This is the end of the taiko-making guide. By following the steps to this point, you should have a new taiko to be very proud of.
A few final comments:
- It will take a short while to "break in" a new drum. It typically will sound high-pitched and "ringy" at first.
- There are a lot of theories about patterns that can be carved on the inside of the taiko to make it sound better or to reduce the ringy sound. These really do work, but the difference is subtle: if you are building a taiko for your group, it probably isn't worth your time, especially on a barrel taiko. However, go for it if you have the will.
- No taiko group has enough drums to play. If you need an alternative to tires to practice on, PVC taiko are relatively simple to make, and they sound far better than any tire.
- To make them, get a length of 16"-20" diameter PVC pipe. Cut off a section for the body, and cut a 3" tall section for the reinforcement.
- Cut the reinforcement and remove a segment so that the diameter is just small enough to slide into the larger piece of PVC.
- Screw and glue the reinforcement in place.
- Put a head on the taiko using the normal skinning process, but be careful not to use as much force: PVC taiko are more likely to break than barrel taiko. Tack or screw the head onto the body.
- For cosmetic effect, you can put wood-patterned contact paper on the outside of the PVC taiko.
- A final idea I heard at the 2003 North American Taiko Conference: a possible way to tune a taiko. Try drilling an air valve into the side of a taiko so that it can be "pumped up" like a basketball. If the taiko is sufficiently air tight, it can (at least for a few hours) be tuned to a specific pitch. Before shows, the taiko could be tuned, and should hold it's note long enough for the show. The gentleman who had been experimenting with this had not gotten around to trying this on a standard barrel taiko. Try it and tell us how it works!