Since our HAPI drums post remains one of the most popular articles on MMT, we decided to search for similar instruments, and quickly found a high-end relative and DIY cousin. At the high end is the HALO from Pantheon Steel.
New HALOs will be availalble this spring, and there is a waiting list, but you don’t have to go to Switzerland to pick one up. The last batch sold for $1,500 USD each, and that includes free shipping. Speaking of the hang, it’s pretty clear that it was the inspiration for the HALO. From the Pantheon Steel site:
It was inspired by myriad contemporary instruments, notably the steel pans of Trinidad which were Pantheon’s first business, and by a famous evolutionary and revolutionary sound sculpture invented in Switzerland. (While we would prefer to express our gratitude and debt to its creators, they have requested we not mention them or their creation by name, and we defer to that request.)
If the HALO is out of your price range, how does $27 sound? Well, it sounds like this:
Also inspired by the hang, the hank is made from a propane tank (hang + tank = hank). Designed by Dennis Halvena, instructions for building your own hank drum (and dozens of other handcrafted instruments) are freely available on his amazing site.
Bonus: Zen Tambour
Just as the hang inspired the hank, the hank inspired the Zen Tambour. If cutting up propane tanks is just not your thing, then check out the “Playable Art” created by Spike Finch.
These beauties sell for a relatively reasonable $375 to $425, plus shipping. So let’s review:
Hang (don’t call it a drum)
Price: $1,500 to $10,000, or so expensive that this seller suggests buying one as part of a timeshare. Seriously.
Availability: Described as “virtually unobtainable“, may require a trip to Switzerland.
HALO – Editor’s Choice (high-end)
Price: $1,500 or more.
Availability: Waiting list. Price includes shipping, so no plane tickets required.
Price: $27 plus time and talent
Availability: Get to work!
Price: $375 to $675
Availability: Good, current wait is listed as around 2 weeks.
Zen Tambour – Editor’s Choice (budget-conscious)
Price: $375 to $425
Availability: Site lists current backlog as about 3 weeks.
Since the HAPI drum is the only one I’ve actually held and played, these ratings are based largely on what I have seen and heard on their respective sites. To my ears, the Hang and HALO have a nice, ethereal timbre, while the others sound more percussive and metallic. Taking all factors into consideration, I favor the Zen Tambour for the budget conscious, and HALO for the high-end. Your tastes may vary. Let’s close this out with the beast that started it all…