When will you have handpans for sale in your new shop? Why is everything sold out? Every month we are only able to post a limited number of handpans for sale. This is because we are also still very busy building custom handpans for prior orders. If nothing is available when you visit- it has been sold.
How can I be notified of when there are new instruments in the webstore? We recommend checking the new shop every month for new and different scales. You can also signup up for our priority mailing list to be notified when we list new instruments.
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?
Our handpans come in a range of prices. Prices are based on things like sound, artwork, number of notes and whether or not a hard or soft case is included. You can find these instruments for sale in our shop every month. Our custom instruments start at a base price of $2179 USD.
Do you ship your instruments? Yes, we ship our instruments to customers all around the world. If you live outside the USA, shipping costs are usually around $130- $170 USD. Some exceptions do apply to these estimates. If you are a customer outside of the USA, please note that any custom duties/ taxes will be your responsibility.
What are your most popular scales? Our most popular scales right now are the various D minor scales ("D Integral 8", "D Celtic" or "D kurd"), and the "E SaByeD" scale.
Do you have cases for the instruments? Yes. We offer both hard and soft cases as options. The Hardcases are called "Evateks" and manufactured by Hard Case Technologies. These cases are impact resistant, durable and offer great protection for your instrument during shipping or transport.
We also have new amazing soft cases that are handmade by Namana bags. These cases are extremely comfortable for long transports with a handpan on your back. The bags are easy to store as well. In our opinion, they are the right choice for careful owners that like to be mobile with their handpan.
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 handpan 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. Leave the cloth inside if you also prefer.
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, sound qualities and color.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: