In this pan drum comparision we show the similarities and differences between 4 different metal pan drums: the RAV Vast (B Integral scale), Tacta Handpan (A Avalon 9 scale), GUDA Neo (Bb Major), and GUDA Mini Overtone (C Minor). Each one has a totally unique sound yet they all share some common qualities. Some of these drums sustain longer than others and some have a richer overtone profile. Weight, size and aesthetics are also major differences. Watch the video above and hear the difference!
The pan drum, aka handpan or “hang,” is a convex steel drum played with the hands and tuned with multiple notes. Each handpan is tuned to a particular scale such as major, natural minor, harmonic minor, hijaz, mixolydian, etc. Sonically the handpan is an overtone-emitting instrument that has the capacity to create many layers of sound and ethereal effects and works very well with drone instruments. Originally called the hang (pronounced “hah-ng”) the handpan was invented in 2001 by a little company in Switzerland called PANArt.
*** Purchase all the instruments shown in this video in our store.
Tacta handpans are professional quality instruments made by Brazilian craftsman Rafael D’Arco. The sensitivity to the touch and amazing overtones make Tacta handpans some of the best handpans around.
This instrument is made from stainless steel, as opposed to nitrided steel that other makers use, which results in a longer sustain (the notes ring out for a longer period of time). All Tacta Handpans come in the gold/brass color seen here in the photos. Available in 14 scales!
Watch more demos of Tacta Handpans here:
RAV Vast aka RAV Drum
RAV Drum is a revolutionary new instrument that fuses the concepts behind handpans (hang drums) and tongue drums (traditionally made of wood). Perfectly cut steel tongues vibrate harmoniously together to create an ethereal sound perfect for meditation, relaxation, and other mystical music experiences.
Made by Andrey Remyannikov in Russia, the RAV Drum is one of our favorite instruments to play. Available in over 17 scales!
Watch more demos of RAV Drums here:
GUDA drums are remarkable for having a big sound in a body smaller than standard sized pan drums. They are tongue drums, like RAV (as opposed to continuous steel pans like Tacta). Since the tongues do not resonate for as long as the RAV Drum, the resulting sound is quite different and lends itself to a more percussive, staccato style of playing.
Made by Zen Percussion, GUDA Neo features beautiful engraved designs and usually comes with a wonderful backpack carrying case.
GUDA Mini Overtone
The GUDA Mini Overtone is perhaps the most compact pan drum that we recommend. Not only that, but the engraved designs are stunning. Like the GUDA Neo, the GUDA Mini Overtone Check out Jerry Walsh demoing the GUDA Mini Overtone drum in the video above.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these pan drums, but knowing what you need will really help. If you travel a lot and want something compact and lightweight, a GUDA might be the drum for you. If you want the full expression of that iconic handpan sound, a Tacta handpan, might be the one for you. If you want a balance of sound and price, RAV is probably the best choice for you. Having a pan drum will most certainly enrich your life, open new doors for you and expand your musical potential.