Taking Care Of Your RAV Vast

So you finally got your RAV waiting at your door. Congrats! Now it's time to learn about taking care of it, so it stays clean, shiny and rust-free!

Taking care of your RAV is pretty easy. The Vast is a sturdy, dependable, and low-maintenance instrument. Here are a few tips to protect your drum, so it can serve you for years to come:

First and foremost: always store your RAV in a dry environment — so avoid basements, cellars, anywhere clothes are hung to dry and rooms with humidifiers. Be sure to keep it away from any containers that could spill water, like a coffee cup, or any surface that could drip water such as a leaky area of your home. It's fine to keep your instrument on the floor or upright leaning against a wall when not playing.

Never keep your instrument in a bag for an extended period (longer than a couple hours) — moisture can collect inside a bag or case! It's a good precaution to buy some inexpensive moisture eaters, such as those little silica gel packets that come in some food packages, to place in your RAV bag — you can buy a bunch from Amazon, for example. You should swap those out every couple months. There are also moisture eaters specifically designed for steel drums you can place in your case. When traveling, since the Vast is more heavily built than a handpan, a light padded bag is usually sufficient, although for additional peace of mind on flights you can always opt for a hard case. If you have to leave the drum in a bag for some time, make sure the bag is open so your RAV can "breathe".
Cleaning routine

The most important thing you can do to take care of your Vast is to clear it regularly. After playing, you may want to run a microfiber cloth over both sides to remove any dust. At least every three weeks — more often if you live in a humid climate — you need to clean your baby!

Here's how. Don't be intimidated — it may seem like a lot of steps, but after you do it once or twice it will become second nature.

Using a fresh microfiber cloth or sponge, apply a lubricant or oil to protect the surface. Froglube CLP, Phoenix Handpan oil, and coconut oil all work well — whatever product you like better. Use your judgement in applying — too little and your drum will not be protected, too much and it may impair the sound. Rub it in thoroughly until the product is transparent — you should be able to see the surface of the drum clearly. We also added a video instruction, which you can see at the bottom of this article.

How frequent should you apply the caring product? That depends on the humidity at your place. If you live in a humid area, you should apply it once a week, if the humidity is normal — once or twice a month is fine.

Be careful using DIY protectants– always try a new product first on a small part of the drum before applying everywhere. Some products, like pure coconut oil, are great at protecting the instrument but tend to collect on the surface or rub off on everything the drum touches. Yuck!

Removing Rust

Let's say you didn't know about any of the above and your RAV Vast started rusting… Don't panic! There is a way to remove the rust. Important note: apply the techniques described below ONLY if your drum got rust on it.

Firstly, you should try and wipe the rust off with a Miracle Cloth. It should work just fine, but there's a pickle: they don't sell those everywhere. So, what should you do if you don't have any Miracle Cloth for sale where you live?
Try using alcohol. No, we're not suggesting to drink your problems away. 99% alcohol should wipe the rust off. Be careful — it actually may wipe off the hydrophobic coating that protects the drum. This is the last option you should use, so consider using it only if nothing else worked.

If you have multiple RAVs, marking your calendar and cleaning them all at once can be a big timesaver.

Lastly, miscellaneous tips. Since the Vast is more heavily built than a handpan, you can be completely comfortable playing using mallets as well as your hands, although you should probably avoid the harder or heavier mallets such as ones made out of plastic. It's never a bad idea to keep an eye on young children and animals playing near your RAV, to prevent any accidents like dropping the drum or having the surface scratched.

We also suggest watching this video about treating RAV:
How to clean your RAV Drum: Care Basics.
So, there you have it! Well cared for, your instrument will continue to delight you with its magical tones and infinite possibilities.

The article is written by David Duan, all rights reserved, copyright 2018.
David Duan
Composer, cellist, and sound healer
A Dean's Recognition Award recipient and multiple concerto competition winner, he has performed around the world with a variety of ensembles and orchestras. A graduate of New York University and the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Maryland.

Please contact david.duan@nyu.edu for information, gigs, commissions, collaboration, and more.

Instagram: davidduan
Suggested articles: