Hello friends! Welcome to Handpan Guru.
Here you will find high quality, hand made instruments, without the torturous 6 – 12+ month waiting lists. We typically have 9 note handpans available in stock and ready for immediate dispatch, while most of our other options are made to order. Check out our Marketplace to view all available instruments.
To learn about the history of Hand Pans and why the term Hang drum is incorrect as a generic term, click here. Or for a more brief history lesson, keep reading 🙂
Much has changed since the Hang ® (drum) was first created in the year 2000, which we will expand on in a moment. But first things first, we need to clear up that the instrument is not technically called a Hang drum. It is in fact called a “Hang Instrument” or just a “Hang”. The instrument, which is a member of the idiophone class, is also known as a Handpan or Steel Drum. With that said, it’s fair to say that the incorrect term “Hang drum” has caught on and is not going away, despite the wishes of its original creators.
The most appropriate name for instruments made in inspiration to the original Hang ® is Handpan.
The Hang was introduced to the public domain in 2001 by a company called PANArt. In late 2013 they decided to discontinue the production of the Hang entirely and instead concerted their efforts on their new creation, the Gubal. Although their new instrument sounds great, it doesn’t have the beautiful resonant sound that the Hang design produces, and for this reason, the Hang and instruments made in its image are still highly sought after. You can read more about the history of the hang
There are two different types of Handpans available:
The term Hand pan is used to describe the instruments inspired by the original PANArt Hang. These instruments have a dimple in the middle of each note and generally have a Gu (hole) on the underside of the instrument.
Although Tongue drums are technically Hand pans too, rather than having dimples for each note, each note is cut into the drum in a tongue shape. The maker can tune the tongues by varying the length of the cuts, or by adding weights to the tongues. These instruments are generally less expensive and come in a lot of different shapes, sizes, and designs.
You have options. In the video below, Lucius Harvey demonstrates different types of Hand Pans.
Smaller steel tongue drums don’t reverberate as much as the larger ones. So in other words, you don’t get as much of a “full” and loud sound out of them. You’ll notice in the video that the larger the instrument is, the better it sounds and the longer it reverberates.
One of the downsides to the tongue drums is that they aren’t as loud when they are played with the fingers, which is why most Steel Tongue Drums come with a pair of mallets to hit the drums with. The mallets make the drum sound louder and also makes the sound reverberate longer. Unfortunately using the mallets really takes away the “texture” and diversity that comes with playing an instrument like this with your hands. With all of that said, most of the tongue drums are also significantly less expensive.
This video will quickly help you decide which kind of instrument is for you:
The video demonstrates well that the larger the instrument, the better quality of sound is produced.
Back in 2001 when PANArt first opened their doors to selling the Hang to the general public, their initial starting price was $400. Right about now, you probably wish you could build a time machine to go back and grab one of these beauties for $400. But ya can’t. As you can imagine, when the popularity of this beautiful instrument grew, so did the price tag. The last generation, just before they were discontinued sold at $2,600 each.
It would be reasonable to say that the genuine Hang has become somewhat of a collector’s item now. As I’ve mentioned already, a second hand genuine PANArt Hang can range from $4,000 – $12,000 and up. It’s safe to say that this is not an option for most people. If you’re set on getting yourself a genuine Hang, then it might be worth trying to hunt one down on eBay or Craigslist, but beware! These kinds of items can attract scammers because of their high price. So don’t get fooled by a deal that is “too good”. If it looks too good to be true then it usually is. Always research the seller and if it’s a Craigslist listing, ask to see the item in person before making the deal.
Luckily there are now a growing number of manufacturers making Hand Pans just like the Hang at much more reasonable prices. These instruments generally range in price between $1,600 to 3,000, with the cheaper options usually being manufactured in Bali or Vietnam.
You can find high quality, hand made options on our store.
It really depends on what you buy and where you buy it.
In short you can expect to pay 1,600 – $3,000 for a Hang style Hand Pan. You can find alternatives for $200 – $800, I will go into the cheaper alternatives further down the page here.
To buy an instrument similar to a Genuine Hang, you’re looking at around $1,600. Hang Drums around this price range are good quality and are generally made in Vietnam, Bali or Russia. While they are not made exactly to the PANArt Method, they are still lovely instruments.
For a Hang Drum that is made according to the PANArt Method, you can expect to pay around $3,000 on online stores, such as Amazon.
If this is understandably out of your budget, there are other options available which I have gone into further detail on the Hang Drum Alternative page.
The Hang Drum, or any kind of Steel Drum for that matter, is not really something you’d be able to buy at your local music store. This means that you are likely limited to buying online, here’s your options:
We have some lovely sounding Handpans available on our store that are hand made with love in Vietnam. Check out our range here.
Purchasing a Hand Pan straight from a manufacturer can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. Because there is not a lot of competition, manufacturers usually have long waiting lists and may even turn your application to buy a Hang Drum away! I’ve heard stories of people waiting up to 6 months just to get their Hang Drum. If you want a specific brand and you’re patient, this might be the option for you. If waiting 6 months for a Handpan sounds insufferable, check out some of the options available for immediate purchase or pre-order on our store.
Because it’s not possible to buy a new genuine PANArt Hang anymore (in 2013 PANArt ceased making them) your only option is to buy one second hand on an online marketplace such as eBay or Craigslist.
It’s usually a rule of thumb that a used item is cheaper than its brand new counterpart. If you think this rule applies to a genuine Hang, then you are in for a shock. A second hand PANArt Hang Drum will usually sell for two to three times, sometimes four times its original price! (Selling anywhere between $4,000 to $15,000). Unless your heart is set on buying a genuine Hang by PANArt, there are better options than buying second hand without compromising on quality.
Wait, what? Does Amazon sell Hang Drums? Yep, I was surprised at first as well.
After poking around on Amazon a little bit, I learned that not only do they sell Hang Drums, they also sell a pretty wide variety of Hand Pans, some of which are a cheaper alternative to the Hang style hand pan.
There’s no doubt that Hang Drums can be expensive AND hard to get.
If you understandably don’t want to pay $x,xxx for a Hand Pan, or Amazon is out of stock currently, I have an alternative for you.
The Steel Tongue Drum (also known as the Tank Drum and Hank Drum) sounds quite similar to the Hang and is great alternative to the Hang Drum.
You can expect to pick one of these up for $200 – $800 and they’re a lot more readily available. Some of them also have some stunning designs on them!
Although our Handpans are not exactly the same as the original PANArt Hang. They are far more available and way more affordable.
Check out what we currently have available: