Where and how to buy a quality handpan?

How do I choose my Handpan and who should I contact?

It’s now possible to buy a handpan with a quick turnaround and fast delivery, whether direct from a manufacturer, an online vendor or specialized music store. Unfortunately all instruments don’t offer the same high quality and a hangdrum price vary wildly from brand to brand. Let us clarify some of your questions and misconceptions here, helping you to find your perfect handpan match!

A 9 Note handpan generally costs between 1200€ and 2500€ with the bag/cover included. The price depends on the brand, model and distribution, whether bought directly or through a reseller.

 

With so many models, how do I choose my handpan?

Are you a beginner, intermediate or skilled musician? Do you want your handpan just for fun, to learn, compose or realize a musical project? Depending on your responses your choice of drum could be very different. Therefore, it’s very important to ask yourself these following questions : « Why do I want a handpan? » and « in which context shall I be playing it? ».

To help you in answering these questions, let us inform and educate you about the different types of models available:

 

8, 9 and 10 notes handpans:

In 1999, the Swiss company Panart® invented the « Hang® », the first ever handpan. They originally offered a standard drum with 7 notes + 1 Ding (central tone) and since 2000, Felix Röhner, Panart’s founder, has produced 9 note instruments (8 notes + 1 Ding). Most handpan manufacturers today, offer 8 and 9 note (including the Ding) models, though few make 10 note (9 notes + 1 Ding) handpans.

All these models are perfect for beginners and experienced musicians alike. The note layout is simple making all these handpans easy to play.

11 to 15 notes handpans (on the top shell):

Some manufacturers including Metal Sounds, with its chromatic 13-note Spacedrum, produce specialized handpans with different note layouts. Certain handpans can have 2 Dings, others have high pitched notes positioned at the center, while some have off-centered Dings, allowing for high pitched tones to be added between the regular Ding and surrounding notes… As you can see there are so many options and one off models made to specific requests from experienced players.

These instruments are more difficult to play and are usually designed for the skilled accomplished player asking for customized scales and layouts.

‘Mutant’ or Master piece handpans with extra notes on the bottom shell :

This type of handpan is recent, its obvious advantage is, you don’t need to carry several different instruments when travelling. The Mutants or Master pieces musical range is of course larger than the classic 8 or 9 Note drum. They are more versatile but challenging to play, that is why they are designed for the professionnal and experienced musician.

Mutant or master piece handpans have their limits though, secifically as regards the calrity of their sound and note definition. Frequencies interfere more easily accross notes and sometimes resonate with each other undesirably. For instance it’s quite rare to find a perfectly balanced 20 notes handpan. And in additon to this, the bottom notes must be well positionned because they could are difficult to reach, especially when the handpan is on a stand. To overcome this problem Metal Soudns offers a perfect stand suitable for bottom notes handpan.

Finally, these little «Monsters» are more expensive than the regular handpans costing easily between 2000€ and 3500€.

These handpans are not recommended for beginners and are mainly customized or made to order.

Buying my handpan direct from the maker:

To be in contact with the manufacturer means a chance to develope a personnal relationship with the experts. You will get exclusive information and helpful advice that you certainly wouldn’t get from a music store or online. Like any other musical instrument (cajon, guitar, banjo, etc) a direct connection with the maker will enlighten you to their philosophy, specifications and personalized options of their handpans.

Here are some questions that you should ask them yourself:

-       For how long has he/she been making handpans?

-       Is he/she serious, professionnal, knowledgeable and motivated?

-       Does he/she insist on selling the instruments? (Cheap or discounted handpans are usually not good quality).

-       How long is the warranty and what does it cover? (shipping, maintenance, after sale service…)

-       Does he/she offer a large choice of tunings?

-       Can I meet him/her and try the handpans at his/her workshop?

-       What is the average time from ordering to delivery?

Other relevant inquiries can be made depending on what answers you’re looking for.

 

Buying my handpan from a music store:

A bonus of handpan producers today, is that it’s a new market, therefore some producers sell their instruments directly, while others take advantage of the existing large instrument reseller network. Metal Sounds’ are doing both : either you can buy your Spacedrum directly online from us through our website or visit one of our partners/resellers showroom or music store around the world.

BE AWARE. Like all other musical instruments, the quality of the handpans on sale in music stores varies from one brand to another. Trust your ear, the instrument should be finely tuned, well balanced, with a long resonance and pay extra attention to the metal shell’s finish. In all cases, take your time and never forget that the scale you finally choose must please you for along time.

Make your own opinion about the best value for money and be careful of cheap instruments supposedly ideal for the beginner. Be sure the drum brand you choose offers a reliable after-sale service and if your handpan goes out of tune, will it be easier to get it retuned directly by the manufacturer rather than the music store.

 

Buying my handpan online from a non-specialized vendor:

It’s a fact today, that the majority of online purchases are done with the major online marketplaces, and they now even offer handpans !

- Handpan prices: Usually the major online players like E-Bay, Amazon or Alibaba offer cheaper prices than the smaller webstores, unfortunately this is untrue for handpans thus far. Therefore, if you find a handpan online for less than 1200€, we’d advise you to be very cautious, as generally it is too good to be true ! Beware of the scams that are becoming more and more common. Some sites offer a cheap hangdrum for a few hundred dollars. So avoid succumbing to temptation because you will probably receive an unplayable hangdrum.

- Handpan quality: It’s very important to know about the handpan brand, what is its history, which kind of manufacturing process is used and by whom. Don’t hesitate to ask the vendor yourself and if they can’t provide those answers then go somewhere else, were they can. It’s better to stick with a more famous brand and always make sure that you are able to connect directly with the manufacturer for all after-sale services. For example, buying a handpan made in Asia could become an issue when it comes to fix a problem, defect or needs retunning.

Summary:

Metal Sounds is the first and original French handpan producer, hand making innovative drums since 2005. As for all the other manufacturers you can buy our handpans direct from us, on our website or by coming to the workshop in Saint André de Sangonis.

If you prefer, you can buy your handpan from one of our many revendors, or buying online. This is now safe and an easy way to get a high quality reliable instrument, if you pay attention to our advice given above.

Some makers may not agree in reseller or online sales, as they consider their ‘sound sculptures’ must be only sold directly. For them musical instrument dealers are not competent enough to sell their instruments properly.. However, it’s good to remind you that PanArt, the original Hang® maker, used to distribute their instruments many years, in over 15 countries exclusively through specialized music stores. The Hang® has been sold by many competent vendors through the years and their customers have been extremely happy, with the advice, service and quality of instrument purchased. Though, then, the hangpan was far cheaper than it is today.

Nowdays, you’ve so many options in purchasing your handpan, either from the maker, specialized music store or major online marketplace. Remember always to keep in mind, that you have to get all available information about the product, so take your time, try different models, compare and choose the right instrument for youself.

Browse other websites with articles that will help you to buy your handpan properly, like MasterTheHandpan blog for example.

Enjoy your handpan!


Knowledge made in France
Knowledge made in France
Creator of unique instruments
Creator of unique instruments
Artisanal production for optimum quality
Artisanal production for optimum quality
Personalized advice and customer services
Personalized advice and customer services
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