The fundamental note / lowest tone of this 18" Chinese Heng Gong is around G#2+28% or 91 Hertz.
Heng gongs have a lip much deeper than that of the chau gong, usually producing a much deeper fundamental tone than the chau gongs of the same size. They are also fully lathed, bringing in brightness with the deep tone. The first time we played this gong at Gong Camp, we knew we needed to bring them to our shop to share with you.
What mallets should I choose?
Each gong comes with one free traditional Chinese mallet.
Gong mallets make a big difference in the sounds that you produce on your gong. Here is a quick lesson for you.
There are two different types of mallets. Mallets for striking or tapping your gong and friction mallets or flumies for rubbing across the surface of your gong.
There are two main variables to consider with gong mallets;SIZE and HARDNESS.
GONG MALLET SIZE: Small mallets played along the rim of your gong bring out the high notes, while large mallets played in the centre of your gong showcase the lower notes. Here's why this happens. High sounds have tiny fast sound waves. Low sounds have big slow sound waves. If you tap your gong with a big mallet, you are muting the smaller sound waves so that you hear mostly the lowest tones. If you tap with a small mallet, you are allowing the high sounds to sing to their fullest so you hear those nice high sounds along with some of the lower tones.
GONG MALLET HARDNESS: If you have a hard mallet, the time spent on the surface of the gong is shorter. The mallet will give a sharp bright attack, like a call to attention. If you have a soft mallet, more time will be spent on the gong and a more gentle muted sound will occur.
Friction mallets are also known as flumies. Imagine your gong is silent. You slowly and gently rub a Bear Love friction mallet from the top of your gong to the bottom. As the friction mallet moves slowly downward, the friction of the ball being rubbed across the surface of your gong causes tiny vibrations to travel from the ball to the outer rim of your gong and back. At first, you don't hear any sound. There are too few vibrations in the gong to create a sound. As you progress slowly down the gong, you begin to feel tiny vibrations in the gong. Still there is no sound, only the feeling of the gong vibrating. When the gong has been awakened, beautiful sounds begin to blossom. Smooth rich overtones start washing over each other.
There are two variables that determine the pitch and quality of the sounds created by your flumies; MATERIAL and SIZE.
MATERIAL OF THE FLUMIE / FRICTION GONG MALLET
Flumies are basically a rubber ball on a stick. When we got our first gong, we scoured the dollar stores and toy stores looking for the perfect rubber ball. We played with a variety of textures and sizes of balls as well as different stick sizes and had some fun making squeaky sounds and whale sounds on our gongs. The sounds were fun, but not smooth and balanced. Then as we became more experienced gong players we invested in friction mallets from different companies. Each company has their own secret recipe for the type of rubber or silicone that they use.
Our favourite brand of friction mallets are Bear Love Flumies. We feel these are the most luxurious friction mallets. I describe them as the most expensive chocolate you can buy, with smooth rich flavours that melt away. Expensive, but worth every penny. Staying with my chocolate analogy, there are less expensive flumies on the market just as there are less expensive chocolates. Less expensive chocolate, like the Easter Chocolate you get at the dollar store is great. It works when you need a quick fix, but it just doesn't compare to a smooth rich luxury chocolate. The less expensive flumies have their place. They are fun but they just don't have that smooth rich sound like Bear Love flumies.
SIZE OF THE FLUMIE / FRICTION GONG MALLET
The smaller the mallet, the higher your tones will be, similar to whale sounds. The bigger the flumie, the lower the tones, like a low deep rumbling of outer space. Tiny mallets work on all sizes of gongs, while larger mallets are used for larger gongs that support the deeper tones. The numbers of the Bear Love flumies represent the size of the ball in cm. For instance, #4 has a 4 cm ball.