Marking

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Marking the pan out is obviously an important part of making it. Poor decisions at this stage will come back to haunt you at the time of tuning.

I use ellipses (or circles) for all notes on the Leads, Seconds, and Cellos. I made my first pan with all ellipses in 1983 - see the photo at right taken when I was still in high school. It just seemed like a logical thing to do, since the tuned note shapes on most pans are at least quasi-elliptical anyway.

The elliptical shape offers a well defined boundary shape around the note, at the interface between the note and the interstitial steel. The interstitial steel is the material surrounding each note. The notes are not mathematical ellipses, but technically an ellipsoid shape.

A complete set of templates for the lead pan can be found on the downloads page. These should be printed out and glued to magnetic rubber using a good contact adhesive. I tend to do a rough cut first, and then fit the templates onto the rubber as efficiently as possible before cutting them out. Making the templates is not a 2-minute task...take your time and cut them accurately - it'll be worth your time. Punch or drill a 1/4" (6mm) hole in the middle of each template.

On each note I have a set of "cross hairs" marked. These are useful in providing information to me about the shape inside each note as I shape the pan. The cross hairs also help to find the exact center of the note.

In an ideal world, the center points of all the rim notes would all lie the exact same distance from the rim of the pan, on a line called the tangential center line, or TCL. In practice this is only possible on the 26" Precision Series pans since there is not enough space on a standard 22.5" barrel


On the standard sized pans, I mark the TCL off the center of the F4. All rim notes above F4 are placed on the TCL. The notes below F4 are placed up against the rim of the pan.

It's important not to just eyeball the space between the notes because it's a virtual certainty that the spaces will not be even. I made a set of magnetic rubber spacers; they're about 3/8" thick, and vary in length from about 3/4" up to 2 1/4", in increments of 1/16".


Using the center of the F4 to find the TCL. All rim notes placed on the TCL, other than notes lower than the F4 which are placed against the rim. Make sure that the seam on the skirt is going to be next to the C4 Check the spacing between the rim notes. Use the center line of a clear plastic quilting ruler placed on the long axis of each rim note to ensure that the notes run to the middle of the pan.
The interior notes are placed in between the rim notes. The C5 is aligned with the center of the space between C4 and G4. This is not an arbitrary decision but has to do with tuning considerations. Placing interior notes directly in front of rim notes can yield "out of tune pull". Again, use a clear plastic quilting ruler to ensure the notes run directly towards the middle of the pan. Remember to measure the spaces between the notes to make sure that they're all equal. The spaces between the inside notes will be less than the spaces between the rim notes. The top five notes are also off-set relative to their lower octaves. The C6 is positioned in front of the G5


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