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Hi there guys, really glad to be here!

I have just bought a Mappo C Tenor from Trinidad [my second steel drum]. 

I don't know if it's a mentality and I am trying to find faults because I don't trust that it survived the Atlantic crossing without getting knocked about, so take that into consideration if you will.

Basically I find that the inside F note [not the very middle] sounds almost cloudy/muddy compared to the other notes. It's as if it has a very slight distortion on the note. 

Is this a common feature of all steel pans due to the way they are acoustically made, or could it be a fault with the pan itself.

See Attached picture

Thanks so much for your help in advance, feeling a little down about the situation.


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there maybe nothing really wrong .the note may need breaking in by playing it regularly .. that usually happens with inside notes.

Dudley Nesbit who organised the pan for me here in England, mentioned about playing in the notes (IT is a brand new pan after all), I just cannot see how an instrument made out of metal can be 'broken in' and the notes changing tone.


The pan was shipping in a pretty good case so I don't think it's been knocked badly. 

How long is the breaking in period. Say in hours of constant play? 

Consider that the playing surface is only a couple mils think... like a hard sheet of paper.  Flat, the surface was probably 1.1mm thick at the most.  Now, it's stretched to over twice the original surface area.


That said... yes, it could have been bumped when shipped, and it can be played into shape.  I would ask Mappo if they have a recommended tuner in your area to give it a quick look.

Hard to say.  But all the notes should be even, and all settling in at the same rate.  If F5 is off, but the rest are fine, it needs a touch-up.  Check the pan with your guitar tuner.  If you don't have one, I use a free one called PitchLab on my Android phone.  If your ears are detecting a problem, there probably is.

To me the note is fine in it's pitch. It's more the tonal quality, sounded muddy and doesn't resonate like the others. Does that make sense?

Yep... makes sense.

Try this... dampen the F5 with a finger, and hit the note on the long end of the dent.  You should hear F6 (the octave).  If you hit on the long side of the dent, you should hear C6 (octave + 5th).  If they are not, that's what will cause the note to sound flat, and you should get it touched up by a tuner.

Pan notes are quite complex.

Any one telling you that a note needs to be broken in after the pan is finish tuned has no idea of what they are talking about, this is my own opinion. A steel pan is either well tuned or not tuned properly, that's the bottom line. A good tuner of the steel pans would know what am' talking about. I agree with most of what Mr. Sidd is saying he has a good head on.  By the way a note can get damage during shipping or in many other ways.

Hi there Sidd thank you for your reply!

Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of attempting to tune it myself, or hitting the notes hard.

I live in England, my room temperature is between 16 and 21C during these autumn months.

I will keep playing her, as I said, it's a brand new pan, I am hoping it just needs settling in.

Alex, I think that you have hit the mark. It sounds like the old preference question. Do you prefer a note that rings or a note with superior tonal quality. Another thing could be the tuner himself. I know that Mappo is one of the top dogs in tuning, but I have never played a Mappo instrument. Does anyone knows if he struggles with the F-note? I have two top-notch builders that I have worked with for years. Over time I realized that one cannot tune a D-note to save his life. The other cannot tune a B-note. It seems like their ear just cannot pick up those notes. Interesting!

you may need to get it blend because it may have been knock around a little so don't be too down 

some times it happens my alto came from Trinidad and a little touch up was nessary but my alto is a

beauty to listen to when I play it, Just like a piano moving from long distances without proper care can

send some notes out, I hope this helps God Bless.

Winston: Share some of yuh music with the forum, nah. Yuh alto pan is "a beauty to listen to when you play it" so I am waiting to hear it. Cecil eh answer yuh yet on the other posting. To buy a pan and pay for it and anticipate playing it and then yuh have to find ah next good tuner to tune it (always a wild card) is a bit of a painful experience. Depressing, I would say.

But TWEAKING is a part of life!!!


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