Steelpan Tuner

Panist Kenneth Clarke says - “About a week ago I saw him on the back road struggling to get home. I stopped and offered him a lift home, he told me -  “I good to go as a scorpion, I accustom fighting for what I want””  --- The late great tuner Clifford “Rope” Alfred

Clifford Alfred 
WST Pan Photographer

Clifford “Rope” Alfred

November 4, 1946 - December 2, 2020

Clifford “Rope” Alfred - Steelpan Tuner
click for more on Clifford “Rope” Alfred

right tap/click for bio

Clifford “Rope” Alfred

  • Obtained the nickname “Rope” because of his skinny size.
  • He grew up in Laventille, Trinidad - on Old St Joseph Road, now called Bertie Marshall Boulevard
  • He started out in 1966 as a distinguished player in Highlanders
  • In the early 1970s he began steelpan tuning apprenticeship under recognized master tuner Lincoln Noel. This also provided an opportunity for him to interact with and study master tuners Bertie Marshall and Tony Slater.
  • In 1973 he migrated to Venezuela where he further developed his skills as a tuner of great merit, by tuning pans of different styles of other tuners who had passed through Venezuela and left their pans there.
  • After nine years in Venezuela he returned to Trinidad to join forces with tuners Tony Slater and Bertie Marshall.
  • The legendary Rudolph Charles was so impressed with his work that he brought him in to join his fabled cadre of master tuners to work on Desperadoes’ pans.
  • He also succeeded Anthony Williams as research officer at the Ministry of Culture.
  • Clifford Alfred arranged for Exodus, Merry Tones, birdsong, Chordettes, Xpress 21, Deltones and Glissando Steel Orchestra (UK), among several others.  Additionally, per Kenneth Clarke “...Some of the bands he tuned for [in Venezuela] were Demon Steel Orchestra, Sensacion Steel Band, Jose Felix Steel Band, to name a few.”
  • 1990:  Alfred invented “Protec” to protect the surface and bell of the pan for which he was awarded the Rudolph Charles Pan Innovation Award - see below.
Clifford Alfred 

Leave a comment

 When Steel Talks shirts
now available
Order yours now! When Steel Talks -- Shopping