The Baur&Brown Pickup System - For HandPan

The sharing of music, is arguably, just as important, as the creating of it.  The French poet, Victor Hugo, said: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words”, and with the hugely popular modern day social media sites, such as Facebook, and YouTube, being all about communication - it’s only right that the sharing of music, is vastly more popular than ever.  With messages that could have been formed in no language other than that of music, spreading far-and-wide through the veins of the internet, to reach ears, hearts, and minds, that not so long ago, it would have been close-to-impossible, for your personal brand of sounds to connect with.

"If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

Ask around in the Handpan community for awhile, and you’ll see all manner of recording devices recommended, from the budget-minded Blue Snowball, to more professional solutions, like the Zoom Q8.

However, the following is the first recording/amplification device that we’ve come across, that has been designed, and built, specifically with the Handpan in mind...
 

The Baur&Brown Pickup system is described as being:

* Specially developed for the amplification and recording of the magical sound of your handpan. We spent a very long time experimenting with different microphones and pickups, untill we at last discovered and developed this optimal system. Our pickup transmits a pure and distortion free  signal  with only a minimal danger of feedback.

* When needed, it can be attached to the handpan in a few seconds and functions without gluing, hole drilling or any kind of adjustment to the instrument and, in the same way, can be quickly removed time and time again.

* The pickup is fitted with a 6.3mm jackplug socket. All you need is a normal guitar cable, and an amplifier. The pickup clings to the handpan without leaving any trace of residue, you plug in and off you go!

* It is of course ideal when playing together with louder instruments.  Just imagine, you can connect your handpan to all kinds of effects, for example: Echo, reverb, flanger,  distortion, wah-wah etc. You can even use a loop station, producing a basic rhythm to which you can improvise.’



For more information, visit the makers website: HERE

PanOz - The Australian HandPan Festival

Adrian J Portia will be performing at PanOz, 2016...
Following a recent post to this site from, Percusso, the maker of the Australian Handpan, the “Pi Handpan”, we’ve seen an increase in visitors to this site, from Australian fans of the Handpan sound, and those in search, of a Handpan made in Australia. 

One of the main pieces of advice often offered up to “newbies” in search of their first instrument, is, if possible, to attend an event, festival, or gathering.  This can provide those with little experience with Handpan a little education into what it’s all about, and will usually provide the opportunity for a little hands-on time, with a number of different makes of pan.  

PanOz - 2016

The PanOz Festival - 2016, is the first official Handpan festival to be held in Australia (that we know of), and is being put together by some well known names from the world of Handpan.  

In the tradition of some of the other larger Handpan festivals held around the world, such as the UK-based, HangOut, and its U.S. based counterpart, PanOz will feature live performances from some of the big-names in Handpan music.  Workshops for those looking to learn new skills.  At least one tuner on site, for those needing some work done.  And, as an added bonus, lotteries for the chance to win (or win the chance to purchase, as is sometimes the case) some highly sought after instruments (an Asachan, and a Halo, are mentioned in the PanOz promotional material, as prizes for 2016).  And the video (embedded below) suggests that the “Panless” are also welcome, meaning that if you have yet to get your hands on a Handpan, but are dying to, this could be a great chance to do so, in the company of some of the most experienced, and talented Handpan performers, and aficionados, to be found in the land of Oz.



You can find more information over at the official website: HERE.  As a point of note, tickets often sell out fast for these kind of festivals, so if you miss out for 2016, you can find them at Facebook: HERE, for news of subsequent events.  

T-Shirt Spotlight - Tattoo-Style HandPan Buddha

Just a little T-shirt spotlight post, to show off a design we’ve recently stumbled upon over at F**k-the-Pain.net (you may want to give the site a miss if you’re particularly sensitive to “bad” language).

It should be pretty obvious why we at HandPans Magazine like the design - with it not being a million miles away from our own logo.  But with the F**k the Pain crew seemingly being a tattoo studio based in Germany, that specialises in custom tattoo art - you can see that quality shine through in their design.  Which essentially takes our own logo idea, and makes it somewhat better.  

If we could change one thing about FTP’s design, it would probably be the text, which we’d love to be able to customise - with it not really being to our personal tastes.  But otherwise, we like this one a lot...

For more information, and/or to purchase one for yourself: CLICK HERE.

Not to your tastes? - why not take a peek over at our own Spreadshirt store instead, where you can find more Handpan t-shirts, etc for sale: HERE

The HCT PanHook - Stopping HandPan Slippage

They say that the simplest ideas are often the best, and when you see the “PanHook”, from Hardcase Technologies, for the first time - you almost share in the “Lightbulb” moment, that HCT-man Alessio, must have had, when the idea for this first popped into his head.

Every lap-based player must have at times felt their precious wobbling a little too close to the edge of their knees while playing - and there truly is nothing more annoying, than having to stop, just as you’re getting into something awesome, to adjust your pan, to prevent it from crashing down onto the floor below.

A problem that the PanHook, seemingly (we’ve yet to try one), solves, in a very simple, but genius-kind of way.  Utilising a hook, and loop-type construction, that attaches to the belt, and secures the Handpan via the Gu-port.



Priced at 18 Euro, at time of posting, if you’ve given thought to purchasing a Handpan stand, purely to solve the slippage-problem, the PanHook is not only among the cheapest options, but it’s also going to be considerably less hassle to pack, and carry, than a traditional-type stand - for those who like to travel / busk / etc.

Ultimately, the PanHook is something that you could probably put together yourself at home using a little ingenuity, with relative ease (now that the idea is there) - but with that said, with Alessio, and the HCT-crew, having been responsible for some of the most-applauded Handpan case solutions, to date - you can be fairly sure, that both the design, and the materials used in the construction of the PanHook, will have been thoroughly researched, and tested - before being offered for sale.

Find more information over at the Hardcase Technologies website: HERE

A Visit to the TerraTonz Workshop

While we at HandPans Magazine, have yet to visit the TerraTonz workshop ourselves - thanks to the power of internet resources like YouTube, coupled with an army of independent net vloggers, generously sharing their experiences with us, the citizens of the interweb - we don't have to. So that while of course, it's always an adventure to make these journeys yourself, a well-made video, is certainly, the next best thing.

And so it is, that we join YouTube user, Derek Ferwerda, as he meets with, “C.R. PanMan”, boss-dog over at US HandPan makers, TerraTonz.  As he takes a tour of the TerraTonz workshop, and receives a talk on the production of the TerraPan, and their StarSeeds range of steel tongue drum...



Songs from TerraPan Tunnel

Probably our favourite collection of TerraPan videos are those we've come to know as "Songs from TerraPan Tunnel". A collection of videos filmed in a "mysterious" tunnel, located near the TerraTonz workshop, where the TerraTonz crew seem often, to take visiting musicians, to play, and record their performances.  Performances that include the following, by Sam Maher, and Geronyom,..



>> Find more information on TerraTonz: HERE.

How to Turn a Dustbin Lid into a Hang Drum

Along with “Woks”, and “Weber Grills”, "Dustbin (trash can) lids" are another of the things that people often associate the appearance of Handpan with.  So the concept of turning an actual dustbin lid into a “Hang Drum”, does have an interesting kind of irony to it.

And while as with such things as the iPad Hang, and Handpan alternatives made from PVC tubing, we share the following more for the novelty of it, rather than as a serious alternative to a real hand-tuned steel instrument - this "Trash-Can-Hang", made using a technology named “Mogees”, is still very cool - and is at least moderately more effective, than we were expecting it to be…



Mogees is a technology that combines a vibration sensor, with a real-time gesture-recognition app. And according to the YouTube video description, the following is what is going on: A Mogees sensor attached to the lid is plugged into an iPhone running the new Mogees app. An audio cable then connects the phone to a speaker.  Mogees features real-time gesture recognition. Here 5 parts of the lid are associated to 5 different notes. With the Muon sound engine in the app, the raw audio from the sensor is used as the input to a physical modelling re-synthesiser, meaning all of the nuances of the performance can be heard.’  And with “play your world”, being the Mogees slogan, the device can essentially turn anything at all, into a musical instrument.

Actively seeking funding over at Kickstarter (at time of posting), the Mogees campaign has far exceeded its initial goal of £20,000 - raising more than £80,000 in investment, with six days still left to go.  And to get more information (and/or to sign up as a backer - if you hit this page within the next six days), you can visit the Mogees Kickstarter campaign: HERE.

Alternatively, you can visit the Mogees website: HERE, for more information.

The Hang Gudu V’s The Gudu Hang

Gudu Hang

The “Gudu Hang” were a type of Hang made by PANArt between 2004 - 2007.  And what made them a little different from the standard Hang build, was the inclusion of a second Gu-like opening built into the side of the bottom shell, known as the “Du”.

The Du could be covered, or uncovered, using a flexible magnetic disc, but when open, could be utilized to create additional Udu-like effects.

Both first-generation, and second-generation Gudu Hang were made.  And like the PANArt-made “Dum”, (a tool usually associated specifically with Gudu Hang), the Du provided an interesting, yet subtle variation; to the standard Hangs sound.

And while the following is a little painful, as Hang demonstrations go, it does give you a good look at a Gudu Hang...



And you can hear one played in a more pleasing manner, by Hang-legend, Manu Delago, below…



Hang Gudu

Previously named the “Pang Gudu” (which, in our opinion, seemed more apt - and a little less confusing), the “Hang Gudu” is one of PANArt’s 2015-unveiled next generation Pang-made instruments.  

However, despite its name, as the Gubal moved away from the standard Hang architecture, but kept the circle of tuned tone-fields, in the case of the Hang Gudu, other than being made from the same material, there seems to be very little of the Hang left to it, other than its approximate shape, and a similar appearance.  With the Hang Gudu, (in our opinion) being more Udu, than Hang.


Interestingly though, the Hang Gudu, is the first (to our knowledge) PANArt-made instrument to ever be made available for online purchase, directly from the makers website.  Which considering the chaos, and confusion, PANArt’s “begging letter” type system of the past caused for many of those seeking a Hang, is refreshing.  

And while, ultimately, the Hang Gudu is only featured on this website (being primarily a Handpan dedicated website), because of the PANArt connection -  as part of a Pang orchestra (which is what PANArt appear to be moving towards at time of writing), the Hang Gudu; could be worthy of further exploration…

Get more information on the Hang Gudu over at PANArt's Website: HERE.

The Gu Booster - From Dave’s Island Instruments

The PANArt-made "Dum"
Back in 2012 we speculated as to whether in the future we’d see other makers take-up, and play around with, the Handpan accessory first introduced by PANArt “back in the day”, in the form of the “Dum”.  And while recently browsing the Dave’s Island Instruments website, we can see that at least one maker, is now doing just that...

The PANArt Dum is a small flared-tube made of turned pear-wood, that is designed to lower the Helmholtz resonance of the Hang a fifth, once inserted into the Gu.  It is believed that there were only ever about 200 of these things made, so they’re pretty rare.  But now, DII customers at least (we’re not sure if these fit any other make of Handpan), are free to experiment with Helmholtz manipulation once more - thanks to the “Gu Booster”.

The DII Gu Booster
The Gu Booster is a Dum-like plastic-molded insert that fits into the Gu-hole, designed to boost the bass Helmholtz frequency of DII’s Handpans.  Cut to a specific length to achieve a specific pitch, Gu Boosters are available (at time of posting) in:  C3, D3, and Eb3.  And according to the DII website, they can also help to protect the bottom of your Handpan from scratches, etc. (which makes sense).

We’ve yet to try out a Gu Booster ourselves, but we did get to briefly try out a PANArt Dum a few years back.  And while the effect was subtle, it was interesting enough.  And with the Gu Booster being priced at a seemingly reasonable $15 at time of posting, if you’re a DII owner, this might be something that you’ll be interested in having a play with.  

Find the Gu Booster over at the Dave’s Island Instrument website: HERE

The Zoom Q8 Audio/Video Recorder - HandPan Sound Samples

The “Zoom” range of audio/video recorders have always been spoken of highly, among HandPan musicians - so it was interesting to stumble across a couple of videos put up by HardCase Technologies man, Alessio - demoing the 2015-model, Zoom Q8 - paired up with a Swiss-made Echo Sound Sculpture, and an Italian-made Meraki Instrument.

Touted as being: ‘the world's first high-def camera with interchangeable microphones—the complete solution for anyone who want to augment their video creations with great sound.’, the Q8 has generally received great reviews over at Amazon (though a few small issues with the device are also highlighted) - which you may wish to read: HERE.

Here are some of the Zoom Q8’s main features:

  • Support for five HD video modes, up to 2304 x 1296 pixels (3M HD), as well as two WVGA modes
  • Compatible with all Zoom microphone capsules (sold separately)
  • Up to four tracks of simultaneous audio recording
  • Supplied detachable stereo X/Y microphone (XYQ-8)
  • Full-color rotating LCD touchscreen

And, most importantly, you can hear below how it performs, capturing footage of a couple of choice HandPan…




Echo Sound Sculpture



Find the Zoom Q8 for sale over at Amazon: HERE

The Aura Maelstrom - A 15-Note HandPan

A Gu-like looking Maelstrom
Searching for the definition of “Maelstrom” revealed two potential meanings: “a powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river”, or “a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil”.  Which makes you wonder which of these the Aura guys had in mind, when they named their recently-revealed 15-note HandPan behemoth?  And listening to, and imagining playing, it, suggests that it could have been either, or both…

Sonically; the Aura Maelstrom does indeed sound to be a “powerful whirlpool” (though you may, or may not, want to take it into the sea, or river with you - a subject of some controversy at time of posting, over at Facebook),  And with 15 notes, including “booty taps”, and “grace notes” (the little “cyclops” notes that sit in-between), coming from a standard (if there is such a thing) nine-tone layout, I can imagine that there would be moments of confused movement, and perhaps even some violent turmoil, when first trying to get a handle on playing this beautiful beast.  

But when your hear it played with expertise, all of those extra "bells and whistles", do sound to go a long way. As can be heard in the following video performance by HandPan artist, Jacob Cole, performing on the Maelstrom, which has been, to date, the most popular video of 2015, over at HandPan Tube - with both instrument, and musician, being equally deserving of that shared recognition…



The notes of the Maelstrom sound-model are: 

(D), [F, G], A, [Bb], C, D, E, F, G, A, C, D, F, G

And you can also hear it in action below, being played by Aura's own Jon Antzoulis, accompanied by Mike Antzoulis, on Bawu...



Find more information on Aura, and their instruments: HERE

Italy - A Hub of HandPan Making Activity

Image result for italy flag circle
If you dwell within Italy, and find yourself searching for a HandPan (be it your first, or otherwise), geographically, and demographically, you can count yourself among the best placed of HandPan hunters there are.  Because Italy has fast become a true hub; of HandPan-making activity.  

At time of posting, other than the U.S. perhaps - no country offers more choice, for the HandPan-hungry seeker.

Why Italy has become such a plentiful mecca of HandPan production is unknown.  Does the country harbour a greater interest in all things HandPan than other lands, in general?  Or is there something going on there, in terms of a greater sharing of information, and teaching of skills, that has led to more makers?

We’ve no idea.  We could probably ask - but we enjoy the mystery of it all. :)

Regardless - at time of posting, few country's wares feature more frequently on our main list of HandPan makers, than those of Italy.  So that while the first Italian-made HandPan, the MDR Disco Armonico, sat lonely for a while - it has now surrounded itself with one of the largest country-specific lists of HandPan makers out there…

* MDR Disco Armonico

* Panormus Drum

* Vision Instruments

* db HandPan

* Blesspan

* Shakti Pan

* Meraki Instruments

* Soul Pan

And no doubt this list will very soon (if it isn't already) become outdated, as even more Italian HandPan makers step-forward, and swell their numbers.

As a point of note, the moniker, "Disco Armonico" (meaning "Harmonic Disc), was used in the sale of PANArt Hang within Italy, in the early years when Hang could be purchased through a small network of retailers. And at time of posting, the term still seems to cultivate some use among Italians, in place of the words "Hang", or "HandPan".

eBay Officially Recognises the HandPan - October 2015


has long been one of the most used (if not always the most popular) marketplaces, for buying and selling HandPan - providing a handy (if often higher priced) platform for purchasing a pan, for those unable to travel to collect in-person from a maker, those too impatient to wait on a list, the unwitting, those who prefer the security of having an established middle-man, and those in search of a particular “Holy Grail”. 

And in October, 2015 (scheduled for October, 12th), officially recognises the HandPan instrument-type, by awarding it its own sales category.  Category number: 181236, a new subcategory of World Drums.  

What does this mean for the HandPan, other than that it might possibly make it just a little easier to buy or sell them in the future over on the auction platform?  As the years tick by, it becomes increasingly less valid to refer to these instruments as a “new invention”.  And with an e-commerce platform the size of awarding the HandPan its own category, perhaps the HandPan is no longer (for good, or for bad) the fringe-curiosity, that it was, what seems like just a few short years ago...

PANGVengers PANGSsemble - The PANArt Family Pang Jam

While PANArt themselves (at time of writing) move increasingly away from the HandPan form of musical instruments, that their creation, the Hang, gave birth to.  Their activities, as the inventors of this instrument type, will always be of interest to the HandPan community.  And this week has seen some interesting new videos uploaded to PANArt's YouTube channel, not least of which, is the video titled, ‘PANArt Pangensemble: Hands on Pang’ - a PANArt family-style jam, that features some of their latest creations made from their patented Pang material - with lyrics, that have already attracted controversy...

The video itself shows off some of PANArt’s more recent creations, the percussive, Urgu, and the stringed: Pang Sei, Pang Sui, and Pang Sai.  With Felix Rohner on vocals.  

And while in general, we’ve been less captivated by PANArt’s newer inventions, than we were, and indeed are, the Hang.  It’s still very much an enjoyable performance.  With the instruments sounding great - and being played with skill...



The Hang itself of course is absent, as it usually is in recent times, publicly strengthening PANArt’s move away from the instrument that brought them to the attention of a worldwide audience.  And fitting - in that while much of the rest of the world appears to disagree - the PANArt crew, and seemingly; Felix in particular, do not believe the Hang (and with it the entire HandPan sub-culture) to be PANArt's greatest contribution to the world. But that Pang, the material from which the Hang was born, is.

Some have made note of PANArt’s slightly-mournful looking demeanour - and while it’s true that the performance is not particularly upbeat, as somebody who has as yet, been equally unable to master the Daniel Waples-like grin while performing, and looks equally pained (particularly when being filmed) - I try not to draw too much from that - other than perhaps, that not everybody feels truly comfortable putting themselves out there for, and under, the inevitable scrutiny of the internet.  Analysis, and scrutiny that goes double, when you happen to be PANArt - considering the somewhat uneasy relationship they have, with a sizeable percentage of those who adore their instruments (and the Hang in particular).  

It is the lyrics of the piece however, that have caused most discussion - being seemingly rich in the kind of dogma, and condemnations, of which PANArt are often accused.  Some of which, may be coincidental (such as Felix’s use of the word ‘Halo’), or due to poor translation, yet other lyrics are impossible to confuse.  Such as:Hands on Pang is more than an electronic sample of an app”, and “More than clicks on a plastic handpan shell”, which appear to be referring to devices such as the Oval (or equally, instruments that PANArt consider to be made from inferior materials to their own Pang).  And the lines “More than a performance on YouTube, More than a kick for people in the tube…” - which (despite the PANArt crew themselves now fairly frequently uploading videos to their own channel), seem to reflect their somewhat known disapproval of the YouTube performers, and street artists - that use their instruments, to 'obtain kudos for themselves' (ego).

Regardless though, the performance, and the instruments are enjoyable. And with the Hang-makers having had little in the way of an online presence until the last year or so, any genuine insight into who, and what, they are; is interesting - shrouded in mystery as they have been.

And should PANArt's latest video offering, lead to some kind of 'Hip-Hop style' tit-for-tat musical showdown, with other makers who have taken offence - should the Pantheon Steel guys grab a couple of Halo, wheel out their Grandma to accompany them on the spoons, and pen a retaliatory musical diatribe in response - all the better. :)

Because those who understand PANArt's native dialect, often suggest that much of the humour is lost in translation - when converted to English. And in this instance, in this case, we're going to choose to believe (despite some doubts), that there's more of that, to this, than meets the eye...

Catch the latest videos from PANArt over at their YouTube channel: HERE

Organic Plastics - And the Hang / Gubal Protective Case

Made available with later generation PANArt Hang, and now (at time of posting) with the Gubal, these cases are made from “Organic Plastics” - and while we’ll always have a special kind of love for the first generation Hang cases, among others, such as the Evatek, there is something appealing about these PANArt supplied protective cases - made from natural fibre composites.

The natural fibre reinforced plastics used in the production of these cases, utilise such renewable materials as: Hemp, Flax, and Kenaf.  In addition to plastics, and additives.  To create a material with a property potential that combines the advantages of both raw materials.

“Natural fiber composites are far superior to conventional plastic materials from both an economic as well as an ecological point of view. They are break-resistant, temperature-insensitive, thermally stable and excellently suited for molding and varnishing. Mostly, however, they impress with their low weight. In the production process, natural fiber composites relieve the environment; they are CO2 neutral, energy-saving, reasonably priced and can be recycled…” - Taken from manufacturer's website.

These cases are produced in Germany, by Jakob Winter GmbH (!You can read more about organic plastics over at their website),  as part of their GreenLine range. Though, to our knowledge, they are only available to purchase, directly from PANArt - alongside one of their creations.

Portugal’s Got Talent - Kabeção Rodrigues on HandPan

This post may now be a little belated, but regardless, it is an event that we wanted to record, as having happened.  Over the years, we’ve taken a certain fascination, in hearing for the first time, the sounds of HandPan playing on the radio, the first appearance of these instruments in a television commercial jingle, and the first time we heard one, unexpectedly, in a movie soundtrack.
And while, as we understand it, Kabeção (Carlos) Rodrigues, was not the very first HandPan performer to appear on a “Wherever’s Got Talent” type TV show - Kabeção’s participation in “Portugal’s Got Talent” (April 2015), did garner significant support, and following, within the HandPan community - with Kabeção making it all the way through to the final, and representing the HandPan scene in spectacular fashion - playing simultaneously: Sunpan, Echo Sound, and Halo (among other instruments)...


In addition to exposing the sounds of the HandPan to Portugal's masses - Kabeção Rodrigues stands among the most inspiring of HandPan performers full-stop, offering up compositions that are both technically proficient, and emotive...



You can follow Kabeção Rodrigues over at Facebook HERE to keep up with his latest activities, or find him over at YouTube HERE to listen further.


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