HANG DRUM

The Hang Drum, Hang-Hang, Hung or Hang as it is more widely known, is a Swiss musical instrument produced by PANArt, which is based out of Bern, Switzerland. Production began around 2000 and the company has slowly forged a very strong reputation for producing a truly unique and wonderful instrument that can not be rivaled by it's competitors. Essentially, it could be argued that the Hang's roots are from a sister instrument (the Steel Pan), an instrument founded in Trinidad and Tobago. Certainly sound wise they have very similar characteristics, however, the structure and craftsmanship required to produce these instruments do differ. The Hang (Hang Drum) is shaped like a flying saucer, which is fully enclosed with a hole at the bottom to enable sound to amplify, (much like a Cajon or Djembe) where as the Steel Pan has a more open base of the drum. Whilst the Steel Pan is played with sticks, the Hang is played by the hands and is so new that there is no real established technique as yet. It is, however, on first playing, fairly difficult to obtain a clear pitch using the fingers, and the technique required has a likeness to bongo and conga playing. (e.g it sounds a lot easier than it is!).

The Hang Drum comes in several scales depending on the date of production and there have been many versions. To name a few, 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, Integral Hang and Free Integral Hang. Due to the fact that PANArt hand make these instruments, there isn't an infinite amount available. With the boom of interest, demand is high and supply is unfortunately low. This results in them being a highly sought after and valuable instrument for many.

The best way to obtain a Hang Drum - we would advise that you visit the Hanghaus to purchase one from the makers, Sabina Sharer and Felix Rohner. Please do not turn up expecting to buy one as the process is very long winded. First you must write a letter (at certain times when they are available - we recommend checking online forums for the latest gossip) expressing your interest and who you are / how you will connect with the instrument. Then if you are one of the lucky ones to be chosen, you will be offered an appointment at the Hanghaus. We strongly recommend that you obtain your Hang this way, as you know it will be well tuned and in great condition. Also, it is worth noting, if you purchase a second hand Hang Drum, PANArt will not re-tune it for you!

I have obtained two Hang's in the past - one from the Hanghaus and one from the ebay auction site. If you are truly desperate for the instrument and want to buy one second hand, here are a few things to watch out for along the way. I heard just a few weeks back of someone selling a hang on ebay, wanting money wired to a Western Union account. Unfortunately the buyer paid for it outside of ebay and subsequently lost $2500. Be careful - this happens a lot! Unfortunately there are many scams.

Firstly, it was a long time before I purchased the hang from ebay. I did a great deal of research on the values and the scales of other auctions to see finishing prices. It is pretty easy to find this documented on websites here and there. (Past ebay Auctions). The first thing I learnt was that the clue to a legitimate Hang sale is often in the amount and level of detail in the description. For example, the more info, the more the seller knows about this rare instrument, and the more likely they are to own it! e.g if you were selling a top of the range Audi TTRS you wouldn't just say Audi TTRS For Sale - right?

Often current owners of Hangs are very protective of their instrument and want to see it go to a good place. This is more than understandable but always ask questions and demand a great deal of detail in the response. If you get a short answer, I would start to ask more questions. The next step I went through was to ask the ebay seller to send me a video as evidence of the Hang. I made sure it was real by asking them to put a piece of paper with their ebay username by it in the video so I knew it wasn't a fake. You can do this with photos too! If the seller won't do this, obviously they don't want to sell it to you!

I think it goes without saying but just in case, ONLY buy through sites which have protection - if the seller demands money outside of the auction (sometimes even before it has been sold!) this would worry me and is almost certainly going to end in you loosing out. Ask the seller if you can collect. Some don't like this but it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have the instrument, they just don't want to meet, but it's as well to ask! Even if you are not banking on flying halfway around the World, you can see what the sellers response will be and ascertain again it's validity. If possible meet the seller. I actually met in a very secure place (the safest place I could think of where security would be high - the airport lounge!). It is always an idea to trade address details and ask them to bring their passport to check it's validity.

I may be a little over the top here but I actually put the name, telephone number / landline of the person in google and it came up with a match - bonus!. Try and obtain all original documents and get a receipt in case anything crops up later! Finally the Hang Drum is such a delicate instrument that problems can arise very easily. Ask about tuning, scratches, rust etc.

The above is by no means full proof but this is the process that I went through to guarantee a great sounding instrument at the lowest possible cost! I hope this helps you find your PANArt Hang Drum soon! Once again I strongly advise that you contact PANArt direct first via letter. It's always the best way and the wait is well worth the feeling you get when you pick up a brand new Hang Drum from Bern!