Handpan or Steel Tongue Drum?

How do I find the right instrument? A few tips to help you decide which instrument is best for you

Finding the right instrument that suits you is not that easy. Do I prefer to buy a Handpan or a Steel Tongue Drum? Which manufacturer do I choose, which scale, which material, which frequency and how long do I have to wait until it is delivered to me? Would I like to pay in advance with the uncertainty of whether the instrument will actually meet my wishes?

We want to simplify the tedious process of choosing the right instrument. In our Handpan Shop you will find a variety of instruments (Handpans and Steel Tongue Drums) from different manufacturers, tunings and materials. All instruments can be tested and are usually available for immediate purchase.

If you would like to inform yourself in advance, we have some basic information, advantages and disadvantages of handpans and steel tongue drums compressed in a comparison for you below.

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Steel Tongue Drums

Steel Tongue Drums  are usually smaller, but heavier than hand pans. They are made of thicker steel and resonate much longer than a Handpan. They have a meditative sound, but are less suitable for fast, percussive playing.

Vorteile

  • Not as expensive (purchase price is approx. 1/3 of a Handpan)
  • very robust, can’t get out of tune
  • can be played with mallets
  • neither sensitive to cold nor heat (-10 to +45 degrees)
  • smaller

Nachteile

  • not as loud as a handpan
  • Notes are smaller
  • heavier
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Handpans

Handpans can be played much louder than steel tongue drums and for many have a magical sound that captivates them.

Advantages

  • Sound is “magical”
  • bigger note fields, easier to hit
  • suitable for faster playing
  • is much louder than a Steel Tongue Drum and still good to hear even with louder background noise
  • Handpans made of stainless steel (!) do not rust
  • wider choice of manufacturers, materials, scales and more variety

Disadvantages

  • more expensive than a Steel Tongue Drum
  • more sensitive, can get out of tune faster
  • must be retuned approx. every 1-6 years (depending on the type of play / handling and manufacturer / material)
  • Handpans, which are not made of stainless steel, can rust.
  • sensitive to heat (sun!)

The best thing is to find out for yourself, what is right for you. Come by and try!