A HUMBLE GUIDE TO THE WORLD OF PURCHASING A HANDPAN
Some people are seasoned swimmers in the handpan ocean and know exactly what they want. Our experience shows, though, that 80% of our customers find it helpful to think things through together with us and to make this process easier, we created a list of the most basic areas to clear out before ordering a handpan. Hope you find it helpful!
1. The MOOD
Handpan scales can be either minor (sad sounding), major (happy sounding) or exotic (sounding…well…exotic). Sunny days are awsome, but sometimes, we just want to stay in and read a book! For us, all of the scale moods carry different tastes of energy, but they are all healing, lifting and connecting. So it just boils down to your personal preference at any given time of your life.
2. The FREQUENCY
We make handpans in 440Hz and 432Hz. For a non-professional in this field, that might say close to nothing. Well, the standard of music in today’s world is 440Hz, so in case you are looking forward to playing together with other handpan players or other instruments all together, we recommend 440Hz. 432Hz is the “old frequency”, instruments used to be tuned by ear and somehow they usually ended up being…432Hz. So one might say it’s more natural to the human ear and to the surrounding world and therefore better for meditative playing and therapy work. It also used to correlate to the frequency of the planet Earth, but some say that even the frequency of planet Earth is changing these days… So we take no rigid view on the preference of the frequency - the choice is up to you and we recommend listening to your inner guidance!
3. The SCALE
Welcome to world of limitless choice. Some scales are more universal (c-major, d-minor), others very specific (taking you to the ancient Egypt or to the streets of Shanghai) . In general there are pentatonic scales, hexatonic scales, 7-note scales and 8-note scales (i know, i know…). And they can start from any note (Heliton Handcrafts currently excludes only Eb center note). When this topic is very new to you, you can think about whether you want a higher sounding scale or rather a low scale. Be sure to listen around our videos and other handpan videos on youtube and just feel into what resonates with you and your intentions and feel free to contact us and discuss in more detail! We are very flexible and most of our instruments are custom made, so we can truly help you to find what you are looking for!
4. The number of TONEFIELDS
Most of the tonefields are placed on the upper side of the instrument. In HH, we currently make 7+1(center note) regarding the upper hemisphere. In case you are looking for more tonefields, we can also place up to 4 notes on the bottom hemisphere. There are other makers who create so called “monster handpans” with tons of notes everywhere, but we just like to keep it simple, clean and clear. It is also a possibility to add notelings aka TAKs on the bottom side (check out the Elderflower video below!). These are not crazy popular, but we happen to LOVE them. The price of the instrument may become slightly higher with lots of tonefields on the bottom side.
5. And finally..the PRICE and QUALITY
Handpans mostly come in the price range of 800-3600 eur, depending on the quality, size, experience of the maker and other factors. The most basic price is around 1200eur to get a decent enough handpan and most of our handpans are also in that price range. Not all makers or resellers value their instruments fairly though, so be sure to check the quality of the sound and the details of the material before you buy! Make sure it’s nitrided (rust resistant) and NOT covered in layer(s) of paint. Check that all the notes are in tune and have the overtones in place (every note consists of the fundamental tone and 2 overtones). When you are not sure yourself whether to buy a specific handpan or not or how to check the tuning, don’t be afraid to contact a professional player or maker to help you out. Even if you consider buying from someone else, we would be glad to help you to figure out whether you are sending your money and energy into the right source!