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Sometimes referred to as a Log Drum, which is historically a very different instrument, this Slit Drum or Tongue Drum uses 3/4 inch boards all the way around. The top should be made of a hardwood. Padouk wood seems to work the best, but Mahogany or Rosewood may be substituted. The box of the drum can be made from almost any other wood (ie. Pine, etc.). It is suggested that you use glue and wood dowel pins to secure the joints in the box ... only using the glue to secure the top panel onto the box. The ratio of the 2 tongues should be 3:4, 2:3, or 4:5 to give the most pleasing intervals.

Slit Drum

Here's the measurements for the various points on a two tongue drum (see above graphic for reference; NOT TO SCALE).

Small Drum: 13 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 3 1/4" (L x W x D)
A = 2 1/2"
B = 3 3/8"
C = 1"
D = 5/8"
E = 3/16"

Medium Drum: 23" x 5" x 3 5/8" (L x W x D)
A = 4 3/8"
B = 3 1/4"
C = 1 3/4"
D = 3/4"
E = 1/4"

Large Drum: 26 1/8" x 5 1/2" x 5 1/8" (L x W x D)
A = 3 5/8"
B = 5 5/8"
C = 1 1/2"
D = 2 1/8"
E = 1/8"

If you are really interested in building your own instruments and learning more about the history of the instruments you build, here are some great books to add to your library.

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of, which he founded in December of 1996.

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