[4 Essentials] How To Care for A Rav Vast Tongue Drum


Looking after your Rav vast should be an important part of your ritual and monthly task list. You may be one of those players that wipes their drum before and after every session, in which case, how have you come to find this article?

More likely, you are considering buying a Rav drum, or have already bought one and are now looking for some hints and tips on how to look after and take care of your Rav Vast.

There are 4 main elements to keeping your Rav vast in the very best condition.

  • Cleaning
  • Storing
  • Protecting
  • Repairing

All should be a regular part of your maintenance schedule. Put it on your calendar, in your phone or tell Alexa to remind you!

Rav Drums are very hardy instruments. They are certainly a lot more sturdy and hard-wearing than close cousins the handpan, who are prone to go out of tune if you so much as look at them wrong. That doesn’t mean that a maintenance plan for your Rav vast is not required.

To get the very best from your drum and ensure the greatest longevity, 4 simple considerations can make all the difference.

Cleaning A Rav Vast

Things you will need to clean a Rav Vast

  1. Microfiber cloth

Yup, that’s it, just a microfiber cloth for a normal cleaning routine.

How often should I clean my Rav vast Steel Tongue drum?

You should take a clean microfiber soft cloth and wipe the playing surface over before any time you play. You should also do the same at the end of every session.

In making this a hard habit, and as long as you are using a clean, dry cloth, you will rarely need to apply lubricants, oils or any harder cleaning products.

If you play hours and hours every day, then you may need a deeper clean more often, but as long as you do not spill any liquids onto your Rav vast pan, or get any sticky substances on it, you should be fine.

So, in reference to the last part there, only play your Rav vast after cleaning your hands thoroughly. If you play after eating donuts, you are going to get sugar and all sorts of stickiness on it. Also, if you’ve been eating chips, especially salted ones, the last thing you want to be putting onto the surface of your instrument is oil from the chips combined with salt – You know what will happen, and you’ll be skipping this part to go straight to repairing section, rust removal, and miracle cloths!

Storing a Rav Drum

Before we go into any depth about storing a Rav vast, the first and most important aspect of effective storage is ensuring that the environment is dry. Of course, we live in a climate that at time can become humid, or may be humid for a good part of the year, but you will know the driest part of your building.

Avoid moisture

It won’t be a room where you use dehumidifiers or hang out wet clothes. Basements and roof spaces can also be humid areas where damp is present and storage for any length of time will affect anything in there.

Do not Store in a Bag or Case

There are some very effective and purpose-made storage cases and bags for Rav vast, but these are designed for transport, not storage. You can check them out in the next section.

Do not leave your tongue Pan in a bag or case for an extended period of time. If you are making a long journey an expect the instrument to be encapsulated for a lengthy period, then inexpensively you can add some silica gel packets to absorb and moisture inside the bag or case.

Display your Rav Vast

It’s quite a stunning looking instrument, so maybe when not in use, rather than hiding it away, why not store it by having it on display. It is fine to leave your Rav drum sat in its normal position, or even on its side, no harm can come to it in this fashion.

There are some bespoke rav drum stands available for the display purposes, or you could even make one yourself.

Rav Vast Lessons

The only think about leaving your Rav vast out in the open on display is that it will gather dust, so keep your care maintenance up by dusting it once a week at least and if it looks a little dry, use a little Phoenix Oil or coconut oil wit a microfibre cloth, remembering to remove any excess oil after running in.

Protecting a Rav Vast

Two parts to this protection section. I will start with the simple one, and then move onto the more contentious area of what products you should use to maintain and protect the steel

  • Transporting
  • Oiling

Transporting a Rav Vast

You may think it is ok, to travel with your Rav vast, simply by putting it on the back seat of the car, keeping it under your arm, or putting it in a random bag to carry around. I have one question. Would you do that with a laptop?

The answer is most probably no, and you would have a dedicated designed bag to keep your laptop in when not in use and in transport.

You should do the same with your Rav Pan. Chances are it has cost as much, if not more than your laptop did.

Fortunately for us, Rav Vast produces a range of Hard Cases and soft bags designed especially for the instrument. I see no reason to look elsewhere for transportation protection and recommend you do the same and by an official product.

Specifically designed hard case for Rav Vast

They are pretty reasonable, all things considered, and you can get a further 5% off with the Cool Percussion Rav Vast Promo code CP2020

Rav vast Soft case come in Yellow or Purple. Save $10 if you go for black

Oiling your Rav Vast

So, this is a contentious area of discussion, and many people may suggest that you should not get oil,or any product anywhere the steel of your instrument.

Now, whilst I might go along with that, with maybe one exception for the handpan, for the Rav Vast, I think it is not so much of a concern.

Potential Rav Drum Cleaning products

You see, the main issue with handpans, and various cleaning and lubricating products is the effect they have on the glue. In the main, this is from people using the product incorrectly, not cleaning the excess off, and for whatever reason possesses them, using it on the inside of the instrument.

Phoenix Oil
Phoenix Oil is lighter than Coconut oil or FrogLube. It smells better too!

With Rav drums you are not going to be getting it on the inside of the instrument at all. Well at least as long as you are careful and use it only sparingly, you should not be applying enough so that when you rub across the surface you are not pushing a waterfall o lubricant through the cuts in the steel.

So, with all of that out of the way, every now and then, and dependant on how much use your Rav vast gets, you can apply a very small amount of oil onto the surface, and spread carefully with a microfiber cloth. 

Once done, use a clean cloth and ensure you remove any residual product from the surface. failure to do this effectively each time will eventually lead to a build-up of old product on the surface which will attract more dirt, and most probably become sticky making the playing experience unpleasant.

Repairing a Rav Vast

Here I am talking about minor issues. Perhaps a little discoloration, or small rust spots.

Whilst the Rav vast Tongue pan is treated and partially protected against rust, we are dealing with steel and ultimately it is susceptible to a little rust from time to time. Especially if there are any surface scratches or damage.

If this is the case and you see a little rust appearing, you can rectify this by gently rubbing and removing it with the ‘Miracle cloth’

You can buy these easily and cheaply from Amazon.

it will remove the oxidization that creates the rust and you may also remove a little of the coating, so it is not advised to use it very regularly and only if you have to.

If you have followed the other cleaning and protection methods in this article, then it is quite unlikely you will ever have to experience any surface rust anyway

Discoloration

You may find some discolored spots on your Rav Vast Pan. The chances are you may find these as you unpack it, or they may appear very slowly over time. There s nothing to worry about, there is nothing wrong with your instrument.

These are natural discolorations that can occur during heat treatment in the build process. They do not affect the sound quality and these areas are no more likely to rust than any other area of the surface of the tongue pan.

If you have substantial damage to your instrument, this is not a section for you. If there is a visual issue with the tongues and/or cuts, or you have any splits or dents, then I would suggest getting in touch with Rav vast and having a discussion.

Rav Vast Mallets

I’ve left Rav Vast mallets to the end here. 

It’s not really a process to undertake to maintain your Rav steel tongue drum but something to consider in the greater scheme of taking care of it.

I have a complete article on the best mallets to use with Rav pan for much more information. However, if you are reading this while remaining new to the instrument, you ill have noticed how I have mentioned on more than one occasion how hardy the Rav Vast is.

That is until you start playing one with a hammer and then it will begin to play up a bit!

Now, some mallets are in fact little mini, secret hammers. on their own, they seem quite innocuous, but over time they can do a bit of damage to the tongues of the Rav vast

PLEASE AVOID PLASTIC MALLETS – THEY ARE NOT A FRIEND OF THE RAV VAST

In fact, they are not a friend of any percussion instrument particularly, but certainly not anything in the tongue drum category.

Many tongue drums, particularly the smaller tank drum variations are played more easily and sound better when played with mallets. The Rav, due to its size and design, is preferably played with the hands, but mallets, if soft enough can be used for a different sound and feel.

Now, tune into the Mallets for Rav Vast page to get the full low down

SteveM

I enjoyed the unpitched appeal of percussion prior to discovering handpans in a 'moment' I was experiencing. I've been writing ever since.

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