The Gong

Bozozoid

Well-known member
That 40" solar flare gong sounds scarey. It's 5 am here..i have headphones on and just listened to this really eeery gong. For years I had to have one because Bonzo did but never did order the Paiste 38. They just look! So cool on stage behind a kit.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
All of the Chinese made B20 bronze chau gongs are pretty similar, and the bigger the better in terms of tone quality and volume. That includes Zildjian and Sabian, as well as Wuhan, Stagg and many other lesser known names. Excellent value for money.

But the Paiste gongs made in Germany from phosphor bronze are just amazing. Twice as good, for twice the price. They are hammered thinner and have been flame treated, so they’re more responsive and don’t distort at loud levels. Almost all professional orchestras use Paiste gongs, because price isn’t important....

But for home use a standard chau or even a (flat) wind gong will still do nicely.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
All of the Chinese made B20 bronze chau gongs are pretty similar, and the bigger the better in terms of tone quality and volume. That includes Zildjian and Sabian, as well as Wuhan, Stagg and many other lesser known names. Excellent value for money.

But the Paiste gongs made in Germany from phosphor bronze are just amazing. Twice as good, for twice the price. They are hammered thinner and have been flame treated, so they’re more responsive and don’t distort at loud levels. Almost all professional orchestras use Paiste gongs, because price isn’t important....

But for home use a standard chau or even a (flat) wind gong will still do nicely.
Back in the day Wuhan gongs were the standard for all orchestras, pretty much. But that probably is changing now, those Paiste gongs are something special. And the damn Wuhans need a ridiculously heavy beater to get a decent sound out of them. They’re a real struggle for younger, smaller students to get a good-quality, full spectrum response from at quiet volumes. I’m not a big guy, about 150 lbs, and I have to really stiffen my wrists when playing them to get enough mass for a full-spectrum response at quiet volumes. A Philadelphia-style super-dense beater helps, but those aren’t always around when you need them.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
We had a gong in symphonic band way back in high school I think it was at least 30”. The band director insisted that I “warm up” the gong in advance of each strike note by softly but crescendo rolling with the mallet up to the main strike. Not sure if that’s proper since he was not really a percussionist.
With limited use a gong will make a very dramatic impact on any piece of music when done properly.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
We had a gong in symphonic band way back in high school I think it was at least 30”. The band director insisted that I “warm up” the gong in advance of each strike note by softly but crescendo rolling with the mallet up to the main strike. Not sure if that’s proper since he was not really a percussionist.
With limited use a gong will make a very dramatic impact on any piece of music when done properly.
that is absolutely proper....but I was taught you just need to tap it lightly to get it vibrating. That is all we do at school.

We have an old 28" Wuhan gong, a big 40" Zildjian monster that we use the most, and an un-named "wind gong" that was donated to us back in the 90's.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
We had a gong in symphonic band way back in high school I think it was at least 30”. The band director insisted that I “warm up” the gong in advance of each strike note by softly but crescendo rolling with the mallet up to the main strike. Not sure if that’s proper since he was not really a percussionist.
With limited use a gong will make a very dramatic impact on any piece of music when done properly.
I usually use the meaty side of my fist to get it going, although that’s not strictly necessary if your mallet is heavy enough. For that matter, if I have a really big cymbal crash, I’ll usually warm up the cymbals by lightly bouncing them off the meat of my bent knee. It helps avoid the dreaded “air pocket effect” lol.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I have a 28" tam-tam, it was cheap and unbranded, but its a gong, and that's what I wanted. I have used it for my online orchestra, some of my own recording projects, and even live for a musical I played last year (Hair). At first I bought it just because I wanted a freaking gong, thinking I was never really going to play it for practical purposes, but it has come in handy.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I usually use the meaty side of my fist to get it going, although that’s not strictly necessary if your mallet is heavy enough. For that matter, if I have a really big cymbal crash, I’ll usually warm up the cymbals by lightly bouncing them off the meat of my bent knee. It helps avoid the dreaded “air pocket effect” lol.
I also warm up cymbals, and always get asked why I do it. It just seems natural to do it. It warms up the attack a bit. I don't do it for marches though since the cymbals are generally "going", plus t hat is a different kind of attack as well
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I also warm up cymbals, and always get asked why I do it. It just seems natural to do it. It warms up the attack a bit. I don't do it for marches though since the cymbals are generally "going", plus t hat is a different kind of attack as well
One of the Bruckner symphonies has 1 cymbal crash in it. Nothing else for percussion, just the 1 fortissimo crash, can you imagine getting air on that 1 note? That fear is why I always warm up bigger cymbals for a big first crash lol
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
My first experience was at the Memphis drum shop gong room. Beautiful sounds but way beyond my pay grade.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I got to see Memphis drum shop one time in 2014. Their cymbal room...talk about a kid in a candy store...

It was great but I went earblind after about 30 minutes. Cymbal overload.

But wow it was just over the top.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
One of the Bruckner symphonies has 1 cymbal crash in it. Nothing else for percussion, just the 1 fortissimo crash, can you imagine getting air on that 1 note? That fear is why I always warm up bigger cymbals for a big first crash lol
oh man. The Bruckner Symphonies. I need to revisit those again! It has been a while since I last listened. I also love his Requiem in Dmin. I have a "Requiem Collection" and that is in it...looks like it might be "Classical January" for me....

that is THE WORST pressure!! I was less nervous about my senior recital stuff than I was about stuff like that in Wind Ensemble and Symph!! There is a crash like that in the middle of Russian Christmas Music that they always give me in the Wind ensemble I play with now b/c none of the other drummers want to mess it up.

It also REALLY helps to have the right kind of cymbals to pull off hits like these too
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
oh man. The Bruckner Symphonies. I need to revisit those again! It has been a while since I last listened. I also love his Requiem in Dmin. I have a "Requiem Collection" and that is in it...looks like it might be "Classical January" for me....

that is THE WORST pressure!! I was less nervous about my senior recital stuff than I was about stuff like that in Wind Ensemble and Symph!! There is a crash like that in the middle of Russian Christmas Music that they always give me in the Wind ensemble I play with now b/c none of the other drummers want to mess it up.

It also REALLY helps to have the right kind of cymbals to pull off hits like these too
I’m about to tell a story that makes me sound like a jerk. I am a jerk. Deal with it. LOL

So I saw the “best” orchestra in the world, the Concertgebouw, play in Dallas when I was in college. They did Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony, with the huge cymbal excerpt in the 4th movement. Well, the cymbal player used some really curved cymbals with a really pronounced bow to the main part of the cymbal, and he got major air on NEARLY EVERY GD’ed NOOOOTE lol. I don’t know if the conductor forced those cymbals on him, or if he’s just a total idiot, but it was just crap. The end. European percussionists are just not at the level that American players are. The string players are way better, but the winds/brass/percussion are just sad.

At this same concert, the clarinet player had some weird reed malfunction or something and you could hear weird extraneous air passing through his clarinet during the big clarinet solo in the first movement. The guy was remedial. “Best” orchestra in the world? Maybe the string section, sure. They were incredible. But the winds/brass/percussion were worse than the grad students and even some undergrads I went to school with. The end.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I’m about to tell a story that makes me sound like a jerk. I am a jerk. Deal with it. LOL

So I saw the “best” orchestra in the world, the Concertgebouw, play in Dallas when I was in college. They did Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony, with the huge cymbal excerpt in the 4th movement. Well, the cymbal player used some really curved cymbals with a really pronounced bow to the main part of the cymbal, and he got major air on NEARLY EVERY GD’ed NOOOOTE lol. I don’t know if the conductor forced those cymbals on him, or if he’s just a total idiot, but it was just crap. The end. European percussionists are just not at the level that American players are. The string players are way better, but the winds/brass/percussion are just sad.

At this same concert, the clarinet player had some weird reed malfunction or something and you could hear weird extraneous air passing through his clarinet during the big clarinet solo in the first movement. The guy was remedial. “Best” orchestra in the world? Maybe the string section, sure. They were incredible. But the winds/brass/percussion were worse than the grad students and even some undergrads I went to school with. The end.
not a jerk...that is an honest assessment...

I wonder if they are also "stranded" by product endorsement contracts, or like you said, a conductor who is "out of touch" with what is out there...or maybe forcing a bad technique on the player b/c "he is The Conductor"....

It is also possible that they were using rented equipment that the players were not used to controlling...but you would thing the cymbal player at that level would have brought his own plates, or had the knowledge of how to get the desired sound out of rented ones with some crashed in practice...

also could have been tenure allowing players who well past their prime to still be there....
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
Steve Weiss had 36" chao gongs (with stand!) for 700 bucks on their black Friday sale. I got their orchestra bells instead.

Oddly, my wife thinks we need a gong too, so that will happen one of these days.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
not a jerk...that is an honest assessment...

I wonder if they are also "stranded" by product endorsement contracts, or like you said, a conductor who is "out of touch" with what is out there...or maybe forcing a bad technique on the player b/c "he is The Conductor"....

It is also possible that they were using rented equipment that the players were not used to controlling...but you would thing the cymbal player at that level would have brought his own plates, or had the knowledge of how to get the desired sound out of rented ones with some crashed in practice...

also could have been tenure allowing players who well past their prime to still be there....
At age 20 I already knew you don’t use highly curved cymbals for fast/loud repeated crashes. The potential for getting air is way too high. Plus, it’s Russian music, which means flatter French cymbals are the appropriate sound, not the more highly curved Germanic-style cymbals. I’d have done absolutely anything instead of using those cymbals. Played dumb, lied, told the conductor they got lost on the way over, etc.. Whatever it took. European orchestral percussionists are mostly just a bunch of clowns. Not a one of them could win an orchestra job over here. Just not even close.
 
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