The Traditional Steelband

The names Pan-around-the-neck and Single Pan steelbands are given to the first type of established steelband. They are often referred to as traditional steelbands.   

The players played with both hands and marched through carnival processions until stands were later introduced.


The name pan-around-the-neck refers to the way the pan is supported when it is being played:  A strap is placed around the back of a player’s neck and each end is attached to a side of the pan.

Pan-around-the-neck was the original name for the traditional steelband.

The name single pan refers to the fact that a person plays only one pan instead of playing two or more (for example, the guitars or bass).  

Single pan steelband is the modern name for the traditional steelband.


As each player can only play one pan, the note range on the instruments are greatly restricted. 

The original instruments were:                                                                                                       

      • Ping-pong   

      • Single seconds

      • Single guitar

      • 4-note pan

      • Duddup


Today the instrument names have changed, but the functions are still the same:

      • 4-note is now the bass.