Sabina Schärer - A Hanghang Maker

Sabina Schärer is one of the two now world famous (or ‘infamous’, depending upon your point of view) Swiss pan makers, and creators of the much sought after PANArt Hang (along with Felix Rohner). Seemingly the less vocal of the two responsible for breathing life into the Hang, Sabina Schärer, was born in 1972, grew up in Lucerne, and Bern, Switzerland, and has been playing in steelbands since 1985, when she joined the first children’s steelband of Switzerland, the ‘Nägeligass-Steelband’, at the age of thirteen.

And in these early years along her path, Sabina Schärer spoke of her deep connection to the steel pan, and of how the music she created with her band allowed her to express herself more fully, helped her to relax, and gave her the opportunity to ‘freak out’, as and when the mood took her.

Over the following years, Sabina Schärer continued to hone her skills on the steel pan, and travelled the world performing with various steel bands. In 1993 she became editor of ‘PANYARD’, a position she held until 1994. And in 1995 Sabina Schärer began work as a tuner with PANArt. A role that would ultimately give birth to the Hang. An instrument (or ‘sound sculpture’), that would take the world by storm, and within certain circles, elevate the name, Sabina Schärer, into one to be applauded.
See an early photo of Sabina, and read a short interview at HERE.

The GombaDrum - A German-Made Hank Drum

Inspired by the Hank drum of Dennis Havlena (which in turn were inspired by the Hang), comes the ‘Gombadrum’. A German-made steel tongue drum born in Berlin, that like most Hank utilises a pentatonic scale, and an intuitive note layout, to create an instrument suitable for both professional musicians, and those with no musical training what-so-ever.

Played with hands, or mallets, usually with the Gombadrum placed upon the lap. Those who play conjure forth ‘billowing soundscapes, and melodic meditative rhythms'. And like the ‘Milltone’ (and several other steel tongue drum), the Gombadrum also features a magnetic tuning system, to allow owners to re-tune their instruments themselves, saving on costly shipping charges.
With standard model Gombadrum featuring eight tuned tongues, that produce a nice wind-chimey kind of sound. The Gombadrum sells for around the 400 Euro mark (at time of writing), and is available in a variety of scales, from ‘D Minor’, through to ‘Ahava Raba’. And like the ‘Sphaira’, and the ‘Klangauge’, the Gombadrum makes for a particularly attractive option for those located within (or close to) Germany. To minimise those ever costly shipping, and import tax charges.

Visit the Gombadrum website: HERE.

The Korg Wavedrum Meets the Hang Drum - Creating a Digital Hang

There’s something interesting going on over at the KorgForums, where a group of Wavedrum enthusiasts have set themselves the challenge, of trying to reproduce the sound of the PANArt Hang, on their ‘dynamic percussion synthesisers’.

Looking like a futuristic Conga, the Wavedrum is a programmable, heavily customisable, electronic instrument. That has won numerous awards, and has drawn international praise for its organic interface, realism, and comprehensive arsenal of percussion sounds from around the globe. It's kind of like the old electric drum kits many of us would have had as kids, brought up-to-date, with a highly responsive, sensitive playing surface, and far more realistic sounds.
However, despite the Wavedrum’s awesomeness. Recreating the sound of the Hang has proven to be difficult, even for the makers of some of the new wave of HandPan. So reproducing the complexities of the PANArt Hang’s tones in electronic format, was never going to be easy. And while (see video) the sound achieved so far isn’t perfect, it seems fair to say that the sound is Hang reminiscent. And being still a work in progress, it’s certainly an effort to be applauded.

If you’d like to join the challenge, you can buy yourself a Korg Wavedrum: . Or if you’re already a Wavedrum owner, head on over to the Korg Forums: HERE.  And see what YOU can come up with.

A Smarty Pans ‘Sort of’ Hang Drum - A New HandPan?

While there’s very little to tell about it, at the time of writing, ‘Dave Beery’ of ‘Smarty Pans’, has recently uploaded a couple of new videos to his YouTube channel, that are evidence that he has been experimenting with the creation of his own brand of HandPan.

Dave Beery is a professional Pan maker, and tuner. With over fifthteen years of experience in his trade. Who specialises in custom pan creation, and pan tuning. And who is also the author of the comprehensive instructional videos: ‘How to Make Your Own Steel Drum’, and ‘Tuning, Tuning, Tuning!’ And as for Dave Beery's 'Sort of' Hang Drum. Well, there really isn't much else to say at this point in time. Other than that we're liking it, and that we're keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping that this is just the start of something beautiful. And we'll be updating this post, as and when new information comes to light.
In the meantime, you might want to subscribe to SmartyPansMusic YouTube channel. In order to keep yourself up to date with what's going on with this Smarty HandPan. And perhaps offer a little encouragement, in the hope of keeping Dave Beery interested, in continuing down this road.
Visit SmartyPans over at YouTube: HERE.  Or visit the website: HERE.

[EDIT] It appears that these are now being sold under the name 'Genesis HandPan', and can be purchased: HERE

Create HandPan Samples Online for Free - Roc by Aviary

[Update] - Unfortunately, the Roc application now appears to be closed. :(

OLD POST - As a long term fan, and user, of ‘Fruity Loops’ (now known as ‘FL Studio’), the pattern-based music sequencer. I was delighted to stumble across ‘Roc’, by ‘Aviary’, an online beat-generator that allows users to utilise a library of fifty (and growing) instruments, to piece together their own musical masterpieces.

And what makes this specific beat generator special, over and above the fact that it’s all held online, and is completely free to use. Is the fact that one of the fifty instruments available for use within your creations, is, the HandPan.

Part of the ‘Aviary’ application suite, a collection of web-based multimedia applications, Roc, is both simple to use, and addictive. Navigate to the website, let it load up, choose your instrument (HandPan of course comes reccomended), let the instrument load in, and then get stuck in.
Create samples, or just hit the 'randomize all beats' button, and let Roc do all of the work for you. Edit your sounds, and save your projects. And then make complete songs (and even ringtones) by loading your samples into Roc's sister application 'Myna', an audio editor application. All online, all for free, and all within the cloud.

The Mood Drum by ROVI - The Organically Tuned Soul Hank

We’re not entirely sure what the deal is with the ‘Mood Drum’, by ‘Rovi’ (having not played one). But it is considered to be something of an enigma, within the steel tongue drum world. Tuned by the ‘soul’, rather than to any specific scale. In a manner presumably, not dissimilar to that of the PANArt ‘Free Integral Hang’. i.e. an instrument that is in tune, essentially, only with itself. The Mood Drum, by Rovi, is described as being ‘organic’ in nature.

Created by ‘Ivor’, the Mood Drum is of solid build, and the standard model features eight (sort of) tuned tongues. And there are also limited edition models available from time to time featuring upto thirteen playable tongues. Designed to lift the players mood, through a barrage of colliding notes, and sonic resonance, the Mood drums sound, and playing style, would seemingly lend itself well to introspective meditative play, and/or musical therapy. So if that’s the sort of thing you’re interested in, the Mood Drum could be just what you’re looking for.

And with an RRP of around the £200 mark, but frequent listings on eBay with starting prices as low as 99p, with which to grab a bargain. Rovi’s Mood Drum, could work out to be a great budget alternative, to some of the higher priced Hank-style tongue drums on the market. Especially if you're based within the UK, where postage costs will be minimal compared to shipping in alternatives from abroad.
Find Mood Drum for Sale on eBay: .

Hang Drum Note Layout - The Tone Fields

Recently we’ve had a few people reaching this site through typing into their search engine of choice, the query ‘Hang Drum Note Layout’. And so for those who come looking. I’ve used my child-like Microsoft paint skills to create the diagram (see right) that shows how the notes / tone fields are laid out on a PANArt Hang.
As you can see the notes are laid out from lowest to highest, with the notes zigzagging up the scale from left to right.  Or vice versa, should you turn it the other way around.

And in addition to the PANArt Hang, this note layout has also been adopted by all of the other HandPan, and by the majority of Hank / Steel Tongue Drum too.

Moyo Steel Tongue Drum - By Visionhawk Music

Created by ‘VisionHawk Music’, comes the ‘Moyo’ range of steel tongue drums. A collection of nice looking Hank-style tongue drums, named after the Swahili word for ‘Heart’. i,e, ‘Moyo'.

Built with ‘heart, and soul’, Moyo drums, come in a variety of styles (and colors). Including the ‘Moyo Midi’, an eight note drum of the traditional style common to most Hank, the ‘Moyo Baby’, a smaller, more portable version of the Moyo Midi. And the most interesting of the collection (for somebody who has seen a lot of Hank), the ‘Moyo Z’ (also known as the ‘Moyo Razor’) a steel tongue drum with only two tongues, that dissect the playing surface, to make a tongue drum that is played in a similar fashion to a set of Bongo drum. That looks like it could be a lot of fun to play.

All Moyo steel tongue drum feature a sort of woven skirt, that resembles friendship bracelets. That give them a unique look. And they have a pleasing sound.

Costing between $225-$335 (at time of writing), depending upon the model. A Moyo drum could be just what you’ve been looking for. Whether for personal meditative play, or to make you king of the drum circle.

For more information, visit the Moyo website: HERE.

Hang Drum / HandPan T-Shirts, Hoody, and Other Merchandise

If you’re a Hang / HandPan player or fan, looking to show the world just how much you’re in love with your harmonic disc. Or you’re looking to buy a gift for the dedicated HandPan musician in your life, you could do worse than paying a visit to our HPM Spreadshirt store.  Where you can find a variety of shirts and garments decorated with our Buddhist monk inspired "Handpan Monk" logo.

Spreadshirt is an award-winning online marketplace that specialises in custom-designed merchandise. And the Handpans Magazine store features a selection of reasonably priced Handpan-inspired designs for both him, and her.

From our classic "Buddhist Blue" and "Fire Monk" designs (featured below), to our "Toxic Green" design (pictured above-right).


In addition to wearable garments you'll also find mugs for your coffee / tea / hot beverage of choice for sale.  And as always, a big "thank you" in advance - as the commissions we earn via our Spreadshirt store enable us to keep this website up and moving forwards.  

And so, on that note - if you find yourself with a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, and the desire to adorn yourself in some pretty stylish Handpan merch - you can find the HPM store: HERE

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