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The Lack Of Discipline Among One-Dimensional Handpan ''Tuners''

Steelpan tuning (and handpan tuning by default), is literally a discipline that takes years of hands on study and training in order for one to acheive competency in the field. The operative word in the previous sentence is DISCIPLINE, as formal, disciplined study is required before one can reasonably expect to be able to become a legitimate Pan tuner. 

 

As far as the Handpan is concerned, gone are the days when makers/tuners studied for years on end under a master steelpan tuner as an apprentice, if these days ever existed among most handpan makers, especially the one-dimensional ones.

 

Regarding traditional steelpan tuners, apprenticeships are generally the norm, and the tuners who have picked up the craft on their own and become reasonably good at tuning due to self-teaching methods are rare and are considered exceptions to the rule. 

 

Regarding steelpan tuning apprenticeships, Ellie Mannette immediately comes to mind as many current steelpan tuners/makers who are in business today and studied under him enjoy solid reputations in the field and maintain busy schedules. These former Ellie Mannette apprectices have steady work for the most part and are constantly in demand. Completing an appreticeship under a master maker/tuner such as him can can allow the apprentices to ''write their own tickets'' so to speak when they graduate from his program and become makers/tuners in their own right. Former Ellie Mannette apprentices are some of the most respected, highly sought after makers/tuners in the world of Pan today. Having such a stamp on one's resume as a maker/tuner is the equivalent to a degree from Oxford & Cambridge or Harvard in the Pan world. 

 

Considering these hard facts it is difficult to take any one-dimesional handpan maker/tuner with no formal steelpan making/tuning education under a master seriously from a peer reviewed perspective. 

 

This aside, the more unhindered the overall speculation becomes as far as new, one-dimensional handpan makers entering the market, the more new, inexperienced, one-dimensional handpan ''tuners'' are enticed into entering the maker's side of the market subsequently  in order to expoit opportunities in the market in the short term before the bubble bursts. Consequently with each new maker who enters into the market, more speculation is created by virtue of them selling their untested, unproven protoypes at $2000 price points, which in turn causes the market bubble to become bigger, and that much closer to bursting.

 

The more new, one-dimensional handpan tuners arrive on the scene, the more one becomes witness to traditional tuning techniques being discarded by the wayside and thrown out of the window. With the indroduction of Linotune,  which had/has ''tuners'' abandoning the longtime industry standard, Peterson Strobe Tuners for a computer program, some new, one dimensional handpan ''tuners'' bypassed the Peterson Strobe Tuner altogether and just went straight to using a computer program.

 

The lack of discipline among handpan ''tuners'' has become so rampant that there is this blasphemous, new idea of ''free tuning'' which is now on the rise, and is based on the unreasonable belief that one can properly tune a steelpan/handpan by just relying on one's ears alone, without the aid of a strobe tuner. This notion of ''free tuning'' strikes me as a lazy, undisciplined way for novice, one-dimensional handpan makers to slyly market their poorly tuned instruments with the IMPLIED DISCLAIMER that they have been ''free tuned'', which to a Pan purist like myself are shrewd marketing code-words for ''NOT PROFESSIONALLY TUNED'' instruments. I have seen many of these ''free tuned'' handpans sell for upwards of $3000, and it is all due to savvy markteting techniques , not the inherent quality of the instrument , quality which they lack for the most part.

 

Truly shrewd indeed. 

 

 

 



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