Handpan drum-What you need to know about the Handpan

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Handpan drum

What you need to know about the Handpan drum instrument in resume:

Handpan drums are growing in popularity since the first-generation models were introduced to the market in 2007. The instrument which resembles a hubcap or pan is specifically designed to have variable acoustics dependent upon where on the drum the musician strikes. Unlike the traditional snare or such instrument, the hand pan drum is not based off any materials pulled taut over a frame, but rather is an entirely different beast. Here are a few things that you need to know about hand pan drums.


There are a few different and defining characteristics of the Hand Pan drum. First, the drum is not very large as they are intended for portable use and for the musician to easily take the instrument from one local to another. Currently, the dimensions of the drum average 20 to 35 centimeters in diameter (about 8 inches to just over a foot). The weight of the Hand Pan drum matches the small diameter with a weight of around 11 pounds depending on the brand that you choose to purchase. Of course, the more details and the thicker the metal that you choose to use, the heavier the overall weight of the instrument will be. On average expect for the weight to be around 11 to 15 pounds.


Unique to these drums are the surface areas which one plays. When looking at the drum, it appears as a dome. Take this dome and add eight to nine flat surfaces with small inlet circles, and then add a surface at the top of the dome (to flatten out the arch) and add another circular inlet, and you have the basic design. Some have described the aesthetics as being that of a UFO, since the design’s exterior has the “panels” which would be typical of the stereotypical sketch of a UFO.

As the hand pan drum is a self-contained instrument, the base of the drum and the top of the drum are connected via a sealed edge. Some models allow for a disconnection between the top dome and the bottom dome, but most do not (as configuring the notes, setting the plates appropriately, and such would be a bit problematic).

The parts of the drum are as follows. You have the top of the drum which is known as the ding. The inlet area of the surface is known as the center. Flat spaces around the hand pan drum are known as the tone fields with the edge being the area which meets the rounded part of the dome, the between. Again, depending upon the model that you select it will be a bit different. To find out models which are popular scan some of the information on our shop.


How does a handpan work?


To play a hand pan drum does not require drumsticks. In fact, most players use a thumping method or a tap method to create the music. Music produced from the hand pan drums is not the standard percussion that you would associate with a drum. If you think more along the lines of chimes or a xylophone, then you will have more of a grasp on the acoustics of the instrument. That being stated, the Hand Pan Drum is usually used for meditative, naturalistic, reggae and Caribbean based sounds, although the uses are only limited to the imagination. Those which purchase a hand pan drum should understand that they are not the traditional steel drum and they are not hang drums. Hand pans are the alternatives to such and have a sound and a playability all to their own.

There is a reverb on the drums which takes a bit of practice to control. The harder that you strike the drum (which is true for any drum) the louder and more pronounced the note. Consequently, the lighter you strike the drum, the shorter the reverb and less pronounced the note will be.

Handpan drum on youtube


Generally, the Hand Pan drums available for sale have eight keys. The scale options are the Dominant 7 starting with D, Baru which is D and F, Major D, Mixolydian D, Intragal D, Big Bear F, and Minor F.  Notes are oriented in a zig-zag fashion with the lowest note being that which is closest to your lap and the highest pitched note being that which is furthest from you lap. The notes go 1,2,4,6,8,7,5,3 on an eight-note configuration. The follow list of scales and videos are from the sound models available for the Bali steel pan.

F Natural (New Scale)

F# minor / Integral (New Scale)
F# – C#DEF#G#AC#

Dominant 7

D Baru

D Major


F Baru

D Integral

Big Bear
F- Bb C D# F G Ab C

F minor / Integral
F- C Db Eb F G Ab C


Handpan drum for sale and more

Find out more

There is a ton of information out there about the Hand Pan. If you would like to know more about the Handpan drum, look at the instruments, articles, and such on our homepage. The site offers an abundance of information, links, videos, and the like to help you understand not only the various hand pandrums for sale, handpan drum on amazon, hang drum vs handpan…but also the distinctions between the hand pan and other similar instruments on the market.

Should you have any questions about the drums which are sold on handpan drum or if you have in inquires on handpan drums please contact us through our website.

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