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Pros and cons of handpan instrument

December 18, 2022 3 min read

You are wondering if the handpan is made for you. In this short article, we are going to display all the different aspects of this instrument with its advantage and its inconvenient. This listing may help you to take decision about starting or not to play handpan. 

Pro of playing handpan

Easy to learn

It is an easy instrument to learn. The notes are harmonic and false notes are non-existent. This makes it a very educational and motivating instrument to go ahead and develop a real technique little by little. So for all music lovers who don't necessarily have any theoretical knowledge, the handpan is a perfect choice to start and have fun.

A unique instrument

The sound of the handpan but also its shape show the originality of this instrument. The sound is unlike any other instrument and attracts all the attention. The notes are enchanting and the combination between the notes and the percussion can surprise the first time you hear this instrument. Not used to this kind of sound, we could almost believe that there are several instruments combined when hearing it the first time. 

Easy to carry

Although it weighs about 7-8 kg, the handpan is quite easy to carry. The handpan's adapted carrying bags make it easy to take with you on a short trip. When you buy this drum, the manufacturer will in most cases provide a suitable bag with it. So if you are thinking of buying this unusual instrument and want to play outside, think about the bag that goes with it. It is essential to be able to transport your handpan instrument and is so practical that you simply cannot do without it.

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Easy to maintain

Maintaining the handpan is easy and doesn't take too much time.
All you need is a special oil that you can apply once a month and make sure to keep it dry. You will also need to wipe your handpan after use in case you leave some sweat on your instrument. Basically, if you want an instrument that doesn't require too much attention, the handpan is made for you and will only require a few small daily attentions.

No tuning required

The handpan, unlike other instruments such as the guitar or the piano, does not need to be tuned before starting to play. For beginners this is a real positive point and allows to save a tedious task. Be careful though, the handpan can go out of tune over the years and it will then be necessary to contact a specialist to tune it up.

Ideal for relaxing

Buying a handpan often goes hand in hand with the desire to use it to accompany meditation. The sound of the Handpan is known to be melodious and soothing. It has the ability to transport the mind into a deep meditative state. To learn more about the meditative side and the benefits of the handpan, you can take a look at our article on the subject.

A wide range of tones

The handpan has several ranges that are very different from each other. You can choose oriental, Asian, Indian sounds but also choose between happy or melancholic sounds. To get an idea, check out our comprehensive list of handpan ranges.

Cons of playing handpan

Difficult to play in a group

The handpan is a difficult instrument to combine with other more classical instruments. Indeed, the volume of notes is quite low and depending on the scale, it will not be able to tune with all instruments. It is therefore important to take this aspect into account before starting. You can however limit the risks by turning to the most used scales like the D-Kurd, Amara, Pymy...

The limits on 1 instrument

With 1 handpan, you can quickly feel limited by the possibilities. As soon as you want to play another scale or enjoy more notes, it will be necessary to equip yourself with another handpan to complete your scale or discover a totally different sound. Given the cost of such an instrument, this seems to be the main drawback and can quickly become expensive if you are impatient and want to constantly vary the sound.

The volume of the notes

The notes of the handpan are soft and it can be difficult to be heard when you are playing with several people or in an open space with a lot of ambient noise. The handpan is ideal for playing in quiet places where you can fully enjoy its haunting sounds.
alexandre zunino
alexandre zunino

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