How to Make Practice Shime Drums

cardboard tube
--Photo by furiousgeorge81
In a previous post I mentioned very simple make-shift surfaces you can use to practice your taiko beats on. I'll write about some slightly more elaborate practice drums as well, starting with shime-daiko.

A practice drum that resembles the shape and size of a real shime drum is practical in that it allows you to realistically practice your swings and hits. People get creative when making practice drums and there are all kinds of them out there, but here a few ideas:

Shime Drum Easy Version 1.0:

For the base, go to a DIY or hardware store and look for some tubing. PVC piping with a wide diameter (about 30cm) is perfect. Cut the piping to a height of about 20-25cm.

Using box sealing tape, tightly tape across the diameters of the two open ends of the tubing. Cover the entire open end, make sure there are no openings, and apply multiple layers of tape.

And you’re done. Cheap, easy and takes no time at all.

Shime Drum Easy Version 1.1:

If you can’t find wide PVC piping, try looking for industrial cardboard tubes. These are usually available in wider diameters than PVC piping, and can be found in stores such as Home Depot.

As with the PVC piping, cut these to about 20-25 lengths. As these aren’t as strong as PVC, you’ll need to strengthen them. You can do this using thin metal sheets that are available in hardware stores. Cut the sheets to a length equivalent to the circumference of your tubing, and a width equivalent to the height of your tubing. So for a 30cm diameter tube that is 20cm in height, you’d want to cut the metal sheet into a rectangle that’s 20cm by 62.8cm. Bend the metal sheet so that it fits along the inner surface of your tubing. Secure it in place using screws or adhesive.

Then tape it up as explained in Version 1.0 and you’re done!

Note: It’s a good idea to bend the rims of the tubing so that the metal edges don’t damage the ‘skins’.

Shime Drum Enhanced Version:

If you want something a little more realistic, but want to avoid the hassle of putting together an authentic shime base, you can put authentic shime heads on the make-shift bases described in the versions above.

This, of course, will require that you either obtain shime heads or stitch them yourself. If you want to buy them, you could try the places recommended in this post. If you buy just the heads, you’ll save a couple bucks.

If you decide to stitch them, don’t worry, this is also easier than you might think. And you’ll save a lot of money. I’ll write a post about it soon for those unfamiliar with the process.

Once you have shime heads, simply rope and tighten them onto the make-shift base, just as you would on a real shime drum. You won’t be able to tighten the heads on as hard as you would on a real shime (because these practice bases are weaker), but because the skins are real, your new practice shime should sound surprisingly good.

Here are some other taiko related resources you might find helpful:

Taiko Building:
Where to Get Taiko Drums
How to Make a Taiko Drum
How to Make Handles on a Taiko Drum
How to Make a Happi Coat
How to Make Shime and Oke Taiko Heads
How to Make Taiko Skin (Drum Heads from Cow Hide
How to Make Practice Taiko Drums
How to Paint a Taiko Drum
How to Make Taiko Bachi (Sticks)
How to Make Taiko Sticks 2
How to Raise Money

Taiko Information:
Taiko Playing Styles
Why are Taiko Drums So Expensive?
How to Play Taiko Drums
5 Ways to Get Better at Taiko
Finding and Learning Taiko Music
Getting in Taiko Playing Shape
Taiko Drums vs Other Percussion

TaikoSkin Podcast
The TaikoSkin podcast covers a whole range of topics related to taiko- building drums, starting groups, getting performances offers, going to grad school. Just about anything really. Download them in the iTunes store, or find all of the episodes here.


  1. Thank you for sharing! Your info is terrific, especially for those of us not on the US West Coast or Northeast.

  2. Thanks Ron, let me know if there's ever any specific info you're looking for. Always looking for new stuff to post about. Thanks again.