Handpan for Drummers

Sound Sculpture

New member
Hi Drummers,

still a new instrument and not very well know - the Handpan, interesting for every drummer as it is a rhythm instrument combined with melody. In our shop you can find a wide variety of different makers and scales for immediate purchase and also videos for each product:

Sound Sculpture - Handpan Shop

Contact us if you need advise or have any quetions.


Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
They’re pretty limited, musically. The tone color can’t really be varied much, the volume can’t vary much, they need to be miked to have any real projection, the range is usually only about one octave, and they’re extremely expensive, usually. Fun to play with for a few minutes, though.


Platinum Member
Besides the basic structure and what you play it with (hands vs mallets), what's the difference between a handpan and a tongue drum?

Sound Sculpture

New member
The tone fields of a steel tongue drum are cut with a laser or a jigsaw, the tonefields of a handpan are made with a hammer, it is true craftsmenship. The sound of a handpan is more magical than a steel tongue drum, they have can produce more different sounds and are louder.

@Push pull stroke: if handpans are limited, what is a cajon or Djembe to you ;-)


Senior Member
I first stumbled across this hang drum solo (hang drum is another name for a handpan) about 10 years ago. It's made me want to play one ever since. As the OP described it, in the right hands (pun definitely intended) it sounds very "magical".



Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Sorry to see that Hangbau, the originator, from Bern Switzerland, is no longer making these unique instruments. The originators dislike the term Hang Drum and prefer, Hang, pronounced in German, Han.


Senior Member
I get bored with both. There’s much less you can do on pans or hang drums than on a marimba, vibes, or even a xylophone.
A steel pan has a full range and spans several octaves, so while not as versatile as say a marimba it still offers more than these.


Well-known member
I get bored with both. There’s much less you can do on pans or hang drums than on a marimba, vibes, or even a xylophone.
uhhh...not really. On a han , you can get as many different sounds as you can on a traditional melodic percussion instrument...plus you can get harmonics/overtones like on a stringed instrument, which you can't get on a traditional melodic percussion instrument. "Hand pans" are limited to the keys that they can be played in, but so are harmonicas...does that make harmonicas "non legit"?

By your thinking, a snare drum is also pretty limited in it's range of sounds...and a tympani is even more limited...unless you think outside the box more...in fact, all of the "classic percussion" instruments are super limiting from a musical standpoint...unless you think outside the box, or just apply the technique principals to them. I can play a hand pan as soft as the intro to Bolero on snare if I need to....

in my experience, hang is tougher to play with mallets, but can be done. A tongue drum can be played with both fingers and mallets. Hang was not meant to be played with mallets though, so it's characteristic timbre is focused more on the sharp attack used by the bones of the hand.

I am saving up for a Rav Vast handpan, as I like their tuning, and range of sounds the best, as well as their look. In construction, they are probably more of a tongue drum than a true pan. I also wish I could get an original Hangbau drum...that would be sweet!!!!