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  • How are you building a Veritas Sound Sculpture?
    With a lot of hammering! I still build in a slightly "traditional" way using 4 pneumatic hammers and about 8 different shaping heads for everything, no molds or presses. I am only working with 1mm 430 Stainless Steel at the moment. I use an extremely accurate kiln for heating and cooling. My glue of choice has been Merbenit. Each Veritas Handpan is protected with Pure Sound Wax which is sent with every instrument and available for purchase on my website.
  • How much is the deposit and how do I get one?
    Deposits for custom orders through my website are first come first serve. Each quarter, I will open up a limited numbers of orders for custom Veritas Sound Sculpture handpans, depending on my availability. This deposit is $300 and is non-refundable, so it will be important to read through the Common Questions section before purchasing the deposit so you have a clearer idea of pricing, available scales, range of notes, etc. My hope for this system is to minimize the time spent answering questions for those who may be interested but not ready to commit and still be able to answer most of those questions via the Common Questions section. Once the deposit has been paid, I will then contact you via email and we can work together to determine detailed cost, shipping, and finalize the layout and scale you are wanting. We will work together to understand how I will build it within the range I feel I can achieve the best sound possible. This is why, again, it will be worthwhile to read through my online FAQ page, as my correspondence will be limited and focused towards the current orders and those who have purchased the deposit. I hope this will give both you and I more time to communicate during the process when needed without me being strained by numerous emails.
  • How many Deposit tickets can I purchase?
    Tickets are limited to 2 per order, or 2 per household for now. Since they are so limited and I am offering them more often throughout the year it is possible to order more in the future. For each batch limiting it to 2 is what I feel most fair and comfortable with. I have no way to limit that via my website, so if it is determined that one person has bought more than 2 deposits I will refund them the difference.
  • How long is the wait time?
    Since it has proven extremely difficult to quote time frames for the instrument start dates I have decided to shorten the waitlist but have more opportunities to open it throughout the year. Life can change drastically over the course of a year and having a 1 year waitlist doesn't allow for the unknown setbacks like travel, health (both physical and mental) breaks, rebuilding instruments that don't meet my expectations, repairing damaged instruments, etc. I plan to take on a limited number of instruments every 3 months or so, throughout the year. I will limit the batch number to 10 orders each time the list reopens and plan on those being started after the previous batch of 10 instrument orders are completed. My hope with these lower numbers of orders is that quoted time frames are more accurate and easier to maintain while also opening the list multiple times throughout the year instead of having it fully booked for the majority of it. These limited orders will also allow me time, space, and inspiration to create a scale of my choice more often, do more R&D, experiment, and provide occasional instruments immediately available on my website.
  • How many deposits will you take?
    Currently, I plan to take around 10 deposits every 3 months in order to keep the quoted wait times more manageable and realistic. That number may change pending holiday and travel plans.
  • Will you answer emails about Veritas Sound Sculptures before I purchase a deposit?
    While I have tried my best to answer as many potential questions as I can I am sure there will be some questions that are not answered in the Common Questions page. In the event your question isn't already answered there I will do my best to respond as quickly as possible.
  • Will you take my deposit and run!?
    I can imagine it must be a little difficult for those who have not met me in person to purchase a non-refundable deposit without speaking with me first. I hope to assure you about my trustworthiness by doing as much research as you can about me in various ways. You are welcome to reach out to online/in-person handpan communities, Googling "Josh Rivera Handpan" for a variety of interviews/blogs/podcasts I have done, and knowing that almost every handpan on my YouTube channel has been a custom built instrument for someone near or far. I have been heavily involved with the handpan community since receiving my Panart Hang in 2007. I have also been tuning at gatherings and festivals since 2014 and after 4 years working at Saraz I started building my own instruments in 2018. The handpan changed my life in a multitude of positive ways and it has been my goal to honor and pay that forward by crafting Veritas Sound Sculptures to the best of my ability, as if each one is going to be my own. My love for this craft and this community of handpan lovers is infinitely more valuable to me than taking advantage of anyone's trust.
  • How quickly do you respond to emails?
    Since I work alone I try and manage my time as best I can. Typically, I reply every 24 hours. I do thorough correspondence every morning and then I spend the rest of the day in the shop. I try to keep notifications off of my phone so I can stay focused while building your Veritas Sound Sculpture.
  • What is the price range?
    My typical range is between USD$1800-$4500, give or take a few hundred dollars . Examples of layouts in the upper range of pricing would be instruments like an E2 "Deep" Voyager 14 or "mutant" style instruments like an F Low Pygmy 21. Examples of layouts on the lower end of pricing would be D Celtic 10, D Kurd 8, C Aegean 9, etc. The price begins to increase the more notes there are, the more difficult and skilled the build is, and when the scale gets lower starting around A2 and down.
  • Do your prices include shipping?
    No, shipping will be determined when the final total is requested and the instrument is ready.
  • What material are you using?
    I am only working with 1mm 430 stainless steel for this year. Over the last 3 years I have spent a lot of time working with this material and dialing it in originally just for the low scales. After a lot of dedicated time and experimentation I have found it to be the best material for my style of building and playing. It has been extremely pleasant to have the dynamics of both soft and percussive play be so responsive and controlled under the fingers. The warm and balanced sound has been dialed in through shaping, heating, and tuning techniques I have learned specifically for this material. I have been loving the way 1mm stainless moves under the hammer as I still shape by pneumatic and hand-hammering.
  • What is your retune policy?
    I provide the first tuning free of charge, minus shipping charges, unless it is a result of damage. On average, every instrument wants a tune up after about 1 year since being built. The glue continues to cure for months and the metal does take quite a long time to "settle". After many years and 1000's of retunes I have seen this trend on every instrument from every maker I have encountered. Typically, the average instrument will raise about 10-15 cents after 12 months of consistent play. After the 1 year tuning the instrument should hold tuning for quite a few years with proper play and care. For future tuning I charge far less than for my own work than for work on other instruments I did not build.
  • Do you offer refunds or returns?
    I make a video of the instrument once it has proven satisfactory to my standards and ready to be shipped. Refunds and returns are determined on a case-by-case basis. Generally, I do not offer refunds or returns. If I do, return shipping is the responsibility of the owner and if the refund amount is negotiated the money will be sent back after the instrument has been returned in it's original condition.
  • What is your note range?
    Currently, I am offering E2 all the way up to Bb5. I hope to spend some time in 2023 to see how far I can expand the notes, but at this time these are the notes I can confidently build.
  • How many notes can you fit?
    While I love the phrase "less is more" I do try to push the limit of notes as far as I feel comfortable. Another phrase "More notes = more problems" is something I have often said in regards to loading up an instrument with a lot of notes. Coupling, crosstalk, balance and blare are all things that are harder to avoid when there is not much metal between the notes. While I don't have an exact number of notes I will fit on the top/bottom shell since it does relate to the range of the scale, I do have examples of my extended ranges on my YouTube channel to help give an idea of my scale range preferences.
  • What scales will you build?
    My Youtube channel has a large list of scales I have built and am willing to build. If it is on there, I will build it! If it is not on there but similar or close to one I have built, there is a good chance I can build it.
  • What about Bb3 and Bb4?
    I will not build Bb4 on any instrument as I currently only work on 53cm shells and the Bb4 interference is quite terrible sounding. While I will build a Bb3, it is important to know that the octave, Bb4, will still have interference on that note. Whenever possible I try to avoid Bb3 in the scale though I am willing to include it.
  • Do you guarantee tuned shoulder tones?
    While I have been able to manage tuned shoulders on almost all of my instruments there are times where I do not. Usually, this is because the center note may be in perfect balance with a beautiful hypnotic quality and I would not want to risk sacrificing that for the shoulder tones. I find the crown of the instrument, for me, is how intoxicating the center note feels and sounds. That said, after 7 years of shoulder tone tuning I have found more ways to insure tuned shoulders and make every effort to provide them on every instrument.
  • Are the ports tuned?
    Yes, the ports are tuned on most instruments. The only time the port may not be tuned is when the instrument has a multitude of notes. In this case, sometimes the port fundamental tone and the fundamental of another note in the scale may negatively interfere with each other. Also, with low scales like E2 with bottom notes, the port insert needed can actually muffle a note on the bottom. For example, a port tuned to D5 fundamental could potentially muffle a D5 note on the bottom once the port adjuster for the low scales is inserted. In any of these cases I may have to move the port frequencies out of the way to make sure the notes are all in balance.
  • Can I change my scale choice before you start my instrument?
    Yes, changing your scale choice is ok if I have not started the instrument. If the instrument has been started then there will not be a chance to change the scale and layout choice.
  • Does the instrument come with a case?
    Yes, every instrument price includes a case. Currently, an Evatek or Namana case is provided. The Namana case is usually used for the lower scales like E/F2 since they are quite tall instruments and need the extra height. Otherwise, for most standard scales either case can be provided.
  • How long will I have to wait after you start my instrument?
    Typically it will be between 3-4 weeks before it is ready to ship after I have given notice that I have started to build the instrument.
  • When is the final payment due?
    Final payment will be requested once the instrument is finished and the presentation video has been sent.
  • What method can I use for final payment? Especially if I live outside of the US?
    If you need to use a credit card there will be a fee as their fees are quite high for large purchases like this. Otherwise, services like Venmo, PayPal's "Sending to a friend" option, direct bank transfer, Zelle, and cash are common options that are free of fees. Internationally I highly recommend Wise as the best and cheapest way to send final payment.
  • Which carrier do you use to ship your instruments?
    I have used most of the big companies here in the US and have found UPS to be the most consistently safe way to ship. Other methods have had more incidences than UPS has and while it is more expensive than USPS I have had no problems with them so far.
  • Will you claim the instrument value lower so I don't have higher import fees?
    An instrument can only be insured for the amount that the value is claimed. So, in the case of loss or damage the amount that the instrument is claimed to be is all that will be compensated. This could be a large loss for you and is not recommended.
  • Can I pick up my instrument in person?
    Yes! When possible I try to make that an option for anyone interested.
  • How do I care for my instrument?
    I provide my own homemade wax with every instrument and have a link on my website with instructions on how to use it. It is recommended to store the instrument out of the case, or open the case to allow air flow and not build up moisture in humid climates. Avoid playing in direct sunlight as the metal will heat up quickly and detune until room temperature is reached again. Be wary of leaving it out on a stand where pets, kids, passers-by can accidentally knock it off and damage it.
  • Do you offer lessons?
    I do not personally offer lessons and highly recommend spending some time learning on your own with the Veritas after receiving it. I have found it can be easy to overlook the beautiful aspect of touch on this instrument when one starts to try and learn techniques. Learning how to feel, listen, and adjust your hands to what your ears are hearing naturally will greatly enhance your experience with this instrument. After spending some time learning on your own, I would then look at David Kuckhermann's lessons. I have been a fan of his playing style for many years and love his percussive and compositional approach to the instrument.
Tuning handpan in handpan rings

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