Pan Maintenance and Care
The maintenance of your pan is very important as the better it is maintained the longer it should last. Although your instrument is made of steel, a very strong metal, this does not mean that without care the instrument will stay in tune.
Your pan should have a life span of more than 10 years; many can last for up to 20 years with care. Chrome plated pans seem to last longer than painted pans.
Some factors that may cause your pan to become defective are:
Using poor quality sticks – if the tips of your sticks are worn or the rubber is too hard, over time this may affect the pitch of the notes.
Using the incorrect sticks - using sticks that are too light may cause you to use too much force when playing. If they are too heavy or not right for the pan being played, an effect similar to the heavy handed playing may occur.
If the pan has dropped– there will undoubtedly be some tonal movement in the whole instrument. This may cause the pan to adjust slightly sharp or flat in pitch. If it has fallen on the rim or the notes, the pan may become disfigured and will require a lot of work to repair it.
Temperature - heat may cause the notes to shift in pitch. This is more noticeable with the low range pans. Canopies were introduced to protect the pans from the sun as well as from the rain. If it is very cold the notes may not resonate as long as they should.
Rain – if your pan has been subjected to water, it is best to wipe it with a dry cloth as soon as possible to prevent the onset of rust.
Transporting Pans – it is advisable to put your instruments in a protective case. If not it may increase the chances of them getting damaged. Today, many types of cases are designed specifically for pans.
If you have painted pans, you may want to re-paint them as the paint often becomes chipped. However, you may need to get your pans re-tuned as the new coat of paint could affect the tone of your instruments.
Whatever the problem, your tuner will be able to remedy it with special tools and by using traditional methods of craftsmanship and skills acquired through many years of pan making.