Gongs Are Priceless

I train people all over the world how to play the gong. And by the end of first day of training, everyone wants to buy one.

And then everyone finds out how much a nice gong can cost. The reality is that for a higher quality European made gong (the kind most sound healers and yoga teachers play), an entry level gong ranges between $1,000 to $1,800 after you add the stand and some mallets.

Sticker shock!

But realize a good gong is a work of both craft and art. Almost every step of making a gong is done by hand, often one or two highly trained people hammering, scraping, tuning and polishing over a period of several days.

Each gong is an individual creation and not simply stamped out. No two gongs will look or sound exactly the same because they are not so much produced as they are created. Good gong making is an art and the best gong makers are few in number.

Due to its basic construction being a solid piece of metal, gongs have the advantage of wearing well over the years, rarely if ever needing to be re-tuned and have the potential of lasting for centuries.

You don’t own a gong. You only take care of it until you die, and then it passes on to future generations.

If you are fortunate enough to find a used gong, you may discover that if it is indeed of quality, you may pay almost as much for it as if it were new.  In some cases you may pay more.

I have been happy (well, not exceedingly happy) to pay more for a vintage gong from the last century than for a similar new one. Gongs age fantastically well, and like other fine instruments, can improve in sound quality.

One of my favorite gongs is a 32” Paiste Symphonic gong from 1976 that produces tones and layers of harmonics that I have never heard before in any size gong. I have a 20” vintage gong that sounds in its fullness like a 28” gong. My 20” Moon Sound Creation gong (yes they made one of those!) has a deeper pitch than a 36” gong – crazy!

So old gongs are great – if you can find them – and your gong, should you ever decide to sell it, can prove to be a good investment, or at least get your money back.

I recently discovered a 1968 ad for Paiste Gongs and started wondering if gong prices have been going through the roof when I looked at those prices from the Summer of Love.

How about a 32” Paiste Symphonic for $310 – and the mallet was included! And for the kids on your shopping list – buy a bunch of 20” Symphonics for only $50 a throw – hey it’s 1968!

So of course I went immediately to my custom-made time machine stashed in a hidden Rocky Mountain cavern, but before I set the controls to 50 years ago, I double checked those 1968 prices with current price lists.

That 32” Paiste Symphonic for $310 in 1968 dollars would today cost the equivalent of $2,254 after inflation! That’s $1 (1968) = $7.27 (2018).

The internet price for a 32” Symphonic today?  $1,360. Almost a $1,000 cheaper than buying the 1968 version back then.

Really nice gongs are cheaper today than they were 50 years ago!

While the small gongs (under 28”)  have stayed pretty much in line from 1968 to the present day in value (or slightly below), as gongs get larger the price difference (in favor of buying today’s gongs) leap frogs.

If you are planning to spend $18,000 for a 60” Symphonic (and I give you my envy), consider that its equivalent 1968 price (in current dollars) would have been $37,451 – more than double.

Check out the table below to compare the 50 year price differences. Also notice that in 1968, you could not buy the 80” version, nor was the 40” version available.

And as for the Planetary Gongs and Specialty Gongs, you would have come back 20 years later or so.

Do you really need another reason to buy a Gong? Well now you have one!







1968 Prices 2018   2018 SMP   2018 MMP

20’ $50 $363 $568 $482

22” $92 $669 $652 $554

24” $122 $887 $940 $798

26” $152 $1105 $1082 $920

28” $190 $1382 $1212 $1030

30” $244 $1774 $1440 $1224

32” $310 $2254 $1600 $1360

34” $473 $3440 $2160 $1836

36” $533 $3875 $2572 $2186

38” $658 $4785 $3240 $2754

50” $3,146 $22,878 $11,200 $9,520

60” $5,150 $37,451 $21,200 $18,020

SMP = Suggested Manufacture Prices (Full Retail)

MMP = Manufacturer Minimum Prices (Internet)