A few years ago when I was looking into purchasing some kind of melodic hand percussion instrument, I checked out many different types before deciding on an Original HAPI Drum (and later purchasing a second in a different key). The HAPI drum is sturdy and well made, not too heavy, with an optional soft case for travel. The tone is what really sold me on this drum. It has a warm, full sound, with a very solid, precise, and focused pitch – it doesn’t sound like you’re banging on a propane tank – and will never need to be re-tuned like other brands do. The overtones are very controlled, and because of the way the notes are arranged on the drum, when one note is struck the others ring sympathetically with it, adding to the texture for an overall “colorful” sound, with many percussive as well as melodic qualities. The drum can be played with hands/fingers or mallets. The pricing is also very reasonable for this type of drum. With Hang/Halo Drums being difficult and pricey to get a hold of and even selling on ebay for thousands more, I quickly narrowed down my options to the HAPI Drum and maybe one or two other brands. But with the scale options, ease of ordering, and especially being able to hear and see demos of it, the HAPI Drum ended up on the top of my list.
The way the notes are arranged on the HAPI Drum is another interesting feature, as I briefly mentioned before. By placing a higher pitch next to a lower pitch all around the drum, this helps the sympathetic ringing to create the overall tone. The scale (ascending and descending) is arranged to be very easy to play, too. The Original and Slim HAPI Drums have eight notes of a pentatonic scale, which is great for non-musicians or hobbyists to be able to take it right out of the box and make some beautiful music without spending years practicing technique. That being said, I have composed a few pieces on my HAPI Drums using techniques borrowed from tabla and latin percussion playing, with more musical concepts involved, meaning that any level of player will instantly feel right at home with the HAPI Drum and enjoy what it has to offer for many years. It also sounds great with any other instrument, and comes across sounding great on a recording!
The HAPI UFO is a different take on the other two styles, as it only comes in a C Major diatonic scale in the Hammered Copper Finish, with 11 notes instead of eight. The Original HAPI Drum is available in E and D, Major and minor pentatonic scales with the Aqua Teal Finish (Indigo Blue and Deep Purple available by request at no extra cost). The HAPI Slim Drums are available in C Major, A Major, A minor, F Major, F# minor, G Major and G minor pentatonic scales, with a Black Finish only. All HAPI Drums come with a pair of HAPI Drum mallets and 3 (removable) rubber feet attached the bottom of the drum so it doesn’t slide around on certain surfaces. Soft cases sold separately (recommended!). The HAPI Drum has become one of my favorite instruments to write for and jam with in many musical settings, and I look forward to hearing more of it through Steve Weiss Music.