Just before Christmas I was very excited to take the long anticipated delivery of six bass pans. It was hard to find a second hand set of bass pans so I ordered them a few months ago to be made by a brilliant company called CulturemixArts. I can say that they have been worth the wait! They really complete the harmonies in the pieces that we are playing and are so much fun to play!
Even though there are six bass, only one person plays by standing in the middle. It has been quite comical at times to see adults and children working up a sweat moving between the pans!
Why the need for 6?
The bass pan is a 55-gallon oil drum that has been sunken into a concave bowl. The pan sticks are lightweight and rubber-headed to protect against banging the pans out of tune during rapid attacks!
There needs to be six pans because there are only 3 notes on each pan. This creates a versatile bass register, a fully chromatic scale from C1 to F2.
The bass pan is classified as a background instrument in the steel band due to providing a bass line and low register harmonic support. Nevertheless, the bass pan role is very important in keeping the ensemble in time; it’s not hard to see why it’s the most popular type of background pan!
If you would like to hear what the bass pans sound like, take a look at my Facebook page where there is a video of one of my young learners playing the bass line for "Hot Hot Hot".