Not all Tongue Drums and Handpans are created equal.
In 2019 we saw several disturbing trends developing that will unfortunately continue into 2020.
1. An onslaught of very inexpensive steel tongue drums and handpans hitting the market that are Made in China. We ordered several to see what the quality is like. We also tested them in person at NAMM. What we found is very unsettling:
- Thin steel that is not musical sounding.
- Notes that are out of tune.
- Some notes do not ring at all and are just dead.
- These drums will go further out of tune with use because of the thin steel.
- Travel bags rip easily, zippers break.
- Instruction booklets are in Chinese, or there is no booklet included at all.
We have had numerous customers contact us, asking us to re-tune these drums and handpans, sadly we can’t fix them.
2. Fake reviews on Amazon, eBay and elsewhere. Reviews purchased by the sellers on the black market (see below). There are more than 150+ private Facebook groups where sellers from China openly exchange free products (and, in many cases, paid commissions) in exchange for fake 5-star reviews. This practice is illegal and Facebook takes these pages down quickly only for new ones to appear.
3. What about all those ads I see on Facebook and Instagram? A new trend, fake ads on Facebook and Instagram for tongue drums and handpans (see below). These ad companies steal your money and send you nothing in return, or they send you a completely different product. We report these ads to Facebook and Instagram but they still continue to show them. Many of these websites are hosted by Shopify.
4. Google Shopping. Unfortunately, several of our HAPI Drums are being used by scam sellers on Google Shopping (see below). And, even though we report them to be removed, Google will not remove them. If you see one of our HAPI Drums that normally retails for $296, on sale for a low low price of $74.97, that is a scam website.
5. Our product videos and photos (and other people's videos and photos) are being used on several of these scam websites (see below). If they are showing you a product video that doesn’t match the product photo they are selling, that is a scam website.
What can you do? Slow down and do some research before you purchase. If it looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Skepticism is healthy. Know the return policy and how to contact customer service from the website you are purchasing from. Do they have a physical address in the United States, a phone number in the United States, an e-mail address? Read the shipping details, especially when you will receive it. Check their social media presence for reviews. How long has their Facebook page been active for? Is their website address just a weird string of letters that doesn't make sense?
It is breaking our hearts to see this happening in our drumming community. We ask that you please find a reputable brand name or maker to purchase a quality steel tongue drum or handpan from. There are plenty to choose from that have great reputations. Support the artists and creators who love these instruments. We love seeing the good you do with these instruments out in the world.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. As always, if you have questions or comments, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With love, rhythm & light,
Trish and Grahm
HAPI Drum | 49522 Road 426 | Oakhurst, California 93644 | Phone: (559) 642-6248