My Steel Pans begin with brand new special-order 55 gallon steel barrels with 22 1/2" diameter and length of 32". They are 18 gauge clear (no embossing or holes!) tops and bottoms and 20 gauge sides. Bass pans are made from a barrel with an open bottom with a finished rolled edge.
As a Steel Pan Craftsman I have concentrated my efforts on providing quality instuments, accessories and services for schools and groups that work with young people such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and youth develpment organizations. My instruments can stand up to the every day, multiple-classes-per-day, and introduction-of-new-students-to-the-instruments routines found in such institutions. It is a well known fact that if a product has a weakness, the middle school aged child with find it. If you are worried about the longevity of your steel pan purchase, look no further! I have pans that have been with organizations since 1984, providing thousands of children with the unique and joyful music of the Steel Pan.
To the left you will find a list of the eight different types of Steel Pan that I build which will provide the five basic musical voices (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass) and provide texture and timbre diversity necessary to fill out an ensemble of steel pan instruments.
I know through my work in providing instruments for schools and other insitituions who work with young people that budget concerns are real. You will be most happy to find that I provide an excellent value Starter Set of Steel Pans. Be sure to compare!
Click on our products to the left for more information.
The Lead or Tenor Pan beginning on D and built in 4ths and 5ths (introduced by Tony Williams as the "Spiderweb" Pan) is the melody instrument of the Steel Pan Ensemble. It is the most standardized and used pan in the world and is an excellent choice for educators. (Three chromed Lead Pans are included in the starter set!)
The Double Tenor Pan, created by Bertie Marshall, is comprised of two pans and extends the range of the Tenor Pan. It has a unique timbre providing a brighter tonal quality than the Double Second. This versatile instrument with its strong cutting tone is often used to double the melody of the Tenor Pan, sometimes an octave lower, or to supplement the harmonies of the Double Second Pan.
The Double Second Pan, designed by Ellie Mannette, is comprised of two pans, similar to the Double Tenor, but with a warm, dark and more mellow tone. It is probably the most versatile instrument in the pan family being used for solo and ensemble playing. (One chromed Double Second is included in the Starter Set.)
The Double Guitar Pan has a layout similar to the Double Second Pan. This makes for ease of movement between pans. This background instrument comprised of two pans, offer a middle range voice in the Steel Pan Ensemble often used in a chordal strumming pattern to accompany the melody.
The Triple Guitar Pan, using three pans, is designed by Ellie Mannette and built on the three diminished chords, one chord for each pan. This instrument, the primary strumming instrument, serves the same purpose as a rhythm guitar: to fill out the middle register of the Steel Pan Ensemble. (One painted Triple Guitar is included in the Starter Set.)
This Quadraphonic Pan is based on the design of the Double Second Pan. The left side of the Double Second is divided in half to become the two left pans of this set. Similarly, the right pan of a Double Second is cut in half to become the two right pans of the Quadraphonic Pan. This allows some ease of transition between pans for the player. This pan extends the range of the Triple Guitar and is used to provide low harmony for the ensemble.
Also designed by Ellie Mannette, the 4 pans of the Tenor Bass are pitched a fifth higher than the Six Bass. It is used to emphasize the bass line, doubling it (sometimes an octave higher) with a strong attack.
The Six Bass pan has the lowest range and provides that strong foundation for your ensemble with a powerful, full deep resonance. Built in 5ths, our preferred arrangement of the six pans is to resemble a large Tenor Pan. This facilitates movement between the two pans for a single player. (One set of painted Six Bass is included in the Starter Set.)
My Starter Set offers a high quality, balanced instrumentation that will get your Steel Pan Ensemble off to a great musical beginning! The set includes:
Compare this set with any other in the industry. We give you more for your dollar! You can utilize more students in your ensemble from the beginning.
I can also handcraft special order pans for you such as the Invader Style Tenor Pan as designed by Ellie Mannette which is still used by many pan professionals. If you wish to discuss a special order, please contact me.
Our sticks are made of thin wall, 1/2" diameter aircraft quality aluminum making them lightweight and extremely durable. They are anodized black and have tips and grips of rubber tubing, except for the Tenor Bass and Bass sticks which have tips made from shaved and shaped Super Pinky rubber balls. The sticks are well balanced. The lengths of the sticks are 8" for Tenor, 9" for Double Tenor/Double Second, 10" for Double Guitar/Triple Guitar/Four-Pan and Tenor Bass, 12" for Bass.
Length of sticks can be special ordered if you have a personal preference. Replacement tips and grips are available.
Prices begin at $150 and vary with the extent and intricacy of the design. The design shown on the left below is a simple hibiscus flower with 3 blooms Something like that woud be $150.
The image on the right below, with extended engraving outside the 3 blooms of the hibiscus would be $200.
Our stands are adjustable, durable and easy to store and transport in a small space. They are made of ¾” square steel with ½” adjustable height inserts. They are painted black. There are two types of stands: flat and raised. Raised stands are 2” above the floor so that flat stands may slide under them in order to adjust the playing angle of the stands on Double, Triple, and Four-Pan instruments.
All stands adjust from 27” to 41” for the hanging height of the pan. Thumb screws, situated on the front of the stand near the player, are used to set the height of the inserts. (Taller inserts can be special ordered upon request.) Small hooks on the inside of the adjustable insert are used to suspend the pan.
Tenor Stands are flat with two equal length feet of 16”.
Double Stands use a flat stand on the left and a raised stand on the right. In addition, the flat stand has a short foot so it can slide under the raised stand, adjust to the desired playing angle and not get in the way of your feet while playing.
The Triple Stands have a flat stand on the left and right and a raised stand in the center. The inside feet of the flat stands on either side are short, again to accommodate the angle of the stands and to stay out of the way of your feet while playing.
Quadraphonic Stands alternate flat, raised, flat, raised.
Suspension for the Bass is done with platforms. One platform is used for each bass so six platforms are required for the set of 6-Bass. The platforms are T-shaped and support the barrel at three points.
This book is Highly Recommended!
Char Lusk has brought forth a relevant, useful and much needed book. Undoubtedly, the most complete "how to" manual we've come across. Whether you already have or want to start a steel pan program for children or adults in a school, church, recreation or community situation, you will benefit from the information in this manual. Collected during the author's many years of teaching steel pan, the informative, yet humorous data contained in this handbook is a compendium of valuable knowledge which others have since found useful when starting their own programs. What began as a list of "helpful hints" has grown into the detailed guidelines presented here. Subjects covered include: