Ron Vaughn ‘FireBird’: a very different and remarkable Tambourine.
This original Ron Vaughn FireBird Headed Tambourine is an exciting departure from standard tambourines. Beautifully demonstrated by Gordon Stout in this first in a series of FireBird videos. Check it out below in this same blog post.
The FireBird is made from a solid maple shell that we make, in a ‘split-ring’ configuration. This simply means there is a single, long, continuous slot that makes it’s way around most of the circumference of this instrument. And as such, is supported and strengthened with carbon fiber stand-offs, making this shell exceptionally strong structurally, and very light weight.
This continuous slot extends right up to the beautifully contoured, ergonomic SuperGrip, an original creation of mine, (I believe), from the 1970s. I had started playing in studios by the 1970s, including some very long sessions. I needed to come up with a better, more comfortable way to hang on to a tambourine for hours at a time. Early attempts were miles of duct tape, which thankfully, morphed into this really beautiful, comfortable way to hold a tambourine for performance.
Check out this Mahogany SuperGrip, pinned with hard maple dowels, and completely contoured for your hand. Through the decades we have modified a few of these SuperGrips for some players who had unusually small, or unusually large hands.
Next, the long, continuous, Split-Ring FireBird signature Slot, with carbon fiber stand-offs and the ‘compound jingles’, Fluted German Silver over T-10s.
This long continuous Split-Ring slot allows for all of these jingles, 26 pairs in all, in this strong, light-weight instrument. This affords a player an immense density of performance sound at very soft dynamic levels in this ‘compound’ configuration. The delicate voice of the FireBird will carry right into the last balcony, at the softest dynamic.
And, on the other end of the dynamic sound spectrum, the FireBird can reach impressive volume levels very quickly, making it one of the most versatile instruments ever.
When you hear the way Gordon Stout uses this instrument in his composition, ‘Four Faces’, it’s easy to understand why he chose the FireBird and what it offers in this dynamic piece of his.
Here’s Gordon’s terrific FireBird video . . .
Stay tuned for more on all of Ron’s instruments and equipment, and if you have any questions or other requests, please send them along.
Practice, prepare, always play your best!