If you determined to buy hang drum or handpan so here are some tips:
Handpan is a very interesting instrument. It has magic sound, it looks good and seems to be right what you need to feel happy. It’s all true. But it’s also considerable expensive. Therefore you should know the following:
- It’s a very fragile instrument. It needs to be stored and transported in special protective covers or cases. If you drop the instrument on the floor or knock a heavy tone on the fields with something it will lose tone with probability of 80% or even broke if nitrided. Cold and heat can affect the sound of handpan and even change its tone (thank God, for a short period). Excessive moisture can cause corrosion of its housing. In general, handpan is not a drum in common sense. You need to be prepared that is requires a very careful handling.This instrument has a fixed number of notes and its tune is limited in tonality. It’s not so rich in tune and not so versatile as a guitar or a piano. All your improvisations will always be limited to a single tonality and if you need more notes to express you musical ideas – you need more instruments. And there may be some difficulties considering the cost of a handpan. Also musical limitations of handpan in some way limits its use together with other instruments.
- Tuning is not eternal. It’s disturbing over time. How fast? It all depends on how you play. You’d better play with your fingertips, taking the sound from tonal fields quickly and gently. But even with such play your instrument will be detuning frequently and you will need to give your instrument to tuning specialist every year or two. Especially if your pitch is perfect or you are musician playing in an ensemble where the precise melodic combination of different instruments is extremely important. I’m not trying to discourage you from buying handpan. I just want you to make decision on sober head understanding all it’s strengths and weaknesses having a clear picture of what you should be prepared to. You should remember that any purchase always linked with disappointment.
Ask yourself — “Why do I need an instrument?”. And try to answer yourself as honestly as possible.
- For creative self-expression? For playing in musical band? To expand the possibilities of sound and its freshness? There are a lot of options today, up to modern sampling techniques.
- Or may be you are impressed by YouTube videos and you want to play on the streets in front of astonished passers-by on an unusual musical instrument? Or you need handpan to improve your self-esteem? And this your desire is just a figment or your ego? It’s not bad in anyway. It’s normal. But you just need to be aware of it.
- Or maybe you need an instrument for spiritual growth and self-improvement? This is commendable, but the yoga mat costs much cheaper. 🙂
- Or you are intending to solve problems in your life with a handpan? Buying handpan cannot make your happy because happiness is inside you. If you feel unhappy without hang or handpan you will be feeling the same even having bought it. It will change nothing in your life.
- Don’t you think that playing and composing a music for a handpan is easier than on other musical instruments? Yes and no. 🙂 Interesting music — is patience, talent and work. You cannot ease your path like that.
Think about it. Whatever reasons are — it’s all your reasons. I just want you to make the decision as much conscious as possible. If you are crazy on buying handpan – try to wait 2-3 weeks, or even a month to give a time to your decision to settle.
Contact all direct manufacturers
Contact details of each company are listed above. You should use not only simple Email but a contact form on a website as well as YouTube channel to contact the direct manufacturer. Register in all waiting lists available. This will improve your chances of success.
I think that at least one manufacturer will answer you or may be even several so you will have a choice. Listen to different variants of sound on video and select your instrument. If you are from CIS I strongly recommend you to look at domestic manufacturers of handpans.
Prepare to substantial expences
Despite a decent number of analogues handpans are still price high. Official price of the most interesting instruments can range from $1,300 to $2,000. Think twice whether you need it.
Ok, you make a decision and price doesn’t stop you – I have some bad news for you – you are sick of handpan and it cannot be cured. Go ahead!
Try to buy handpan on Ebay
People buy handpan for one reason and sell it for many reasons. If you contacted the manufacturers and no one answered you, do not despair – think about buying on Ebay. But notice that this is the most extreme option. There are up to 20 handpans for sale appearing every day. Original hangs are priced sky-high but their analogues are more affordable. In addition to used hangs for sale there are sometimes auctions from direct manufacturers. You should remember 2 things. First – there may be frauds on Ebay, and second – you can get detuned or badly sounding instrument.
That’s why you should know Ebay shopping rules and some useful tips. Here they are:
You contacted the manufacturer and arrange a purchase. Now you should be prepared for long production time. I knew people who have been waiting for their instruments for about 2 years! Buying handpan is a kind of hardening and strength check)
Don’t waste your time
You agreed on everything and handpan are on the way to you – all you need now is to wait. Spend good time – master your percussion skills (use hand drums like darbuka, udu, cajon or djembe) and play some melodic instruments like xylophone or piano. Trust me – it will come in handy.
Think about the details
Besides the cost of the instrument itself you’ll need to pay shipping costs which may be significant, depending on the country of origin and type of delivery.
Than you’d better think about the safety of your handpan and order a case (solid, preferably) right from the manufacturer. If he doesn’t make cases you should think about it later. It may be also worthwhile to consider an insurance for your package. Note that many manufacturers don’t provide delivery and you will have to pick up it by yourself. If so, you should make visa in advance.