How much do your handpan instruments cost?
Upcoming pans in normal production will be $2050 for a 7 note. And $2150 for an 8 note. Additional notes or custom scales are available upon request. Inquire for specials if you visit the workshop locally.
Do you ship your instruments? Yes. If you live in the USA, shipping is usually around $100. If you live outside the USA, shipping costs will vary greatly. All custom duties and taxes are the responsibility of the purchaser, towards the value of the instrument.
Do you have cases for the instruments? Yes. Hard cases are available for purchase at and additional cost. To learn more, visit Hard Case Technologies. These cases are impact resistant, durable and offer great protection for your instrument during shipping or transport.
Are your instruments heat-treated? Yes. This process allows for a greater resistance to rust, while also improving some aspects of building and sound qualities.
How are your instruments built? The raw instrument shells are formed using a specially designed tool. The tool was developed by Isthmus Instruments and resides locally in the USA. In the Isthmus Instrument workshop, the blank shells are dimpled, hammered & tuned by hand, heated and tuned several times for the best stability and sound quality.
How long does it take you to build an instrument? (...Five years and counting!) Generally the process can take up to a number of weeks, from raw form to finished instrument.
There is always more to learn with this process in regards to metal shaping techniques, tuning, heat treatments, properties of materials, etc... Isthmus Instruments is constantly involved in R & D to improve all aspects of instrument making.
How often do your instruments need to be tuned? Over time (years), the instrument may slowly begin to drift out of “perfect” tuning. This is normal and can be fixed. A casual or hobby player may not need a retuning service for a few years while a professional musician may need more frequent service.
How do you guarantee the tuning of your instruments? If in the first year something happens to the tuning of your instrument in an unprecedented way, I will repair/ retune the instrument absolutely free of charge. (Any instrument that has been damaged will require a different evaluation). After the 1st year there may be a small fee. I work hard to guarantee that the instruments I build are of the most stable quality. The instruments are tuned, stress relived, and tuned again. Additionally, Isthmus is involved in ongoing material studies.
Will you build me a custom scale? Yes, I want to work with you to build the instrument of your choice. There are sometimes limitations around this however, so please inquire for details.
Why did you choose the name Isthmus Instruments for your venture? Madison, WI, where I live and work, is located on an isthmus. To me, conceiving of the Isthmus as a "land bridge" underplays the importance of water to the city and its people. Madison is more like a bridge connecting two incredible bodies of water; it is a special location. Like Madison and its lakes, my instruments are two bodies joined together that produce a sound some say evokes water itself.
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In the meantime, here are some great informational resources: