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Showing posts from May, 2015

Mail Call: What Gong Should I Buy?

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Two typical questions I get from people are:


I want to get a Gong. Which one should I get?
and


I have a _____ Gong and a _____ Gong. What should I get to go with them?

Two good questions with no easy answer. There is no starter Gong, or add on Gong out there, so it's all a matter of context and personal choice.

The first thing is context: do you want it for a rock band? A classical thing? Or a meditation thing? 

In all 3 of these situations I would recommend a Symphonic/Chau type Gong between 24" and 32" as a good place to start. This will give you a big, full sound and fit a lot of musical situations. If you don't need as much volume, and perhaps something easier to carry, a 22" to 28" Wind Gong might suit your needs. A 22" fits in a standard cymbal bag and has a fairly full sound.

But as always, what Gong resonates with you? If possible, play as many different types and sizes as you can before you make a decision. It's more important to pick out somethi…

Mail Call: Breaking In Your New Gong

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Another question I have received is, 

“Do I need to break in my new Gong?” 
This is a good question. From my own experience, there is no need to break in a Gong before you start playing it, but, a Gong will go through a period of breaking in as the sound and metal settles. 

This breaking in has 3 distinct phases:

1) - The metal settling.

The bronze, or nickel-silver, that Gongs are made of, has a crystalline structure that tends to settle over time. According to Billy Zildjian, from the SABIAN cymbal company, talking about cymbals, “The internal molecular structure has a tendency to float within the metal of the cymbal. After some time the molecules actually begin to bind together as the metal settles.” (from Modern Drummer magazine, November 1983) This is thought to change both the tone and the feel of the metal.

There is also some belief that playing the cymbal or Gong helps the metal settle. There are various stories of jazz drummers, most notably Elvin Jones, playing their new cymbals f…

Mail Call: Playing Small places & Mallet Advice

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I get a lot of e-mail with questions from drummers & Gongers about a wide range of things. Today I'd like to address a question I received yesterday:
I am seeking some advice with mallets.  A few of the yoga studios I play at are smallish, they fit about 20 people mat to mat and have short ceilings.  The gongs end up becoming intense in such small spaces, almost too intense.      Do you have any advice as to what kind of mallet might be a soft, gentle, roller that could work better than the paiste mallets in such small spaces? I have a few different kinds (paiste, chinese, and some z brand mallets) but they still get pretty big and tingy.  any suggestions on how to handle these spaces either with mallets or otherwise? 
First thing: it's rarely about the mallets. It's all about the technique.
I regularly play places that hold from 20 people, to places that can hold 100. In all situations I use the same instruments and the same mallets. When I change the mallets, it…