In the summer of 2006 I stumbled across a video online of the Swiss made Hang drum and fell in love, I had to have one. However, upon researching how I could obtain one, I found that this drum would cost me about $2000, a six month wait to process along with a trip out to Switzerland just to purchase one. This was a little out of my price range. I then found that there were some people making similar sounding instruments out of propane tanks, however they didn't have that quality sound of the Hang. I decided to make one anyway.
I built my first drum in 2007 and it sounded pretty good, not hang quality good but good enough for the time being. However there were some adjustments to the design that needed to be made.
First off the drum was made from a complete 20lb propane tank, it even had the handle attached. This made the it a bulky instrument to carry around and very hard to hold while playing. The pitch would also go flat after a few months of playing requiring the drum to be re-cut to lower and lower tunings until the drum wasn't playable anymore. There was also the tone which didn't seem to be uniform across all the notes.
Taking all of these problems into consideration I designed the Flow drum. A lap sized drum that's precision cut and tunable as is ages,
I have two inspirational stories I would like to share dealing with these drums. Earlier in 2012 I was commissioned by the Wilmington Arboretum to build a sculpture of a butterfly with drums attached for a new addition to their garden. While we were cementing the sculpture into the ground, the children of the ability garden were walking by. The ability garden is a program at our local arboretum that provides fun, interactive activities in the gardens for autistic children and those with special needs. One of the kids in the group saw this sculpture and began to play it, and played it very well. He then encouraged all of the other kids to come and play with it. Now this story might not sound that fascinating, but when I received the final payment for the sculpture I was told that this kid encouraging all of the others to come and play had not spoken in over two months. I took that as the greatest compliment I have ever received to this day.
Since then I have been eager to put these drums in anybody's hands that are wiling to play them. Over the summer I attended a festival and an elderly deaf couple approached me while I was playing. I knew enough sign language to tell that they were both deaf from birth and wanted to play my drum. I was amazed to find that not only did they play them... THEY ROCKED OUT! For over thirty minutes. They told me they could feel all of the vibrations in their lap. Truly amazing.