About the Halo
Playing the Halo
Amplifying and Recording the Halo
Acquiring a Halo
Halo Shipment, Delivery, and Packaging
Halo Care, Maintenance, and Repair
Q - What is a Halo? What is a Genesis, Cirrus, and Stratus?
A - The Halo is a precisely tuned, resonant metal instrument made of nitrided steel, designed to be played with the hands while it sits in the player’s lap.
The Halo is intended to be subtle, responsive, and expressive. A Halo should reveal itself in proportion to a player’s growing skill. It has no "wrong notes" and lends iteself to improvisation and meditative exploration.
The Halo was created by Kyle Cox and Jim Dusin of Pantheon Steel, and evolved almost two years before its public debut. It was inspired by myriad contemporary instruments, notably the steel pans of Trinidad which were Pantheon’s first business, and by a famous evolutionary and revolutionary sound sculpture invented in Switzerland. (While we would prefer to express our gratitude and debt to its creators, they have requested we not mention them or their creation by name, and we defer to that request.)
The latter sculpture demonstrated a new instrument form, made by extending the steel pan to encompass a tuned, ported, resonant space, and carefully controlling materials, form, tone field shape and orientation, and tuning process. For lack of a better term, we call this new form (and the Halo) a "handpan." Note that we do not presume to apply this terminology ourselves to the original sound sculpture.
The Batch One Halo was Pantheon Steel’s first exploration of the possibilities of the handpan. It is an evolving expression of our own interests and capabilities in instrument making, within the possibilities revealed by the handpan form.
We intend the Halo to offer its own unique voice to a growing family of hand-played metal instruments. The Halo has a different timbre than other handpans (or sound scupture), a different feel under the hands, and a deeper range.
The Halo Stratus, introduced in February 2011 of our Batch Two offering, is a sibling instrument to the Halo made with a higher register. The Halo Stratus has center notes of F# and G.
Where the Halo was a baritone, the Stratus is an alto, a higher-voiced instrument with a similar timbre, that can be played on its own or compliment Halos with center notes of B and C respectively.
The Halo Cirrus, introduced in late 2011, is a third sibling in a middle register. The Halo Cirrus has center notes of Eb and E, adding a tenor voice to the family. ^
Q - How big is the Halo? How does that compare to other instruments?
A - A Batch One Halo is approximately 23in or 58cm by 8.5in or 22cm. The Batch Two Halo and Halo Stratus are slightly deeper.
Any Halo is slightly shorter, and slightly wider, than the most widely-known sound sculpture. ^
Q - How much does a Halo weigh? How does that compare to other instruments?
A - Approximately 14 lbs or 6.35 kg. A Halo Stratus weights a bit less.
A Halo is heavier than the most widely-known sound sculpture.
A Halo in its Soft Bag and our Travel Hard Case weighs 28.2 lbs, or 12.8 kg^
Q - Does the Halo come in different colors or finishes? Can I paint it?
A - Currently, no.
The color is a natural heat oxidation sealed with non-toxic, earth-friendly oil. There is no finish other than the oil.
Painting is strongly discouraged. Unlike other steel instruments, such as steel tongue drums, the timbre and sustain of the Halo are a function of its comparatively thin steel and specific finishing. Painting a Halo would result in a quite possibly undesirable change of timbre, and may affect the life of the instrument. ^
Q - Does a Halo have a serial number inscribed on it?
A - Yes, there is serial number etched in each Halo. ^
Q - What sound models (tunings) are currently available for the Halo?
A - Please visit the Sound Models page of our website for the currently offered sound models (tunings). ^
Q - Some of my favorite tunings (or moods) weren’t available in the last Batch!
A - We are constantly exploring which sound models work best on the instrument, and will teogether provide a range of moods, colors, and where possible, keys. These new sound models will be offered when we can, as we can. Stay tuned; the way we offer tunings for each Batch will likely continue to evolve! ^
Q - Can I get a Halo in another key from what you offer?
A - Not currently, but we do offer six keys at the moment.
The geometry of the Halo Genesis was designed for an instrument with a central note and pedal pitch around C and accommodates a central note with a pitch of B. The Halo Stratus is currently available with center notes of F# and G. The Halo Cirrus is currently available with an Eb or E center. ^
Q - Can I get a custom tuning? What if it is only one note different from one you offer?
A - Custom sound models are not offered currently. ^
Q - I chose a tuning but now that I have it, I wish I would have chosen a different one. Can I trade in my Halo, while it’s still in pristine condition?
A - Yes, but only immediately. We understand that it is difficult to tell which scale will “speak” to you, and the importance that such a major purchase be one you are completely at peace with.
However, you have to pay the shipping to return your current Halo, and for its replacement; and you may have to wait for your replacement to become available.
To minimize the chance of this happening, please listen carefully to available recordings of the tunings you are considering, and you might try to find local Halo owners to play their instruments. There is no substitute for playing a tuning yourself.
Halos that have been owned more than a month cannot necessarily be returned, though we do try to work with owners to find solutions on a case by case basis. ^
Q - What accessories are available for the Halo?
A - A backpack-style Soft Bag, Travel Hard Case, Halo Helmet hard shell, and Omni-Tilt Stand are the primary accessories available, as well as care and cleaning products. See our web store page for details.
Every Halo ships with a Soft Bag and Care Kit. ^
Q - Will there be more accessories available for the Halo?
A - Yes, over time we anticipate adding more accessories. Please join our waiting/mailing list to be notified when new accessories are added. ^
Q - Will affixing an ID plate to a Halo, or inscribing it, change the sound?
A - Yes, and certainly for the worse! Do NOT affix to or scribe anything on your Halo. ^
Q - Could strap mounts be welded to the Halo for use as a portable instrument hung around the neck?
A - No, the Halo is designed to be played either on the lap or on a stand.
Do NOT weld or expose any other form of intense heat upon your Halo! ^
Playing the Halo
Q - Do I need any musical background or music theory to play a Halo?
A - No! Certainly not.
The Halo is intended to be an instrument for everybody, young or old, musician or novice.
It is designed to be playable on first encounter by anyone. One of the gifts we hope the Halo gives is the ability to make music, even for those who do not think of themselves as musicians.
That said, certain tunings are naturally more “forgiving” than others, in the sense that every note is definitely always welcome, while others contain more internal dissonance. ALL are intended to support free improvisation without risk of a "wrong note", but comfort levels will vary by player. This is not question of musical training or theory, simply of personal taste and intuition.
If you have questions, we would be happy to discuss the options and guide you as you purchase a Halo!
But as of the time of writing, all of our turnings were chosen because they lend themselves to free exploration and discovery, without the risk of a “wrong” note; the differences between our different tunings are more a matter of mood than “difficulty.”
The Halo is however also designed to respond readily to the subtleties of an experienced player – to be “deep” in other words. ^
Q - Where are the notes on the Halo?
A - The Halo’s lowest note is played on its central dome of C, and seven or eight notes are tuned into the “sound fields” that create the Halo’s “tone circle.”
Tones are arranged in an ascending pattern, alternating (“zigzagging”) from one side of the instrument to the other.
There is no “correct” orientation of the Halo, and in fact the player is encouraged to rotate it to find the possibilities implied by all orientations.
By convention, however, the “home” position of the instrument is with the lowest tone closest to the player. ^
Q - How do you play Halo?
A - With the fingers! We call the Halo a "hand" pan for a reason... :)
Each player will find their own relationship to the Halo, but here are some basics if you haven’t played one before.
The Halo is not a drum; it should NOT be played with mallets or beaters.
It is not beaten with the hands, either, but touched, tapped, stroked, and gently thumped.
The basic technique is to tap with the tip of the finger (or side of the thumb) on one of the sound fields or the central dome. A quick, light touch, with the finger in contact with the instrument as briefly as possible (as if testing whether a surface is hot) will generally produce the clearest tone.
The sound fields can be played both within the dimple (in each sound field’s center), or around their flat surface.
The Halo is made to be very expressive. Different finger or hand techniques, applied from a different direction, to a different part of the sound fields, will bring out different timbres. For example, a note can be made to peal clearly, or rung with different harmonic emphasis; or it can be muted with “after touch” (such as allowing the finger or hand to rest lightly on the surface after the note is played).
The best place to learn how different players approach the Halo is to study videos online, both of the Halo, and of other handpans or sound sculpture. ^
Q - Does a Halo play the same way as other handpans? Does a Halo require a hard touch?
A - The Halo is not a drum. It takes only a light touch.
Generally speaking, the Halo feels very “alive”. It responds best to a light and subtle touch.^
Q - Should I, or can I, wear gloves when playing a Halo?
A - Wearing gloves can protect the Halo from any corrosive material on your hands, and slightly changes the sound in a way that may be desirable to you at times. There is certainly no harm wearing soft gloves.
With this in mind, we may offer unisex gloves as an optional accessory. ^
Q - Is there any ways to prepare to be a good player before receiving a Halo? Are there basic techniques that I can use to prepare to play, assuming I don’t have access to one?
A - The first thing to know is that regardless of your technique, when you first meet your Halo, you should let it speak to you. The Halo will show you the way ;)
But there is certainly a place for good technique. Our best advice is to work on finger and hand independence. Accurate control of your thumb, first, and middle fingers will be most important.
A good goal is to be able to alternate between your fingers and hands as evenly as possible, and to have a good balance between your two sides. It is common to favor your “dominant” hand and being able to switch sides fluidly will give you a real head start.
Practice playing alternating patterns (such as left, right, left right; and, left, left, right, right).Try first to get the pattern as even as possible, then later, try being able to reliably emphasize one and then more than one of the “beats” regardless of what hand it falls on.
Always start slowly and try to perfect yourself at a slow speed before going faster. Build speed without impatience as you are able, and learn to increase and decrease your speed fluidly.
Learning polyrhythms is a great next step beyond that; many players use “three on two” rhythms as a basic part of their playing. ^
Q - Are there enthusiast web sites where I can I find tips on playing and other discussion about the Halo?
A - The most popular forum for discussing the Halo currently is Handpan.org.
There are a numerous forums pertaining to the the sound sculpture that inspired the Halo’s creation, which have lively discussion of all aspects of that sculpture Many of these discussions, especially on playing technique, will also pertain to the Halo.
As the number of Halo players grows, other forums will no doubt spring up specific to the Halo, and others related instruments.
At some point we may host our own Halo forum as well! ^
Q - Are there any teachers or lesson books for playing the Halo?
A - Not yet.
We expect that most people will find that the Halo is an instrument that responds well and rewards their own exploration and experimentation, and a result formal training will never likely be a large role for most Halo players.
There are, however, many fine percussion teachers, and some teachers who specialize in the sound sculpture that inspired the Halo, who may help you find your own way with the Halo, and help you deepen your own musicianship.
In our own experience, the best way to learn to be a better player (on any instrument) is to find or make community with other players. Especially with those from whom you have much to learn. :) ^
Q - I want to try playing my Halo with mallets or felt beaters, will this damage it?
A - Hands only please! And gently, the Halo is not a drum.
We do not recommend using any type of mallet or beater, as this may detune the instrument. ^
Q - Would Pantheon Steel consider hosting a forum where Halo owners can network, share ideas, trade recordings, announce concerts, classes, and get-togethers, and the like?
A - Perhaps, but that need is already very well filled by the Halo Forum at Handpan.org, where we maintain an official presence. ^
Q - Would Pantheon Steel consider sponsoring a get-together every year or two in Farmington for all Halo owners? It would be nice to hear concerts, attend technique workshops, technical discussions about tuning and acoustics, etc. and so on, with other Halo players!
A - Yes, this is something we would like to pursue.
We think the right time to open a discussion about this is after the first few hundred Halos are in the hands of players! ^
Amplifying and Recording the Halo
Q - Is a pickup, custom microphone, or other transducer for amplification or feeding the Halo for direct recording available?
A - Not at this time. We believe that the Halo is first and foremost an experience, not an instrument.
More pragmatically, the Halo (like a cello for example) is an acoustic instrument with a resonance and large surface area that have a sound profile that can only be captured by microphones at some distance.
If you do use a piezeoelectric microphone or other method to record or amplify a Halo, be sure not to damage or deform the surface!
Finally, note that attaching anything to the top surface in particular may also have detrimental effects on the sound and feel of the instrument during play. ^
Q - Does the Halo come with a microphone insert hole, or can they be specified with one?
A - No. ^
Q - Do you have any microphone recommendations for recording the Halo?
A - Recording subtle live instruments such as the Halo is an art as much as a science, and we recommend you seek the advice and expertise of local talent.
Microphone positioning is arguably more important that microphone choice! That said, and though we are not experts in recording, but we would generally recommend condenser microphones for low noise and wide frequency response. ^
Acquiring a Halo
Q - How do I get a Halo? How long after I express interest can I expect to get one?
A - The Halo is not available for on-demand ordering. To get a Halo, you must win one of our lotteries (see below) or win one offered by us on eBay (see below).
We do not have and never will have any distribution or wholesale arrangements; every Halo is made to order.
There is and will be a long waiting list for a Halo for the foreseeable future. Demand far exceeds our ability to make instruments.
In order to get a Halo, sign up on our official mailing list via box labeled 'Join Halo Waiting & E-Info List' here on our website.
We make Halos in 'batches' of up to several hundred instruments at a time.
Once you're on the list, you'll be notified when we take a 'batch' of orders, usually no more than 200 and most often smaller.
All you need to do to participate is to follow the simple instructions we provide.
If your order is accepted, you should receive your Halo within one year of the batch beginning.
Our process starting with Batch Two is an email-based lottery that gives everyone on the waiting list a chance of having an order accepted. Credit is given for time spent waiting on the list, but everyone has a chance.
We anticipate that only a small fraction of people trying will have an order accepted, since the number of people on the wait list is far greater than the number of slots available. (For the Batch Two lottery, about one in six people participating will get a Halo or Stratus.) We expect those odds to become smaller as our waiting list continues to grow.
Our lottery process does not require that you be sitting at a computer at a specific hour and day. For Batch Two, we accepted lottery interests for two weeks
Details will be sent to the Waiting/E-Info List.
You must be on the waiting list to participate in future lotteries.
In 2012 we are also experimenting with auctioning one instrument a month on eBay, in the interest of solving several persistent probelms we face in meeting custom demand. Instruments offered on eBay will usually be in unique tunings.
Q - Can you notify me when there is an eBay auctiont?
A - Not ourselves (we don't have the resources to do that kind of thing) but, it's easy to have eBay notify you. Just set up a Saved Search for our user name, pantheonhalo and eBay will send you a message every time we list a Halo.
Q - How much does a Halo cost?
A - A Batch Two Halo costs $1800 USD, which includes a Soft Bag; shipping costs depend on destination.
Special introductory pricing for Batch One Halos was $1500 USD, which included free shipping to most destinations worldwide, and a choice of free Soft Bag or Halo Stand, as a thank you to customers who believed in us and put up a deposit long in advance of receiving their instrument.
This price, and the specific shipping and accessory policies, may rise in additional batches at our discretion. Details will be sent out along with instructions on how to participate in each batch, of course.. ^
Q - What are the steps in getting a Halo? When can I get on the “production list” to get one?
A - To get a Halo, sign up for our Waiting List and E-Info Newsletter using the sign up box for the newsletter is present on every page of the Halo site.
Everyone on our wating list will be notified when a “batch” of Halos is going to be made available. Currently, we hope this will be more than once a year on average.
Starting with Batch Two, orders are being accepted by lottery.Everyone on our wait list has a chance to get on the production list every time we hold a lottery. Only people on our waiting list are eligible to participate in our lotteries.
Email announcements will be sent prior to us opening the lottery so you have plenty of time to participate in our process. The lottery process does NOT requires you to be at a computer at a specific hour and day.
Placement within each batch is determined by your position on the wait list, not by speed of response to the announcement that a batch is open. In other words, the date a customer originally added themselves to our waiting list determines placement within a given production run.
We hope to deliver the Halos in each batch in less than a year, at which point the next production window will open. ^
Q - Is a down payment required?
A - No.
For our first batch of Halos, we took deposits, but based on our expience with that process, we are revising our policy so that this no longer necessary
We are deeply grateful to our first pioneer customers, who put up a deposit on a brand new instrument, and in a very real way made the Halo possible at all. All of you directly contributed to the Halo's success so far and we hope you are proud of that fact.. ^
Q - What happens if I put down a deposit, but don’t have the balance due when offered an instrument? Is there a grace period to pay that amount?
A - This only affected customers for our first production batch, as for subsequent batches deposits are not being collected.
Remaining Batch One customers who have not collected their instrument should contact us at once. ^
Q - Say I just bought a Halo. If I want a second Halo, do I have to get back into line again?
A - No, you are automatically re-enrolled and remain on our mailing list. You are eligible to participate in future batch lotteries.^
Q - I have a lovely/unique/hand-made _________, would you consider trading it for a Halo?
A - Unfortunately, we can’t accept instruments, artwork, or other barter in exchange for a Halo.
When our steel provider and bank begins accepting barter as well, we will be quite happy to change our policy! ^
Q - Do you have a purchase agreement or policy about second-hand Halo sales? Do you mind if I sell my Halo?
A - No. We do not have a purchase agreement or formal policy about second-hand sales.
That said, we DO ask and prefer that you give us the option to purchase your Halo back from you at our current Halo price (no matter what generation you own) if you choose to sell it. That will help us make sure that your instrument is in tip-top shape before it goes to its next home, and it will in a small way keep our waiting time as short as possible.
We would also prefer that if you do sell it to someone other than us, that you not sell a Halo on eBay, but instead, offer it within a community forum of people who love these instruments. ^
Q - How can I find my position on the wait list, and my predicted delivery date?
A - Because we do not have a conventional waiting list, joining our mailing/waiting list does not guarantee that you will ever receive an instrument. You must participate in our batch lotteries to get on a production list for a Halo.
If you win the lottery and acquire a position in a production batch, you will receive clear notification.
Once confirmed that you are on a production list, we will not contact you until we have a Halo ready for you. We do not make estimated delivery dates because of variabilities in the process.
If we have any questions or comments about your tuning or accessory choices, need information from you, or have special opportunities for you, rest assured, you will be contacted! :)
If you move, are going to be out of contact for an extended period, or do need to contact us, do not hesitate to write us, of course, but be aware that because of the volume of email we recieve, there may be a delay before we reply. ^
Q - Is there a warranty on the Halo?
A - Generally speaking, we are on the honor system.
If there is a problem with your instrument that you were not expecting, or you are not happy for some reason with your Halo, we will attempt to “make it right” – up to refunding your money if necessary.
The main reason we do not have an official warranty as such however is that the Halo is not a complex machine with moving, breakable parts!
If it is well-treated, it should need only infrequent recoating with oil to protect its surface, and occasional tune-up to keep in perfect tune.
Damage from accidents is another matter, of course, and would not be covered by a normal warranty. But we hope that your Halo will never have an accident! ^
Q - Can I add pay in advance, while I wait for my Halo to be ready?
A - No. We do not accept money before your Halo is ready. ^
Q - Will you have interest-free financing for musicians with excellent credit?
A - Regrettably, we do not have the capability of offering financing. ^
Q - Will there be tiered pricing, either between instruments, or to accommodate lower-income purchasers?
A - All Halos of a given batch will have the same price.
We will not sell any instrument that we are not 100% confident in and proud of. ^
Q - Is it possible to visit Pantheon Steel to choose a Halo in person? How can I arrange that?
A - We are working to make that possible, but currently we are unable to receive visitors at our actual workshop, and we do not have other space yet to host visitors.
Pantheon Steel is located in Farmington, Missouri, about an hour south of St. Louis. As your turn approaches, we will be in touch, and the possibility of a hand pickup can be discussed at that point..^
Q - Will the Halo ever be available wholesale or in retails stores? Can I carry it in my store?
A - No.
The Halo is a hand-made craft instrument and demand far exceeds our ability to make them. ^
Halo Shipment, Delivery, and Packaging
Q - How is the Halo shipped? How big is the box?
A - We use UPS within the United States, and the US Postal Service for international shipping (except for Canada and Australia).
Expedited shipping is available for a surcharge for both domestic and international customers; inquire with us for current rates when your Halo is next in line.
The Halo ships in a reusable reinforced custom carboard box measuring 27" x 27" x 13". Please keep the box for future use!
Our packaging is VERY sturdy, and there is no need to order our Travel Hard Case accessory just for shipping purposes.
Every Halo ships insured unless you explicitly request otherwise. ^
Q - What sort of protection will the Halo come with when shipped?
A - Unless you purchase a Travel Hard Case, your new Halo will be shipped in a carefully prepared strong reusable cardboard box. If you chose the Soft Bag as your accessory, it will ship packed in that as well.
Please keep this box for use when shipping your Halo back to us for tuning or repair work.
If you purchase the optional Travel Hard Case, your Halo will ship in that, of course. ^
Q - Is shipping included in the Halo’s purchase price?
A - No.
For Batch One, shipping was free to many destinations except unusually expensive shipping destinations (such as Australia, Taiwan, and a small number of other remote locations) in the purchase price of the Halo, as a special thank you to our first customers for taking a chance on us. ^
Q - How will international shipments be marked for customs and duty purposes?
A - It will listed as a sale and international customers will be responsible for any and all customs or import taxes/duties.
We will not provide documents understating the purchase price of a Halo.
However, often duty is charged on the insured value of the instrument. At your request we can ship your instrument uninsured, but if we do so you undertake all risk yourself. We will not replace (or freely repair) instruments damaged in shipment which are not insured.^
Q - What are the dimensions and weight of the Travel Hard Case? I am wondering about traveling on airlines with specific restrictions.
A - The Travel Hard Case measures approximately 26in/66cm by 26in/66cm by 12in/30.5cm.
The Travel Hard Case is made to hold a Halo or Stratus in its Soft Bag.
A Halo or Stratus in its Soft Bag and our Travel Hard Case weighs 28.2 lbs, or 12.8 kg ^
Q - How much should I insure the Halo for when shipping it?
A - We recommend insuring it for what you paid for it! :) ^
Q - Is shipping free on accessories I order at the time of purchase?
A - If you select a Soft Bag as your free accessory, no additional shipping is required. A modest shipping and handling fee will be charged if you select, or also purchase, the Halo Stand. See the Accessories page for more information.
A significant shipping and handling fee will be charged for the hard case, which is as heavy as the Halo itself. Exact cost will vary by destination and current carrier rates; contact us for details. ^
Halo Care, Maintenance, and Repair
Q - What is the Halo maintenance plan? What's Halo Care?
A - We offer a maintenance plan called Halo Care with two goals: to make sure that every Halo sounds at its best for both player and any listeners; and to let us observe how Halos respond to different playing styles and conditions over time, and thereby to continually improve future generations of the instrument.
We believe that every handpan will slowly drift out of perfect tune, even if these changes are subtle and not immediately apparent to the ear. We anticipate that every Halo should be tuned up at least every few years, to sound at its best.
Fortunately, we also believe that the Halo will improve in sound over time! Keeping it in tune makes it even better.
To accomplish our two goals in a straightforward way, we offer a simple incentive system for our cusomers, which we are calling "Halo Care."
Halo Care is simple: if you send your Halo back to us for a tune up within eighteen months of the last time we had a look at it, we will ship it back to you free if you live in the US (and subsidize international shipping). Otherwise, you pay for shipping.
This is a modest incentive, we know: but we hope it helps us accomplish our goal of making sure that your Halos (current and future) sound their best. ^
Q - How much does Halo tuning or repair cost?
A - A standard tune-up costs $150 USD, plus all shipping charges.
With Halo Care, shipping back to you is free if you live in the US, or, we subsidize international shipping.
To qualify, all you need to do is make sure we get a chance to look at your Halo every eighteen months (or less). Halo Care is our way of encouraging you to keep your instrument in tip-top shape, and to make sure we keep track of how Halos respond to different playing styles and conditions over time.
Repair costs depend on the severity of damage, but simple repairs may qualify as tune-ups. ^
Q - What are the effects of temperature on tuning of the Halo, and what is the recommended temperature range to maintain optimal tuning?
A - A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not comfortable in certain climates, neither is your Halo.
Room temperature is optimal, but we understand that isn’t always possible. Try at all costs to avoid extreme and high and low temperatures.
Try to keep the Halo out of direct sunlight, especially while playing, as the heat will temporarily detune your instrument. ^
Q - What is the best way to store a Halo when it is not being played?
A - It is best to keep the Halo out of direct sunlight, especially while playing it; differences in temperature on the surface can temporarily detune a Halo. (It will return to proper tuning when it cools!)
We recommend that you baby your Halo. Store it in a safe place away from unruly children, large pets, or randomly falling objects.
It is recommended that you keep the Halo in its soft gig bag or hard case to prevent dust or undue humidity.
To combat humidity we recommend placing a packet of dessicant (such as our Moisture Eater) in the bag with your Halo.
We currently recommend that the bag be left OPEN to prevent moisture from being trapped in the bag with the instrument. ^
Q - Will the Halo rust?
A - Nitrided steel is non-corrosive and should not rust, but if it is scratched or gouged deep enough the Halo could rust in the affected area.
We recommend that you make sure to keep your Halo well protected by our treatment oil, either by us whenever we see it, or by applying it infrequently yourself.
To combat humidity we recommend placing a packet of dessicant (such as our Moisture Eater) in the bag with your Halo when it is closed.
We currently recommend leaving the bag OPEN (unzipped) to prevent moisture from being trapped inside. ^
Q - Should the Halo be treated with rust inhibitors or other protective coating? If so, what is recommended?
A - Currently the Halo ships with a care kit made especially for use with it.
For daily cleaning, use only the included dry untreated microfibre cloth.
Very very infrequently, use the included cloth pre-impregnated wtih surface treatment. This should only be needed about once a year or so with daily play.
Every time your Halo visits us it will of course be checked and retreated if necessary.
DO NOT USE WATER OR ALCOHOL TO CLEAN YOUR HALO. A cleaning kit and instructions should be included in your Halo box. If you did not receive a kit, (early customers did not), please refrain from attempting to clean your Halo. Directions and materials will be on their way soon.
To combat humidity we recommend placing a packet of dessicant in the bag with your Halo. ^
Q - How much will it cost to ship a Halo to you internationally?
A - Return shipping from us depends on destination. Canada costs $100 USD, most of Europe $150 USD, Japan $175 USD, New Zealand $200 USD, and some other destinations can cost as much as $400 USD.
Contact your preferred shipper for a quote when sending a Halo to us.
Be sure to write "FOR REPAIR" on the box when send a Halo back to us, both to avoid duties, and so we know why it is arriving and can attend to it as quickly as possible. ^
Q - What could happen if I drop my Halo from lap height?
A - You might get lucky, but let’s try not to find out! Almost all repairs we have done on Halos are from damage from falling (or objects falling ON the Halo).
Assume your Halo will be damaged if dropped from that height. Please be careful! ^
Q - How long would you expect a Halo to remain in a reasonably playable condition with careful handling?
A - Many factors go into what causes an instrument such as this to either stay in or go out of tune. So far, Halos seem to be staying in tune quite well.
We do however recommend tuning at least every few years.
Of course, your Halo will not be harmed if you wait longer than that! The concern is not damage, but rather that we are perfectionists and ideally would like all Halos to always be in tip-top condition. We want to emphasize that we are not looking to make money on this plan. It's simply put forth for the well-being of the instrument.
Also, the longer you wait to have your Halo tuned, the longer more work it may require, and then the tuning fees may be higher. ^
Q - How can I tell when my Halo requires tuning? Are there any obvious signs that it needs attention?
A - The most obvious sign is if your Halo starts to sound “off” compared to other fixed pitch instruments like electronic keyboards or other instruments, which do not go out of tune.
A more subtle sign may be that notes that originally pealed clearly now sound “dull” or muted. ^
Q - If my Halo sounds fine to me, should I still get it tuned every year?
A - If it still plays well with fixed pitch instruments, then you should be fine. You can also make and email a quality recording (mp3) playing each note very slowly so we can reference it with our strobe tuners. ^
Q - What's involved in the tuning or retuning process, anyway?
A - Very strategic hammering, the use of a stroboscope and well-trained ears!
Tuning is an art, guided by hard science. There is no substitute for long experience putting a hammer to steel. ^
Q - What should I do if my Halo is damaged? Can I fix a dent myself?
A - If your Halo is dented or dinged, it should be returned to us for repair.
In the unhappy case that this is necessary, please call us, or email us with the words Halo REPAIR in the subject line of your message, for instructions on how to get your Halo repaired as soon as possible.
Please do not try to perform any repairs yourself! It would be all too easy to make things worse even with the best intentions.
The tuning and timbre of a Halo depends on very careful balancing of stresses within the steel surface, and repairing damage is (like tuning) a specialized skill. ^
Q - Can I intentionally create a dent without damaging the sound quality, for example, to make it settle firmly on a rack or custom stand?
A - No!
Do not alter the instrument in any way whatsoever, especially the top playing surface!
The tuning and timbre of a Halo depends on very careful balancing of stresses within the steel surface. ^
Q - Would a Halo be covered by musicians’ insurance or general household or renters’ policies?
A - We are not insurance agents so please speak with yours for reliable information!
Our unprofessional and unreliable opinion is that we can think of no reason you should not in principal be able to add the Halo to a current policy, but that will no doubt vary by jurisdiction, insurer, and policy. ^
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