Hands On Fire

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Do you have to use mallets or can the drums be played with your hands?

-        The drums can be played with mallets OR hands. Producing a good quality sound is easy with the mallets and takes some proper technique with the hands.

-        Playing tutorials will be available in the future

2.      I’m having trouble picking a scale – What scale should I choose?

-        The first question you need to answer is “what is my purpose for the drum?” Are you buying it to use as a musician to play with other instruments? Is it for personal relaxation or meditation? Do you just think it’s awesome and you must own one? Is it a gift and needs to very neutral?

-        If you are a musician, then it’s important to pick the scale that will be the most useful for the type of music you play. Consider the key you often play and pick a scale that is similar to your style.

-        If you are using it for personal relaxation, meditation, or creative exploration, then it’s most important to choose the scale you find pleasing or feel connected too. Here are some general principles to help guide your choice.  Higher tones tend to be more energizing/uplifting, low notes more soothing/calming. Major scales tend to feel more uplifting than minor scales. If you like it – it’s the right scale for you!

-        If it’s a gift, try and apply the previous principles to the recipient, and if all else fails, choose a good neutral and popular scale such as the G Major or A Phrygian.

3.      Which Frequency should I choose? 432hz, 444hz, or 440hz?

-        440hz is the standard tuning If you are a musician and will be using the drum to play with other instruments. 440hz will insure that you always sound in tune with other musicians.

-        444hz and 432hz are therapeutic frequencies that are in sync with the natural world and the universe that we are a part of. There is synchronicity between these frequencies and things such as the Fibonacci sequence (the Golden Ratio), frequency of light, sacred geometry, ancient solfeggio,

-        444hz higher, uplifting and good for releasing tension.

-        432hz is lower, calming, and good for grounding and peace.

4.      Can you tune the drum to any scale?

-        Yes, I can do a custom tuning to any combination of 8 notes. If you want a different tuning than what I have listed, just contact me. I’ll do a custom scale at no additional cost.

5.      Will my drum ever go out of tune?

-        With proper care, your drum should stay in tune. It is possible for the drum to go out of tune because of improper use and playing too hard.

-        If needed, I can retune your drum at no charge but you will be responsible for the shipping.

6.      Does the style of finish affect the sound?

-        For the most part no. Sometimes the Rustic finishes can have a more mellow tone, but this is not always true, just something I’ve observed over the years.

7.      Can I return my drum if I’m not happy?

-        Please refer to our return policy here.

8.      How do I take care of my drum?

-        Your drum is made of steel and is coated to prevent rust, but it is important to keep it dry, so don’t leave it outside.

-        Don’t “over play” your drum. It’s not a drum set or Djembe and playing too heavy handed can bend the tongues. Someday, hopefully soon, there will be a link here for a really awesome playing tutorial. For now, contact me if you need some help.

-        Don’t drop it!

-        To clean it, dust with a soft cloth and try to keep it dry.

9.      Is that a Hang drum?

The Hang (pronounced hung) is a percussion instrument in the idiophone class and is a registered trademark and property of PANArt Hangbau AG, created by artist Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer. They are credited with creating the first Hand Pan which they named the Hang. Steel tongue drums are idiophones but are not Hand Pans. The main difference is in how the notes are formed. Hand Pans are made by hammering/depressing note dimples like Caribbean Steel Drums. Steel tongue drum notes are made by cutting the steel tongue to a size correlated to the desired note.

10.   Can I come to your shop and pick out a drum in person?

-        Yes! If you are in the Nashville area, contact me to make an appointment.

11.   What are the dimensions of the drum?

-        The 8 note drum is approximately 12 inches in diameter and 7 inched tall.

-        The 10 note drum is approximately 14 inch diameter and 8 inches tall

12.   What is a Pentatonic scale?

-        A pentatonic scale is a musical scale or mode with 5 notes per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (7 note) scale. If you’re not a musician all you need to know is that in most pentatonic scales, all the notes harmonize – making it very easy for you to play because there are no wrong notes. You literally can’t make it sound bad!

-        The pentatonic scale is the most intuitive scale, is the foundation of improvisation, and examples are found in most every culture. Check out my sound model page for a fun and informative video!

13.   Can you do custom art, logos, or colors on my drum?

-        To preserve the artistic purity of my work and identity of my brand, I respectfully decline placing any custom artwork, symbols, or paint on the instruments.

-        I do offer the option to commemorate a drum as a gift by offering up to 3 lines of text limited to names, dates, commemorations, and terms of endearment. There is an extra charge for adding a commemoration, Please contact me to inquire about this prior to your purchase. Please note that all sales are final on a custom etched drum, no refunds, returns, or exchanges are offered.

14.   What does my drum come with?

-        Each drum includes a set of mallets and a reference sheet outlining your scale and the order of notes. The reference sheets can also be downloaded from my sound model page.

15.   I scratched my drum, how can I fix it?

-        For repairs to the clear coat, I recommend Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel. First, read and follow the directions on the can of clear coat. Second, smooth the scratch by buffing with 400-600 grit sand paper or OOO steel wool, being careful not to go down to the bare metal below. Apply an even coat of Crystal Clear Enamel to the entire top or bottom of the drum (whichever side you are repairing). Allow 24hrs to dry.

16.   Do you have a stand for the drum?

-        The drum need to be on a soft surface to avoid dampening the vibrations. Your lap works well, but you need a little help if you want to place it on a hard surface. Anything soft will do (like a small pillow).

17.   Do you offer wholesale?

-        If you have an established business and would like to offer HandsOnFire drums, please contact me.

18.   How soon will I receive my order?

-        Most custom orders ship within 7-10 days.

-        Existing “ready to ship” drums are shipped within 2 days.

-        All drums are shipped via USPS priority 3 day mail.


19.   Do you accept trades?

-        Not usually, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, just contact me, I’m sure something could be worked out for the right Hand Pan ; )

20.   Do you make CD’s?

-        Not yet, but when I do, it will be available here!

21.   What’s the best way to safely transport my drum?

-        I offer carry bags seasonally. When available, you can purchase them here.

-        You can also use a case designed for a 10x5 piccolo snare drum. My favorite is made by Protection Racket - PR3010 - 10” x 5” SD Case 753283-20082

22.   What events will you be vending at next?

-        Here is a link to my event schedule.

23.   I’m an educator and want a drum for my classroom, do you have any recommendations?

-        I have helped educators write successful grants proposals for the purchase of a drum. Contact me if you have any questions.

24. Do you ship international?

-       For sales outside the U.S, please visit my Etsy Store