What are Steel Pans?


Steel pans, also known as steel drums, were originally made from 55-gallon oil drums. Originating from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, and starting life as literally dust bin lids, they have been refined over the years into a sophisticated instrument capable of many perfectly tuned notes. To this day, each steel pan in existence is individually hand made and regularly tuned by specialists. Nowadays steel pan players do not rely on used steel oil drums as the basis of a new pan, but instead have the bodies custom made to their own specifications.


Our band consists of many different types of steel pan. The biggest of all are the set of bass pans, these create the lowest pitched notes the band can play. These are actually made from used oil containers, and stand on the floor as tall as they would have done when they were full of oil. They then decrease in size, whilst increasing in note pitch, all the way up to the lead pans, or more commonly known as the 'first pans'. These are the ones that are situated at the front of the band, and play the majority of the tune of a song, much like the lead guitar in a rock band.