Hank Drum inventor Dennis Havlena checks the tuning on his propane tank creation. Dennis invented the Hank Drum because of a love for the sound, music
and the idea of the Hang Drum, created by two dedicated artists at the PANArt
company in Bern, Switzerland.
An avid Hang Drum enthusiast in California suggested he call his creation the Hank Drum (hang + tank) and this name has stuck, and is now part of the history of Hank Drum folklore.
The "Bungee Cord Dampening Bands" around the Hank Drum play an essential part in helping control excessive "tank ring" as
well as helping control its undesirable overtones. The black rubber bungees
work FAR better than the round, multi-colored, cloth-covered ones.
Dennis has instructions on how to build a Hank Drum on his website. We have a copy here of his Hank Drum Template to give you an idea on how to make one. His website plans go into much more detail about making it as well as important safety precautions.
Please remember, NEVER use a tank that has EVER had propane in it, use only a NEW -- NEVER-BEEN-FILLED -- 20 pound propane tank!
As Dennis says:
If you can use an electric drill, a pipe wrench, a saber-saw, a pair of Vise-Grips, and a file, have the ability to tune a guitar, and can get a friend to help you with all of that, then you too can build a Hank Drum.
A first of its kind production version Steel Tongue Drum, called the HAPI Drum is available from our sister site HapiTones.com offering various models, tuned in different scales. It was researched and designed for musicians and non-musicians of all ages who are looking to purchase a stable, perfectly tuned instrument to create instant music have fun with.
The HAPI Drum is at home in the park, around the campfire, or in the music studio.
Hank Drum (Propane Tank Drum)
Dennis Havlena has been creating and inventing musical instruments and hybrid instruments for over 40 years. One of his latest creations is called the Hank Drum. This is the story of how the Hank Drum came to be:
In early 2007, inspired by Felle Vega's innovative helium-tank "Tambiro" on YouTube, Dennis constructed his own version of the Tambiro from a much thicker 20 pound propane tank -- it had six pentatonic-tuned steel tongues cut into the SIDE of the tank (see photo below).
It was during that time that he also found out about the Swiss made Hang, which many call a Hang Drum, which got him all fired up and excited. Since the price of a Hang required getting on a long waiting list, then flying to Bern Switzerland to pick one up, and a price tag of about $1800.00, he set out on trying to make something a bit similar, but also a completely new instrument.
Wanting an instrument whose notes approximated the layout of a Swiss Hang Drum, he arranged the tank's tongues in a similar configuration. A good deal of time was spent ruining many new propane tanks while he experimented with the tanks, cutting experimental tongues into the bottoms -- eventually resulting in a workable instrument.
Dennis Havlena's propane tank Tambiro,
the precursor to the Hank Drum.
Note that tuning the Hank Drum properly is key! It pains Dennis (and anyone with a good set of ears) to hear so many badly tuned Hank Drums on YouTube that people have carelessly made. Dennis is proud of his invention, so if you you do plan on making your own Hank Drum, give it the extra time necessary to tune it properly. Dennis thanks you :)
Dennis has been making and inventing instruments for over 40 years, and his focus has always been on Simplicity, Durability, Sound, and Playability.
Leaving the fine craftsmanship to others, he'd rather concentrate on designing fun and easy-to-make instruments. He has free plans on making over 100 varieties of musical instruments on his website, and offers a CD available from his site, complete with plans that contains over 650 photos and many sound samples, as well as several short videos, all for just $10 dollars! Explore his website, grab a CD, and tell him Oddmusic sent you! :-)