Hot Pans - Stockholm Steelband
© Ulf Kronman, The Pan Page. Publisher: Musikmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.

11. Fine tuning

The fine tuning is a continuation of the former coarse tuning, with the difference that the pan now is moved from the tuning stand to a hanging position. This is done to enable you to hear its final pitch and timbre properly.

In the fine tuning, the tuner concentrates on both the fundamental, the octave and the timbre. The same rules as earlier mentioned for coarse tuning also apply to the fine tuning. You keep on going around the pan, adjusting the partials and the fundamental of each note, this time only making small adjustments, see figures 9.7 through 9.13. If the first tuning is properly done, the fine tuning will only be a minor adjustment.

During the fine tuning you will need a strong stand to hang the pan on, see fig. 11.1. Furthermore, a well-tuned instrument or an electronic tuning device is needed to determine the correct pitch.


Fig. 11.1 Putting the pan on a stand for fine tuning. Picture showing tuning hammer, stick and electronic tuning device.

When a note reaches the right pitch, the tuner often makes some hard strokes with the stick to decide if the note is stable. If the pitch remains the same, the note is stable, otherwise it has to be re-shaped with a bit higher arch to make it more stable. Sometimes a hard stroke or a hard tap with the end of the stick can be used to fine-adjust the pitch of the note, see fig. 11.2.


Fig. 11.2 Using the stick for a final adjustment of the pitch.

If the pan is to be covered with chromium, the pitch and sound of the notes will change because of the extra metal put on. Even if this is the case, the tuner tries to tune the notes as well as possible at this stage. Hard tuning after the chroming will bend the metal enough to cause small cracks in the chromium layer. Later, air humidity may reach the steel through the cracks and make the pan rust.