The most popular sizes and designs are ribbed, bulbous, split, tipper, brush, fiddle bow and the one thing they have in common is they are all used to beat the bodhrán.
Beaters can be from 5" long to 11" and this outside measurement is not definitive. Ronán Ó Snodaigh of Kíla uses a long bent willow-like stick that could be up 24" long and uses it very effectively indeed. They are made in a variety of different shapes and they may have a ribbed grip or two on them. They can be weighted or not. If weighted, there will be a price difference as it is not a simple task.
This beater is made from skewers and held together with electrical coloured plastic banding which we heat shrink. The brush beater makes a brush type sound on the skin like the sound of breaking waves on a sea shore. It is ideal if a player does not want to play loudly and is also very effective for jigs and reels. It is a must for every bodhrán player. Any bodhrán player worth his salt has one in stock.
The weights are glued into the tips of the beater. This is done by drilling a hole in both ends of the beater and using brass or steel as the weights.
The effect of the weights is the beater swings effortlessly in the hand. It reduces pressure on the wrist and can help with speed playing. The beaters can have ribs on them to aid grip and can be positioned anywhere on the beater. Again they are a must for the serious bodhrán player.