How a HandPan is Tuned - The SPB

If you’ve ever been curious about the tuning process of a Hang/HandPan, you’ll want to take a look at the latest video (at time of writing) uploaded by ‘Victor Levinson’, maker of the community-named ‘SPB’, the Russian-made Hang-reminiscent HandPan.

At just over five minutes long, this video offers the first real video insight into how one of the more ‘established’ HandPan are made. Or at least tuned. As we watch Victor hammer away at the dome of an SPB, and tenderly test each note with his fingers, painstakingly creating the tone fields that will eventually give birth to its beautiful sound.
Presumably recorded at his workshop in Saint Petersburg, Russia, this video is a must-watch for anybody with a love of all things HandPan, and especially so, for those hatching plans to attempt building their own.


You can catch more videos uploaded by Victor over at Youtube: HERE.

The HAPI Bell - Is it a tongue drum, is it a gong, or is it a singing bowl?

And the answer to the above question is, that this latest offering from ‘HAPI Tones’, the makers of one of the most popular Hank-style drums (and Hang drum alternatives) for sale (currently), is all three combined. As the ‘HAPI Bell’, like the ‘Transformer’ of the steel tongue drum world, is an interesting innovation indeed. Merging as it does, a six-note steel tongue drum, a gong, and a singing bowl, into a single, convertible shell.

In its complete form the HAPI Bell is a six note tongue drum, not dissimilar to any of the other HAPI Hank-style drums from HAPI Tones growing, and popular range. But remove the dome from the base, and the dome can be used as a gong, while the base (played using the supplied wooden dowel) transforms into a pretty sweet sounding singing bowl. Meaning that while those primarily seeking a steel tongue drum may find the HAPI Bell’s six notes only limiting, available in either ‘Hammered Gold’, or ‘Emerald Green’, and priced at $275 (at time of writing), the HAPI Bell offers real value for money, for those with more diverse needs.
You can find more information, and HAPI Bell for sale: HERE.

Zen Tambour Case for Sale - Meet the ‘Zen Barrier’

While many Zen Tambour owners use a cymbal case to transport their Zen, if you’ve been looking for something a little more special, and custom-made, to keep your beloved tambour in pristine condition, at home, or while travelling, a Zen Barrier could be just what you’ve been searching for.

We’re not sure if these are made by ‘Steve ‘Spike’ Finch’, (creator of the Zen Tambour), whether the makers have any direct affiliation with Spike, or if this is an independent effort, put forth by a Zen Tambour owner who created one to protect their own Zen, and then decided to share the love. But either way, the Zen Barrier is a handmade custom designed protective carrying case, constructed with a soft fleece interior, and a heavy-duty water-resistant outer shell. And with a combination of handles, and shoulder straps, for easy transportation. 

So if you’re a Zen Tambour owner, who’s been looking for just such a thing, you can go take a peek over at the Zen Barrier website: HERE.

The Official PANArt Website - An Archive of the Hang

If you’ve arrived at this page looking for the official PANArt website, as run by the Swiss makers of the Hang. You’ll be disappointed to learn that ‘technically’, they don’t have one. And that the website they once ran, no longer exists.


However, using the power of the ‘Wayback Machine’, a website that allows users to view archived websites, and essentially view the Internet ‘The way it once was’. At numerous points in history. We're able to, like a time travelling Hang maniac, (in this method as thought up by user ‘MusiChameleon’), even though the official PANArt website was discontinued, and closed down long ago, take a peek at it, and learn about PANArt, and the development of the Hang, as told in the early days of its creation.

Learn about the ‘PANG’ instruments, learn about the research that led to the creation of the Hang, and learn about ‘Sabina Schärer’, and ‘Felix Rohner’, the Hang makers. And lots more. As you travel back to the year 2001. To read about PANArt in the kind of depth, that it's rare to find anywhere else online, these days.
The Official PANArt Website - As Per 2001

[Update - July, 2013] After being closed for 10+ years the official PANArt website has now reopened.

Portico Quartet Get a New Hang Man - Enter ‘Keir Vine’

Keir Vine
Keir Vine
Arguably the worlds most well known ‘band’, that feature the PANArt Hang within their mix, are the Portico Quartet. The 2008 Mercury Music Prize nominees, and the artists behind two great Hang-infused Jazz albums (to date), ‘Knee Deep in the North Sea’, and ‘Isla’.

Recent rumours however, have suggested that the Portico Quartet were ditching, or at least moving away from the Hang, as a main influencing force shaping their sound. And heading in a more ‘electronic’ direction. Something that seemed to be confirmed by the news that the Portico Quartet’s Hang man ‘Nick Mulvey’ would be leaving the group. Reducing the quartet, to a trio.

However, it was announced today (17th May, 2011), that while Nick Mulvey would indeed be leaving the quartet, they had found a replacement, in the form of ‘Keir Vine’, a talented keyboardist, and Hang player. So that while not with its original members, the Portico Quartet would remain complete (at least in numbers).

And so while there has been some talk from the band themselves, that the Hang would be taking a back seat on their next album, the recruitment of a new Hang man suggests that for the foreseeable future at least, the PANArt Hang will remain firmly entwined within, the ethereal sound of the awesome Portico Quartet.
Find Portico Quartet's Albums for Sale: HERE.

The New Inspired Ambient Orchestra - Lost in Clouds

I stumbled across these guys last night, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re an interesting find. Because while there is now a considerable library of CD’s and digital downloads available for purchase, by the likes of Manu Delago, and the Hang Playing Hedge Monkeys, all featuring the PANArt Hang at their center. There really hasn’t (at the time of writing) been a whole lot put out there, showcasing the musical capabilities of some of our other favorite Handpans, and steel tongue drums.

Founded by Klaus Rädisch, with fellow musician Enrico Rode. And also featuring Gamma Bogoduch, and Afshin Mahrouzadeh. The New Inspired Ambient Orchestra, showcases such instruments as the Caisa, the
Zen Tambour, the HAPI Drum, and a Rockcreek Tongue Drum, within their mix. Along with the likes of the sitar, gongs, and the bodhrán. To create, as their name suggests, an inspired ambient orchestral masterpiece, of epic proportions. With their recent release: ‘Lost in Clouds’.

Priced at only $6.99 (at time of writing), and featuring eleven tracks, including, and finishing with, the awesome track ‘Sun Dance’, that shows off some awesome Zen Tambour skills. This is a beautiful album, and a must have for any fan of the new steel percussion.

You can preview and/or purchase The New Inspired Ambient Orchestra’s album, Lost in Clouds: HERE

The Vibrations of the PANArt Hang

With us not being that bright, here at HandPans Magazine, we never fail to be impressed when boffins in white coats, are able to reveal the hidden world unseen by human eyes, using high-tech, and expensive equipment.

If you’ve done any amount of research on the PANArt Hang, or HandPan in general, before finding yourself here, you’re probably aware that the Hang belongs to the ‘Idiophone’ class of musical instruments. A type of musical instrument that creates sound primarily by way of the instruments vibrating, without the use of strings or membranes. Meaning essentially, that when struck, the distinctive, and beautiful sound of the Hanghang is created by the entire steel shell vibrating, and creating sound waves as it does so.

Which is all well and good. It’s not that hard to imagine it, and anybody who’s ever played a Hang, or a HandPan, will have felt these vibrations when playing. But, there’s a very real difference between imagining, and feeling, and actually seeing the Hang’s vibrations in action.

And this is where the scientist types, with their inquisitive minds, and their high-tech machines come into play.
Using ‘Holographic Interferometry’, (a process we don’t really understand but that you can read about by clicking the link), Physicists have been able to take some interesting pictures of the Hang’s vibrations in action. Combined with some info for those who unlike us, like to do more than just look at pretty pictures.
The Hang and Holographic Interferometry

You can read the full 'Science of the Hang' reports: HERE.

Soniccouture's 'Pan Drum' Sample Pack - Hang Drum, HandPan, and Steel Tongue Drum Combined

If you were/are a fan of Soniccouture’s original ‘Hang Drum’ sample pack, featuring 2.4GB of awesome PANArt Hang samples, you’ll be very happy to hear of Soniccouture’s new release. ‘Pan Drums’. That like the original release also features some amazing Hang samples. But then goes one (or two) steps further. By teaming up the Hang, with a Halo HandPan, and, a Rockcreek Steel Tongue Drum. To create the ultimate sample pack for any fan of this new wave of singing steel percussion instruments (at least, perhaps, until their next release).
If you’re here hunting for a sample pack like this one, you’re almost defiantly already aware of what the Hang drum is (Or, using its correct name, the ‘PANArt Hang’). But what about the other two featured instruments.

The Halo

Produced by ‘Pantheon Steel’, the Halo, is an American made HandPan, that in recent years, has quickly become almost as in demand as the original PANArt Hang. With final sales prices on Halo sold on eBay reflecting this fact, with secondhand Halo now selling for almost the same as the Hang. Not a direct copy of the Hang, but certainly influenced by it, the Halo is a little larger than the Hang, and it has a deeper, more bass heavy singing voice.
Read more about Pantheon Steel's Halo: HERE.
Rockcreek Steel Tongue Drum
Made by ‘Rockcreek Steel Drums’ (strangely enough), the Rockcreek steel tongue drum is a slit/tongue style drum of the type often referred to as ‘Hank Drums’. Made from a steel tank with tuned tongues of different sizes cut into its surface, these types of instruments were originally created as a cheaper alternative to the HandPan style instruments, for those unable to afford, or obtain one. But have since found many fans of their own particular sound, under their own merits.
Read more about Rockcreek Steel Tongue Drums: HERE.
Soniccouture’s Pan Drum sample pack specifications:
  • 7.25 GB core sample library (3.4GB on disc with NCW lossless compression).
  • 24 bit 44.1Khz stereo sampling - 5097 samples.

  • 6 original Kontakt Player instruments:
  1. Hang Drum Mk1 in F.
  2. Hang Drum Mk2 in D.
  3. Halo Drum in C.
  4. Halo Drum in B.
  5. Rock Creek Tongue Drums, pair, (“double seconds” chromatic).
Find more details, and/or purchase the Soniccouture Pan Drum sample pack: HERE.

HandPan Cases for Sale - Protect your HandPan

If you love your Handpan, and we pretty much take it as a given that you do, you’re going to want to preserve it in tip-top condition for as long as possible. And this is going to mean purchasing (or making) a case for your Handpan. Something that is absolutely essential for protecting your Handpan while out and on the move.

And while the majority of Handpan come with some sort of case at time of purchase, over time these may become damaged and in need of replacement. Or if purchasing a secondhand Handpan, the case may not have been included, at time of sale.

Additionally, not all Handpan cases are created equally, so that while a soft-case might be acceptable for a quick jaunt nearby, if you have more serious travel (or protection) in mind, trading-up for something a little bit more robust to better protect your instrument, is never a bad idea.

And so, with that in mind, you can peruse our list of suggested Handpan case suppliers below...

Handpan Cases for Sale:

Evatek - by Hardcase Technologies

Arguably the most experienced Handpan case manufacturers in the industry, Hardcase Technologies have now been producing protective cases in a number of different formats for the Handpan, for a good number of years.  Working with makers and players to help their product evolve into what it is today, arguably the most frequently recommended selection of protective bags and cases for the Handpan on the market. With the Evatek, seen right, being (at time of posting) their current flagship model.

Available in a number of different sizes to suit different models of Handpan, various colours, and with optional protective "flight case" inserts.  Evatek can be purchased via the HCT Etsy store: HERE

Namana Handpan Bags and Cases

Now with a wealth of experience at producing custom-made Handpan bags and cases, Namana, are arguably the dark horse of the industry.  Their products might not be so widely spoken of as those of Hardcase Technologies, but they appear to sell a good number of their cases, and thus far, we've yet to hear of a bad review.  Less of a stock-option than the cases of HCT, Namana bags can be custom-made to your exact measurements and specifications, in custom colour schemes, and with varying levels of protection to suit your needs.  

You can find Namana Handpan cases available for sale: HERE

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