The handpan is essentially a steelpan that is played manually, without mallets. In addition, convex steelpans, a category of steelpan instruments to which the handpan truly belongs, were invented and experimented with in Trinidad & Tobago and surrounding islands long before the recent explosion of the so called ''handpan''. The very first original steelpans were convex in shape, and only later circa 1948 were they altered on a wide scale to the now standard concave shape that we all know.
With that being said, the vast majority of handpan makers exclusively manufacture handpans, and have little to none of the knowledge required to successfully craft and tune a quality traditional steelpan instrument, i.e. tenor pan, double seconds, etc.
Considering the fact that the handpan market is relatively new with its rebranded ''debut'' occuring a short time after the year 2000, it is unwise to think that a tuner who tunes handpans exclusively at the current time would have the required tuning experience required in order to properly tune an instrument. The reason being, that aforementioned tuner would lack the decades of éxperience that is usually required to hone a competent, qualified tuner.
Many of the handpan outfits on the market today have only jumped on the handpan bandwagon due to pure greed, as they sell poorly tuned instruments for what is more than many individuals' monthly salary. In short, it appears that many handpan dealers are focused solely on the money they can generate via the instrument, while there is no actual love of the instrument present. So the products generated by them are essentially soul-less by default.
When you purchase a handpan from traditional steelpan makers like KaribPAN, you can enjoy the fact that your instrument has been professionally and consumately tuned by a Caribbean tuner with nearly 40 years of experience tuning traditional steelpans.
The reason why a steelpan tuner in general will more often than not be a superior tuner to one who tunes exclusively handpans is, a steelpan tuner will instinctively know how to tune a handpan, but the same cannot be said about a handpan ''tuner'' who attempts to tune a steelpan, i.e. tenor pan, double seconds, etc.
More importantly, the steelpan tuner in general will more often than not fundamentally have a better understanding of how to properly manufacture a handpan, than a handpan tuner, who in most cases would not be able to manage to manufacture a decent tenor pan, for example.
Handpans are also easier to tune than traditional steelpans for the simple fact that they have less notes! A tenor pan for instance can have 28-36 notes, while handpans have on average 8-9 notes. Essentially, for steelpan tuners, there is less of a learning curve when transitioning to handpan making/tuning, than there is for handpan makers/''tuners'' who would like to transition into making traditional steelpans.