COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q&A

How do I contact you?

The easiest way is to EMAIL US.

How can I get a Saraz Handpan?

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.

We also occasionally post immediately available handpans for sale Here.  We often announce these sales on our Facebook page.

If you would like to be notified about news and updates, please sign up on our Email List.

What are your most popular scales?

For information on the most popular musical keys as well as Handpan Scales, please visit HERE.

Can I request a custom handpan scale or a scale from another builder?

A wide array of scales that have been designed within the sweet spots of the Saraz are offered. The full list can be found at Offered Scales. We are not considering any other scales at this time.

Can I have a second “Udu” hole on the bottom shell?

We no longer build the Saraz with a second Udu hole because we are currently focused on maximizing the amplitude of the chamber helmholtz.

Can I request a certain tuning for the Helmholtz resonance, port harmonics or shoulder tones of the center note?

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.

How is the Saraz Handpan shipped and how long does it take?

We are only shipping instruments to people that are currently on our waiting list and submitted a request in our last offering.

We use a 24″ x 24″ x 12″ box that is 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 very well with high quality strapping tape on all edges. A number of fragile stickers are on every surface.

USPS is typically used for 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 also varies based on destination. Domestic shipping in the US usually takes 1-6 days. International shipping can take from 2 days to 4 weeks depending on destination and customs procedures. Shipping cost is not included in the price. It is the responsibility of the customer to research customs regulations and pay all import taxes/duties.

Can I pick up a Saraz Handpan in person?

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.

Can I barter or trade for a Saraz Handpan?

Barter or trade is not accepted.

Is there financing available for purchasing a Saraz Handpan?

No financing or payment plans are available for purchase.

Is the Saraz Handpan available for wholesale distribution or at any retail stores?

No. Wholesale distribution or providing instruments to retail stores is not currently offered.

Do you offer any discounts to non-profits or anyone else?

No discounts are currently offered.

Is there a warranty on the Saraz Handpan?

The Saraz is covered for what is 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 with only minor adjustments to the tuning every 1-2 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.

What comes with a Saraz Handpan?

A carrying case, microfiber cloth, and sample of rust preventative, and a Saraz T shirt is provided with each Saraz. We also offer Flykits and the Polycase 2.1 by Hard Case Technologies.

How big is the Saraz Handpan and how much does it weigh?

The Saraz is offered in 3 sizes: 19″, 20″ and our original 21″ diameter. The Saraz weighs approximately 7-10 pounds.

Does each Saraz Handpan have a serial number?

Each Saraz is etched with “Saraz”, the scale name, and the month and year that it was finished.

Why is there foam inside of my Saraz?

Almost all handpans have a resonant chamber. With this resonance comes complications with impedance due to 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 have begun building the Saraz in 3 sizes to deal with this issue. Very few Saraz built after 2015 have foam baffling inside.

How does temperature affect the Saraz Handpan?

Average variations in temperature have little effect on the long term stability of the Saraz. In general, it should not however 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 it’s correct position when allowed to cool off. In cooler temperatures, the tuning may also shift, however it will return to normal at room temperature.

What is the best way to store a Saraz Handpan when not being played?

It is recommend to keep it in the bag as long as it is dry and not damp in any way. Otherwise, it is recommend to keep it in a dry place where it cannot be easily damaged from falling or something else falling on it.

What is the best way to play a Saraz Handpan?

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. For these reasons, the player is allowed 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 zig zag pattern with the lowest note in the center of the instrument.

handpan lesson diagram

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 individual fingers, not 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 some 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 playing the Saraz unless the players chooses to do so however.

The use of 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.  Also please note that 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 can be found at Hang and Handpan Lessons.

Are there hard cases available for the Saraz Handpan?

Yes! We now offer the Polycase 2.1 by Hard Case Technologies.  They fit all 19″ and 20″ diameter Saraz.  We also offer Flykit plastic inserts for Medium and Large Evatek carrying cases.

Is it safe to fly with a Saraz Handpan?

Details on flying with handpans can be found HERE.

How often does a Saraz Handpan need to be tuned?

Depending on how hard it is played, a tune up is recommended every 12-24 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. Depending on the needs of the tune up, there may or may not be 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 that might be closer to your area and save on shipping. Please contact us for details.

Can a Saraz Handpan be repaired if it is damaged?

Generally, it is very likely that it can be repaired if it was not excessively damaged. If it was dropped from the top of a building or out of a moving car, it probably can not be repaired however. 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 don’t require taking the instrument apart or working on it for hours will generally be $100-200. If the instrument must be cut open, repairs could 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 as it is a one of kind piece of art. Insurance for musical instruments is very affordable and offered through many major insurance companies.

Will the scratch or hammer mark that I found on the surface affect the sound or potential for rust?

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 and do not affect the sound of the instrument.

Rust Prevention

Each shell of the Saraz has undergone a heat treatment process that makes it more rust resistant than raw steel. It is made of steel however and 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 FrogLube or Pure Sound Pan Wax, which are environmental and skin friendly rust preventatives.

We also offer Froglube liquid rust preventative for sale in the 1.5 oz squeeze tube, 4 oz bottle, 0 oz bottle and presoaked wipes. Details can be found on the Rust Preventative page. For more information about each product, please see our review.

How much you should oil and clean 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 20-30 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 Froglube or Pure Sound Pan Wax weekly. Try to find the most dry place possible to store it, such as in an air conditioned environment. Don’t ever keep it 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. After either method, it is important to clean the instrument very well with rubbing alcohol and then apply a coating of Froglube or Pure Sound Pan Wax.

How should the Saraz Handpan be Cleaned?

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 Froglube or Pure Sound Pan Wax is strongly recommended for further rust prevention. We now offer Froglube for sale in the 1.5 oz squeeze tube, 4 oz bottle and presoaked wipes. Details can be found on the Rust Prevention page.

How is the Saraz Handpan Built?

Pneumatic hammers are used to shape each instrument in a spinning sinking table deemed “Big Mo” by it’s 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 4-5 more times or until the tuning stabilizes. Many more fine details and links can be found in the main menu under Building Handpans.

Can I visit the shop and study building with the Saraz crew?

Presently, shop tours and lessons are not publicly offered for any part of the building process. However, many fine details about the process can be found in the main menu under Building Handpans.

What should I do if I decided to sell my Saraz Handpan?

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.

Can the Saraz shop tune my Hang, Halo, SPB, Bellart, Ayasa, Meraki, Asachan or any other instrument built by another maker?

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 it’s current condition where each note is played and allowed to sustain to silence before playing another note.

What is the difference between a Handpan and a Hang or Hang Drum?

You can find details about the different names and history of these instruments HERE.

What does “Saraz” mean?

Words mean different things to different people. This name was inspired by the Vedic myth and dogma 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.

Where else can I find more information about the Saraz Handpan?

If you would like to be contacted about future news and opportunities to purchase a Saraz, please sign up on the email list.

More information and discussion about the Saraz can be found on Handpan.org  // Facebook // Youtube // Pinterest // Instagram

If you have another question about the Saraz Handpan that is not answered here, please email us.