FAQ

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Q. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORDERING, RESERVING AND MAKING A DIRECT PURCHASE OF A TERRAPAN?
A. Yes. Custom orders are made to the tuning of your choosing. Meanwhile, reservations and direct purchases are for TerraPans in set tunings, which are already nearing completion or available as inventory. Wait times, rates and payment options vary based on whether a TerraPan is being ordered, reserved or purchased directly from our inventory.
 

Q. WHAT IS SUBMITTABLE AND WHY DO YOU USE IT?
A.
Submittable is an online project management platform which we have adapted to communicate with our clients throughout the process of creating your TerraPan. It allows clients to place orders, to confirm purchases and reservations, to track the progress of their TerraPan throughout the production process, and to receive updates and shipping information from one convenient place. 


Q. HOW LONG IS THE PRODUCTION TIME FOR CUSTOM ORDERS?
A. Our custom orders currently take approximately 9-12 months to fulfill from the time you order to the time you receive your pan. The creation of a TerraPan is a lengthy, labor-intensive process which relies on successful collaboration of a team of people. We are whole-heartedly dedicated to creating unique, beautiful, life-long instruments.


Q. WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR TUNING?
A. D) Aeolian and C#) Aeolian are our two most popular tunings. Choosing an instrument is a deeply personal and reflective task. We invite you to be your own guide and find or create the tuning which most calls to you. We are happy to help in this process if you are unsure. You can see more popular tunings on our instruments page. We are also happy to Skype or phone conference with you to help you develop a tuning after you commit to an order. It is not necessary for you to know your exact tuning at the time a custom order is placed.


Q. ARE TERRAPANS FULLY NITRIDED?
A. Yes, all of our instruments are fully nitrided, both top and bottom shells. This has always been our standard practice since day one. Nitriding is a process that makes metals more resistant to rust and decay.


Q. HOW DO I CARE FOR MY TERRAPAN?
A.

  • Protection: Cases are wise to use for travel and transporting your instrument, but it should never be left in a closed case for extended amounts of time because this can trap in moisture.
     
  • Storage: Wall mounts are a great solution for storing your instrument indoors. There are many options online and in hardware stores.
     
  • Clean: If they get dirty (or sticky) you can clean them with 90+% isopropyl alcohol, followed by oil.
     
  • Oil: TerraPans, like other handpans, need to be oiled regularly (once every few weeks to few months, depending on your climate and conditions). If you are visiting beaches, caves, or any areas with high salt content in the air, you may consider oiling before and after playing a pan there. We recommend using Frog Lube or coconut oil.
     
  • Temperature: Avoid playing your TerraPan directly in the sun for more than a few minutes. Heat makes the metal softer, which makes it easier to bend the pitch out of tune. If the pan is hot when you take it out of the case, let it rest in the shade for a few minutes before playing. The metal is thin so it heats up and cools off quickly.


Q. DO YOU SHIP INTERNATIONALLY (OUTSIDE THE US)?
A. Many of our orders are international, and it is usually no problem to ship. However, sometimes there are limitations placed on our ability to ship to certain destinations. If you live in a remote location and need to confirm whether a shipment is possible, please send a message titled “Shipping Inquiry.” Otherwise, upon receiving your order, we will provide a quote for shipping, handling and insurance. You will be responsible for determining and paying the taxes and duties assessed by your country of residence. We are not able to report the instrument at a lesser value or to mark your package as a gift to reduce these fees. Once approved, your TerraPan will be safely packed into a 60cm x 30cm (24 X 18 inch) corrugated box. The shipment is marked with a dimensional weight of about 75 pounds (34 kilos) with packing filling, secured with shipping tape, labeled fragile. Shipping times vary based on the destination. Domestic shipping generally takes from 1-5 business days. International shipping generally takes 2 days to 3 weeks, depending on the destination & custom procedures. For more detailed information, please refer to our policies and procedures.


Q. DO YOU ACCEPT PAYPAL?
A.
 We currently accept PayPal through the Submittable platform for Custom Orders only. For all other accepted forms of payment please see our policies and procedures


Q. HOW DO I PLAY THESE INSTRUMENTS?
A. *Softly, lovingly, with slow deep breaths. These instruments are very sensitive to the proper touch and can be damaged and knocked out of tune if they are played too hard. Use your finger pads or tips to tap on the tone fields (flat part of the notes), or along the edge of the nodes ("dimples"). Open your heart and listen to the pan. You will find your own way. We are also open to arranging an initial Skype or video conference with you to provide guidance once your receive your instrument.


Q. HOW LONG IS THE SUSTAIN ON A TERRAPAN?
A. Our notes generally hold sustain for 6-8 seconds. This is more sustain than most handpans comparatively.


Q. IS A CASE INCLUDED WITH YOUR TERRAPAN?
A. As of January 2018, a slip case will be included with all TerraPans. You may purchase an additional armored backpack for $200 USD. TerraPan cases are lovingly designed by Namana. For more information please refer to our Policies and Procedures.


Q. DOES YOUR TERRAPAN COME WITH A WARRANTY?
A. Prior to ordering, reserving or purchasing a TerraPan, we make sure that you have reviewed our Policies and Procedures for specific guidelines about what we guarantee regarding deposits, production and delivery. Once you have received your TerraPan, we recommend purchasing instrument insurance. TerraTōnz is somewhat unique in that each pan is assigned an individual production number, which allows it to receive insurance coverage.


Q. CAN I FLY WITH MY TERRAPAN?
A.  Each airline has different policies, and it is advised that you call ahead of your trip for details. However, our general experience is that you should have no problems traveling abroad with your TerraPan. It will fit into all standard airline overhead storage compartments. On all domestic or international airlines, you are allowed to take one small carry-on and one musical instrument. When traveling on aircraft, it is always recommended to have a hard protective case just in case you are forced to check it due to all of the storage space being taken up. However, a soft case is usually sufficient for overhead storage. Click here to see the official FAA regulations on small instruments as carry-on luggage. 

TerraTōnz's founder Christopher Ryan has the following advice: If you check in bags, the airline will insist that you must check it in; however, you have no obligation to do so. Simply say OK, check in your other bags and walk away with your instrument to check in at security. The only requirement for security is that it fits through the x-ray conveyor, which it does. Once you arrive at boarding, if confronted, simply pull out your TerraPan and play it. They will be dazzled and allow you to board with it. If for some reason, it will not fit in an overhead compartment, they can put it into the captain's closet. The only occasions this does not apply are on smaller "puddle jumpers," as they generally have no room for any carry-on luggage or bags. Fortunately, smaller airplanes take very good and personal care when storing any luggage below. Your confidence and kindness will see you through to continue your traveling adventure.


Q. IS THE TERRAPAN A DRUM?
A. 
A TerraPan is not a drum. A drum is a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow shell or cylinder with a drumhead stretched over one or both ends that is beaten with the hands or with some implement (such as a stick or wire brush). A TerraPan is closest to an idiophone in that the entire instrument vibrates when each note is struck. However, the handpan also has some properties of a membranophone (like drums) in that steel acts as a membrane that holds a certain tension to produce its pitches. Some aspects of the handpan are also like that of an aeorphone such as the low bass frequencies produced by the air chamber as well as wafting effects created by manipulating sound vibrations with the hands.


Q. IS THE TERRAPAN A HANDPAN? 
A. The TerraPan is the melodic sound sculpture created by TerraTōnz. Technically, it is one of the dome-shaped metal percussion instruments generally referred to as a handpan. In non-English speaking countries it is known as the pantam or cupola. However, in keeping with the philosophy of the original maker of the PANArt HANG, we prefer to avoid generic terms when describing our art. Therefore we currently refer to the classification as "HANG-like, in honor of the original maker of this type of instrument, since they did not officially name the type of instrument.


Q. SO THE TERRAPAN IS A HANG?
A. No. The HANG is an type of melodic sound sculpture created by Felix Roehner's Swiss company PANArt. The HANG inspired the creation of similar instruments by a growing handful of makers worldwide. While the generic term for describing these instruments is "handpan," or simply "pan," each model is unique,  and we prefer that ours goes by its own name, the TerraPan.


Q. WHY DO YOU CALL IT A TERRAPAN?
A.
TerraPan is inspired by the word “Terrapin.” A Terrapin is a turtle native to the Southeastern United States, where TerraTōnz is based. In addition to recognizing that the TerraPan physically resembles a Terrapin's shell, we also resonate with the Native American lore of Turtle Island, the story of the beginning of land-based life on Earth. Latin for “Earth,” the TerraPan's root “Terra” also reminds us of the connection between nature and music.


Q. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT NOTE ARRANGEMENTS CALLED?
A.
People often say "what scale?" when referring to handpans. However, not all pans are 100% set to a particular scale in a specific key. For this reason we refer to the various models of our instruments as "tunings." Each sound sculpture has a specific tuning, many are more musically oriented and named, others are culturally oriented and named, some are new and made up along the way, and surely a few are still awaiting to exist. Either way, you will find a wide spectrum to choose from.


Q. HOW IS THE TERRAPAN MADE?
A. 
Each TerraPan begins as a flat sheet of specialized steel, which is hand drilled to be bolted into a sinking station. Once bolted in place, it is hand-hammered and sculpted into form to specifically match each desired tuning. Afterward, it is hand sculpted to each desired pitch model. The desired tuning is laid out, and the nodes are hand hammered with female dies for each note before being finely shaped to build out the notes and interstitial space. During this process, the developing halves of each TerraPan are also nitrided & tuned many times. During tuning, a kiln is used to challenge the stability of each note. The TerraPan is glued and cured to ensure the structural integrity and longevity. After additional tunings, it is played hard and "blended" to evaluate stability.


Q. WHERE ARE TERRAPANS MADE?
A.
 The TerraPan is made in the United States. We occupy two studios: one in Kingston, GA and one in Osage, West Virginia, near Morgantown. Our Osage studio exists thanks to Ellie Mannette, the Caribbean steel pan pioneer who transformed Morgantown, WV, into the original Pan City USA. Thanks to Ellie and his students-turned-colleagues, more steel percussion instruments are produced in Morgantown than anywhere in the world aside from Ellie's native home Trinidad itself. Our Kingston studio exists because things tend to grow where they are planted, and TerraTōnz's founding members are planted here. Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Kingston is is a relatively short drive from Atlanta, Georgia and Hartsfield International Airport. Those who wish to visit and pick up in person are free to contact us about possible accommodations.


Q. WHY DOES IT CURRENTLY TAKE 9-12 MONTHS TO MAKE A TERRAPAN?
A.
 The TerraPan is a fully hand-crafted work of art, and hand-crafted art takes time. In our case, it also takes collaboration between artists based in Georgia and in West Virginia. We have improved our process over time, and are continuing to do so now. Our intention is that, when you receive your TerraPan, it is worthy of timeless fulfillment and enjoyment.


Q. CAN I CREATE A CUSTOM TUNING FOR MY TERRAPAN?
A.
Absolutely. In keeping with our roots, we're open to creating custom instruments as elaborate as a 16 note double-sided chromatic with a minor tuning on top & a major on the bottom! However, custom pitch models are limited, require a longer wait and may not work. If for some reason we are not successful producing your request, you will be offered an alternative option.


Q. WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 440Hz & 432Hz, AND CAN I CHOOSE EITHER FOR MY TERRAPAN?
A.
  These are frequencies to which musical instruments are most commonly tuned. It is standard practice to tune instruments to 440 hertz. Tuning your TerraPan to this frequency will likely be best if you intend to play it with other instruments and/or are expecting the notes to be completely recognizable. Tuning to 432Hz has become popular among people who wish to use their instruments primarily for therapeutic and meditative purposes. Some people believe that the frequency of 432Hz has a balancing affect on the energy within one's body. Evidence of this is cited through cymatics, the study of the effect of sound on matter. There are many comparative YouTube videos that demonstrate the uniform symmetry and definition when matter is stimulated by pitches tuned to 432Hz.


Q. CAN I CHOOSE BETWEEN AN INWARD DOME (INPEX) VS. AN OUTWARD DOME (APEX)? 
A.
Yes. This is an aesthetic choice. We at TerraTōnz prefer an outer Dome (apex).


Q. CAN I REQUEST A SECOND SOUNDPORT ON MY TERRAPAN? 
A. Absolutely. We are happy to provide a second sound port at an additional charge. We will also supply a port magnet which you may use to cover the port when you are playing and wish to have only the primary port open.


Q. CAN I ADD BOTTOM NOTES TO MY TERRAPAN?
A. We are happy to add bottom notes if they coordinate with your tops notes and the basic structure of your TerraPan. We will evaluate your suggestions and provide personal feedback. There is an additional charge for each note requested.


Q. CAN I REQUEST A SPECIFIC TUNING FOR THE SOUND PORT ON MY TERRAPAN? 
A. 
We leave the tuning of the sound port at the discretion of the tuner for optimum harmonic balancing. 


Q. CAN I CHOOSE ART FOR MY TERRAPAN?
A. 
At our discretion we can create any simple abstract designs. Some designs we have done in the past are galaxy swirls, splatter, suns, moons, yin yang, and flower of life inspired art. You can see some examples of our past art here. There is no extra charge for most art. However, some very detailed designs do require compensation for the extra time and attention they require. If you are interested in art, contact us and we will provide a quote to you.


Q. SHOULD I LEAVE MY TERRAPAN IN IT'S BAG?
A.
 No. Unseen moisture can accumulate in the bag and, when zipped up, can possibly cause light corrosion. A moisture eater will help, but we do not suggest relying on it. We suggest you only keep it in the bag when traveling and keep it slightly unzipped when resting. When at home, we suggest a high shelf or safely hanging it on the wall as a piece of art and inspiration, where it is also safe from children and animals. 


Q. DOES MY TERRAPAN COME WITH A SERIAL NUMBER?
A. 
Your TerraPan is issued a serial number once a deposit is made and can be used for your own personal instrument insurance. The TerraPan is also numbered with the date bonded, hertz frequency, and notation.


Q. DO TERRAPANS NEED A FOAM BLOCK INSERT TO MAINTAIN QUALITY?
A. We have found that many makers heavily rely on foam inserts inside the instrument to enhance their quality. We strive to avoid these and find they are necessary for an average of 1 in 10 TerraPans. In this case, the resonance may be impeded by how certain frequencies are interacting in the chamber, and the foam insert must remain in it's original place. For these rare cases, we will inscribe a discrete line on the flange, so the player can reattach it with a strong double sided duct tape if needed. Please never glue the foam insert, as it will only complicate our process of later retuning if necessary.


Q. DO TERRAPANS NEED TO BE RETUNED?
A. Not often. Since every tuner has a slightly different approach, it is best to have your instrument retuned by the person who originally tuned it. We are happy to help facilitate this process for you. Since 2013 we have retuned many pans from other makers, including HANGs, but have only had to retune a handful TerraPans. This speaks to the integrity of our instruments and their stability. 


Q. WHAT IS THE SIZE AND WEIGHT OF A TERRAPAN?
A. The size and weight of each TerraPan varies slightly. On average the dimensions are 53cm x 25cm. The average weight is 4.5 kilos. This makes the TerraPan a centimeter larger than a PANArt HANG. We feel the HANG is the most comfortable size and weight to play. A TerraPan is slightly larger, as not to directly copy the size of the PANArt HANG.


Q. CAN I PICK UP MY TERRAPAN IN PERSON?
A. 
Yes. You may schedule an appointment to pick up your instrument either at our Osage, West Virginia or Kingston, Georgia studios. Please email us to schedule an appointment.


Q. CAN I VISIT AND EXPLORE THE TERRAPAN?
A. Potential clients are welcome to request an appointment to visit us at one of our TerraPan studios. We love to share our instrument and are here to assist you in finding the pan that best speaks to you. To request an appointment to visit, please title the subject of your email "Visit Request."


Q. CAN I APPRENTICE UNDER TERRATONZ?
A.
No. We do not officially accept apprentices at this time.


Q. CAN MY TERRAPAN BE REPAIRED IF DAMAGED?
A.
 If your TerraPan is damaged in shipping, your instrument will be insured. After filing an insurance claim, the instrument would need to be returned to our workshop to evaluate the repair and quote the repair cost or fully replace the instrument at the expense of the insurance provider. If your TerraPan is unfortunately damaged after safely receiving it, the instrument would need to be returned to our workshop to evaluate the repair and quote the repair cost or fully replace the instrument at the expense of the client. In either unfortunate case, we hare here to serve you. Please note shipping in both directions is the responsibility of the client. Also, please remember, this is your investment and can be insured by a local insurance provider of your choice. If you find yourself in such a predicament, please send us an email with the subject titled "Damaged TerraPan."


Q. CAN I PLAY IN DIRECT SUN?
A. 
No. If you play in the direct sun or an environment which the instrument is hot to touch, you will surely alter the tuning. If your instrument gets too hot to the touch, it will be fine if not played until it cools down. Also, please refrain from keeping your TerraPan from being locked up in a hot car for extended periods of time, as this is not good for the health of children, animals or TerraPans.


Q. WHAT IF MY TERRAPAN GETS WET?
A.
 If your TerraPan happens to get wet, immediately dry it. Next, clean the pan with 95-99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol to remove any existing oils, salts, etc. Afterward, please lightly oil your instrument with FrogLube or coconut oil gently with a Micro-Fiber cloth. Next, remove the excess oil thoroughly with a clean Micro-Fiber cloth or it may impede the sound quality.


Q. HOW COME TERRATONZ IS NOT VERY ACTIVE AT THE HANDPAN.ORG FORUMS OR GATHERINGS?
A.
There is great benefit from being part of a community whether online or in-person. We generally do not interact with these platforms and find many to be biased towards specific handpan cliques. We resonate with a more personal, open, and authentic approach. 


Q. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE TRUE AND ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT TERRAPANS?
A.
 Please note there is much inaccurate information online about the original makers of the PANArt HANG, handpans in general and even the TerraPan. Wherever your research leads you, it is your place to seek truth. We invite you to follow our Facebook page, email us, and join our newsletter.