Home Forums General Discussion Forum About round gongs…

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      I like the old clocks with wooden cases, some are so beautyful!
      But when the clock starts to strike the hours the poor sound of a coiled gong ends with all beauty because it sounds like the clock is hitting a frying pan…
      Example at youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNCmhMJXKmM

      Browsing trough youtube videos and also by own experience I see that it’s no matter about clock maker, some good and expensive clocks – Gustav Becker, Junghans, among others – also have poor sound, with some exceptions. I have in my collection a small ‘vienna’ Junghans that has a very pleasant sound.
      The curious is that the opposite happens with straight rod gongs: they almost always sound good.

      I already googled the net trying to find some information about gong making without success. THere MUST have some secret about coiled gongs because sometimes you find a clock with a coiled gong that sounds absolutely nice, like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN42xyWbD9I or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh4JaBL8eb4.
      And it is not about the case size, because I already saw a small table clock with such deep sound.

      SO, does anybody knows something about the coiled gong secret?

      -Purchasing gongs online…
      You never have any audio avaiable, only some pictures and the dimensions described. Then a seller says it has a ‘wonderful sound’ and you believe… And when the gong arrives you find that same ‘boing’ sound you don’t like.

      Maybe there is any way to visually identify a GOOD gong?

      Oh, yes, I am rebuilding a vienna clock and it’s only missing a good gong for it. :)


        Is it a wire “cuckoo clock” type gong or the heavy coiled metal type? If the latter types sound is “tinly” maybe the leather piece is missing from the hammer? Another thought perhaps the gong is not secure in the case so that the sound is not transmitted to the wood. The cuckoo type wire gongs have given me no end of trouble trying to get them to sound “nice”. I’ve noticed too that the strike hammer has to just strike the gong but not rest on it otherwise you get a dull “thunk” sound.

        Good luck!


          Hello, I’m brand new on this board but this topic caught my eye. I’ve been bothered by the sound of dull “thunky” sounding gongs too. In fact my favorite clock currently in my collection, an Ansonia “Triumph” sidemirror, has such a “thunky” sound that it just seems a shame because the rest of the clock is quite beautiful. I don’t know what the answer is except that I can tell you that there are MANY factors that determine the tone of a chime rod or coiled gong. Some are culled by direct observation as a lover of clocks and doing a bit of reading. But other factors I’m only aware of as a direct result of being a professional musician in a former life (a bass player). The differences between the tones I can get from my bass just from having different strings is enourmous. The type of metal is a huge factor – but chime rods vary in composition from pure copper to stainless steel. Another factor that influences the perceived tone of a give rod or gong is how it’s affixed to the clock’s case.

          Again, I really don’t have too much at this point to contribute. But one of my goals is to gain enough competence on my newly acquired watchmaker’s lathe to start experimenting with a couple of ideas I have to create a superior-sounding set of chime rods. And if I can make any inroads in that department, I’d like to see if I can discover the forumla for a nice-sounding coiled gong.

          PS…..one thing I can definitely tell you is that the chiming sounds that are generally perceived as being more pleasing to the ear have a audible quality called sustain. If a guitar string or electric bass string or chime rod is found to be rich in the fundamental frequency and produce 3dB or more of even-order harmonics than odd-order harmonics, and have the ability to remain ringing for a few seconds with not a lot of decay, then the sound is usually described by most people as being very pleasant.

          Bob Tascione

            Hey Doug,
            I know less than zip about clock gongs but if you can figure out a way to make a cuckoo clock gong sound good you’ll be a rich man!
            As Pkamargo mentioned above

            it sounds like the clock is hitting a frying pan…

            for cuckoos “cracked frying pan” would be closer.



              Doug, it is very interesting the musician approach you gave to the subject. I will wait you post something more as you study this. I am sure that two main points make the most of difference: the metal used for the coil and the wood used for the case. And I believe the wood takes great responsability on the ‘sustain’ quality you mentioned. Perhaps a luthier can provide more information about.

              Bob, talking about cuckoos is quite easy. Specially if you are talking about those little ones.
              -the gong is a thin wire and it is almost directly attached to the wooden back of case. There is not much ‘substace’ to make sound. I think the makers considered it way less important than the cuckoo sound, so made it carelessly.
              Here in Brazil there was a cuckoo clock factory that produced excellent clocks. The clocks were big, the gong wire was thicker and there was a solid iron base to attach the gong to case back. No way to compare with the small ones.
              Later I will come back to post pictures of my big “H” cuckoo and its gong.


                Here the pictures, just for curious. Clock size is 55cm tall and 46cm wide. 60+ years old, do not remember exactly the year.

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