How much does a steelpan cost?
As with any other musical instrument, the price of a steel drum varies according to several parameters. Below we detail the main elements that go into the price of a steel drum. The prices given in this article are indicative and may naturally change over time. They concern new instruments.
Each steel drum model has its own price
The steel band, now considered a national emblem, is an orchestra. Its extensive repertoire covers almost every musical genre, from Caribbean calypso to pop and jazz to classical works. In order to be able to play complex pieces, the steel band consists of several steel drum models. The height of the barrel (the depth of the skirt) and the number of notes vary, depending on the range of the instrument and its function in the band.
Prices vary because the cost of materials and the time spent tuning each type of instrument differ. Generally speaking, the lower the range of steel drums, the more expensive the instruments (or set of instruments). In other words, the price of a tenor steeldrum will logically be lower than that of a second steeldrum, itself lower than that of a cello steeldrum, and even lower than that of a six-bass steeldrum (a set of six full drums)!
But there are other criteria than the range of instruments that directly influence the price of a steel drum.
The quality of the instrument
The quality of a steel drum is often dependent on the experience of the tuner, but also on the materials used (two tone) and especially on the time spent tuning it.
Depending on the craftsman or the company, the manufacturing processes sometimes vary slightly but the time spent tuning the steeldrum and the know-how used can be very different.
It is therefore important to find out more before you buy and also to check the nature of the after-sales service offered. A responsive after-sales service at a reasonable price should be taken into account in your consideration. As well as what the warranty covers or not. A good guarantee with a return possible in case of a proven problem already shows a certain level of reliability of the instrument and the supplier. Without service and warranty, it is more reasonable to reconsider your purchase.
The type of finish of the steeldrum
Note that the finish of the steel drum is an important element in the price of these instruments. Indeed, steel pans are most often offered in a painted version for the "entry-level" models and in a chrome-plated version for the "high-end" models. These two types of finish are very different, with an immediate, and sometimes substantial, effect on the selling price of the instrument.
While a painted finish is relatively inexpensive, chrome plating is an industrial process requiring heavy infrastructures with costs to match... The type of "chrome plating" itself can also have an influence on the price of a steel drum: "chrome plating" is a generic term for a metallic coating that is applied to the instrument.
This surface treatment can be more or less expensive and qualitative... A quality chromium plating consists of different successive metallic deposits (copper, nickel, chrome ideally). It is also possible to apply a simple layer of nickel, with a correct aesthetic result, at a lower cost, but at the risk of reducing the longevity of the coating.
Finally, the degree of polishing carried out before chromium plating is proportional to the "mirror" effect obtained on the instrument, so it is easy to understand that an instrument with a spectacular reflection on the entire bowl and skirt is ultimately more expensive than an instrument with a more opaque reflection.
The origin of the instruments
Whether they are built in Trinidad, the USA, Denmark or France, the selling price will generally be indexed to the standard of living in the issuing countries: if a good tenor steeldrum (or a very bad one, for that matter) can be found for less than a thousand euros in Trinidad, its selling price can almost double in most other countries.
This price delta is however counterbalanced by the shipping costs, on the one hand (shipping and customs fees), and the security/simplicity offered by the proximity of a craftsman or dealer close to home, on the other hand.
Today, the origin of instruments is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. You will find good and bad steel drums in Europe as well as in Trinidad & Tobago.
METAL SOUNDS offers an innovative alternative to guarantee a good quality/price ratio on the instruments we propose.
Our instruments are selected from qualified manufacturers and imported directly from Trinidad and Tobago by us. Our know-how in steel drum manufacturing and tuning allows us to guarantee a fine quality expertise of the instruments that arrive in France.
This way we can offer you reasonable prices with a quality guarantee and an efficient after-sales service.
That being said, how much does a steel drum cost today?
In our article on where to buy a steel drum, we presented three of METAL SOUNDS' sister companies to whom you could turn to compare models and prices of steel drums.
Here are the prices of these three steeldrum specialists, Panland in Trinidad and Tobago, Panyard Inc in the USA and E.C.S steeldrums in Germany.
- A painted tenor steeldrum is offered at :
892 € at Panland.
1645 € at Panyard Inc.
Note: Metal Sounds only offers chrome steeldrums. Experience has shown us that several reliability and surface coating problems can occur after a few years with entry-level models.
- A chrome-plated tenor steeldrum is offered at:
1375 € at Panland.
2056 € at Panyard Inc.
3800 € at ECS steeldrums.
- A chrome-plated double second is offered at:
2032 € at Panland.
2716 € at Panyard Inc.
2900 € at ECS steeldrums.
- A painted six bass is offered at:
2008 € at Panland.
3875 € at Panyard Inc.
5700 € at ECS steeldrums.
These prices are for the most common steeldrums, but some manufacturers offer smaller sizes or with fewer notes (diatonic or pentatonic steeldrums), which can be sold for significantly less. For more information, please contact them directly.
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