Steelpan Tuner
Master Steelpan Tuner Wallace Austin
WST Pan Photographer

Wallace Austin

Wallace Austin - Master Steelpan Tuner Wallace Austin is considered as one of the finest steelpan tuners ever. Wallace Austin was part of the legendary team of tuners (Rudolph Charles, Lincoln Noel, James “Bassman” Jackman, Emmanuel “Jack” Riley, Bertie Marshall, and Tony Slater) that gave Desperadoes their unique sound.

In the early 1950s Mr. Austin was a great double tenor player for Invaders Steel Orchestra. In the 1960s he began tuning for Desperadoes Steel Orchestra. Wallace is extremely dedicated to his craft and excellence.


Editor’s note: Wallace Austin passed away December 22, 2016.

More on Wallace Austin


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Wallace Austin

{picture above:  Wallace Austin preparing Garvin Blake's seconds for the Belle Eau Road Blues recording project at Basement Recordings/WST Studios}

Read what the steelpan community thinks about Mr. Austin in the WST Forum
Reply by ama belfon on May 15, 2012 at 9:57am

Thank you WST for focusing the spotlight on the men, without whom their could be no Pan. The Tuners. Many of them never lived to see much financial rewards, and we must never  forget their invaluable contributions to this art form. There are WST members out there with much more knowledge of others than I have, but I remember Alan Gervais, and Errol Moore, both deceased. Lloyd Gay, Herman Guppy, Bertram Kellman just to name a few. As I have said before we owe them our respect, our gratitude and our love for putting up with all society meted out to them in the early days; giving and leaving the new generation of tuners, arrangers and players the benefits of skills derived from raw talent. Thanks again for your passion in promoting  this art form.

What would we do without WST, you guys are definitely on the ball. Many  thanks for presenting what is important and necessary for especially the Pan World. Your insight is great and we know that you are paying attention  to your 10,000 plus membership, so we hope that this relationship with you and your membership continues and grows ...all for the betterment of Pan.. Thank you for highlighting Ace Pan Tuner Wallace Austin..he really is one of the unsung heroes, who never stopped working  despite his health ..nuff respect.. Wallace is like a big brother  to me growing up in St. John Village, St. Augustine with the original Flamingoes. everyone who can remember Flamingoes of the late 60's and 70's will recall the "Sweet Pans' from the numerous recordings of Flamingoes  plus Flamingoes also being a "Fete Band" in those days . The Sweet Pans" was on account of Wallace. He has been a tuner of many other bands including as mentioned the legendary team of Despers in the late 70's and early 80's ( Rudolph, Bertie, Lincoln & Wallace) many other bands have benefited from this talent not only in Trinidad but New York also. Presently the "Sweet Pans" coming out of Exodus is none other than Wallace. For whatever it is worth  I wish to nominate Wallace Austin Ace Pan Tuner for one of those Awards the T&T government gives out . I also hope that Pan Trinbago could pick up on this and "Do Something .................




Salah,I would second that bout Wallace, he is really a great tuner especially DOUBLE TENORS, people like him should be nominated to those awards


Thank you. We all proudly salute the men who created the SOUND.  The tuners are indeed a special breed.


How come when they are speaking of pan tuners at all level no one seem to remember the name Mr. Leo Coker ?


Very good point Curtis ...Leo Coker  another Unsung Hero ( May He Rest In Peace). it might have been 1969 or 1970 that Henry "Bendix" Cumberbatch ( May He Rest In Peace) , came to Flamingoes ...Wallace Austin went away and Bendix had brought a Chaguans posse ( including Jimi Phillip) this of course changed the influence in a bigger way of Flamingoes which was a renowned Recording and Dance bands ( Pan used to play in all the Fetes). But Bendix had also brought up this quiet hard working Pan tuner named Leo Coker. i had a good relationship with Coker over the years. a man about business and hard work ( he had his own ways but then again that was Coker ). He was a good brother and a hard worker for the Pan


I heard about Mr.Austin and his double tenor tuning. I am happy to see that he is being credited. I am also happy that mention was made of Mr. Leo Coker and Bendix Cumberbatch. Many persons do not have a historical background of these great Men.


I noted all the BIG  names above.  NOT ONE OF YOU mentioned  ELLIE  MANNETTE or for that matter MIKEY ENOCH.  By the way Wallace is the last tuner that blended my  Mikey Enoch built  dbl Tenors and its still in tune (perfect pitch) about 14 years now. paddy corea


Wallace is a master pan builder and tuner, his work in tuning the Churches Steel Pans will not be forgotten.  I also remember taking my Double Tenor to him to get it touched up and he wasn't too happy about it's workmanship...he then started to play on a beat up, dented up Double Tenor that he tuned and it almost brought me to tears...the sound was heavenly.  I think credit to great men like these is long overdue....thanks to WST for recognizing them.


Wallace used to Blend my Double Tenor in NY, But I also remember him when he finished tuning Pan for City Symphony on ST Paul Street, POS, I used to listen to him Coasting "Ave Maria" in the Wee Hours of the Morning, makes you feel that you are in Church, (His Specialty is the Double Tenors), they used to Bark,  

Comment by Caspar Durant on August 28, 2012 at 9:06pm

I am proud to know Wallace Austin. As one of the original members of Esso Tripoli aka. Trinidad Tripoli, which pans were maintained by Alla Gervais, so I know  what it is to have your notes locked in, and Wallace is one of the few who can lock a note forever. It is truly a treasure to know him and be able to spend time with him often. also to see his name mentioned here in this manner

Comment by Eye4Pan on August 27, 2012 at 9:33pm

Big respect to Wallace Austin,definitely one of the great tuners of T&T...

Comment by Gerard Clarke on August 26, 2012 at 8:27pm

In 1965 I went to Richplain Diego Martin to a sports meet. There was this band Western Philharmonics set up to play and this man well dressed with a stingy brim coasting a double tenor, sounding out of this world.Inquiries revealed that he was the tuner named Wallace Austin.I spoke of it by Starlift as we had no double tenors and two weeks later two were delivered to the band,work of a master tuner.Recordings of Flamingoes is proof enough.

Comment by Cecil hinkson on August 26, 2012 at 11:55am

Madman was the first and only tuner I ever saw use ah "chisel"to grove a pan. He also arrange a tune called "A Gift of Love" for Tripoli, it aint sound nothin like the Gift of Love I know but it was good.

Comment by Peter Gray on August 26, 2012 at 10:25am

Nice one, Flash ... did you ever know of Madman's brother, so called "Brokofoot" because he walked with terrible limp (due to polio)?


Comment by Carlton E. Munroe on August 25, 2012 at 7:20pm

Wallace and bassman are the last of a dying breed. but they are still both active. Bassman is a hard one
to catch up with. I think for now that he is tuning for Despers USA. Curly/Tahzann.

Comment by kenneth clarke on August 25, 2012 at 5:31pm

Wallace is still a maestro in this art form. Blessings brother, keep up the good work.

Comment by paddy corea on August 25, 2012 at 4:34pm

Wallace and Bassman r the only  tuners who could touch my double tenor. By the way Wallace is married to my friends(Kalouti)  sister  Big up Wallace.

Comment by Bertel Gittens on August 25, 2012 at 1:49pm

I am always stunned by the ease at which Wallace Austin tune his pans. It is really wonderful to see this master at work in his craft. Thank you Wallace Austin for your contribution to the Steelpan culture.

Comment by R Pope on August 25, 2012 at 11:02am

Nice one!!

Comment by Salah Wilson on August 24, 2012 at 10:39pm

Wallace is truly one of the unsung heroes...We need to get the authorities and leadership in the Pan to give him his due and just rewards for his uncompromising assistance and productions in the Pan world. Lets do something while he is still here with us. He still works none stop in Exodus Pan Yard  come Panorama time.

Stay up my good friend and brother