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Handpan For Beginners: Everything You Should Know 2023

Table of Contents

Want to learn the handpan’s wonderful sounds but don’t know where to start? Beginners seeking to play this exciting instrument are in the right place. This “handpan for beginners” book will teach you the history of handpans, their structure, playing techniques, and essential tips for generating beautiful melodic music. This handpan introduction will set you on a harmonic journey of discovery and creation, whether you’re a novice or an experienced musician trying something new. Discover the wonder of handpans for beginners.

What Is A Handpan?

The handpan for beginners is a one-of-a-kind and exciting musical instrument made in the 21st century. Its unique lenticular form could make you think of a turtle shell, a UFO, or a wok. Often called a “sound sculpture,” the handpan is a beautiful piece of art and a helpful singing instrument. It takes a lot of time and care to make each handpan, so each one is unique.

Hammer marks on the surface show how well an artist created the piece. The handpan for newbies is a great musical instrument for people of all skill levels because it has soothing sounds and is easy to play.

What Is Handpan Scale?

Handpans for beginners are engaging percussion instruments with melodic tones. This unique instrument has a precisely built scale, expertly positioned and adjusted to provide beautiful sounds. The moods and personalities of the Handpan scales define the instrument’s sound.

These handpan scale notes shape the music’s essence and mood. Aspiring handpan players learn to strike or lightly tap notes with their hands or fingertips to create beautiful sounds.

Handpans have a variety of scales, from exotic to major, minor, pentatonic, and blues. Beginners wanting to discover this exciting world of musical expression will enjoy handpan music because the scale can significantly affect style and atmosphere.

How To Use Handpan Scales

When starting Handpans for beginners should know that most have eight or nine notes. This may appear restrictive, but each handpan note has a deep intricacy. The fundamental tone, octave, and compound fifth are beautifully linked in a 1:2:3 ratio. This sophisticated blend of frequencies gives handpans their intriguing, multi-layered sound that attracts novices and experts.

Interestingly, a handpan’s limited notes make it appealing. This small number of notes encourages natural, instinctual playing rather than restricting musical expression. Handpans are perfect for beginners because they allow you to easily make beautiful music without learning intricate music theory.

However, because the handpan only has one scale… choosing the appropriate scale is still vital! But how do you go about selecting a handpan? I’m not sure about you, but I’m not classically trained. I never studied music, but I did educate my hearing to identify the ‘ sound flavor’ of each handpan scale. And I believe you can do it as well.

All handpan scales can be classified as one of three types:

  • MAJOR: Does it sound joyous, happy, or peaceful?
  • MINOR: Is it gloomy, melancholy, or tragic?
  • FLAVORFUL: Is it exotic or ethnic? (For example, Asian or Middle Eastern)

If deciding on the scale for your first handpan feels overwhelming, this article is for you. After reading this, you’ll be able to recognize handpan scales and know how to choose a handpan that connects with you the most.

How To Use Handpan Scales


What Is The Best Handpan Scale For Beginners?

Learning how to play Handpan for beginners can be easier if you start with natural minor scale changes. We recognize these sounds, making them perfect for people new to playing the handpan. The Kurd scale is among the most popular and suggested by beginning musicians because it is a great way to build melody and harmony.

The following are the most popular natural minor handpan scales:

  • (Minor) Kurd
  • Integral
  • Amara (Celtic Minor)

However, handpan scales have few notes so you can begin with any of them.

Other scales, such as primary or eastern-originated scales, may take a little more time to get used to, but it won’t be difficult because the handpan is one of the most accessible instruments to learn and play.

In the domain of handpans for beginners, we can try new things and don’t limit ourselves. There are specific ways to become acquainted with this instrument and enjoy playing without struggling with generating melodies and harmonies.

Handpans, unlike the piano or guitar, are not chromatic instruments. This means they have a restricted amount of specially picked notes on them. As a result, each handpan has its personality and notes that have been carefully chosen and organized.

Scale Name Notes in Scale Characteristics
C Major C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C’ Bright and Happy
D Minor D, F, G, A, C, D’ Melancholic and Reflective
G Minor G, A#, C, D, E, F, G’ Mysterious and Meditative
Akebono A, B, C, E, F, A’ Japanese Scale, Peaceful Vibes
Kurd D, E, F#, A, B, D’ Middle Eastern, Exotic Sound
Hijaz D, E, F, G#, A, B, D’ Arabic Scale, Mystical Feel
Integral B, C#, D, E, F#, A, B’ Unique and Modern, Futuristic
Pygmy D, A, Bb, C, D, F, G, A’ Dark and Mysterious
Celtic Minor G, A, Bb, C, D, E, G’ Folk-Inspired, Celtic Tones

Best Handpan For Beginners

D# Handpan Meinl Sonic Energy Hd3 Harmonic Art Series

The pan is tuned to A4/ a’ 440 Hz, the norm for mainstream Western music, so you may play with a band or small ensemble. In China, high-quality German stainless steel is lathed, shaped, and hand-tuned to make this pan. This keeps it over $2000.

This ding sounds good, and hitting the shoulders produces lovely tones. Due to this handpan series’ distinctive feature, the tuned fields are loud.

Meinl created these pans with two bottom sound ports instead of one. One port faces an audience, and the other faces the player. The “pingy” tones make this pan sound brighter with more attack and fade than other pans. Moderate overtones. All of these make the Meinl HD3 a good ensemble pan.

Height: 10” (25.4cm)

Weight: 30 pounds

Included Notes: G, A#, C, D, D#, F, G

Handpan For Beginners

Acolyte Handpan

You can get great handpans from Acolyte in 5 scales at a price that won’t break the bank. They don’t have to wait or play a draw to get one of their beautiful instruments. A minor form of the Acolyte is also great for traveling.

The Acolyte is one of our favorite handpans made in the United States. It sounds magical and resembles a piece of art based on a spaceship. You’ll want to touch it all the time! It’s the DM Celtic key that we like.

This business also makes the Nirvana handpan. The handsome Head Builder, Terence Jay, makes each by hand and to the customer’s specifications.

Hang Drum Training By Ali Massoudi

Hang drums are rewarding to play and learn due to their unique sound—great handpan drum lessons from Ali Massoudi.

Non-percussionists may find the handpan drum’s captivating sounds difficult. With dedication and practice, you can learn this magnificent instrument.

A competent handpan player needs rhythm and timing. You hit the instrument’s sounds with your fingertips, not mallets or sticks. Fingerwork demands precision and control.

Learning the handpan takes time to acquire finger strength and muscle memory. You have several resources to help you. Online courses, manuals, and seminars like Ali Massoudi’s Handpan Drum Teaching are available.

Your musical experience, talent, and commitment to practicing determine how difficult handpan learning is. Ali Massoudi ‘s expert instruction lets you uncover the handpan’s musical potential.


Is it simple to play handpan for beginners? The handpan has some problems, but it is a joyful and simple instrument that musicians of all levels can appreciate. Serious beginners who practice and love music can discover delight and satisfaction in playing the handpan and creating lovely tunes.

Please do it! It would be best to begin learning to play the handpan immediately. You may discover that the experience is not only enjoyable but also beneficial.


Is A Handpan With Bottom Pads Required?

Bottom pads provide beginners with more handpan playing possibilities. However, it requires a greater understanding of note harmony. This feature enhances the game for experienced players. Beginner handpan players should choose a top-note handpan. Unless they plan to buy a more versatile handpan as they improve. Our website has more information about bottom pads and helps you select the best handpan for beginners.

A Handpan And Hand Drum Cost How Much?

A handpan or hand drum costs 800 euros. However, handpan and hand drum prices vary substantially. Handpan/hand drum prices depend on the material, tone fields, and manufacturer. Instrument quality and bottom notes are essential.

The unique Chaya handpan costs 2.300 euros, while the IONIS nitrided steel handpan costs 1.600–1.700 euros. Steel tongue drums cost 195–565 euros. Our website and handpan store in Bunnik, near Utrecht, have many handpans at different prices.

What Size Is A Handpan?

A handpan for beginners usually uses a handpan between 50 and 60 cm diameter. However, around 90% of the handpans on the European market have a diameter of about 53 cm. They often measure between 25 and 30 centimeters in height.

Still, unusual sizes are becoming increasingly common, like the small handpan. This miniature version can even be used as a children’s handpan and is ideal for travel. With its average diameter of about 40 cm, this smaller handpan is especially suitable for people with shorter upper limbs.

What Size Is A Tongue Drum?

The diameter of a tongue drum is between 20 and 50 centimeters. A tongue drum is, therefore, smaller than a handpan.


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