Steel tongue drum
A steel tongue drum, tank drum or hank drum is a round steel slit/tongue drum originally fashioned from a propane tank.
A steel tongue drum is made from an empty (often 20 lb) propane tank. The tank is flipped over, the base cut/knocked off; and seven to ten tongues are cut radially into the bottom of the tank, forming the top of the instrument. The tongues can be tuned by the player by varying the length of the cuts. The steel tongue drum is often tuned to pentatonic scales but can be tuned to the diatonic scale, the chromatic scale, or any set of notes the maker chooses. The instrument is played with the fingers or with mallets. The tone is bell-like.
The steel tongue drum had several predecessors, most notably the Whale Drum by Jim Doble and the Tambiro by Felle Vega. In February 2007 Dennis Havlena, inspired by the physical properties of the Tambiro and the tone layout of the Hang, created a steel tongue drum with a circular cross pattern layout and from an empty 20-pound propane tank. The name 'Hank Drum' came from a combination of "Hang" and "tank".
Dennis Havlena's instrument, in turn, has inspired other steel tongue drum inventions, including a number of commercial versions.
- YouTube Video: Felle Vega with his Tambiro
- Instructions for making a Hank Drum by Dennis Havlena
- Dennis Havlena: Make a "Tambiro"
- YouTube video: The Original Propane Tank "Hank Drum" - by Dennis Havlena
- Manufacturers of steel tongue drums (not exhaustive list in alphabetical order): 1Tone,Babel Drum, Custom Tank Drum, Deftaudio, DrumVibe, Garrahand, Gombadrums, Hapi Tones, Harmonic Tympanum, Ithaca Tank Drums, Klangauge, Lotus Drum, MILLTONE, Percussive devices, Pronaam Acoustics, Rockcreek Steel Drums, Tankdrum, Xplosive Percussion, Zen Tambour
- Dennis Havlena's Website
- Article in the Oddmusic Musical Instrument Gallery about Dennis Havlena and the Hank Drum
- Article on recording a Hank Drum. Includes audio clips
- Hank Drum Collective - discussion group for Hank Drum makers