Handpan, hangdrum- What is the difference really? In the year 2000 the Swiss company PanArt invented the sound sculpture and gave it the name “Hang”. The name "Hangdrum" is also often used for this original type of instrument. When other builders also started making the instrument the group name for the type of instrument became “HandPan" or "HandPan Drum".

How much do your handpan instruments cost?
Upcoming pans in normal production will be $2000 USD. 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 or Canada, shipping is included . 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.

What are your most popular scales? Our most popular scales are the various D minor scales that we offer (D Integral 8 and D Celtic), and the E SaByeD Scale.

Do you have cases for the instruments? Yes. We offer Hardcases by Evatek for sale, To learn more, visit Hard Case Technologies. These cases are impact resistant, durable and offer great protection for your instrument during shipping or transport. 

We also have soft cases that we offer for sale.

How big is an Isthmus handpan? the outside diameter of our handpans is approximately 22 inch, with height of 11 inches.

Is there a certain Hertz that Isthmus handpans are tuned in to? We tune our instruments to 440 Hz. We can tune our handpans to 432 Hz as well for special orders.

How does the climate impact my Isthmus handpan?  Generally speaking, humid places requires more attention for the handpan maintenance than dry climate. If you live in a humid place,we recommend applying handcare oil to your instrument at least once a month.

How come there is a microfiber cloth inside my handpan? All of our handpans have a resonant chamber, which by nature can result sometimes in complications such as impedance/wave interference. The microfiber cloth inside your handpan helps resolve the interference issues and will help balance the overall feel of the instrument. It should not be taken out or removed.

Can I pickup an Isthmus instruments handpan in person? Yes! We love meeting our customers and getting to know them is one of our main goals! A  pickup for your instrument is always possible, and can be made by scheduling a time beforehand.

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.

Are your instruments Nitrided ? Yes. All of our handpans are fully nitrided. This helps reduce the chance of rust on our handpans.

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, we 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. We work hard to guarantee that the instruments we build are of the most stable quality. Additionally, Isthmus is involved in ongoing material studies.

Can Isthmus instruments retune my handpan from a different maker? It is recommended that you first contact the original maker of your handpan for a retuning service or touch ups. If your maker fails to provide you with this service, you can contact Jenny at isthmusinstruments@gmail.com.

Will you build me a custom scale? Yes, we 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.

Here are some great informational resources: