The question I get to answer a lot is “How did you get started with making Pantams/Handpans?” I almost never have the chance to tell the whole story, so I decided to just write it down and send people to my blog 😉 haha.
But seriously, it’s an interesting story that stores a big life lesson for me, it basically changed my life.
I started as a Hang Player, I used to travel and play on stages, streets, and workshops. The Hang was with me everywhere I went, and every year or two it needs tuning, like other instruments in needs maintenance.
The only tuners I knew were the makers of the Hang in Switzerland. I traveled there several times for tuning. It was nice to visit them, see the new sound sculptures they made, to see the first versions of the hang and to see how it all started. I was a didgeridoo maker and for me to see their workshop and how they work was very cool and inspiring.
I was a fan of Panart, The Hang was magical to me and filled with mystery. I had respect for the work of the makers. That time I heard many complaints about them from; musicians who wanted to purchase a Hang and couldn’t due the extreme demand, and also from Hang players that wanted to buy another hang in a different scale and got a negative response. Some players even got turned down for tuning sessions because Panart told them they play too hard. I used to be on Panarts side and defended them seeing as I met them and felt they really had a lot of pressure with the amount of people they needed to reply to and the high demand for the Hang.
In the summer of 2011 I sent an email to schedule a tuning session and the reply I got was the beginning of a fundamental change in my life. The email clarified that they no longer offer tuning services for my “first generation Hang”, they only offered help to “free Hang” owners which had the latest version and the model they produced the smallest amount of.
This was not easy to accept, as a musician I record music, perform and do many things with my Hang, playing with it out of tune is not something I can do.
I had to find a solution, back then some new makers had started making similar instruments, I went with my friend Davide Swarup to one of the leaders in the field. He was an easy-going person with an amazing talent, I loved his instruments, I bought one from him and asked him to tune my Hang and so he did. I was very happy but also realized that every time my instruments got out of tune I would have to fly around the world, this would have had a financial and a time impact so I asked him if he could teach me how to tune a pan!
So naturally he said, yes right? Well not really…. 😉 He said, Sorry bro you will ruined an instrument by trying to or learning how to tune it, you need to MAKE one from scratch and learn from the ground up.
I went back to Israel and got a barrel, a round head hammer and started hammering… I had no idea what I was getting into but I just knew I wasn’t not going to stop. Back then you could have counted the number of professional makers in the world on one hand and the information about making pantams was almost non-existent so it was a lot of trial and error with some important tips from my friend (that one form earlier in the story), many days of frustration and getting back to motivation… I am really thankful to have discovered all that as tuning steel is a way of life for me now and a deep passion.
So, hope the answer to “how I got into making” is answered! If not please comment bellow and ask me anything!