.



The technique for this stroke is similar to snapping your finger. You can do it with all fingers, but for now use the most common ones, the ring and middle finger of the left hand. The finger is placed against the thumb and then snapped against the rim. You can use both fingers to do two strokes in a row.

stroke stroke stroke stroke


For this technique make a claw with your right hand, put the fingernails against the skin and brush up and down. If you use your hand flat, you get another sound.


Bodhran Notations

The first pattern is the fundament of the rhythm below. It is played only with the right hand. It is a good exercise to practice the movement from “Pa” to “Dum” which is very important.

Fill up the spaces with left hand „Tak“s:

In the next example the left-hand stroke on the 3rd beat is accented:

And now play a snap instead:

A second pattern is added. It is similar to the one before, just the first two strokes are substituted with a right hand “Tak”:

Add some brush strokes in the middle of the pattern. Start to brush downwards:

The last two strokes are substituted by fingersnaps of the left ring and middle finger:

A combination of the variations before:

If you leave out the last two strokes of the pattern, you are in 6/8:

Add a second pattern:

A variation using the brushing technique:

more complex variations using the brushing technique:

© David Kuckhermann 2006


  1. Thanks David! I’ve been using these with a student and they are working out great. I love that you transpose an idea in 4/4 to 6/8 time. That’s a lesson in itself on building on your ideas. Be well!

  2. @thehallofshields – not sure which lines you are referring to, but there is no 2vs3 in the exercises.

  3. Hi Sarasvati,

    it depends on your level. Go ahead and check the content describtion of the different DVDs and check out the trailers on youtube.
    WP1 covers beginning and intermediate techniques until split-hand and doublesnapping. Advanced Frame Drums 1 and 2 continue from there focussing on different sets of techniques.

  4. Would line #2 and #3, with the emphasis on the 1st and 5th beat, constitute an example of 2vs3 rhythm?

  5. Hey David! Awesome lessons! I’d love to go deeper in the frame drum now, which dvd should I buy first? I’ve checked your dvds and there are many! Should I continue my journey with the Advance Frame Drum 1?

  6. Hey Christine,

    thanks for letting me know, should be fixed now.

  7. wow this is the exact info i was looking for, i aquired a hoop drum several months back and im wanting to use it for trance meditation but i wanted to play beats that were more than just hitting the drum with a mallet. thanks again, great to finally some instruction.

  8. hello! I have a problim in listening the audio tracks. I dont know if it is just me but can u help me?

  9. hello! I have a problim in listening the audio tracks. I dont know if it is just me but can u help me??

  10. selam David Kuckhermann senin videolarını izledim gerçekten hayran kaldım keşke fırsatım olsaydıda gücüm olsaydıda senin öğrencin olabilseydim… Çünkü ben bu işi çok seviyorum ve sizin gibi deyerli bir hocanın öğrencisi olmayı çok isterdim…

  11. Thank you Mr. Kuckhermann, You are very generous! very clear, very well pacxed lessons. Blessings!

  12. You’re a genius.. I like your duf musics and lessons

  13. Thanks so much David, your help has honestly been invaluable to my progress. If it’s not too much trouble, could you please post another rhythm… If it’s not too much to ask maybe a 9?
    Thank you again David.

  14. This was a great frame drum lesson. Your use of photographs and descriptions makes it easy to see what to do. Frame drums are great instruments and your instructions certainly help people learn to play them better.

    SHOPercussion Drum Store

  15. You’re a total genius and I stand in awe and wonderment at your playing skills!! Trying to learn frame drum n riq…your videos are most useful! Thank you!!! Gush…gush!… :o) Laura

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