If a musician from the 17th century, say Johann Sebastian Bach, wakes up in our world, there are very few instruments he will find strange. There have indeed been some developments in musical instruments but most of what we use today have been around for centuries with very little modifications made. This, however, does not mean that Sebastian Bach will not find an instrument he knew nothing about in his days. The handpan is one of the instruments he will not know anything about.
Do you know the handpan? Have you ever played one? If your answer to both questions is ‘no’, stay with us a little to know more about the instrument and its place in modern music. If you are interested in buying one, we will also review the best products on the market and discuss a few other things that will help you buy the best one for you. First things first: who invented the handpan and when was it invented?
While there are old instruments that share few similarities to the instrument, development of what we know today as handpan started in the 1990s. Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer are the people behind the company PANArt, which is credited with producing the debut handpan, aptly named hang.
The first hang (and the first handpan by extension) was completed in the year 2000. It was not until 2001, however, that it was introduced to the world at the Musikmesse Frankfurt. The simple instrument was well received so Rohner and Schärer went back to develop their invention further.
From the time it was first introduced to this period, there have been several modifications and we can even talk about the first generation hangs (produced between 2001 and 2005) and the second generation hangs that have seen several design improvements and more colorful sound.
Considering that the handpan has been around for less than two decades, it has gained global popularity in a very rapid manner. What is the secret behind the rapid acceptance? Besides the famous UFO shape and its simplistic nature, the sound of the instrument is one of the things that have made it popular.
The fact that many manufacturers have been dishing out their versions of the original hang with few modifications and under different names has also contributed to the popularity of the instrument. While the terms handpan and hang remain the most recognized names for the instrument, there are other terms/names used in marketing the various variations such as hang drum, pantam, cupola etc.
Buying original and high-quality handpan can be very tough. Since it is relatively a new instrument that has been duplicated by many manufacturers, picking out a particular one to buy can be very difficult. There are actually hundreds of builders making instruments that vary widely in terms of material, manufacturing techniques, shape, sound and quality. You have to be extra careful if you want to buy a good quality handpan.
At Surf n’ Buy, we always strive to make our readers’ shopping experiences better. In this piece, we will review some of the very best handpans you can buy right now. We will also discuss the instrument further after the reviews to help you understand them better and learn the most important factors to consider before buying one.
Are you ready to buy a handpan? Here are the three best options to consider right now:
Top 3 Handpans
1. Luvay Hand Pan
The Luvay Hand Panis a modest-size, portable handpan that is perfect for a beginner. The 6 inches high instrument has a diameter of 10 inches and weighs just 5 pounds (2.2 kg). It is one of the smallest and most valuable options you can find on the market. It is hand-made of Steel-Titanium alloy and coated by green spraying paint. Overall, it looks great and performs excellently for an instrument in its price range.
Starting from the material this handpan is made from, you can see that it is a good quality percussion instrument that will stand the test of time. Steel-Titanium alloy is a good material and since it is hand-made, you can rest assured that it is above every machined made handpan out there. The quality of the material means one thing: the instrument is clearly durable. It is also coated by green spraying-paint and is confirmed corrosion resistant. It is also very stable, thanks to the silicone feet that stabilize the position during playing.
Besides the quality of construction of this instrument, the look is another inspiring aspect we need to consider early. At 6 inches height and 10 inches diameter, the size is perfectly modest. The lotus flower tongue design is another interesting thing that contributes meaningfully to the overall aesthetic appeal. It looks more appealing than most high-end handpans. The sandalwood color is another significant appealing aspect. The color is just perfect for the size of the instrument and the unique design.
Looking at the basic features and specifications of this handpan, it is clear to see that it is made for beginners and inexperienced instrumentalists. The modest size and lightweight make it easy for the instrument to be handled for several hours with very little chance of fatigue. It is the perfect instrument to learn with and even comes with a music book, mallets and picks. These will all help a novice to get started with the instrument and start playing properly in the shortest possible time.
Like other good entry-level instruments, the Luvay Hand Pan is an incredibly affordable instrument. Considering the price of instruments made with similar quality materials, this is a steal for any buyer. In addition to the very reasonable price, the instrument comes in a valuable package that has several accessories you will find helpful. As mentioned earlier, there is a music book, mallets and picks. In addition to these, you will also get a set of notes stickers and a quality carry bag for safe storage easy transportation.
- The Luvay Hand Pan is hand-made of Steel-Titanium, which is a strong material for an entry-level instrument. The good material also contributes to making it sound very great.
- The design of the instrument is simply superb. It is beautiful, thanks to the lotus flower tongue and the sandalwood color. It is also a very stable instrument.
- Price is another major reason to consider buying this instrument; it is one of the most affordable handpans on the market and is the perfect option to buy when you are just starting with the instrument or buying for your little ones.
- As a true entry-level instrument, this handpan is quite easy to play. From the size to the weight, it is clear that it is made to offer the new player an easy ride. The fact that it comes with a music boo, mallets and picks point to the fact that the manufacturers want to make the journey easier for beginners.
- It comes with a high-quality carry bag to make storage and transportation easier and safer. This improves the value of the entire package meaningfully.
- The size can be an issue for some people, especially for those who are used to playing bigger handpans. This will not be an issue for most beginners (and it is made for beginners).
The Luvay Hand Pan is a perfect handpan for a beginner who wants the best. It is hand-made from a very solid material and designed attractively. Thanks to the size and the overall design, this instrument is great for a beginner. It is also an affordable instrument that will suit the pocket of most buyers. The instrument also comes in a valuable package that includes a music book, mallets, picks and even a quality carry bag. For the price and the fact that it is very easy to play, this is one of the best handpans for a music student.
2. Happybuy Handpan
This is a versatile handpan that is perfectly built for all kinds of occasions. It is the sort of instrument you want to play when you are involved in street performances, festival celebrations, friends and family gatherings and more. It is made with the right materials and is of the right size for all kinds of performers. The instrument also offers a beautiful vibration sound, which is the ultimate thing you want from a handpan.
Talking about the materials, the Happybuy Handpanis hand-made from DC04 Nitrogen Steel. This is a heavy-duty material offer durability. The original strength of the material is remarkable and it is made more formidable by the Nitriding Heat Treatment. The high-quality half-shells of deep drawn pans are wear-resistant and rust-proof. The way it is designed and finished, the instrument will last for years.
In terms of look, this is an appealing handpan you will be proud to play and display on any stage. It is of the right size: 10.2 inches (26 cm) in height and 22 inches (56 cm) in diameter. It has a deep blue color which brings out the original beauty of the steel. It feels comfortable and can be easily played by anyone who knows how to play a handpan.
In terms of sound quality, this Happybuy Handpan is one of the best you can get in its price range. It is in D Minor 9 notes, including a center note hammered into it (D3-A3) and 8 tone fields (Bb3/D4/F4/A4/G4/E4/C4/A3). All notes of the notes have excellent resonance vibration, which is what you need in a handpan. Also, each note checked with a tuner – minimum possible fluctuations for beautiful vibration sound. When played by an experienced percussionist with the hands and fingers, this instrument will produce softer and warmer sounds that will certainly appeal to anyone who appreciates good musical notes.
Though this is not one of the cheapest products on the shelf, it is still a valuable handpan. Considering the quality of material and construction, the price tag is justifiable. It is an excellent choice to consider if you are looking for a quality instrument that will stand the test of time. This handpan also comes with some important accessories. There is a metal stand for easy playing as well as a carry bag for convenient storage and safer transportation.
- It is handmade from heavy-duty material. The DC04 Nitrogen Steel Material is wear-resistant and rust-proof. This means that the instrument is perfectly durable.
- The Happybuy Handpan has an impressive sound quality. It features D Minor 9 notes that have excellent resonance vibration for the best sound quality. Each of the notes checked with a tuner – minimum possible fluctuation for beautiful vibration sound.
- Thanks to the beautiful design and the impressive sound quality, this is a versatile instrument you can be proud to play anywhere and anytime.
- The package comes with the most important accessories you will need. There is a tripod metal stand to keep the instrument stable as you play and a quality carry bag to store the instrument conveniently and transport it safely whenever there is a need for that.
- This is not a beginner-friendly handpan. From the way it is designed to the retail price, it is clear to see that it is not made for the individual who is just getting into music. It can be a great option for intermediate players, however.
- Due to lighting problems, there may be some sort of color difference between the product you will get and the picture you see online. This, however, doesn’t affect performance in any way.
The Happybuy Handpan is a well-constructed and beautiful instrument that is made for intermediate and experienced players. It is handmade from heavy-duty Nitrogen steel that makes it good-looking and durable. It also has a remarkable sound quality, thanks to the perfect 9 note design. This handpan is also a versatile instrument: you can confidently play it in all manner of occasions like friends and family gatherings, street performances, festival celebrations and many more. It also comes in a valuable package that includes a tripod metal stand for performance and a quality carry bag for safe storage and transportation.
3. LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpan
If you want one of the very best handpans and don’t care so much about price, this is the perfect instrument for you. It is a steel tongue drum that is made from the best material. The craftsmanship draws inspiration from philosophy, religion, culture, art, and a special blend of contemporary science and technology, vibration theory and novelty designs. There is no use trying to understand the roles of the mentioned terms in the product; just understand that it is one of the best handpans in terms of craftsmanship and performance.
The LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpan is handcrafted from pure steel. The heavy-duty material is sturdy enough to last for years. The method of production is unique and leaves the final product not only beautiful but corrosion-resistant. Though it is still recommended that you don’t hit strongly and avoid exposing your handpan to direct sunlight and high humidity, you can expect this particular model to survive rough usage for years.
In terms of aesthetic appeal, there are few handpans and related instruments you can compare to this model. It is of the standard size: 10 inches (25.4 cm) in height and 22 inches (56 cm) in diameter. It has a hand-finished oriental design that has some elements of spirituality. The design doesn’t just make it aesthetically appealing but evokes the other elements of the handpan besides music like sound healing, en, Buddhism, Confucian and more.
Coming to the sound quality of the instrument, which is the primary concern of most buyers, there are very few handpans you can compare to this model. It is in the league of the best sounding handpans thanks to the incredible material it is made from and the unique method of construction. the instrument is in D minor 9 notes, just like other top models. Each of the notes produces beautiful vibration sound, especially when played by an expert with hands and fingers. When they are properly tuned, they can be played by anyone, irrespective of their skill levels. This doesn’t mean it is an entry-level instrument as the price can be considered exorbitant.
The LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpan is also considered one of the most versatile handpans in the world. As mentioned earlier, it is not only used in the music cycle but also in spirituality and mental wellbeing. It is the sort of handpan you should buy if you find more meaning to sound than the average person.
- This handpan is handcrafted from heavy-duty steel which does not only look great but guarantees excellent sound quality and durability.
- The LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpan is a beautifully designed handpan that is not only relevant for musicians but to others who believe in sound healing and other spiritual/mental aspects of playing and/or listening to the handpan.
- The sound quality of the instrument is top-notch. Since it is handmade from an excellent material in D minor 9 notes, the sound it produces will always be great when it is properly tuned.
- The instrument comes with a soft bag for convenient and safe storage and transportation. There is also a handle on the backpack-style protective case to improve portability.
- This is one of the expensive handpans out there. It can be way beyond the reach of most people who may want to own it.
From all indications, this is much more than a regular handpan. From the construction material to the method of construction, everything about the instrument is of premium quality. The craftsmanship and hand-drawn oriental designs are breathtaking. Coming to the sound quality, this is one of the best handpans out there. It is in D Minor 9 notes, which is the standard for the instrument. Though the LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpan is an expensive instrument, the quality makes up for the high price. If you can afford it, this is one of the best handpans out there. It also has a high quality carry case to makes storage and transportation more convenient and safer. The case also adds lots of value to the handpan.
What is a Handpan?
Handpan is a term used to refer to a group of musical instruments that are classified as a subset of the steelpan. It is an instrument made from two metal half-shells that are glued together to form a convex lens-like shake with a resonant hollow chamber left inside. Each instrument is tuned to a fixed set of notes organized around a center note. Most have a total of 9 notes; a center note and 8 surrounding notes.
The instruments that are collectively called handpans are variations of the original hang developed by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt. The term was coined around 2007 and appeared first on the website of an American steelpan producer, Pantheon Steel. The name was necessary because PANArt had registered the name hang as a trademark. Other manufacturers had to call their instruments different names until handpan was coined and found wide circulation and acceptance as the generic name for this group of instruments.
While handpan is a generally accepted name, the unique names given to most instruments by their manufacturers still stick. Names like hang, hang drum, pantem, spacedrum, tongue drum, halo, Bells and Caisa are still regarded as handpans. The instruments may vary in material, manufacturing technique, shape, number of notes, sound and quality.
How Does a Handpan Work?
Handpans generally work on a unique principle of compressive in-plane stress. They act as Helmholtz resonators, producing vibration sound when played. The metal within the tone fields of the instrument is under compressive stress, pushing out against the border in all directions. This creates a state of controlled buckling. Tuning the instrument involves forcing some vibrating modes into the notes. Each note offers a unique sound and a skilled player can play by hitting gently with the hands and fingers to create a rhythmic melody.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Handpan
Handpans are new instruments. Though their popularity has soared remarkably, there are still so many things people need to know about them. Are you interested in buying the best handpan you can afford? There are factors you need to put into consideration. Here, we will briefly discuss the most important ones:
As you know already, the handpan is a relatively new instrument. Surprisingly, there are already hundreds of manufacturers making their handpans with little modifications. It can be very difficult to ascertain the quality of most of the instruments on the market which is why you need to consider brands seriously. It is better to stick to renowned brands when buying an instrument you don’t know much about. If you don’t have good knowledge of musical instrument producers, research the makers of the ones you are considering buying to know how reputable they are.
One of the most important factors to consider when buying an instrument is the material it is made from. Handpans are majorly made from steel and you need to have an idea of how reliable the material is. The strength of the material and the treatment it has been subjected to will significantly influence the durability of your instrument.
Craftsmanship and Aesthetic Appeal
Handpans are special musical instruments and how they look matters a lot too. You want to buy an instrument that is well-crafted and looks amazing. Handcrafted and designed handpans always look amazing and you have to buy one you find appealing.
Price is another important factor to consider when you are about to buy a handpan. Depending on how and where you intend to use the instrument and your budget, buy a handpan that you can afford. Though quality instruments are not cheap, you have to shop around and compare prices before making up your mind to buy any instrument. Consider its major quality and see if the price is justifiable.
Carry Bag and Portability
You are not going to be playing your handpan in the same venue all the times. Chances are you will want to move it from place to place and a carry bag is super important for this. Quality handpans come with quality carry bags that makes storage and transportation convenient and safer.
The handpan is an amazing instrument for so many reasons. Though it is relatively new, it has been accepted globally as a musical instrument. It is a very versatile instrument and is applicable in different areas including prenatal and early childhood education, sound healing, spirituality and many others outside regular music.
If you are interested in buying a handpan, it is important that you understand your specific need and buy an instrument that will meed it. If you just want a simple instrument for a beginner, the Luvay Hand Pan is a good option. If you need a premium handpan and don’t mind spending the cash, the LLC-Drums Harmonic Handpanis clearly one of the best options to consider.
At Surf n’ Buy, we believe online shopping shouldn’t be too had and that shoppers should be able to find the best products out there. That is why we take the troubles of researching and testing to identify the best products on the market. We sincerely hope that this piece will help you buy the best handpan for you.