Buying Steel Tongue Drums and Steelpans!

Steel drums are not easily found in shops. Not every local instrument shops have these steel dreams. You will have to search for shops that sell good-quality steel drums. There are places where steel drums are custom-made. But they are usually high-rated. They can also be bought online, where the choices are more and varied. Through online purchase, prices of the steel tongue drums for sale can be compared and there are chances for discounts too. Used drums can also be bought through online purchases too.

Tips while Buying

  • You can browse for more information about the steel pan or drum you are seeking to buy, before you make a purchase.
  • You can also ask for professional advice before selecting the instrument.
  • Make sure that there are no dents or damages on the outer drum, visible to the eye, as they may distort the beauty of the music.
  • You can also take an electronic tuner to check the sound variations of the drum and to check that the notes are harmonious and perfect sounding.
  • If you are a beginner or a learner, you can buy steel drums that are more economic or you can buy used drums for playing, as the steel drums are usually expensive instruments. You can also listen to some great music by other pannists and get yourself familiarized, with good pieces of music from great pannists.
  • If you are a professional, it is worth investing money into such good instruments.

Tongue drums beat out beautiful rhythms, through its vibrating tongues. Played almost like a wooden tongue drum, the sound waves are created by using the mallets available with them. Fingers can also be used to play on these drums. The tongues are tuned by varying the cut length. Weights are also added, to aid in the tuning. These weights are made of neodymium magnets and are added to the tongues. The tuning of these steel tongue drums are made to pentatonic scales, diatonic scale or the chromatic scale. The player makes perfect tunes by playing the instrument with his fingers or with the aid of mallets. Playing melodies with rhythmic patterns, with the aid of mallets and with a care sheet is wonderful to the ears. The compact drums create harmonic music that makes it easy to enjoy new musical horizons. It can be used anywhere and can be taken for long distances, without being a burden to carry.


The drum adds to the depth of the rhythm and the notes. There is a port at the bottom of the body that helps to increase the volume of the sound, as the sound gets its opening through the hole. When the beats are played fast, the tones sound superb and do not overlap with each other. Different levels of resonance can be used, to produce the desired effect, according to the player.

The drum is handplayed by the musician. He can make the steelpan drum rest on his lap while playing. It can also be played by using the mallets. Using minimal force, the sounds comes out throatily from the instrument. When played by the hand, the player can play the music, almost similar to the traditional drums, but they come with a beautiful sound that resembles the wind chimes, giving out a relaxing melody. It can also be played with the mallets, by which, each note gets more pronounced and the sound is produced in a clear tone. The tongue drums have easy alignment of notes that facilitates for easy playing, as the hand moves up and down over the instrument. It also enables easy playing of various chords.

SteelPan Features

The steelpan can be made from industrial waste and is a part of Trinidadian and Tobago culture. Steelpans are also known as steel drums and sound great when played collectively, as an orchestra. It is a chromatically pitched instrument and is made from around 55 gallons of steel. The steelpans are made, using steel sheets of 0.8 to 1.5 mm. Initially, oil barrels were used to make steel pans. But now, these steelpan drums are made with more precision, aided by a more technical process.

The steel Drums are hand-made and take around 5 days or more to make a steelpan. These unique instruments are made by stretching the steel into a large concave bowl in the form of a dish. The metal has to be stretched evenly, without any deformity in it. It is then tempered, to make it stronger, by using hot fire, until it is red-hot and then it is rapidly cooled, to make the metal thick and strong. It is then tuned. The sides of the pan are cut and holes are drilled, to make the pan hang from a stand, with the help of a wire or a rope. The steel pans are dipped in chrome, to make them shine. They are also painted in bright colors, to give them a colorful appearance. The keys are labeled on the pan, to aid easy understanding.


The notes are patterned on the steelpan drums. They are marked, shaped and molded, on the surface of the steel pans. A tuning device is used to hammer the note from the top, so that the notes vibrate with perfect pitch. The notes are tuned and are related to each other, to make the tunes blend together harmonically and in perfection of vibration and sound.

Playing the steel pan

The steel pans are played using two straight sticks that have a rubber tip. The rubber tip varies in size and type, in accordance to the class of pan played. Sometimes, musicians use two pairs of pansticks, by holding a pair in each hand. The mallets are also made with aluminum tubing or with wooden dowels. Mallets, used for small pans are tipped with surgical tubing of rubber, while the larger pans have heavier mallets made of solid rubber of the correct size.


The person playing the steelpan is called as the pannist. The steel pan is played by a single performer or it is played as a band. Sometimes, singers accompany the pannists.

Types of Steel Drums

There are different types of steel drums. They are the Tenor, Double Tenor, Double Second, Bass, Cello steel drum and Guitar steel drum.

  • The Tenor Steel drums are single drums and are of the low tenor and high tenor drums. They are more economical to buy and can be easily taken to other places, as they have only one steel drum stand and one case.
  • The Double Tenor Steel drums having two drums are used for harmony playing, as well as for melodies.
  • The Double Second has two drums and is most popular for playing. They are used for playing chords, leads and for harmonic voices.
  • The bass Steel drum consists of about 6 drums. They are quite a number and hence difficult to take while travelling. Some opt to use the electric bass guitar instead of the bass steel drum
  • The Cello Steel drums have 3 pans and give a deep tone that is best to play counter melodies and for low harmonics.
  • The Guitar steel drum has 2 pans and is usually used for strumming. It can produce harmonic music and also for harm

Tips for better Drum Playing

  • The drums can be played using the mallets or with the hands. Playing with the mallets, helps in producing sound of good quality. By playing with the hands, you can play with more vigor that generates a thicker sound. You can use better technique, while playing with the hands, btw check out handpans for sale.
  • You have to understand the purpose of the drum. The steel drums may be used for personal use, for meditation or for professional use. Professional use may be for solo performance, for group playing or for playing along with other instruments.
  • The scale that you choose must be the one that connects with your style of playing and listening. High tones are used for playing calm music. Frequency such as 432 Hz, help in providing a serene music that is very soothing on the nerves, while the 444 Hz, helps to uplift the spirit and in releasing tension.
  • Major scales help to uplift the spirit, while the more popular ones are the A Phrygian or G Major. Frequency like 440 Hz is a standard tune that is commonly used and can blend well with others. The minor scales are used for more emotional music. C Major is a common Major scale and E minor is a minor scale that is popularly used. Other major keys are C Major, D Major, E Major, F Major and G Major. Other minor keys are C minor, D minor, E minor and A minor.

The Jumbie Jam Steel drum

This is a great percussion instrument that is very easy to play, as well as providing great sound and quality music. The melody produced by the steel pan is great music to the ears. As the chords are marked on the steel pan, it is easy to play on the steel pans, even for beginners. It can be played by the young and the old alike, as well as by the experienced and by beginners too, without any difficulty. The instrument is easy to learn, as it is designed in such a way that anyone can easily learn to play on the instrument. It produces a sound that is harmonic and melodious. The drum is manufactured in such a way that it can be collapsed and carried easily, while travelling. The drums are usually light weight and come with a metallic finish in color. They are also available in colors of green and blue, for those who prefer the brighter color.

The drum kit comes with the Jumbie Jam steel drum, wooden mallets and a collapsible stand for the pan, which can be adjusted to the height of the individual player. Also enclosed are a beginner’s guide book, a play-along CD and a song book, which is especially useful for the beginners.


  • The Jumbie Jam is simple in design and comes at a price that is affordable. There are various price ranges and the buyer can start with simple models and then proceed for the better quality, if price is of concern.
  • It is an easy-to-play instrument that encourages music play for beginners.
  • The steel drum is collapsible and is light-weight and very easy to carry, while travelling.
  • The play-along CD and the song book are very useful for the beginners.
  • The collapsible stand requires very little storage space. It can be easily assembled, while playing and de –assembled, for easy storage.

Taking care of the Steel Drum

  • Taking proper care of the steel tongue drum and steelpan is necessary, to keep the instruments in tune and for long life.
  • The tongue drum and steel pan are made of steel. But, there are probabilities of them getting rusted, if they are not kept dry and safe. Keep them protected in covers and well stored in a safe place, especially while travelling.
  • Choose the musical scales that are harmonious with the tunes. As the scale is a personal choice, you can choose the one that speaks with you, through its music.

Playing music in a flexible manner using varying notes and frequencies is a pleasure to hear and play. When you share this harmonious sound, with the people surrounding you, it helps to raise their spirit and gives out a positive energy. Customized instruments give them a more personal touch that suits a person’s taste. Having musical dreams and developing these dreams into reality is the purpose of the tongue drum and steel pan. When you see steel drums for sale, make sure that you make the right choice and get the best product that has value for money.