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Find your Handpan

To find the perfect Handpan for oneself is not easy. Along the process you will have many questions. We will try to cover the most important ones here and on the following pages. In case there are more - just reach out, we are here to help!

Should I go for 8, 9 or 14 tones?

One thing right from the start: A general judgement, a better or worse is neither possible nor appropriate when it comes to the question of the correct number of tones on a Handpan. Every correctly tuned Handpan sounds breathtaking with a little technique and practice!

The special sound of Yatao is created, among other things, by the speed with which Malte and Alex play the Handpan. The video below is a wonderful example of what a breathtaking sound stage is possible with an 8-tone Handpan:

In general, it can be said that the complexity of an instrument increases with the number of its tones. On the one hand, complexity describes the sound possibilities available to you with the higher number of notes. By using up to 16 instead of 8 notes, completely new and exciting harmonies and sound sequences become possible. You are more versatile and flexible when playing with others, and you can also give your virtuosity a really new expression. On the other hand, complexity also describes the much more demanding use of the instrument - for example, tones lie on the back of the instrument. This makes it both more difficult to reach them and to strike them cleanly, the smaller diameter does not make this any easier.

In the following video you can see that Malte has more freedom of sound and thanks to a higher number of tones he can play more complex melodies

Of course, an instrument with a more tones is also much more demanding in terms of production. It is not without reason that not every Handpan maker has instruments with more than 14 tones in his portfolio. Therefore it can be generally stated that a more complex handpan is understandably more expensive to buy.

Small or big?
Traditionally a Handpan has a diameter of about 53 centimeters. On the one hand, this makes the handpan a relatively large, some might say partly unwieldy instrument. On the other hand, it is exactly this large sounding body that enables the typically pleasant and full sound. It is a special feeling to feel the hardly noticeable vibration and the oscillations that resonate across this large sound body.

For some time now, various manufacturers have been trying to produce these typical Handpan "sound colours" with a smaller resonance body. The smaller "brothers and sisters" of the traditional Handpan are thus perfectly suited as an introductory instrument for children, teenagers or anyone who prefers a more compact instrument that is also suitable for travelling. There are not many makers who can produce such Handpans. We are very happy to be able to present you here regularly the mini handpans by Leaf in the Yatao Shop.

Expensive or rather a bit cheaper?

The prices for Handpans vary greatly depending on the maker, region, brand reputation, number of notes and quality. The price of a handpan does not always reflect the quality of the instrument. Prices are usually between 1000€ and 2000€ for 8 tones, which means that 8 notes are placed around the central note in the middle called "Ding". Instruments with additional tones, for example also on the lower shell, are often much more expensive. Usually there is a basic price of 8 or 9 notes and each additional note costs 100€ - 200€ more.

Since the market is still so young, used and well maintained instruments are usually sold at the original purchase price.

For those who don't want to spend so much money there are so-called "tongue drums". They have vibrating steel blades that are cut into the surface, sound a bit duller and softer and have a much longer sustain (reverberation). Our recommendation for a tonguedrum is the RAV Vast, which is made in Russia.

The feeling decides

We gave numerous workshop in the last years and we have learned that tastes are highly subjective, often could not be more different and that we often think too much about the different parameters. We have made a diverse selection of makers and scales that differ in design, sound, and possibilities. Don't let this confuse you, but try to make your decision intuitively:

What do you feel when you hear the sound of the respective Handpan? Which design do you feel attracted to? Listen to your feelings while making your choice, then your playing will resonate them.

Take your time to make your choice. Your friends, family and even we can't help you with what feels right and suitable for you.

To give you a small overview and to share our opinion, we have written an orientation text for each Handpan scale and maker. If you have any further questions - don't hesitate to contact to us!