Hot Pans - Stockholm Steelband
© Ulf Kronman, The Pan Page. Publisher: Musikmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.

10. Holes for hanging

In the next step of the tuning, the fine tuning, the pan should be hanging to get the right sound. Therefore, the time has now come to make holes for the strings attaching the pan to the stand. The holes for the strings are made in the rim or the skirt. The position of the holes is quite important, because it establishes the position of the notes in relation to the player. It also determines at which angle the pan is going to hang.

On most pans, the supporting strings at each side go between two holes. For instruments consisting of several drums it is best to put the holes a bit down on the side (5 cm is common) so the upper ends of the stands get below the rim and not hinders the player by getting in the way of his arms. See fig 10.1 for a picture of how the string is attached to the holes in the side.

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Fig. 10.1 Holes for strings.

The holes have to be placed about 1-2 cm off centre to get the drum to hang at a suitable angle. The best method to find the position of the holes is the following: Hold the pan at the rim between you hands, using thumb and four fingers of each hand, see fig. 10.2. Place the hands so that the pan will hang at an appropriate angle. This means that your hands will be somewhat off the centre line, again see fig. 10.2. When the pan is hanging right, have someone mark the rim at each side of your hands, making two marks on each side of the drum, approximately 5 cm apart. Then mark the skirt 5 cm below these marks and make the holes there.

For tenors, that consist of only one drum, there is no need to keep the end of the supporting arms below the rim. Therefore, common practice is to make a single hole in the rim at each side of the tenor and tie the string in a loop trough it. The position of the holes on a tenor is decided by holding the pan in the rim between thumb and pointing-finger at each side and then marking it there. Again, the positions have to be a bit off the centre line to make the drum hang at the correct angle.

Typical positions of hanging holes for different pans are given in appendix A, together with the overview of the pan.

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Fig. 10.2 Method to determine the position of the string holes.