Gong Directory Included
By Jain Wells
September 6th, 2023
Gongs are highly sensitive sound instruments with a broad bandwidth of frequencies that affect the human energy field and system in a profound way, particularly when using high-quality, highly resonant gongs. Making a gong requires sensitivity and knowledge with regard to sound frequency as well as having a certain knowledge and experience around how to work with different types of metals and metal alloys – for making different types of gongs with unique sound character and tonal expression. The most popular metal alloy used for making high-quality gongs is nickel silver (also known as alpaca or German silver) because of its beautiful sound and powerful sound resonance, making is ideal for gong sound healing work and gong performances. The most well-known gong makers today are aligned with a long-established German tradition of handcrafted gong making that involves a precise heating and hammering process; specifically used to make nickel silver gongs. Renowned German gong maker Martin Bläse also uses this process to make handcrafted gongs made of pure titanium.
Nickel Silver alloy is a unique blend of metals including copper, nickel, and zinc (and sometimes traces of lead and tin) though doesn’t actually contain silver itself – the name comes from the fact that it has a silvery appearance. It was first created in China in the 1700s then revised in the early 1800s in Germany (hence the name German silver) and is made of mostly copper, with nickel and zinc in roughly similar amounts. Other metals commonly used for making gongs include stainless steel, titanium, bronze, copper, and iron.
~ Copper-based bronze gongs with traces of iron are known and associated with the older-style Chinese chau gong which is not handcrafted but manufactured – made from poured metal into a mold; and while it is much heavier than high-quality modern-made handcrafted nickel silver gongs of the same size when compared, it is slightly less expensive (at Memphis Drum Shop in the U.S., the Meinl 34” Chau Tam Tam retails for US $1300. / the 34” Sabian Chinese (chau-style) gong is US $1213. / and the 34” Zildjian Traditional (chau-style) gong is US $1300. VERSUS the handcrafted nickel silver 32” Meinl Planetary Tuned gong at US $1900. and the 36” costing US $3000. In my eight years-experience and involvement in the gong industry, I have noticed the price of the manufactured chau gong increase in price significantly relative to the high-quality German-style handcrafted gongs – perhaps due to the fact that top-quality handcrafted gongs are in shorter supply, with waiting lists anywhere from four months to well over a year.
I personally like a well-made chau-style gong a lot because of its beautiful deep bass tones and how they feel physically (30", 32” chau gongs and larger), and highly recommend it for any kind of focused client gong sound healing sessions / meditation / group healing work / after a yoga session etc. It’s also slightly more durable than the nickel silver gong in terms of its surface – nickel silver oxidizes quite easily when touched with moist fingers or exposed to moisture in general, if not immediately wiped dry, unlike the chau gongs. Though both types of gongs can also potentially crack of they fall on a hard surface.
~ A third gong choice I recommend for gong sound healing work (which is a recent discovery for me) is a non-alloy pure titanium gong made by Ross Barrable (of Crystanium Gongs in the U.S.). The 32” gong that I played over a couple of months, on loan to me from Ross, was highly resonant (with the right kind of mallet - I recommend Meinl black mallet head with dark wooden handle) and also “ultra-lightweight” and “indestructible” just as he described to me, though retails at Gongs Unlimited for US $3400. which is expensive for a gong of that size, and non-handcrafted. A 32” handcrafted Paiste Symphonic gong sells for $1300. at Gongs Unlimited in comparison, and a 32” tuned Planetary Gong for $1900. As well, he did mention that the particular 32” gong he sent to me was specially selected for its sound quality, so sound resonance may vary from gong to gong – it would be worthwhile to check with him personally if you are thinking of buying one. The sound of titanium is unique, and combines well with other gongs sounds, in my opinion.
There are several other nickel silver gong makers becoming more popular through various gong dealers and distributors (and worthy of mention in the Gong Directory below along with several chau gong distributors and dealers). However, beware many independent gong makers (also found on social media platforms) that are have not had much or any quality training / experience and may sell lessor quality gongs with high price tags. I can’t comment specifically about how lesser quality nickel silver gongs directly affect the healing process – nickel silver alloy sheets are sold as a commodity and are available to any gong maker around the world, though it is relatively easy, even for a novice, to notice superior gong sound quality in comparison when they hear it.
It takes up to ten or more years for an apprentice to begin to master the art of gong making in the German tradition, made known through renowned gong maker Walter Meyer. There are literally only a handful of individuals making and managing the handcrafted production of most of the high-quality nickel silver gongs, at least in Europe, and a few remaining who apprenticed with Walter.
Whether you are buying a gong for presenting within a performance or concert, for group gong sound healing journeys, or for focused gong sound healing work, or just for playing at home, a high quality gong is essential. The larger the better… to a point. I recommend for focused healing, nickel silver gongs (as a minimum 28”, 30” and an ideal recommendation of 32” (or perhaps larger for working with groups over 25-30 people in an enclosed space, if you prefer), and the Chinese chau gong (28” up to 32” as an ideal gong healing size or larger), sourced from established gong dealers and distributors. While chau gong quality varies from gong to gong, as it’s manufactured often in large quantities, it’s also highly resonant and beautiful to play, listen to and work with. It’s also much heavier so beware if you plan on moving it around to different locations and that it fits in your vehicle, and you can carry it.
Most gongs will last a lifetime or longer, if you take care of them. Be mindful of who you allow to carry your gongs and always use a protective carrying case, though not necessarily for a chau gong for shorter distances.
The Gong Directory below includes other known and lesser known gong makers that work with other types of metal alloys besides nickel silver. The unique gong sounds produced with different metal alloys and played together during a performance or in a group gong sound healing journey help to create an interesting and dynamic soundscape. However, high-quality nickel silver gongs (and quality chau gongs) are my personal favorites and what I recommend, particularly for those wanting to do any kind of focused healing and personal development work.
I will continue to update this blog and directory as needed, and welcome feedback if you have anything relevant and informative to share, thank you.
Gongs, Accessories & Dealers
This directory includes some of the most well-known and respected gong makers and gong making companies in the world. The first top six specialize in a wide range of high-quality handcrafted gongs made from a nickel silver alloy (copper, zinc and nickel). See also their gong accessories.
Paiste is one of the largest companies that makes and distributes gongs. It is German-based with distributors worldwide. See website for their handcrafted gongs: Planet Gong Series (tuned); Symphonic, and Symphonic ‘Brilliant’ (polished) Gongs; and Sound Creation Earth Gong, and smaller Accent and Deco gongs. www.paistegongs.com.
Meinl Sonic Energy is the gong branch of the well-established German-based percussion company Meinl Percussion. It is also one of the largest makers and distributors of gongs in the world. Their list of gongs include: The Planetary Tuned Gong Series; Chakra Gong Series (tuned); Flower of Life Gong (tuned); and Don Conreaux Gong; as well as the Meinl Chau Gong (manufactured); and the Meinl bronze alloy Wind Gong. www.meinlsonicenergy.com
Oetken Gongs (Germany) Broder Oetken is one of the most experienced gong-makers in the world, and has made gongs for many well-known companies including Meinl and Paiste. Oetken Gongs has a wide range of gongs including: Symphonic Gongs; Planetary Tuned Gongs; and Tree of Life Gong. www.oetken-gongs.de
Gongland Gongs (Germany) Another industry-respected master gong maker is Rolf Nitsch, who has been making high-quality gongs for decades. See his website for a wide range of gongs including his Classic Gong Series; Planet Gong Series; Advanced Gongs; and New Planetary Gong Series with a new handcrafted design and sound. www.gongland.de
Tone of Life Gongs (Poland/Spain) made by German gong-maker Johannes Heimrath, is another pioneer in the industry. Tone of Life’s gongs also have many unique and beautiful designs. Owners Tom Soltron and Abby DelSol are musicians, sound therapists, offer gong trainings and healing retreats, and perform inspiring concerts with the gong and other sound instruments. www.toneoflife.com.
Sona Gongs (Germany) Johannes Heimrath also produces hand- crafted gongs for his company Sona Sounds, in addition to Tone of Life. www.sonasounds.com
Other Recommended Nickel Silver Gongs
Ryan Shelledy (USA) www.shelledysounds.com
Shawn Aceto (USA) www.shawnaceotsounds.com
Ollihess Gongs (Germany) Oliver Hess / www.ollihess.de
UniverseGong (Portugal) MiguelLourenco/www.universegong.com
Specialty and Art Gongs
Gongs of different metal alloys: bronze, iron, stainless steel, titanium, manganese-chromium-nickel —beautiful well-crafted gongs with unique sounds.
Paiste (Germany) Bronze Gong Series www.paiste.com
Martin Bläse Gongs (Germany) see Facebook / (Titanium, bronze and nickel-silver)
Grotta Sonora (Italy) Madhava Cararra and Margherita Cioffi / www.grottasonora.com / (‘Sacred Metal’ alloy, and more recently began working with nickel silver)
CrysTanium Gongs (USA) Ross Barrable / www.CrysTanium.com (ultra-lightweight Titanium)
Elemental Gongs (UK) Barry Mason / www.barrymasonfineart.com (Titanium)
WOM Gongs (Italy) www.womgongs.it by Tashi and Yasha / (Stainless steel and nickel-silver)
Art Gongs (Norfolk, UK) Michal Milas / www.artgongs.com (gong accessories / restores gongs, including Paiste gongss)
Chien Gongs (Uruguay) Gustavo Martinez / see Facebook / (Stainless steel, iron, nickel-silver and bronze)
Blau Gongs (Argentina) David Blau / see Facebook (Stainless steel)
Spiral PLANTINa Gongs (NSW, AUS) / available at GongDwana / www.gongdwana.com
Sabian Chinese Gongs (worldwide) www.sabian.com / (Symphonic, Chau, Wind & Zodiac Gongs)
Dream Cymbals and Gongs Canada www.dreamcymbals.com / (Chau, Wind and Feng Gongs)
Zildjian / Gong Division (worldwide) www.zildjian.com / (Chau and Wind Gongs)
Wuhan Cymbals & Gongs (worldwide) www.wuhancymbals.com / (Chau and Wind Gongs)
Gongs (SE, AUS) / See Facebook: Gongs / (Chau, Wind and Feng Gongs) Other Established Gong-Dealers – US, Canada, UK, Australia
Gongs Unlimited (NE, USA) Andrew Borakove / www.gongs-unlimited.com
Memphis Drum Shop and Gong Chamber (TN, USA) Jim Pettit / www.memphisgongshop.com
The Gong Shop (CA, USA) Trey Wyatt / www.thegongshop.com
Steve Weiss Music , Main headquarters (PA, USA) www.steveweissmusic.com
Sunreed Instruments (VT, USA) www.sunreed.com Sacred Sound Shop (MA, USA) / www.sacredsoundshop.com (many antique and older gongs)
Sweetwater (USA) www.sweetwater.com / online retailer of Pro Audio and Music instruments
Reverb.com online Gong Buy & Sell / largest worldwide online marketplace (new and used gongs)
Artdrum (NY, USA) www.artdrum.com / (gongs and accessories) Gear4Music (USA and UK with separate websites)
www.Gear4music.com Acutonics (NM, USA) www.acutonics.com / Paiste distributor
The Sound Healing Instrument Shop (ON, Canada) / www.soundhealinginstruments.com
Ghandharva Loka World Music Store (Vancouver, Zurich, Vienna, Dublin, Salzberg, Berlin, Christchurch) www.gandharvaloka.com
Long & McQuade Musical Instruments (Canada wide, over 60 locations) www.long-mcquade.com
Acclaim Sound & Lighting (ON, Canada) / Sabian distributor— Chinese Chau Gong www.acclaim-music.com
Lotus Sound (ON, Canada) Jay and Justine / www.lotussound.ca / Instagram: @lotussound.ca / distributors for Meinl Sonic Energy Gongs / Dream Symbols & Gongs
Sound Travels (Nailsworth, UK) Jonathan Barnett / www.soundtravels.co.uk
Andertons Music Co. (Surrey, UK) www.andertons.co.uk.com
Ecymbals (Liverpool, UK) Julian Marsden / www.Ecymbals.co.uk /Paiste gongs, and Paiste second-hand gongs / see Facebook: Julian Gong / Paiste distributor
Groove Warehouse (NSW, AUS) www.goovewarehouse.com.au, (Paiste and Meinl dealers, Chau gongs)
GongDwana (NSW, AUS) / www.gongdwana.com.au (gongs and accessories)
Gong Walkabout (Perth, AUS) Paul Ford / www.gongwalkabout. com.au / (gongs and accessories)
Wind Chimes Australia (AUS) Paiste Authorized Gong Center / www.windchimesaustralia.com.au
Just Percussion (SE, AUS) / www.justpercussion.com.au / (gongs and accessories)
Belfield Music (NSW, AUS) / www.belfieldmusic.com.au / (Hardcase gong cases and Gibraltar stands)
Recommended Gong Accessories
Chalklin Percussion Mallets (UK) Paul Chalklin / www.chalklin.squarespace.com
Epic Mallets (UK) Sam Butterfield / www.epicmallets.com / (handmade mallets to order, free worldwide delivery)
DragonFly Percussion (USA) Dinesh and Jeannine Joseph / (gong mallets) www.dragonflypercussion.com
Drummers World (USA) www.drummersworld.com (gong mallets)
Deep Space Soundscape (USA) John Minks) / see Instagram: deep_space_soundscape (custom gong mallets)
GongMaster Stands (UK) Matthew Beavis / www.gongmaster- stands.com (standard and bespoke gong stands, in black, white, bronze and metallic silver paint finishes or stainless steel)
Gibraltar Hardware (USA – worldwide) www.gibraltarhardware.com / (modular gong stands)
Global Gong Stand (UK) Aidan McIntyre and Tim Greatorex / www.globalgongstand.com / (ultra-lightweight, modular gong stands, custom-order, check delivery times prior to order)
Art Gongs.com (UK) Michal Milas / custom sculpture gong stands also / See listing above in Specialty & Art gongs
Humes & Berg (USA) www.humesandberg.com / (soft and hard gong cases)
Scott’s Dreadlock Hard Cases (USA) / www.gongs-unlimited.com (custom order, hard gong cases)
Beato Bags (CA, USA) Fred Beato / www.beatobags.com / (custom-order, handcrafted gong bags)