TokTone Drums - by Dave’s Island Instruments

Over the years Dave’s Island Instruments have proven themselves to be innovators within the world of Handpan.  They were the first (that we knew of) to produce an “Electric Handpan”, and would later bring us the “Ohm Handpan” - a hybrid Handpan / steel tongue drum instrument.  And now, once again, the guys at Dave’s Island Instruments bring us something new, in the from of “TokTones Drums”.  

What are TokTones Drums?  That’s a good question.  In their introductory e-mail DII’s even seem unsure themselves, leading with the question: ‘Handpan, Steel Drum, or Tongue Drum - What is it?’.  And if they themselves aren’t sure, here at HPM, we certainly aren’t...


They look like Handpan shells that have had tone-field templates pressed outwards, to form drum-head like membranes.  But is using the correct-sized tone-field template for the geometry of the Handpan shell enough to create a loosely tuned note?  Or have they undergone rough tuning, but not fine-tuning?  Or a different form of tuning altogether? This is really just thinking aloud, but with DII’s stating that the TokTone Drums will cost considerably less than an actual Handpan, presumably there is considerably less work involved in their production.  And while not unpleasant, for our tastes, the sound is definitely lacking when compared to a bona-fide Handpan (though arguably just different). But if the price is right (unknown at time of posting) they could make for an interesting alternative to the Steel Tongue Drum as an entry-level instrument to the world of UFO-shaped singing-steel, or of course, be of interest to those in search of new sounds to experiment with...

TokTone drums combine elements of antique steel drums, handpan designs and scales, and interesting metallic overtones. They also have a hint of an Indonesian gamelan tone.’ - from Dave’s Island Instruments

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