About the Instrument
Steel Tongue Drums are easy instruments to play in general, mainly because they are usually tuned to one specific scale and the player can never hit a wrong key.
The tones are positioned in “right-left-right-left” order similar to a hand-pan or a Kalimba. The longer tongues produce lower notes, the shorter ones produce higher notes. The strike should be fast and soft at the same time. Avoid blocking the vibration of the tongues while playing. A wrong strike will interfere with the vibration – this is why the “fast-slapping” technique is recommended. The hit should be with an open & loose hand using 1-2 fingers.
For easier playing, we recommend to place the drum with the longest tongue closest to you, the highest tone will now be at hour 12:00. This way you will be able to hit the longer tongues with the sides of your thumbs (like bass guitar “slapping”) and the shorter tongues with your index fingers.
Tip : Imagine that you are checking the temperature of a hot iron with your finger, trying not to get a burn.
The “FunTone” is our favorite premium pro model of a Steel Tongue Drum - harmonically tuned, having two partials (overtones) tuned to each note. We designed it to be very comfortable to play. The form of the instrument - with a diameter of 40 cm - has just the right angle for a natural wrist positioning - making the playing experience effortless. This drum is very loud despite it’s small size (weighs 4 kg). It can be easily heard in a busy street or while accompanied by other instruments. After a long search for the perfect material, we finally found our favorite steel alloy. The metal is treated with carbon and nitrogen in order to make the instrument more resonant and responsive when touched (two steel shells 1.5mm thick). This specific metal treatment also strengthens the body of the instrument, turning the "FunTone" into a very durable Steel Tongue Drum.
Side note: Choosing a scale for your instrument might sound like a difficult thing to do, especially when it comes to buying your instrument online without even touching it. This decision can also be rather spontaneous, when you listen to the sound of a specific scale you can naturally feel the different tensions it has. For example a minor scale will have a rather dramatic rise from the bottom note to top of the scale - while a major scale will have a happier essence and will leave you with a more positive sensation. Try to feel the “mood” that the scale creates, your instinct will lead you to choose the right one.