Steelpan and Manufacturing

Steelpan and Manufacturing

The steelpan is the national musical instrument of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. A key component of the steelpan industry is the steelpan manufacturing and tuning process. Steelpan manufacturing refers to the art and science of making steelpan instruments, which include double guitar pan, triple guitar pan, four cello pan, tenor bass/high bass, six bass/low bass, nine bass, triple cello, tenor pan, double tenor pan, second pan and double second pan. There is a high demand for the production of the tenor pan. Tuning is important to the process in order to acquire the final pitch and timbre of the notes on the steelpan instrument. This gives the steelpan its distinct sound.

The key competencies required by the Pan Builder/Pan Constructor for Steelpan Manufacturing are marking out the drum face for sinking; sinking the drum to create an evenly stretched surface; drafting the notes on the surface of the pan; tempering the pan; cutting and drilling the pan; countersinking and grooving the notes on the pan; performing final preparation to level the grooves and set the pan.

There are distinct competencies for Steelpan Tuning, which include setting the pan for pre-tuning; pre-tuning the pan; final tuning the pan to set the final pitch and timbre; and blending the pan to adjust the pitch, timbre and loudness of the notes. 

As the demand for steelpan instruments continue to grow internationally, there is the need for a skilled labour force of Pan Workshop Helpers/Pan-Building Apprentices, Sinkers, Pan Builders/Pan Constructors, Groovers and Tuners (pre-tuning), Tuner (final tuning). Opportunities exist in the Steelpan industry for entrepreneurship through the establishment of small or medium-sized steelpan manufacturing and tuning enterprises.






23 January 2015