Words mean different things to different people. This name was inspired by the Vedic story of Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music, art, and wisdom. While we respect all religious backgrounds and cultures, we have no strict affiliation with any religious doctrine.
If you would like to request a Saraz with a specific scale from our offered scales, then please visit our Request Page and submit a request.
If you would like to be notified about news and updates, please join on our email list.
If you are on our waiting list and live locally, then yes. Please contact us for details. If you do not live locally, then we prefer to ship.
Barter or trade is not accepted.
No financing or payment plans are available for purchase.
No. Wholesale distribution or providing instruments to retail stores is not currently offered.
We do not currently offer any discounts.
The Saraz is covered for wear within reason. If the instrument is taken care of properly and not damaged by dropping or inappropriate playing, it should last for many, many years. Minor adjustments to the tuning may be required every one to two years for professional musicians and less for hobby players. If the instrument is damaged, it can usually be repaired, however there is a cost that is determined on a case-by-case basis.
The Saraz Handpan ships with a Hard Case Technologies Evatek Carrying Case, microfiber cloth, sample of rust preventative, and a Saraz T shirt. We also offer Flykits by Hard Case Technologies as well as Handpan Stands, LUG LOC GPS locators, Pure Sound Pan Wax, Froglube and Phoenix Oil for an additional cost.
The Saraz is offered in three sizes: 19″, 20″ and our original 21″ diameter. The Saraz weighs approximately 7 – 10 pounds.
Like most handpans, no musical theory is required to enjoying playing a Saraz. This is because each instrument is like a folk instrument with a particular scale. Although scales vary greatly, there are few if any “wrong” notes or combinations of notes given the complexity of a specific scale. This allows players to play from a more kinetic and emotional inspiration that can be free of the mind. The notes on the Saraz are laid out in the traditional zigzag pattern with the lowest note in the center of the instrument.
While many people assume that these instruments are drums or consider them to be so, it is VERY IMPORTANT to realize that they cannot be played like many other drums such as congas, bongos, djembes, and drum set. The Saraz, like all handpans requires a much softer touch. Playing too hard will not only produce a lower quality sound due to distortions of the note membrane’s vibration, but will also likely knock the instrument out of tune much quicker than normal play.
The best players play with their fingers, not their hands. Often the tip of the finger or pad at the end of the finger is used to strike the instrument. The most important part is the bounce. If the finger is left on the note for too long, it will dampen and kill the sound. Most people actually start pulling back on their fingers just before they strike the surface in order to create the quickest bounce possible. Playing is much like touching or testing a very hot surface.
Some people choose to play handpans with gloves. This will produce a more muted “attack,” which is the sound of fingers on the metal surface independent of the notes and harmonics. For those interested in gloves, Silk Glove liners are recommended. Thermosilk makes a great silk glove liner that is available in many sizes and offers little constriction. Gloves are not needed or recommended for use when playing the Saraz unless the player prefers.
Use of almost any mallet or stick on the Saraz is VERY STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. The tuning stability is not guaranteed under these conditions. Playing the instrument in this way will definitely knock the instrument out of tune sooner, especially if played aggressively. in 2017, we discovered and began exploring use of the “Malletech Fred Hinger Signature Touch- Tone Soft Timpani Mallets with Aluminum Handles” on the Saraz. While one can achieve a pristine tone and timbre with these mallets, it is VERY IMPORTANT to realize that a pristine tone can be achieve by striking the instrument more softly with the mallet than one would strike it with a finger. Playing the instrument aggressively with any mallet including these will definitely knock it out of tune much more quickly.
Aggressively or consistently bending a note membrane will detune any handpan much more quickly than normal playing.
In learning how to play, many believe it is better to “play now and think later,” especially when first exploring a handpan. These are young instruments that are barely over a decade old, so techniques are still being developed.
If you are a new, intermediate or an advanced player and would like to learn more, we recommend a few teachers and tutorials for further advancement of playing skills. Details can be found at Hang and Handpan Lessons.
A wide array of scales that have been designed within the sweet spots of the Saraz are offered. The full list can be found on our Offered Scales list. We are not considering any other scales at this time.
We no longer build the Saraz with a second Udu hole because we are currently focused on maximizing the amplitude of the chamber helmholtz.
No. There are very limited options for each of these frequencies. Mark and Josh determine the best option for each based on the specific scale and instrument.
We use a 25″ x 25″ x 12″ box reinforced with corrugated plastic sheets on all inner sides in addition to protective padding on each side of the instrument. The box weighs approximately 25 pounds. It is sealed with high quality strapping tape on all edges. A number of fragile stickers are placed on every surface.
We typically use USPS shipping. Domestic shipments within the USA are sent using Priority shipping and include tracking, full insurance and restricted delivery. International packages vary. Most are sent with either Priority Mail International or Priority Express Mail International. For certain countries, Global Express International is used. This is first handled by USPS in the US and then handled by FedEx internationally.
Shipping time varies based on destination. Domestic shipping in the US usually takes one to six days. International shipping can take from two days to four weeks, depending on destination and customs procedures.
Shipping cost is not included in the price of the Saraz Handpan. It is the responsibility of the customer to research customs regulations and pay all import taxes/duties.
Each Saraz is etched with “Saraz”, the scale name, and the month and year that it was finished.
Almost all handpans have a resonant chamber, which can result in complications with impedance depending on how certain frequencies react in the chamber. There is foam taped inside of almost every 21″ Saraz built before 2016 in order to deal with this subtle issue. It has been positioned in a very specific place for maximum effect and should not be tampered with or taken out. If it is not tampered with, it should not come lose. If it does come loose, use a heavy-duty tape such as Gorilla tape to reattach it to the same position. If you are unsure of where it should be positioned inside, contact us and we will tell you the best place based on the scale of your specific instrument. We have purposely used tape to attach the foam in case it needs to be removed for tuning work or repairs. Please do not glue it back on if it comes lose.
Starting in 2016, we began building the Saraz in three sizes to deal with this issue.
Average variations in temperature have little effect on the long-term stability of the Saraz. However, the instrument should not be left for a prolonged period in vehicles that are in the hot sun. In direct sunlight, the tuning may shift minimally but will return to its correct position when allowed to cool off. In cooler temperatures, the tuning may also shift, however it will return to normal at room temperature.
We recommend that you keep your Saraz in the bag as long as it is dry and not damp in any way. Otherwise, you can keep it in a dry place where it cannot be easily damaged from falling or something else falling on it.
Yes! We now offer Flykit plastic inserts for Medium and Large Evatek carrying cases.
Depending on how hard it is played, a tune up is recommended every 12 to 24 months for professional players or when it feels like it needs it for hobby players. In general, it seems that most of the notes on all handpans shift in tuning together so even if the instrument isn’t perfectly in tune to a western A=440 Hz standard after years of playing, it may still be in tune to itself and sound fine to a hobby player.
We are happy to check the tuning or give a fresh tune up to any Saraz. There is typically a charge for this service. If the Saraz must be shipped, the customer is responsible for shipping costs in both directions. We might also be able to recommend a few quality tuners around the world who are closer to your area to help you save on shipping. Please contact us for details.
It is likely that a Saraz can be repaired if it was not excessively damaged. However, if it was dropped from the top of a building or out of a moving car, it probably cannot be repaired. A drop from waist or shoulder height that results in a minor dent or note being knocked out of tune can usually be fixed. In some more severe situations, the instrument will need to be cut open for repairs.
If a Saraz is damaged, please take numerous photos of the damage and make a video of how it has affected the sound of the instrument. Then contact us and include this information. We will do our best to give an idea of what will be required to repair it, however it is impossible to really know what it will take until the process is started.
Minor repairs that do not require taking the instrument apart will generally be $100 to $200. If the instrument must be cut open, repairs will be $200 and up depending on the difficulty and time required. The customer is responsible for shipping costs in both directions. For minor repairs, another builder with the skills to fix it closer to your area may be recommended.
We strongly recommend that customers take as much care of their instrument as possible. Insurance for musical instruments is very affordable and offered through many major insurance companies.
You may find irregularities in the finish of your Saraz, including scratches or small blemishes formed by a hammer. A Saraz is a unique, hand-made instrument crafted from locally bought steel sheets that often contain such blemishes from the fabricator. Each sheet of steel is hit with a hammer at least tens of thousands of times while most Saraz are hit hundreds of thousands of times. These blemishes have been heat treated. They do not have any greater chance of rust and do not affect the sound of the instrument.
If something is spilled on a Saraz and it needs to be cleaned, use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), ideally 95 99% pure. Taking the rubber trim off is recommended during this process. After cleaning, an application of Pure Sound Pan Wax, Froglube or Phoenix Oil is strongly recommended for further rust prevention. We now offer Pure Sound Pan Wax in the 0.5 oz tin, Froglube in the 1.5 oz squeeze tube, 4 oz bottle, 8 oz bottle and presoaked wipes as well as Phoenix Oil in the 3.4 oz bottle. Details can be found on the Rust Prevention page.
Each shell of the Saraz has undergone a heat treatment process that makes it more rust resistant than raw steel. However, it may rust if it is not cleaned regularly and kept oiled with a rust preventative. Natural oil from hands is the most common cause of rust, particularly for people that have more acidic sweat.
We recommended that the Saraz be wiped down with the provided microfiber cloth after each playing session. It is also recommended that it be cleaned regularly with pure rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) of the highest percentage possible. After cleaning, it is strongly encouraged to apply a coating of Pure Sound Pan Wax, Froglube or Phoenix Oil, which are all environmental and skin friendly rust preventatives.
We offer Pure Sound Pan Wax in the 0.5 oz tin; Froglube liquid rust preventative for sale in the 1.5 oz squeeze tube, 4 oz bottle, 8 oz bottle and presoaked wipes; Phoenix Oil in the 3.4 oz bottle. Details can be found on the Rust Preventative page. For more information about each product, please see our review.
How much you should clean and oil your Saraz is based on how often and where you play it. If you busk multiple days per week in a hot and humid environment where you sweat constantly, then it is strongly recommended that you oil the instrument every day before and after playing. If you play your instrument one time every few days or weeks and it is always stored inside in a climate-controlled environment, then oiling it once every few months is probably fine.
If you live anywhere near the ocean, it is especially important to clean your handpan very well and very often! The salty humid air is another common cause of rust on all handpans. Rust can develop on every brand of handpan that spends even a couple days within 20 to 30 miles of the coast. While the beach has the most humid and salty air, even areas miles away can be problematic. The issue arises from the acidity of the salt in the humid air. If you live near the ocean, it is strongly recommended that you wipe down your Saraz after every playing session, regularly clean it with alcohol and apply Pure Sound Pan Wax, Froglube or Phoenix Oil weekly. Try to find the driest place possible to store it, such as in an air conditioned environment.
Do not ever keep your Saraz in the bag if the bag gets moist, which it probably will in such an environment.
If rust develops on your Saraz, one of two options is recommended. There is a product called Miracle All Purpose Polishing Cloth with real coconut oil. It takes some effort to polish with this cloth, but this will take the rust off. It will also take off any colored finished such as the blue/purple/golden color on our rolled shell instruments.
Another option is to polish the surface with either a Mother’s Powerball polishing tool or a steel cup brush and a drill. The cup brush is the best option in our opinion. It is important to find a cup brush with the finest bristles possible to avoid scratching however. Bristle width of 0.006″ or smaller is ideal. Most steel cup brushes sold in stores are much thicker and may scratch the surface. McMaster-Carr and MSC Direct offer an excellent steel cup brush for polishing with fine bristles. This may sound a bit crazy, but this is how every Saraz is polished. As long as the brush is not pressed down hard on the note membranes, it will not effect the tuning. This method may also take some of the color off, however not as much as a miracle cloth or powerball.
With either method, it is strongly recommended to take the rubber trim off of the rim first, clean the instrument very well with rubbing alcohol and then apply a coating of Pure Sound Pan Wax, Froglube or Phoenix Oil.
Pneumatic hammers are used to shape each instrument in a spinning sinking table deemed “Big Mo” by its creator and builder, Jim Dusin. Female forms, a press, and hand hammers are used to form the bottom port, dimples, and basic shape of each note. The shells are then fine shaped with pneumatic and hand hammers. Next, the shells are tuned 2-3 times and then glued together. After the glue has dried and cured, the instrument is tuned multiple more times or until the tuning stabilizes. Many more fine details and links can be found here.
Many people decide at some point to part with their instruments for a wide variety of reasons. If you would like to part with your Saraz, we encourage you to sell it for a fair price to a friend or someone else in the community of Handpan enthusiasts around you that may be able to pick it up and play it in person.
It is recommended that you first contact the original builder for tune ups and repairs. At times, Josh will offer a tuning service for professional quality brands. Please contact us with details about your specific instrument including the brand and a video of its current condition where each note is played and allowed to sustain to silence before playing another note.
If you have another question about the Saraz Handpan that is not answered here, please email us.