Few musical instruments have become as "cult," sought-after, and fascinating in their relatively short existence as the handpan. If you play it, you might be captivated too.

A metal melodic instrument with seven or more tones, played with the hands (gently or rhythmically), will quickly immerse you in the irresistible world of soft tones, rhythms, harmonies, and creative musical improvisation – just like thousands of other devotees of this instrument worldwide.

The handpan, also known as the Pantam or Hang Drum, is a musical instrument whose roots date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time, in the Trinidad and Indonesia region, the first attempts to create melodic instruments from metal (barrels and metal containers) began to appear, known as "steeldrums." These instruments had several tones along their circumference, tuned to different scales, and were mostly played with mallets. Steeldrums exist in various forms to this day (see, for example, beautiful meditative steeldrums HERE).

The first instruments in the current form of the handpan appeared around the year 2000 in Switzerland – developed by the Panart company and called Hang or Hang Drum ("hang" means "hand" in the Swiss dialect). Panart has long since stopped producing these instruments, and since then, dozens of other manufacturers of these instruments have emerged.

People often ask if what we have are "original Swiss hangdrums" etc. :) This idea or "fairy tale" persists at times. The truth is, if you listened to or tried to play these "original" hangdrums, you would probably be quite disappointed. Their sound, compared to many of today's handpans, is of very poor quality, and these instruments often sound flat and metallic. So, we are glad we don't have them and don't plan to acquire them :) Judge for yourself:

About the Instrument

One of the features that fascinates most people about handpans (obviously only those of really high quality) is their beautiful, rich, resonant, magical sound with perfectly tuned higher harmonics.

The handpan is made from two metal hemispheres that are glued or welded together to form a shape and appearance reminiscent of a UFO. The upper part, which is also the playing surface, usually contains a central tone, which is also the lowest tone of the instrument (also called the "ding"). This tone typically has a special convex shape and is almost always the fundamental tone or the fifth of the given scale. On the bottom side of the instrument, there is an opening, usually located in the center.

The melodic tones are arranged along the circumference of the instrument in the given scale. These tones are usually 7, 8, or 9. Occasionally, today, special experimental instruments appear that have more tones – 11, 12, 14, or even 20 (sometimes these tones are also placed on the bottom). An instrument with more tones is usually called a "mutant." This type of instrument increases the number of tones on one side, but generally, the rule is that the more tones, the lower the overall sound quality and resonance of the instrument. For regular playing or if you are starting with the instrument, the standard 7, 8, or 9 tones are optimal.

Handpans are usually made from steel, nitrided steel, or stainless steel. Their diameter ranges from 45 to 65 cm (usually 52-53 cm), and the weight from 2.5 to 5 kg.


The production of handpans is a very demanding and complex process. The first step is the material itself. From its properties and quality, the overall sound of the instrument is largely derived (similar to various types of wood in the case of violins, etc.). It often happens that the manufacturer receives new material that theoretically should be the same as the previous one, but it is not entirely, and the sound and properties of the instruments change more or less. This material must then be transformed into the shape of the basic hemispheres. Then, special hammers are used to create the future tones, considering their shape, resonance properties, mutual isolation of unwanted resonances, support of pleasant resonances, etc. – and this is already in itself a very individual "artistic" process that ultimately gives rise to high-quality and (those predominating) less high-quality instruments. These hemispheres are then heat-treated (in an oven, flames, oil, etc.).

Then comes the crucial part of the instrument production – tuning. It is an extremely sophisticated process, where numerous factors come into play (resonance ratios, harmonics, tone interactions, etc.). It is a very individual artistic matter, in which the skills, talent, and personality of the manufacturer are reflected, and from that, the sound of the entire instrument is derived – from (sub)average to the most beautiful, magically sounding instruments from the hands of true masters.

Here you can see a few moments from the process of making this instrument (it happens to be the place where the best instruments in the world are made):

And an exciting moment from the same place :)


Handpans are available in countless different scales and tunings. Handpan makers love giving scales special, unusual names (Oxalis, Enigma, Golden Gate, Onoleo, Ursa minor, Celtic, Dorian, Pygmy, Annaziska, Voyager, Magic Hour, etc. :)). Each scale and combination of tones gives the instrument its unique character, opens up our creative musical possibilities, but of course, also limits them...

The most common fundamental tone of the handpan is usually D, often encountered is Cis or occasionally C, or higher E or F. However, there are also handpans in very deep tuning H or A, or conversely in high tuning Fis, G, or even A.

If you are choosing your first handpan, it is advisable to choose D tuning, possibly Cis, or if you prefer higher tones, then F. As for the scale, an ideal and relatively universal starting point is usually one of the variants of the minor scale (integral, Celtic, mystic, etc.). Major scales are less common in handpans. Another category of scales are various oriental scale variants ("hijaz", etc.). They already sound very specific and it is good to reach for them only when choosing another instrument – which usually happens very quickly :)

If you are interested, we will be happy to help you choose the tuning and scale.

Manufacturers and Brands

Today, there are dozens of manufacturers of these instruments worldwide, and thanks to the growing popularity of this instrument, more and more are emerging. However, it remains true that a significant portion of these manufacturers (especially new ones) produce instruments of relatively low quality with uninteresting sound and overall tuning (yet at quite high prices). If you are thinking about purchasing this instrument and don't have much experience with them yet, it is good to consult with more experienced people or have the opportunity to try different instruments and compare them. It is advisable not to go for too cheap instruments or often mass-offered instruments from one manufacturer without comparison (e.g., from our eastern neighbors :) ... these instruments will not bring you much joy and pleasure over time...

Before we recommend very interesting and high-quality realistic and affordable options, we can still look at the really best top instruments worldwide for a moment. In this context, it is necessary to mention 3 names:

A breakthrough in the quality of handpans was the Russian Viktor Levinson. His SPB pantams (especially from the period around 2009 - 2011) are still used by many top musicians:

Today, Viktor Levinson almost no longer produces instruments, he did not surpass the quality of his older instruments, and his instruments are rare and valued today. However, he became an inspiration for two other unmatched masters:

The Israeli Yhonatan Ale-Yahav and his instruments Yishama were among the best and most original available, and they are played by top world musicians like Kabecao, David Kuckhermann, Adrian Portia, and others. These are also instruments that stand out with unique and unusual experiments (number of tones and their placement, depth of basses, etc.).

On rare older Yishama instruments also plays Pavel Sedláček:

The true jewels among these instruments, often considered the most beautifully sounding handpans in the world, remain the unique OMana instruments, created by Roman and Anton Reva from Ukraine, which many call the "Stradivari of handpans." These instruments are of unique design and unmatched tuning method, resulting in a beautiful, magical, captivating sound full of "heavenly" resonances, depth, breathtaking reverberation, and a wide spectrum of harmonic tones. These instruments are, however, usually unattainable – due to handmade production and the large number of interested people, the waiting time for an instrument is several years... Yet, we have the luck of having a series of unique OMana instruments thanks to personal relationships, on which Pavel Sedláček plays at concerts, seminars, and music recordings. Here you can listen to OMana handpans in D Celtic, F Integral, and B Barva tunings performed by Pavel Sedláček:


And here Pavel Sedláček with the entire "holy trinity" of handpans :) Omana, Yishama, and SPB:

But now back to reality :) There are still a few other relatively high-quality world manufacturers, but they also have very long "waiting lists" and their instruments are usually not available for prior testing.

Quality Instruments

Over the years, we have devoted great effort and time to testing and comparing instruments from many manufacturers. Many did not satisfy us, others were replaced by better ones. We are glad to now offer you really beautifully sounding high-quality instruments from several world-class manufacturers. These are especially the instruments of the British manufacturer PanAmor, which stand out for their top-notch quality, great sound, and are available in many tunings and on request also with special graphics on the surface – all at a very favorable price. The peak among high-quality handpans are also Panstream handpans. If you are considering purchasing a good-sounding handpan at an even more favorable price, you can try the instruments of the Italian manufacturer SEW handpan with us – whether in the basic or professional variant. We also have beautiful MAG Handpans available. And if you aspire to a truly top-notch instrument that comes close in properties and sound to the above-mentioned ones, then the instruments of Leaf Sound Sculptures are for you. All these instruments can be chosen and possibly tested with us – as you can see, our offer of high-quality handpans is very rich and unique. A very interesting handpan option (also very affordable) are RAV Drums – original instruments with beautiful, unique sound.

Which Instruments to Avoid

At the other end of the quality spectrum of these instruments, which we really cannot recommend after repeated testing, are various "cheap" and less cheap handpans, often offered here, often from Slovak production or others, sometimes called "cosmic pans" etc. These instruments are extremely poor quality and sound (to put it mildly) very bad – but potential buyers who are looking for their new instrument and have no comparison with high-quality instruments can easily be misled by this offer. These instruments are characterized by a dull, unpleasant metallic sound and extremely poor tuning quality and have nothing to do with high-quality handpans. Furthermore, there are extremely overpriced and very poorly sounding handpans by Meinl, Terre handpans, Sela, etc., and very poorly sounding handpan variants Zenko (including Spacedrum) etc. If you are looking for high-quality and beautifully sounding instruments that you would like to enjoy and that should inspire you with their beautiful sound, you should definitely avoid these mentioned instrument attempts to save yourself unnecessary disappointment, mixed feelings (and a lot of money).

But nothing beats trying the instruments yourself, listening to them, and comparing :)

Playing the Handpan

The handpan is an instrument that you can enjoy playing at home alone and on which you can also play at the highest virtuoso concert level, combine it with other instruments, additional handpans, etc. Learning to play the handpan starts with basic techniques of tone production and their combinations, elementary rhythmic structures, and progresses to advanced techniques, more complex rhythmic structures, and also possibilities for creative improvisation.

If you have acquired the instrument, you have an endless path ahead of you in mastering it and knowing how and what to play on it. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, you can continually improve and learn new techniques, pieces, and improvisation possibilities. If interested, we can help you in the form of very inspiring private lessons and seminars led by Pavel Sedláček, who, despite his young age, is considered one of the most remarkable handpan players in the world. If you purchase the instrument from us, we will gladly teach you how to play it :)

Interested in having a beautiful handpan concert at your place? More information HERE.

You can watch many interesting handpan videos on the YouTube channel Pavel Sedlacek - Pantam Music.