All about the Hang Drum

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Hang Drum

Out of this world sound in a foot of space

If you have ever seen the Hang Drum, then you know that the instrument is not very large at all. Encompassing only about a foot of space, the hang drum rests in the lap and is played by tapping upon the top surface of the instrument. Hang drum, or “Hand” as it is known in Bermese, can be pronounced hung drum or hong drum depending on where you are standing in the world when listening to the acoustics. Here are a few other facts about the Hang Drum you may want to note.


The Hang drum was developed in Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer. Development of the instrument was based upon the acoustics of various instruments, including gongs, bells, chimes, xylophones, Gamelan, and of course drums. The goal was to produce a sound mixture which gives a harmonic tuned steel pan sound but also the soothing sounds of a bell or chime. Even though the term Hang drum is commonly used, those which are enthusiasts of the instrument usually call it just a Hang or The Hang, as the drum association is a bit misleading.

Can you play both sides of the instrument?

Yes.By having the double dome design, that being that the base is rounded and the top is as well, a level of air resonance is created, as well as a healthy level of reverb and lingering of the notes struck. Though both sides of the instrument can be played, typically the upper side of the instrument is played and is known as the Ding side, the underside of the instrument is known as the Gu side. The Gu side of the instrument has a single hole at the base which allows for the musician to achieve an udu sound. UDUs are water jugs which are played by the lgbo women of Nigeria for ceremonial uses.

Those which play The Hang in the traditional method, that being by striking the plates around the Ding, will get the bell and chime sound for which it is known. Dings have anywhere from 7 to 9 sound plates which form what is known as the tone circle, scale, or mode. While some have their own terms for the tones and scales, most of the industry holds to the D and F scaling method.

Hang Drum on Youtube

Here is a good example, the Hang drum player Daniel Waples, on a hang drum solo.

Tuning Your Hang

Generally, if you have tuning issues with your Hang, you will want to take it to a specialist to have them tune it for you. Keep in mind that this instrument is a piece of metal. That being stated, you can perform some small tuning by adjusting the topmost part of the ding. This is if the top allows for such. It is not recommended that you use a steel hammer on the Hang drum as this can seriously damage your instrument.

Before tuning your hang drum, check to see if the environment in which you are playing is meddling with the acoustics. Proximity to the pavement, walls, etc. can cause a distortion of sound. Also, anything which is blocking the hole on the Gu may cause a distortion of sound.

Note: As the hang drum is metallic temperatures will greatly affect the sound that you will get from the piece. Heat will cause the metals to expand slightly and typically will cause for a higher pitch while colder temperatures will constrict the metal and cause for a deeper pitch to the same note. It may be that the instrument needs only to warm up or cool down to get the proper scale.

Hang Drum variations

While typically, the hang drum has definitive plates round the ding, the newer generation models may not have such defined spaces. It is not uncommon to find dings which are well rounded with the tone circle having custom plates and cuts into the dome. Purchasers should take care when looking at such models to ensure that the notes are accurate. While the aesthetics may be more pleasing when a Ding is airbrushed and when there are not 9 circular plates attached to it, the sound may not be.  Furthermore, when the tone circles are not (a) hammered plates resembling a 1950s UFO or (b) added to the side of the ding and specifically tuned but rather cut into the Ding, there is a higher probability that the panels will warp over time (from pushing and thumping upon them). Due diligence is needed to get the perfect drum for your needs.

Questions? Just ask

Hang drums are a wonderful way to express oneself acoustically. Should you have any questions about hang drums or just want to know where to find one hang drum for sale, about the purchasing of a hang drum (check our shop) you can find information more information on our homepage here- handpan drum.

Find Hang Drum for sale on Amazon and Ebay

It is very dificult to find an original Hang drum for sale on Amazon (I would say impossible). There are other brands of handpans that sell on Amazon, and we have that covered on our shop, here are some examples:

Tzevaot PENTA-C Hand Pan, 440hz

The Penta C is a well resonating very versatile scale.
Scale (E) A C D E G A E
Highly rust resilient

Additional images:

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Price: $3,299.00

Buy Now

You can find rare auctions on ebay with Hangs but be prepared to pay at least $5000/$8000 for one.

If you have any general inquiries about any of the information on this website please contact the company through their site.

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