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Buying a Handpan – Things to consider

Nowadays you have several possibilities to buy a handpan. Meanwhile, some music stores also offer handpans, but almost all of them do not take care of the corresponding service after your purchase: When buying a handpan, you should definitely make sure that the msuic store offers a corresponding re-tuning service. This is not the case with almost all music stores! If you buy a handpan from a dealer without a re-tuning service and your handpan goes out of tune, you will have an instrument for the rest of your life that you won't have any fun with! We offer a re-tuning service for all our handpans. So if your handpan goes out of tune after you bought it in our handpan shop, we'll get it back in tune for you - and you'll have your handpan back in full sound in no time. You should also always ask the dealer how the retuning will be done, if the instrument will be sent back to the manufacturer or if the service can be offered on site.

If you decide to buy a used instrument, you should always check who the manufacturer is. If you buy a handpan without a manufacturer's name, it will hardly be possible for someone to retune it for you.

In our Handpan Shop you have the possibility to test different manufacturers and scales or listen to a sound sample in our online store via the product videos (be sure to use headphones!). You also have the possibility to play and get to know our Handpans in a workshop, there are also some good Online courses if you dont have the time to visit one. If you like a handpan, you can buy most of them immediately from us or our workshop partners - without waiting time. If you don't want to buy a handpan right away, you can also rent a handpan for the time being - the rental costs will refunded 100% against the purchase price if you want to keep the instrument.

We offer a 14 day money back guarantee! We want you to be satisfied for a long time after your Handpan purchase!

Handpan, Hang, Hang Drum, Hangpan, Pantam, Hangdrum? History & Origin

The Hang® was invented by the company PanArt. The name Hang is a registered trademarke. Instruments from other manufacturers are handpans. By the way, the name "Hang Drum" or "hangdrum" is not quite correct, because in the sense of the inventor it is not a drum. The name "Hang Drum" was invented by an American distributor and has been used ever since. Please consider - a Hang is always from PanArt, Handpans from all other manufacturers. By the way, plural of Hang is Hanghang and not Hangs. All information about the history of the Hang or Handpan can be found here.

Structure of the handpan


The basic shape of the Handpan is more or less the same as the Hang®. It consists of two round metal shells that are glued together. The top consists of a central tone field, called "Ding", the lowest sound in the middle and usually 7 to 10 sound fields arranged in a circle on the outer circle. On most handpans, the ding is curved outward and the center of the notes on the outer circle is curved inward (dimple). In the middle of the bottom is an opening (Gu).

Die Noten im Außenkreis sind im Zick Zack angeordnet
Die Noten im Außenkreis sind im Zick Zack angeordnet

Unlike the piano, where all notes are available, the handpan is limited to a few notes. While the Hang® by PanArt was built with 8 or 9 notes, there are now also some manufacturers who build over 20 notes on a Handpan. On a handpan, the notes are not chromatic like on a piano, i.e. one semitone step follows the next, but go over several octaves. How many and which notes are built on the handpan is determined by the scale of the handpan - you can learn more about the handpan scale here.


In a chord, two or more notes are struck or played simultaneously.

If you divide the handpan in the middle with a "line" between the Ding, the lowest note and the highest note, the notes on the right and left sides can usually be played together as a chord. This is true for most scales, but not all. If you like playing chords, you should try all possible combinations (e.g. also 4 and 7, 3 and 8 etc.). With some scales it will fit, with others not.


Steel: Stainless or nitrated?

Nitrated Steel

Nitrided handpans are better suited for percussive, fast playing, e.g. for drummers, djembe or cajon players. They do not resonate as long and have a duller sound. When playing faster, the notes are more clearly separated and the notes do not "mix" as much, since the sound "fades out" quicker after being struck.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel handpans are built by only a few manufacturers worldwide. Compared to nitrided steel, stainless steel resonates much longer (sustain), is fuller in sound and more sensitive in touch. Stainless steel handpans are also easier to play for beginners. More and more often they are also used in sound therapy and yoga! Stainless steel is an innovation in handpans, the Original Hang® were built only from nitrided steel.

Frequenz: 440 Hz or 432 Hz (Hertz)

Almost all handpans are tuned to 440Hz.

So if you choose a handpan in 432Hz, you will most likely not be able to play together with others. That is a fact! The same is true for other instruments, like piano or instruments you can't tune yourself - a handpan in 432Hz is not compatible with them. Handpans in 432Hz are therefore a niche, but if you still decide to buy a handpan in 432Hz, we can advise you by phone.

Handpan Scales & Notes

There are countless numbers of Handpan scales, which makes the Handpan purchase so difficult or complex. Each Handpan is limited to a certain number of notes, which are "selected" by the manufacturer from all possible notes - accordingly, there are many, many possibilities for creating new scales. We delve a little deeper into the subject of handpan scales on this page:

If you're thinking about buying a handpan and you like a video on YouTube, it's always best to write down the name and notes of the scale.

Handpan Formats


Minis vs. Normal

Most Handpans are built with a diameter between 53 - 56cm diameter. A Mini in comparison has a diameter of about 46 - 48cm. Due to their size, they are perfect as a travel format or also well suited for children or smaller people with shorter arms.



Handpans that have additional notes between the outer edge of the notes and the Ding. These are mostly handpans with more than 11 notes on top.


Bottom Notes

These are handpans that have additional notes on the bottom of the handpan.

The correct usage of your handpan

When handling the instrument you should consider a few points:

Avoid Heat

UNCONDITIONALLY protect the Handpan from direct sunlight, i.e. do not leave the Handpan in the sun and certainly do not play them, as they can go out of tune (the "pans" get very hot!). If the handpan does heat up, be sure to let it cool down to room temperature before playing it again.

Use your Fingers only

Do not play with mallets or other objects on the handpan! Only with your fingers!

Avoid wetness (does not apply to some stainless steel Handpans)

Avoid wetness (does not apply to stainless steel Handpans)
Protect the Handpan from moisture and high humidity! I.e. do not store in a damp cellar; also be careful when camping with the morning dew - there have been some nasty surprises at some handpan festivals. If your instrument does get wet, wipe it dry immediately with a cloth and store it in a dry place so that the residual moisture can evaporate from inaccessible areas. Use oil afterwards to protect the handpan from rust.

No jewlery

Remove rings, watches and other jewelry on hands for play to avoid scratches.

Use case/bag for transport only

Do not store the instrument permanently in a bag or backpack, use it only for transport, otherwise there is a risk of rust. Steel must breathe (does not apply to some stainless handpans).


Depending on the manufacturer or material, the handpan must be oiled to protect it from rust.


Never place the handpan on the floor with the playing surface (notes) facing down.


Since Handpans are made of steel, the sound can change depending on the temperature. When cold, the metal contracts and the tones become higher, when warmer, the metal expands and the tones become duller.

Transport and protection of your Handpan

When you buy a handpan, you should also find a suitable "means of transport" for your handpan. Hard and soft cases are suitable for this purpose. As the name suggests, your instrument is better protected from shocks in a hard case than in a soft case. The soft case has the advantage that it is cheaper, lighter and more comfortable to carry. You should consider how often you will be on tour with your instrument and what "conditions" it will be exposed to.


The right maintenance

Almost all handpans and steel tongue drums need regular maintenance to protect them from rust. Most manufacturers recommend Phoenix Handpan oil, Ballistol, coconut oil or even car wax. You should ask the manufacturer (or us) which care product is most suitable.

As a rule, you should rub the top and bottom of your instrument with a care product and a microfiber cloth every 2-4 weeks. We also recommend that you wipe the instrument with the same microfiber cloth after each playing session to remove sweat and dirt.

Handpan Retuning

Just like a piano or a guitar, all handpans need to be retuned sooner or later. The question is: how often does a handpan need to be retuned? This depends essentially on the "stress" to which the handpan is exposed to. The biggest stress is direct sunlight, but of course also how hard you play it.

Handpans purchased at Sound Sculpture Handpan Shop can be retuned directly at our store and do not have to be sent back to the manufacturer. This often saves you time and unnecessary shipping costs. Of course, your warranty remains!


Try out whats best for

We advise you on all questions concerning handpans and steel tongue drums. In our sound lab in Mainz and some workshop partners you have the possibility to test and buy several instruments - without waiting time. We carry a wide range of different manufacturers and scales (tunings) as well as accessories.