Benefits of Optimized Note Panels & Larger Diameter Pans

Although our pans are incredibly smooth with impeccable craftsmanship and chrome finishes, the biggest difference between our instruments from other brands isn’t something you can see with the human eye. It requires very expensive and highly sensitive equipment to look into the steel. You can’t see the difference but with just one listen you’ll really hear the difference!

We have two primary sizes of Tenors & Doubles (24.5" and 26").  Guitars come in 23.25” & 24.5” diameters. The Basses come in 23.25” & 25.25” diameters. Regardless of diameter, each instrument is constructed to very stringent tolerances.  Here are the benefits to the pans we make.

We start with steel that is thick enough for the biggest note of the instrument.  Proper steel thickness helps the notes to project much better.  Each note is ground down to very specific tolerances. We shoot for a variance of no more than 5/10,000th of an inch. That’s five times thinner than a human hair. This has many benefits.

1.  By optimizing the thickness of the note panels you don't have to adjust your stroke to specific notes; you just play the darn a mallet instrument.  There is a slight velocity change from the lowest notes to the highest notes just like on a mallet instrument.

2.  The whole note is the "sweet spot." You'll get a good sound no matter where on the note panel you strike.

3.  The thicker steel of the interstitial area (non note area) makes the notes stay in tune much better.  There will still be some movement in the first year but not nearly as much as with a traditional pan.  After a year or two they will drift only a cent or two after a whole years playing.

4.  The interstitial functions like a frame that holds the notes. The stronger and more rigid it is, the better the notes will speak.

5. Because the note panel thickness is graduated the timbre and feel of the notes is much smoother than on a tradition pan.

6.  There is over 2 times the dynamic range of a traditional pan. Some traditional pans are tuned very pretty and sweet.  These sound great if you use a very light touch but if you play them hard they sound bad.  Some traditional pans are tuned tight and hard.  They sound great when you lay into them but don't speak if you play them light.  Our oversized pans are tuned to be responsive when you use a light touch yet when you lay into them they're just much louder.  The timbre stays the "barking" or raspy sound.

7. Coyle Drums is the only company in the world building Basses out 1.4mm steel. One U.S. company does use larger diameter barrels but they still use 1.1mm steel. Why, I have no idea?

Traditional Bass Pans are generally thin sounding, weak in tone, and often times jumpy in sound (or barky). Through our research we have determined there are a few causes for this. Traditional Bass Pans are built on 22.5” diameter barrels using 1.1 mm thick steel. It forces the builder to make the lowest pitched notes much smaller than they should be. The thin metal of the note panels leads to instability of the pitches, reduced volume, and notes highly susceptible to drifting out of tune, and over time they often break in the corners.

The use of larger diameters really only does two things.

1.   It allows us to make the notes the correct size they should be to facilitate the fundamental, 1st octave, 2nd octave, and harmonic. For example on a Lead Pan the largest six notes are as big as they are on a Double Second. Not all note panels are larger. Some are smaller than you may be accustomed to seeing.

2.   The bigger diameter Tenors are easier to play.  With a 22.5" traditional sized instrument you have your arms in close to your sides. The bigger drums let you move them away from your side and approach the instrument more like you would a snare drum. Oversized DS and GTR’s take a week or so to get used too. We recommend using mallets 2” longer than you normally would on traditional sized instruments. Because the notes are further apart this added length of mallet compensates nicely. A set of 26” Double Seconds is no larger than a Vibraphone and an oversized GTR is only slightly larger than the Vibes.

3. The 26" has a slightly bigger sound and is slightly cleaner in tone than our 24.5” Pans. They have a much bigger sound than traditional instruments though. The bigger sound is partly due to the notes being further apart. If you think of the sound difference between a baby grand Piano and a full sized Piano you’ll understand the concept.

4. Our instruments offer the largest pitch ranges available on oversized Tenors and Double Seconds. From the bottom of our Nine Bass to the top of our Tenor, no other company’s instruments cover five octaves of range.