When Steel Talks

Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

An Interview with Steelpan Innovator & G-Pan Inventor Brian Copeland

Global - The inventor of the G-Pan Dr. Brian Copland in this exclusive 2010 When Steel Talks (WST) interview, moves to explain some of the misconceptions about the instrument and moreover it's importance to the future development of steelpan movement.
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Great interview WST.

Dr. Copeland, how much does the finished instruments cost? How much does the pre sunked drums cost? How do you know or insure that outside tuners will follow the G-pan lay-out?
Hello Pan Woman
Using the current production mechanisms we estimate that the G-Soprano will cost between TT$10K to 12K. The pre-sunk drum is currently around TT$1.5K. These costs will go down when we commission the plant (the first piece of machinery is about to) and move away from the manual process.
In order to build a solid industry we do need a degree of conformity in the manufacture of G-Pans. One solution that we are looking at may involve licensing. I cannot say more at this time
Dr. Copeland thank you for sharing some insight on the G Pan. But why has there been so much secrecy around the instrument even after it was introduced to the public? Will the G Pan become the standard instrument in the Trinidad and Tobago school system? What do the music educators think about the instrument? How do the G-pan instruments compare to Panyards instruments?

Here we go again no disrespect to mr copeland for what he is doing but i have a problem with all these new styles of the pan how come no one cannot find a way to ampl the pans with all the tec that we have birte did it they say it is chines music but that was then but with all that tech that we have now who knows what could happen. I think it is a disrespect the some of our tuners we have some tuners that can tune and blend pans that are made by other tuners but some might have a problem i think that is how tuners make there living i am just pondering one love
Hello Kenrick

See my reply to Zalina below. I and some of my colleagues took a shot at this years ago. We amplified all ranges of pan, including an electro-acoustic bass. I formed a company to market the ideas but encountere d problems in moving it forward. The bass was awesome though!
Hi Bugs

One of the rules of the patenting game is that even after filing one does not reveal all, particualrly during the examination and prosecution process. We just got our first patent award (Trinidad & Tobago) out of the many that were filed. Prosecution is still proceeding in other jurisdictions.

Another rule of the game is, if you have no intention of commercialising the invention then do not bother to patent it. Patenting is not so much about ownership as it is about business. It is a license from a Government that gives you the exclusive right to manufacture and sell an invention. That's all. BUT, to nail the point home , the best form of ownership is domination of the market space.

I cannot predict the future but I could sure try to shape it. Given what I said in the last paragraph it would be foolish for anyone to have invested so much on developing and patenting the G-Pans without a vision of seeing it significantly penetrate all aspects of the market -education etc.

We have very good feedback from performers, music educators etc. Some are negative, but for no clear reason. Particularly following the performance of Phase 2 and Skiffle Bunch in the 2010 Panorama, interest is high from the steelpan community. That is enough motivation to continue on the path we set for the G-Pans ultimately playing a significant role in the steelpan industry.

I understand that Panyard makes pretty good instruments - I have not looked closely enough at them as yet to comment on how they compare.
Hi Brian,

After reading these few words that you have typed here, it really solidifies to the world how oblivious and selfish you are, and how you have been successful so far in monopolizing and brainwashing the people around you.

I would like to advise the world and the youth of the pan community to please patent, if they can, any new idea that they have envisioned. It is very important, people, to have none-disclosures signed before talking to anyone about your idea, especially to people like Brian Copeland.

Patenting can be somewhat expensive, BUT MY ADVICE IS TO PATENT IF YOU CAN, And just so you all know, there are different forms of patenting. I would like to use this example to all readers of this blog. One of the most successful products over the past 10 years has been the Blackberry. Unfortunately, Research In Motion (RIM) did not have a patent for their product. There were a couple of guys who had that technology patented with absolutely no intent of putting it in the marketplace. Their intent was to sell it to a potential company like RIM, Sony etc., who would then pay them for their patent. And the story goes on. To fast track the story, Research In Motion were successfully sued by the company who owned the patent (NTP), and the patent holders were rewarded a lump sum of US $265,000,000. And then RIM had to pay NTP licensing fees to continue using the technology. Follow this link for factual information. http://www.engadget.com/2006/01/29/behind-the-scenes-in-the-rim-ntp...

So my friends, as you see, do not take Brian Copeland's advice/recommendations about patents. Maybe he is doing this on purpose. As I, Salmon Cupid, know, there are several pan makers who were exploited by Brian Copeland which has now resulted in the birth of the G-pan. As recently as last night, I received a call from one John Smith, a Trinidadian who now resides in Florida, As he explained his sad story, he went to Trinidad with his big pan, the M-pan as he called it (millenium pan), and his good friend Auburn Wiltshire innocently led him directly to the guillotine Brian Copeland at U.W.I. (University of West Indies). John Smith said that he was so excited because he thought that he was going to have a breakthrough by meeting someone who could help him develop his dream. John said that Brian Copeland hooked up cameras recording the entire meeting, and he was grilled as to how he was able to accomplish the tone from the M-pan using the gage that he did. (John said that they even had him sign papers.) John Smith even led Brian Copeland and the rest of his team to his source of drum maker, and the story goes on. But I'm not here to advocated for John Smith, but you can email him at jdsteel@bellsouth.net to get the full story. Unfortunately, there are several others, like John Smith, who have been manipulated and used.

I will close this part of the blog by asking a couple of questions:
1) How do you sleep at night?
2) Since the government of Trinidad and Tobago is funding the G-pan and now the Phi-pan, how come you are heading a private company called Panadigm? Shouldn't that be a publicly owned company? You are, after all, using taxpayers' money to fund it, and on top of that a group of you were also receiveing a monthly salary from the government for the time put into Research and Development.
3) Since all of this was done in the labs of the University of the West Indies, which you collect a salary from, and young upcoming engineers from the UWI were used, how come the design patent that was granted in Trinidad has personal names on it like your own? Should that not be connected somehow to the University of the West Indies? Only in Trinidad ridiculous things like this can happen.

I think that I have said enough for now. You will all hear from me very soon, guaranteed.

Salmon Cupid, Inventor of the World's First Electronic Steelpan
facebook E-Pan Man
Well Said... They want the outside world and interest to recognize, but not prepared to reciprocate. Typical!!!

Actually, the NTP vs. RIM patent infringement case is well-known and the result was a settlement payment from the latter to the former of some $612.5 million (USD). > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTP,_Inc.#RIM_patent_infringement_liti...


History is being told... http://www.panonthenet.com/news/2010/mar/epancupid-3-21-10.html

Justice Will Prevail and David Will Defeat Goliath!!!

Well" Well" Well what can I say, am' all for improving the sound of the steel pans by that I mean
steel pans that were made from oil drums or what ever they want to call them. Tuners like Burch
kellman,Guppy Brown, Roland Harrigan, Bertie Marshall,Lloyd Gay, Mr.wallace and others that are living today all over the world who makes pans by their hands are the ones I admire the most, because it's real hard work . When we start talking about electronic this and that please stop calling them steel pans, give them a new name that's my take OK?. I listen to some pans made by Mr. Dodley Dickson who resides in England and those pans sounds very good.Silver Stars did not use any G-Pan or any other new invented pans on the market, they not only sounded good but very
good. The making of steel pans are not for Trinidadians only, all are welcome aboard but we
know who makes excellent pans and who is still trying. Best of luck to the E- Pan, G-Pan, C- Pan,
X-Pan Y and Z Pan am' still waiting to hear " them pans" are the best I've ever heard.

Don Clarke


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