If you have seen a gong in an orchestral or rock setting, then it will most probably a Paiste Symphonic Gong that you were looking at. These instruments range wildly in size, going from a modest 20” all the way up to “the world’s largest gong” at a monumental 80”! The gong can be struck with a number of objects, however, the most common striking tool would have to be the mallet. Similarly with the gongs, the beaters vary in size as well and the smaller the gong, then the smaller the mallet. Some players prefer to have a mallet in each hand, and sometimes one being slightly larger than the other in order to offer more options.
All of Paiste’s Symphonic Gongs start life as a circular sheet of metal and the first step is to briefly flame the centre of the sheet, then flame the edges to soften it up. Step two leads up to the first bout of hammering which quickly turns a once flat object into a more familiar gong shape. The next few steps involve more hammering, with smaller/finer dents being made each time thus producing a more rounded lip. Once all the hammering is done, then the gong is fine-tuned further by scraping straight lines through the inner doughnut of the gong (avoiding the flamed edge and the centre point. The gong then gets a good old fashioned polish and ready for you to play!