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Native American Frame Drum

Native American Frame Drums

Calculated at Checkout
  • Sunreed Special Soft Beater
  • NW Plain Drum Mallet
  • NW Fringed Drum Mallet

Sunreed's Traditional Native American Frame Drums

Sunreed's Traditional Native American frame drums are handmade by a First Nations North West Native American shamanic drum maker.  We have been selling high quality Native American Frame Drums for over 20 years. Our maker apprenticed with a Lakota maker, and his shaman drum styles are in the Lakota/Plains style of traditional hoop or frame drums.  He handcrafts beautiful, shamanic/medicine drums which will withstand the rigors of long and intentional use! The drums are strong and durable. They are laced very tight which allows them to be played in a  greater range of environmental conditions. The full wrap gives a beauty and helps with the tightness of the drum and durability of it. For instance these drums will last longer in humid conditions than many other drums that we have played.

Drum sticks, or beaters, are not included with your purchase. Please see our beaters to purchase for your drum!

Each drum is made in the traditional way in ceremony and with prayer, with an understanding and respect for the animals and wildlife and wood from which they come. Making things in a medicine way strengthens the quality and integrity of the drum, and potential of the drum when you are working in relationship with it. This allows you to speak more directly to the wisdom world from which these medicines arise.

All of the hides used on the drums are ethically sourced. Great care is put into the hide of the drums.

Selecting Your Drum

For most adults, we recommend the 18" size drums, for a full, rich toned drum that is easy to hold.  These are excellent for drum circles, or personal use in ceremony, ritual, or music.  Smaller framed adults may prefer a 16” drum.  Elkskin is a good starting drum.  But, for the deepest, rich sounds, consider larger drums, and Buffalo or Moose skins.  For children, depending on age, you may wish a 10-14" drum. A 10" drum will be high pitched, and a 12" Elkskin Drum will have a higher, tighter sound than a 14", due to the size of the frame and skin, etc.. 14" is really the starting point where you drum can have a clear bass note.

Each drum is unique and individual, a one of a kind.  Colors on skin vary dramatically from light and dark and with natural patterns. Moose, Buffalo and Horse are most often the darkest and have the most patterns. However, this will vary with every drum. Please choose a hide and size from the options at the top of the page to see examples of the color of the drums. The frames are made of maple.  We highly recommend these excellent quality, and very reasonably priced drums.  They are handcrafted in the USA.

Do you need help choosing a drum? (Information and Videos Below!)

Please see our own, Sound Healer and teacher of Shamanic practices, Zacciah Blackburn, demonstrate our different drums HERE. Also, please contact to schedule a zoom/facetime/phone meeting where we can show you the drums, play the drums for you, and help you select the right drum for you.

Skins and Climate:  

The type of skin will affect the color, voice (tone/pitch) and weight of the drum, as well as how well it holds up to humidity.

Our drums are made in a humid climate.  This means they will stay tight in most humid or dry climates.  We live in a humid climate here in Vermont, and use these drums very frequently.  We have intentionally found and worked with drum makers who tie a good, tight drum.  These drums will stay as tight as any hand tied drums we have seen. Those in more humid conditions may want to consider a Moose, Buffalo or Horse drum.  These are thicker, deeper tones, and withstand humidity a little longer.  These thicker skins often are darker in color, though this can vary depending on the hide.  While deer is greatly appreciated for all of its qualities, it is the thinnest of these skins.  It will have a great voice in drier climates, but may lose its voice easily if you are in high humid conditions. (When we speak of a drum losing its voice, all natural skin drums will do so at some point in high humidity or rainfall.  However, this does not affect the life of the drum.  Once it dries out again, through the sun, applied heat, or dry air, its voice will come right back to life, with no lingering effect, whatsoever).

If you live in an exceptionally dry climate, such as Arizona, your drum may become too tight without moisture. In this case, thicker drums will hold their tone better, such as Buffalo, Moose or Horse, rather than Elk or Deer. It is best to keep your drum stored in a dry, cool location, out of the sun or away from heat, to ensure your drum does not get too dry.


For those working in a traditional way, the 'medicine quality' of the animal you are working with, may be the most important ingredient in making your choice.  For those in the Great Plains, Buffalo was the Great Gift of Spirit.  In the East, Moose serves much the same way.  Elk was a great medicine giver throughout much of the mountainous regions of North America.  Horse, though not indigenous to the Americas, has become a real medicine ally to its indigenous peoples; and, it is one of the most popular medicine animals in Europe, where the indigenous peoples there worked with the horse as a tremendous ally, and continue to where indigenous peoples still survive, such as in Mongolia. Deer and Bear (when available) offer the medicine of the Great Mother in indigenous traditions. The deer represents the softer side of the feminine, such as the Heart of Compassion. Indeed the Buddha is often represented as a deer for this reason. Using the hide, like of all parts of an animal is, in indigenous philosophy, a way of honoring the animal and of completing the circle of life.  We do this with great care and respect.  

Drum Beaters:

There are generally two types of drum beaters, soft and hard. Soft beaters are shaped as a paddle and have soft cushion. These drum beaters mute the higher tones from the drum just leaving a rich, deep, full bass note. This is our highest recommendation for a drum beater. A hard beater has less padding, and is typically shaped as a ball. These drum beaters give the full note of the drum, both with higher and lower tones, and also bring a more powerful note from the drum.

We care highly that you get the drum that will best serve you. If you give us a call we would be happy to speak to you about the type of drum that you are searching for, and we commonly play these drums over the phone to help customers make the right choice for them. We would love to hear from you. Contact Us

Sound File Videos

Sound Comparison Of 12 Inch To 24 Inch Native American Frame Drum

18 Inch Native American Frame Drum

16 Inch Native American Frame Drum

14 Inch Native American Frame Drum

12 Inch Native American Frame Drum

24 Inch Native American Frame Drum