About American Pandeiros

Karl Dittebrand I was introduced to pandeiros a few years ago while learning to play. And after experimenting with different types I found that it was hard to find one that met my needs and my budget. After a while I thought I could learn to make them myself. I wanted to use native wood and build mostly with salvaged material. I discovered I could get different kinds of woods that were great for pandeiros, especially osage orange. So I started experimenting with that and other wood; poplar, black walnut, black locust, oak, cedar. Also I started using different metals for the jingles; steel, copper, stainless steel, brass. I found I had to make my own hardware because none was available. So I devised my own methods and found sources. Also the rings for the skin had to be custom manufactured. I chose stainless steel for its strength and its light weight.

I make one pandeiro at a time. The skin I use is either goat, calf-skin or deer hide, once again depending on the pandeiro. Each pandeiro is a unique instrument with its own characteristics. Each jingle is hand hammered, three pieces, with the middle piece adjustable so it can be muffled or left open, so no external mufflers are required. The jingles being hand hammered take a bit of breaking in and I noticed they sound better and better as time goes on.

I use no veneers and I don't use hard varnish. Each pandeiro is hand rubbed with my own blend of natural oils. I use very little lumber, mostly wood I find in the forest. My pandeiros are made with either single, two or three piece laminated wood. The pandeiros I make from poplar are single ply and typically I paint those. Prices are moderate and not out of line with those similar that are on the market. The main difference is they are made in the USA and each is individually hand made. They are light in weight, about 1 pound plus or minus. Due to the type of manufacture my production is low, but I keep a dozen or so on hand.

Thanks for taking an interest and I hope you buy one.

- Karl