For Non-Musicians


Do I need to know anything about music to play the HAPI Drum?

The Mini, Bell, Slim, and Origin Drums come in pentatonic scales. The word "pentatonic" comes from the Greek word pente meaning five and tonic meaning tone. It is a musical scale that consists of five notes within one octave. Because of their arrangement, pentatonic scales are often used to introduce beginners to music. There are no wrong notes! You can play any note in any order and the drum will sound great!

What drum is right for me as a non-musician?

All of our fixed tuning drums (Mini, Bell, Slim, Origin) are a great choice for a non-musician. These drums are locked in to one scale. Our tuneable drums require some understanding of music theory and use of a chromatic tuner to change the scale.

What scale should I choose?

We have narrowed down your scale choices in each drum model to the most popular and best sounding ones. Our scales are compatible with other instruments and with other HAPI Drums. It just comes down to your personal preference and which scale "speaks to you" the most. Click here to listen to all the scales, use a good pair of headphones for the best sound quality.

What are your highest and lowest voiced instruments?

The HAPI Mini is our highest voiced drum, great for rhythmic melodies. The HAPI Slim is our mid-range drum, a versatile drum that has lows and highs. It can play slow or fast rhythms. The HAPI Origin is our low-voice drum, great for slow meditative ethereal style playing. The HAPI UFO is mid to low-voiced, this drum sounds best when playing 2 to 3 notes simultaneously to build chords. The UFO Drum is a more intermediate to advance level instrument.

Does the drum need to be plugged in or amplified in any way to sound good?

No! These are a true acoustic instrument with a strong, powerful sound. We do offer a microphone for some models, for people who perform on stage.

Can I only play the drum in my lap?

Most steel tongue drums on the market can only be played in your lap. This is because if you set the drum on a table or hard surface it will dampen the sound severely. We have added isolating rubber feet to our drums. Our rubber feet solve this problem and give you the perfect sound in your lap or on any playing surface.

Can the HAPI Drums be played by hand?

Yes! It does take practice to learn this technique. One finger is used, to get a clean sound it takes what is called a "percussive stroke or slap". The drum comes with a booklet that explains this technique. It takes most people a few days of practice to master. It is similar to playing a tabla drum.

Here is a good overview of the HAPI Drum that also shows the hand playing technique from our friend Kalani: