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Why you need a set of two mallets

Gong game with two mallets by Olli Hess

Just diving into the colorful world of gong playing? Or have you already gained your first playing experience and would like to develop further? Then now is the time to learn why you should own more than one mallet in the long run.

What trees and gong playing have in common

When Olli wants to make the sound image of a gong tangible for others, he likes to use the image of a tree:

The gong and the mallets are the roots of the tree and thus the stable base from which everything arises. So when you start working on your gong, it’s right here – in the root – that you start building up the sound.

With a large mallet, you create a clear or very deep sound on your gong that is so powerful and impressive that – like the strong trunk of a tree – it can hardly be hugged.

Once the trunk is upright, you begin to “open up” the branches: from the slightly thicker ones that start right at the trunk – to the fine ramifications that reach high into the sky.

Small mallets allow you to grow these fine branches. They produce light and bright tones and allow a whole range of sound variations in addition to the deep base tone.

Jamie Bechtold plays several gongs with gong mallets by Olli Hess
@Jamie Bechtold

Why you need two different gong mallets

As you may have noticed, it makes a huge difference whether you use a high-quality gong mallet or opt for a lower-quality model. A well-made mallet with carefully selected materials will not only allow you to create a finer sound – it will also prevent fatigue in your back or arms and ensure long-lasting enjoyment of your sound playing. Once you’ve found the perfect mallet for you and your instrument, that’s half the battle.

Beginners often start with only one mallet. This makes sense especially if you want to gain first experience and find out how to use the mallet correctly on a gong. Once that’s accomplished, you’ll very quickly find yourself wanting more. Especially if you own a gong that ranges in diameter from 20 inches to over 80 inches – you want more tonal variation, more flexibility, a different feel, or maybe a new look.

Olli Hess with two different gong mallets

That’s why you should have a set of at least two different mallets:

  • More tonal variety – from deep and coarse tones to light and airy and bright tones
  • More or even less rhythm, which you can control better with smaller mallets, for example.
  • More flexibility and overall more playing pleasure when “tackling” your gong
  • More variety for your hands through a different feel
  • More for the eye – simply through a new look or even an unusual design
  • More relaxation, because you can switch between light and heavy mallets

Especially to experience the complete sound variance on a gong, the use of another mallet with different specifications is indispensable. Because only if you use two very different mallets, you can get to know your gong and its diversity in its entirety.

Use a large mallet to create the low and rumbling notes on your gong. It allows you to hold the base. A small gong mallet allows you to bring out light and airy sounds as well. Mean and overtones enliven your sound play musically enormously. If you combine the two mallets with each other, the result is a wonderful, comprehensive sound.

Why even two of the same gong beater more fun

But it’s not always two different mallets that bring even more joy and variety to your sound practice. Also, playing with two of the same gong mallets can make a big difference in the playing experience. Many gong players find it particularly pleasant to hold two identical mallets in their hands. Not only does it feel more balanced, but it also looks very aesthetically pleasing when playing.

Kanti Freeman plays a gong with two mallets
@Kanti Freeman

Which gong mallets should I own as a beginner?

As a beginner, you can of course first try yourself out with a mallet. This way you can explore your instrument and learn in a very practical way what your gong playing is still missing. Are the high, clear tones or do you perhaps want more rhythm, then you can discover new sides of your gong for example with the ollihess professional gong Mallet move line edition. Do you fancy a novel playing experience with a super light mallet for large gongs, then the professional gong mallet lite 100 or lite 200 are good for a surprise.

Everything in the ollihess professional gong mallet set

You want all the possibilities right away and almost no limits to your game practice? Then we have the right thing for you: With the ollihess Profi Gong Mallet Set almost any sound is possible – from clear and very fine tones to deep and voluminous. The set consists of four mallets, which differs in length, head diameter and weight. We have developed the handle and head individually for each mallet and matched them perfectly. With each individual mallet you can create a very individual and distinctive sound.

No matter what you choose, as long as you keep moving, keep trying, and don’t put limits on your creativity, you’ll keep discovering your instrument.

Olli also has a fitting image for the conclusion: Let your gong roll down a long road – only mentally, of course. In the process, the gong is “worked” from all sides, there is no pause. That’s exactly how you should proceed when playing the gong: Always keep moving, work your gong over the entire surface and discover the different facets.

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