Unlike the more frequently-used kendang, the bedug is suspended from a rack and played with a padded mallet. It is similar in size or larger to the largest kendang. It is not adjustable like the kendang, but has pegs holding the two identical heads in place, similar to the Japanese taiko. Its sound is generally deeper and duller than that of the kendang.
The bedug is not used in most gamelan performances, but is used in special ensembles like the gamelan sekaten, where it takes the place of the kempul. In some pieces it is used together with the kendang, especially to accompany dance.