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Handpan Maker Spotlight: Dugimago Handpans

For this week's edition of Handpan Maker Spotlight, we're heading to Portugal to learn the story of Dugimago handpans founded by Duarte Gil. Duarte is not only a talented handpan builder but is also a gifted player who has recorded handpan cover songs ranging from Debussy's Claire de Lune to C418's infamous "Aria math" from Minecraft. So, join me as we explore the story behind this one of a kind handpan artisan!

 


 

What is your company name? And what is the meaning/inspiration behind it?


Dugimago, it's the initials of Duarte's name.


 

Who is your company run by? Do you work alone or with a team of people?


Dugimago is run by Duarte, and a team of 2.


 

Year Founded:


2015


 

Location:


Portugal



 

How did you first discover the handpan?


Through a YouTube video! A friend was listening to a video to which I was only listening and I thought he was listening to a kind of string instrument. When I saw the handpan was played with hands in a percussion style I was mesmerized.


 

What made you decide to start building handpans?



I had purchased my first handpan from a US builder, this handpan fell accidentally on the ground in around 2013 and it got damaged. I had to have it sent to the US but being a 21 year old at the time who was just starting to work I didn't have much money to spare apart from the big investment of acquiring one by that time, and being from Europe the costs of customs were high, so I ventured in retuning the handpan by myself. The retune didn't end up going well of course, but I did manage to retune the damaged tonefield (just not to the note it was originally tuned to!). I ended up sending the instrument to the maker in the US to have it retuned. During this time I figured there was no one who was able to help me with retuning in Portugal, and I also wanted some more handpans with different scales so I decided to start making handpans by myself. I was lucky enough to have a friend who offered me to use his workshop for free to start making Handpans. Learning by trial and error was a steep learning curve but it was totally worth it, I am now a better maker for learning alone by trial and error. I know what works and what doesn't and why, that sets a solid ground for handpan innovation.


 

What is your goal as a handpan builder?


To innovate. Slowly bring meaningful and impactful innovations to handpans, and to bring the handpan to the mainstream. I believe the handpan needs to change to achieve that.


 

What are your most and least favorite things about being a handpan builder?


Most favorite: Innovation, research, the feeling of creating something new. Least favorite: Competition between makers as it is increasing (which is normal especially with a market normalization).


 

What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring handpan makers?

I wouldn't. Learn by yourself through trial and error. It's truly the best advise.


 

If you could only play one handpan scale for the rest of your life what would it be and why?


The chromatic scale, so I can have melodic freedom!


 

What's one interesting fact about you, your company, or your instruments?



Dugimago is actually the 3rd name for our brand, it was Amor handpan (there was another maker who started using this name which led us to drop it) then Alma handpan before it turned into "Dugimago" due to branding reasons. We like Dugimago the best from all 3!


 

Do you take custom orders?


Yes


 

Do you have instruments currently available to purchase?


Yes


 

Do you have a waiting list? If so how long?


Yes, 30 days.


 

For more information about Dugimago:


 

Looking to buy your first handpan? We've got you covered! Planet Handpan partners with the world's best handpan makers to get you an instrument you're sure to love. Every builder, every sound model, and every instrument is individually selected by us to guarantee you end up with a handpan that is truly the best of the best.


Head to the Planet Handpan marketplace to browse handpans from around the globe.

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