Introduction: Japanese Drum (Trash Can Ver.) ゴミ太鼓 and Drum Sticks 撥

This version of the Japanese Drum, henceforth called Taiko, has been around since Japan's ancient times used for a variety of purposes: to intimidate and scare the enemy, as a way to communicate across the battlefield, to chase evil spirits and insects away from the rice fields, to pray for rain, to enliven festivals, and to give thanks for bountiful harvest.

In modern times, Taiko is more commonly used for performances and festivals. A Taiko performance consists of many components in technical rhythm, form, stick grip, and clothing.

Even with the Taiko, an integral part of is the drumsticks or bachi. Depending on the Taiko, different lengths and materials can be used to create a variety of sounds

Materials Needed

    Taiko Drum

    • Round, open topped Trash can, any size can do
    • 1 roll of packing tape
    • Scissors

    Bachi/Drum Sticks

    • 32-60 inch 1/2" diameter dowel from any home improvement store cut into 2, 16in pieces
    • Sand Paper - around 60 grit should be fine

    Time to completion

    Approximately 30 minutes


    Here is a link to a performance done with these drums

    Step 1: Begin Taping Your Drum

    When you begin taping your drum there are a couple things to keep in mind

    • Cut just enough tape so that it covers the entire diameter of the drum plus 6 inches for the sides
    • Stretch the tape over the drum so that it stays tight and taut
    • Tape slowly in order to prevent air bubbles and folds in the tap

    ******Be careful about wrinkles in the tape when taping the Taiko. You can prevent this by pulling the tape very taut before taping down.

    ******The wrinkles will cause for a change in pitch that will affect the overall performance and appearance of the Taiko.

    Step 2: Tape Across Radially

    Be sure to read step one clearly before you begin the next steps.

    1. Tape across the diameter of the drum.
      1. If possible, compress the drum slightly inwards before you tape so that as the drum tries to revert back to it's original form, it will create a very tight and taut piece of tape.
    2. Tape perpendicular to the first piece of tape across the diameter of the drum
      1. You should have a cross at this point as shown in the second picture
    3. Tape radially using the center of the drum as your focal point
      1. Continue this step until the drum has no holes in the top

    Step 3: Tape Vertically

    1. Taping vertically in one direction starting from one edge.
    2. Place all following pieces of tape adjacent to the tape

    Step 4: Tape Horizontally

    For this part of the Taiko making, you will be now taping horizontally on the drum, perpendicular to all the taping done in the last step.

    1. Tape in one direction starting from one edge.
    2. Place all following pieces of tape adjacent to the tape

    Step 5: Secure Your Drum

    Now after taping the entire top of the drum,

    1. Run a single piece of tape all around the edge of the drum
      1. This causes the edge of the drum is fully secured and the ends of each tape is covered by this roll.

    This step is an very important in maintaining the longevity of your Taiko Drum. As you use the drum, hitting the drum will cause vibrations that will warp and loosen the tape. This not only changes the tune of the Taiko drum but also destroys the tape and you will need to retape the drum at the end.

    Step 6: Decorate the Drum (Optional)

    The Taiko at this point is functionally complete and can be used for practicing. Different taping styles will create different pitches when played but overall should sound like a deep bass.

    You can use paint, construction paper, or a variety of supplies in order to make the Taiko look more lifelike. If you decide to use this Taiko for a performance, be sure not to use too many layers of paint or construction paper as the sound will degrade.

    Step 7: Creating Your Drum Sticks 撥

    At the home improvement store ask any of the workers there to cut the dowel into 16 in pieces. This is the standard length for a bachi for a Taiko of our size but can be customized to your liking.

    Using the sandpaper, round off the ends of the now cut dowel and sand them down so that ends don't have any sharp edges and looks similar to a drum stick