When I was in high school, in 2003, I started a band. The band, called Colligan, started out as a school band but soon grew to be much more, for us in the band at least. We did a lot of cool things together, such as play at a festival in Tirana, Albania, and perform on radio and television there in 2009. Sadly, when things really started to take off, the last of us graduated and moved on to do other things. One of us went to study across the country (which is a four-hour train-ride away, but still), which made it hard to see each other often enough to keep the band alive. So the band became a close group of friends.
Even though we have been close friends for ten years now, we never celebrated the drummers birthday together. He was always on holiday in Switzerland or something fancy like that. Last year, it looked like he would be in the country so we planned on celebrating his 21st birthday together. I thought I’d give him something special, as he’d never gotten anything from us. But, he did go to Switzerland, and I was stuck with this gift. Last weekend, we came together for a little reunion at his house in Buitenpost, and I have him his belated birthday gift. It’s this little electric drum made from a cigar box.
As with most cigar boxes, the wood is all cedrela. I shaved down the top to make it as thin as I could. The holes in the front increase its bass response.
Here you can see the output socket. You can hook up this thing to a preamp or bass amp with a regular 1/4″ jack plug.
The microphone is a little speaker. Dynamic speakers are essentially the same as dynamic microphones: a large diaphragm, or cone, connected to a magnet which floats in a coil. Electricity can be sent through the coil to make the diaphragm move, but you can also move the diaphragm to generate an electrical current, your signal. So no fancy electronic trics; any dynamic speaker essentialy is a microphone already. You only need to hook it up to a suitable amplifier. Since the diaphragm is larger than that of most microphones, it picks up low frequencies more effectively, and high frequencies less effectively. This makes it good for picking up thumping and tapping sounds, like tapping on the box itself. You could also put it in front of a kick drum, or underneath a tom. I made two felt dampeners with the box. If you put these on the cone, they emphasize low frequencies and dampen higher ones. This way you can tweak the sound to your needs.
I made a little cross frame out of spruce. It is shaped so that the frame of the speaker fits in it exactly. These little brass clips hold the speaker in its place.