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Maintenance of Taiko

March 01, 2019

Maintenance of Taiko


  1. Storing & Handling  

  2. Maintenance of Head  

  3. Maintenance of Body  


1. Storing & Handling

Best & Worst Place to Store Taiko

Best place to store taiko is well-ventilated and dry place. Desiccant should be put into it to avoid moisture if the taiko is stored in a case. Besides, please be aware of mice and termites. On the other hand, worst place is humid, extremely hot or cold place. Please store it in a cool, dark place to avoid direct sunlight.

Worst Place to Store Taiko

Method for Dealing with Wet Taiko

First, please wipe the wet taiko with a dry towel, and then, leave it in the shade to dry. If the head is too wet and soft obviously, more time is needed to dry it.  

Method for Dealing with Taiko Got Mold

To remove mold on the taiko head, rub with a small-grit sandpaper (from 800 to 1200).  Never use detergent and bleach, which may cause tarnish and transformation of the head. It will shorten the lifespan of the head. Please avoid warm and humid storage not to get mold. 

Storing Taiko in Case

Carrying case helps to carry the taiko more easily in safe. Also, it prevents from the damage like scratch. However, storing taiko in a case for a long time is not recommended. It may cause mold on the heads and crack in the body. To avoid such damage, user should take the taiko out of the case and leave it in the fresh air regularly to keep the best condition. Or, put some desiccants in the case to prevent moisture. 

Store in Taiko Case

Storing Taiko in Blanket

As well as a case, a blanket protects taiko from dusts and scratch. However, it gets wet easily and may cause mold on the heads. User needs to take the taiko out of the blanket and expose it in the fresh air regularly. Also, blanket needs to be dried under the sunshine. 

Method for Carrying Taiko in Safe

Taiko (nagado daiko) has 2 iron handles (kan) at each side of the body. Large taiko should be carried by 2-3 people using them. Dragging a taiko may damage the head of taiko and rolling a taiko may damage the body. Usually, taiko case has handles and it's easy to carry a taiko more easily in safe. Fasten it with belt firmly not to fall off when it is carried by car. 


Material of Taiko

Do you know the skin and wood of taiko? See also this article.  

Material of Taiko


2. Maintenance of Head

Lifespan of Head

Lifespan of the taiko head depends on how often the taiko is played. In general, it gets loose gradually as it's played. Brand-new taiko has relatively high pitch and flat sound and get lower and deeper gradually as it's played. Loosened head surely loses the resonance and makes just a low sound (dead sound). The head is on its last leg if it only makes a dead sound. Usually, it can be tightened up again at taiko shop if it has mimi part (the hem of the head left after studding). It might be cheaper than replacing with a new skin. 

Loosen Head

If the head has ear (surplus at the rim, usually shaped like a tube), it can be tightened up again with a special instrument at taiko shop. However, old skin in bad condition needs to be replaced with new skin. 

Reason of Loosen Head

If the taiko with moist inside the body is left under the sun, the heads get loose. If such wet taiko is dried suddenly, the heads often become uneven and loose. Protect taiko with a case and blanket from the direct sunlight when it is left under the sun. If the heads got moist, dry the taiko in the shade to avoid humid place. If the heads are soaked in the rain, wipe up wet completely with a dry towel as soon as possible, and then, leave it in the cool and dark place. 

Torn Head

Head of taiko is expendable. It needs to replace with new skin if it's broken. It shouldn't be left as it is even if one side head is broken. Taiko with broken head doesn't make sound well. Replacing with new skin is only the method to solve the problem. Although it depends on how often it's played, it seems that the head was defective in nature. We can repair the taiko including replacing a skin but round-trip shipping cost is required. Please inquire us.

Torn Taiko Head

Torn Taiko Head

Surface of Head

Usually, the surface of the new skin is even and smooth and becomes rough as it's played. You could say that it's a sign that the taiko is ready to make a good sound.  Generally speaking, brand new taiko has stretched extra hard head which produces a little high-pitched sound. Players need to play taiko again and again for a certain period to get their desired sound. 

Scribbles on Head

Stain written with water paint is mostly erased by rubbing softly with a wet towel. However, if it's written with acrylic or oil-based paint, it is hardly rubbed out with just a wet towel. In such case, user needs to rub it with small-grit sandpaper (from 800 to 1200) or waterproof paper like drawing a circle. Be careful not to shave it too much to avoid loosing its durability. Never use detergent or bleach. These chemicals will damage the head.

Dirt on Head

Using taiko for years, the head surely gets dirt and tanned. To clean the dirt, rub it gently with small-grit sandpaper (from 800 to 1200) or waterproof paper like drawing a circle. Be careful not to shave it too much to avoid loosing its durability. Never use detergent or bleach. These chemicals will reduce the durability of the head.


3. Maintenance of Body

Lifespan of Body and Maintenance Method

Although it depends on material of wood and construction method, generally, taiko body made of solid keyaki (zelkova) wood lasts for a long time, without exaggerating, for hundred years. To keep it in good shape, cover it with a case and store in well-ventilated and dry place to add humid, extremely hot and cold place. In case that it doesn't played for a long time, it needs to leave in fresh air regularly. For shime daiko and okedo daiko, it should be loosen the rope and bolts if it isn't played for a long time. To reduce the tension between body and heads, they last longer. If the body gets any crack, it should be repaired as soon as possible. 

Cracks on Body

If the body gets cracks, it should be repaired by professional craftsman or taiko maker. The repair fee depends on how bad the crack is. Don't leave it for a long time. It will get worse and the repair fee will get higher. 

Painting Peeled off

If the painting on the body is peeled off, it should be repaired by professional craftsman or taiko maker. The repair fee depends on how bad the crack is. Don't leave it for a long time. It will get worse and the repair fee will get higher.

Dents on Body

The edge of the body usually gets dents as it's played for years. Most taiko makers  use a hard wooden material on the edge but it's generally inevitable. If the dent is too deep and the gap between body and head is remarkably wide, the sound quality gets worse. In that case, it needs to make the edge flat and re-pitch the head.

Dents on Taiko Body

Loosen Kan (Handle)

If the kan (handle) get loose, one side of head needs to be removed. Sometimes, it's necessary to change the part to place it if the previous part is really messed up. If it is loosen, don't carry the taiko by holding the handles. It may injure the user if the handle suddenly falls off or the body gets cracks.

Loose Taiko Kan Handle

Rusted Byo (Stud)

It may damage the body and head if it's left. If studs get rusted, the handle would wall off in a worst scenario. Rub stud with sandpaper. Apply anti-rust chemicals and paint it with black paint. 

Rusted Byou Stud


Related Articles

Material of Taiko

Which material are these made of? See also this article. 

Material of Taiko 

Size of Taiko

Which size should I use? See also this article. 

Size of Taiko 


😚Thank you for reading this to the end. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments😉

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