Which handpan to choose to start ?
Have you decided to go on an adventure in the world of the handpan ? However, you have no idea, or where to go to choose your first instrument. Here are some tips for choosing your first Handpan, so that you can choose the best instrument, which is none other than the one that will be adapted to your needs.
Choose your handpan according to the steel
The first choice that is imposed on you in relation to the choice of your handpan instrument, is to choose according to the steel that constitutes it. Two alternatives are possible : nitrided steel and stainless steel. Indeed, nitrided steel, which consists of an application of nitrogen on the handpan, in order to make it more resistant to rust, does not produce the same sound as stainless steel. It allows you to obtain a particular sound, more ceramic, with more clayey vibrations, which are not found in stainless steel. When it comes to stainless steel, it is much more preferred. Many of the new generation handpans are made of stainless steel. The quality of this steel prevents the appearance of rust, the Achilles heel of this type of instrument. You just have to remember that each of these steels comes with its advantages and its disadvantages. Know that the choice is not imposed on you according to the quality of each of these materials, but according to the sound they produce.
Choose your handpan according to maintenance
Be aware that the handpan is very fragile, especially under the effect of oxidation and temperature. It will therefore be necessary to be careful to store it and play in appropriate places. As being a percussion instrument, struck by the hands, the contact of the skin and the steel risks creating humidity which also promotes its oxidation. In any case, the handpan requires significant maintenance, especially if it is made of nitrided steel. For those who are stainless steel Handpans, oiling can be done once every two weeks or even monthly. To take good care of your instrument, you can always clean it after each use with a microfiber cloth.
Choose your handpan according to the number of notes
Many handpans are tuned to D minor, usually with 9 or 10 notes, including the middle note (called the ding). However, some handpans have up to 17 notes. However, more notes do not always mean more musical variety, the truth is quite different. In fact, the more notes there are on the same side, the greater the risk of distorting the notes at the level of this zone. This is because notes tend to interfere with each other.
Choose your handpan according to its frequency : 432 Hz or 440 Hz
There are two types of frequencies when it comes to handpans : 432Hz and 440Hz. 432Hz musical instruments are generally used in relaxation music or for non-Western instruments, which do not obey the frequency standardization. Finally, you will need to ensure that the frequency is 440Hz, which is the same as most western instruments, otherwise you won’t be able to play with your niece who plays the piano or your cousin who excels at the cello.