Steel Drums: The Basics & Tips on Choosing

Steel Drums: The Basics & Tips on Choosing By Pratham Chhabra - November 09, 2021

Steel Drums Buying Guide

Steel drums (also commonly referred to as steel pans) boast a truly marvelous sound, as well as a bright, brassy tone that results in celestial and unusual vibes. This musical instrument comes from Trinidad and Tobago in the late 1930s. It has been growing in popularity among a variety of music styles since then.

Generally associated with Latin and Caribbean music, steel pans are widely used in modern songs, too. 50 Cent and Nick Jonas are among many celebs whose tracks flaunt their unique sound. High-quality steel drums make a song incredibly sweet and vibrant, enhancing its leading melody and the background.

Steel drums used to be built from industrial containers. These days, manufacturers utilize top-level steel to build them. So, if you’ve recently heard a Caribbean tune played on this exotic instrument and decided that you want it asap, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll provide tips on choosing the best steelpan drum for your needs.

Steelpan Drums Buying Guide

Whether you’re a beginner drummer or have some experience in this field, you’re aware that the right equipment is paramount for the best result. The highest-quality steel drum set is made to endure the heaviest sound. Furthermore, an excellent set of steel pans is equipped with a treasure trove of sound-polishing features that make your music feel ethereal. 

Steel pans come in a wide array of sizes and configurations. This overwhelming diversity can prevent you from making the right choice. Fortunately, we’re here to lend you a helping hand. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about the factors to take into account when shopping for steel pans. Keep reading and enjoy making the right choice. 

General Tips on Buying Steel Drums

When a certain steel drum set catches your eye, you should take into consideration some additional factors we cover below:

• all steel pans are different, so maintain a laser-like focus when shopping for this instrument;
• decide on the preferred neck length of your steel pan set, that is if you’re looking for the most convenient use of your musical instruments;
• making a list of instruments you’ll be using your steel pans with prior to buying one is a smart move;
• the more experienced you are in the process of buying drums, the higher your chances of hitting the bull’s eye;
• opting for a way too long drum may return both a strange sound and result in multiple inconveniences of use;
• the majority of manufacturers produce steel drums in two sizes: sixteen and twenty inches. They are very similar in terms of the sound they produce, with the latter spoiling you with a richer, more open sound. However, a 20-incher is harder to play.

Factors to Consider When Buying Steel Pans

Here’s a quick overview of the main criteria we recommend that you back your choice with:

• manufacturer: the brand is a vital parameter when it comes to buying any piece of equipment. Make sure you stick with steel pans that are made by a reputable company with years of expertise in this field;
• cost: no doubt, this factor is important, too, especially if you’re on the prowl for a drum set that will last you for years. Naturally, higher-priced steel pans are usually made from reliable, robust materials. But that doesn’t mean they produce an out-of-this-world sound, so you gotta be careful here;
• online reviews: reading other people’s thoughts on using particular steel drums is smart, therefore, do your homework and explore the world of online reviews in order to analyze the information you’re flooded with in the most effective way.

More Parameters to Take Into Account

Before you finally lay your hands on the long-anticipated steel pans, take a browse through these paramount features:

• bigger or smaller: that depends on your needs, for a smaller set, for instance, is inconvenient for live performances. Just make your unique situation a priority and remember that the drums don’t have to be enormous to produce a great sound; 
• material: another powerful criterion to bear in mind when on the hunt for your perfect steel pans; the rule of thumb here is that durability should be your primary focus;
• ease of upkeep: if you’re planning to use your steel drums on a regular basis, opting for powder-coated drum shells with anti-scratch finish is the way to go. 

Steel Drum Stand Matters

When searching for the right steel drum for you, focus on the drum stand, too. Because a flimsy plastic stand won’t last you long. If you are serious about your wish to find a solid steel drum, then consider investing in a steel stand. Robust yet lightweight characteristic is key when it comes to choosing the best stand for your steel drums. You want to be able to easily assemble and disassemble it, as well as smoothly fit it into your bag. 

You should also know that, unlike the cheap stuff, a top-notch stand is capable of holding high-quality equipment. As a result, you achieve an almost effortless playing style.

Ready to Make the Right Choice?

Steel drums are fantastic. They are sure to add an innovative touch to your repertoire and even help you relieve stress (we’ve all heard about the therapeutic effect of drumming). Whatever you need them for, you’ll definitely find steel pans both fascinating and challenging.

Now that we’ve significantly narrowed down your selection of criteria, you’re a few steps closer to buying the perfect steel pans to suit all your requirements. Don’t forget to read as many reviews on the drum set (and additional accessories) that have caught your attention as you can. 

You may be tempted to get cheap steel drums, but this is a slippery slope. While a less expensive option may suit a newbie’s needs, a serious musician will hardly ever benefit from this senseless attempt to save money. To cut a long story short, we are sure that you approach the issue with maximum wisdom and sense of reason.

By Pratham Chhabra - November 09, 2021

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