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bipid44
02-06-2011, 12:56 PM
I can't seem to find much on changing the sound of coil gong other than putting leather on the hammer that strikes the coil.

Can the sound be made richer and deeper? Without knowing the technical words to describe the sound, it doesn't sound "pure" but sounds a little fuzzy.

What would adding weight to the end of the coil do? And is there an easy way to do that?

Would tempering the metal do anything? And how would that be done in my kitchen?

The clock is an old Seth Adams mantel clock.

Thanks for any suggestions.

-Steve

Neeth
02-06-2011, 01:22 PM
I have tried to "soften" the gong sound. I don't know the terms for the sound either. I call it more of a "cymbal" type sound from a coil gong. I think everybody wants a sound like a big church bell, but to get that you need - a big church bell. You could try bending the hammer to hit the center flat area of the gong either a little bit closer or a little bit further away from the mount. I have tried leather on the hammer. That tends to soften the beginning note of the sound. You can also try felt. This will soften the beginning of the sound even more, but nothing I ever did changed that "cymbal" sound. The temper of the metal in the gong does affect the "purity" of the sound. A softer metal produces a "clunk" sound. There are people on this MB with more experience than I have and other advice will come along in a short time. I'll be watching the other answers, hoping to learn something new. Good luck in your quest for better sound from the gong.

Ken W

Bruce Barnes
02-06-2011, 01:25 PM
Hi Steve and welcome,start from the back board and move forward..........is the backboard secure, is their a split behind the gong base,gong base secure,screw holding coil tight, distance between the hammer head and coil correct?
I usuually take the coil off and use naval jelly, then 4x steel wool it til it is bright and shiny then run the above sequence sounds like lots of work but it usually gives a "little" better sound.
Bruce

harold bain
02-06-2011, 02:12 PM
Striking closer to the base, and with a proper gap at rest should get the optimum sound that the gong was designed for, if everything is tight. Leather tips are best on the hammer. Experiment with non-permanent changes til you get it to where you like it.

bipid44
02-06-2011, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the info everyone.

I've played around with the hammer, and am just now trying a little pad made from electrical tape. I checked the attachment of the coil but now I'll clean it.

I was looking at more fundamental changes in the gong itself. Trying to take off a fuzzy edge to the sound. I read that filing will change the pitch but I don't like doing something I can't undo. (I really like Ctl-Z)

In another thread someone wrote, "Everyone wants the sound of a big church bell, but to get that you need a big church bell."

shutterbug
02-06-2011, 03:24 PM
Gongs are like bells. A cheap one sounds cheap. Good ones are expensive, but sound expensive. You get what you pay for. Lots of the cheap clocks used cheap gongs. The pricier clocks have nice sounding deep gongs. If the sound board is tight and the gong is secured tightly to it, it probably is what it is. :)

Thyme
02-06-2011, 04:43 PM
Gongs are like bells. A cheap one sounds cheap. Good ones are expensive, but sound expensive. You get what you pay for. Lots of the cheap clocks used cheap gongs. The pricier clocks have nice sounding deep gongs. If the sound board is tight and the gong is secured tightly to it, it probably is what it is. :)
True, the sound of various gongs will vary simply from the design and material of the gong itself. Some are very loud, some are not, some have overtones that can be less pleasing in sound, etc. If the gong is original to the clock it usually best to leave it as is. But if the clock came to you with no gong you could get an assortment of old gongs (e.g. on eBay) and use whichever one sounds best to you.

You can vary the hardness or softness of the tone by changing the material of the hammer tip, but only to a certain extent. Usually leather is best and the leather should be relatively soft and pliable, not hard and dried out.

Willie X
02-06-2011, 08:28 PM
bipi,

Yes, first neck down the point where the gong attaches to the iron. Next, increase the isolation of the iron from the backboard; a few steel washers might be all that is necessary. Lastly, carefully and slowly trim the end of the gong to try and get rid of any ill sounding harmonics.

I wouldn't go very far with any of this unless the gong has been replaced already.

Willie X

gvasale
02-06-2011, 08:49 PM
find a Seth Thomas cathedral gong. In most American clocks, they're about the best. Rusted and abused gongs can sound like crap.

hikernick
02-07-2011, 08:10 AM
In my experience the thing that makes the most difference to gong sound is tightness of all the attachment points. Then the hammer should fall onto the gong, and immediately bounce back so the gong vibrates without any contact with the hammer. After that, it's down to the characteristics of the gong, and what materials it passes through to generate resonance.

John Prevatte
02-07-2011, 08:34 AM
Steve, yes it can be changed. I have spent many hours experimenting with gongs, chime rods and bells. Most old mantle clocks sound like someone threw a brickbat at a trash can.
First thing to do is work on the sound board(bottom of clock) It must be fastenten properly, 4 old rusty loose nails with split holes will NOT do. If its split, replace it with a Birch or furr panel 1/4 in. thick.(same wood used to make guitars) Fasten with 3 brass screws on each end and small nails on the sides if possible. Spray paint flat black. Next, work on the gong itself. clean and oil the sprial. It must be tight on sound board. Then the hammer, leather works best for a soft pleasant tone but the nylon tips from hermle chimes works well too. Drill and dig out the old hard leather, most of the time the hole looks threaded and you can screw in a new piece (Timesaves has the part) Trim off all but about 3/16. Sometimes it is nessasary to chew it in your mouth a min or two. After you get the leather piece in, pound it on the table a few times to flatten it out. Hammer needs to strike the gong at about 1/2 in. from where it is fastened to the post. I like the adjustable hammers with a screw to allow movement. Adjust lift to one hammer height (this controls volume) keep it low, and a square strike on the coil. Next thing to do is to set the pitch. I use a guitar tuner placed inside the clock. You are lookin for 440 vibrations on the tuner. I do this by nipping the end off the coil. They are hard but will cut with good pair of wire cutters. You are going to have to go down the pitch scale since you cannot lenthen the coil, and you must sneak up on it by cutting small pieces off and rechecking. When you reach it, its almost magical and will produce a rich mellow perfect pitch sound that you will hear for years to come and each time it strikes a rewarding sense of acomplishment. It aint easy and I did all this just for me but since you asked, here it is.
Good luck
John

John Prevatte
02-07-2011, 09:20 AM
Things i forgot to mention.
1. Gong must be tight in post
2. Hammer must contact gong on the rebound or after it stops and bends down on its on
3. Clocks with gongs need a heavy hammer
4. Tech. must have lots of patience
5. Sound board needs to be 3/8 thick.

Thyme
02-07-2011, 10:59 AM
Next thing to do is to set the pitch. I use a guitar tuner placed inside the clock. You are lookin for 440 vibrations on the tuner. I do this by nipping the end off the coil. They are hard but will cut with good pair of wire cutters. You are going to have to go down the pitch scale since you cannot lenthen the coil, and you must sneak up on it by cutting small pieces off and rechecking. When you reach it, its almost magical and will produce a rich mellow perfect pitch sound that you will hear for years to come and each time it strikes a rewarding sense of acomplishment. It aint easy and I did all this just for me but since you asked, here it is.
Good luck
John

This makes no sense at all. A gong can be of any pitch and it has nothing to do with the tonal quality of the sound produced. Not all gongs are tuned to a 440 cps "A". Why should they be? So what has your recommendation of using a tuner got to do with it? Nothing. Unless you want all your clocks to sound a perfect "A" - which is why you are cutting them down to achieve that peculiar goal. There is nothing magical about a 440 "A", or a 442 "A", or any other pitch. It doesn't matter what the pitch (or note) is that is produced because there is no other pitch or note for it to relate to. This is not a chime clock where the notes produced need to be in tune with other notes being sounded. It's not a problem considering that the clocks in this discussion have only one gong.

Dave B
02-07-2011, 11:08 AM
I do not strive for any specific pitch of the gong, but more for a clean, resonant sound. Sometimes, they seem particularly harsh or "clangy". I have found that can be improved (reduced) by damping them slightly by placing a piece of painter's tape on them. With some gongs, the tape wants to be at the very tip, on the inside coil, but on some others, it needs to be very close to where the hammer strikes. I have a thirty hour ogee with a cast iron bell, and solid lead hammer. I improved it by wrapping the hammer with a piece of leather.

Occasionally, I have tuned chiming clocks by the same method. A little tape judiciously placed, can change the pitch of a tubular chime, or a chime rod, to make it sound the proper interval from the others. Here again, though, I do not worry about specific pitch. I am only interested in having the relative pitches be correct.

John Prevatte
02-07-2011, 05:33 PM
Thyme, It does make sense. Look at it this way A guitar has 6 strings all tuned to a 440, yet you have 6 different notes. Clock gongs are all different from one make to the other and sound different. BUT, if you tune that perticilar gong to 440 it will produce its purest sound. The coils are not tuned in the factory as chime rods are but we can tune them using this method.

shutterbug
02-07-2011, 06:45 PM
Thyme, It does make sense. Look at it this way A guitar has 6 strings all tuned to a 440, yet you have 6 different notes. Clock gongs are all different from one make to the other and sound different. BUT, if you tune that perticilar gong to 440 it will produce its purest sound. The coils are not tuned in the factory as chime rods are but we can tune them using this method.
OK - I'm a guitarist and mine are not tuned that way - unless I'm missing what you mean by 440. Perhaps you could explain it a bit more?

Tinker Dwight
02-07-2011, 07:14 PM
Hi
I thought I'd add that where along the length one
strikes it has an effect on the harmonics at the
beginning. Usually, higher harmonics will die off
towards the end of the sound, leaving the fundamental
frequency. A change in 1/8 inch of where the hammer
strikes can make a difference in the sound.
For coil types, one does need to make sure that,
as has been mentioned, the hammer does not
stop too close to the coil wire or it will buzz and
sound bad. The coil must be mounted such that it
doesn't touch the case while vibrating.
Unlike a bell that has several different modes of
oscillation, the coils and tubes tend to have just
one fundamental frequency.
Tinker Dwight

Willie X
02-07-2011, 07:24 PM
Yep,

Doesn't matter what pitch, as long as you get a tone without any bad sounding harmonics. I think this is called harmonic distortion or blocking distortions. In plain talk, 'warbling' sounds.

Willie X

Thyme
02-07-2011, 11:38 PM
John replied: Thyme, It does make sense. Look at it this way A guitar has 6 strings all tuned to a 440, yet you have 6 different notes. Clock gongs are all different from one make to the other and sound different. BUT, if you tune that perticilar gong to 440 it will produce its purest sound. The coils are not tuned in the factory as chime rods are but we can tune them using this method.


OK - I'm a guitarist and mine are not tuned that way - unless I'm missing what you mean by 440. Perhaps you could explain it a bit more?

I don't know of anyone who would tune all six strings of a guitar to a 440 A, or why anyone would want to do that. :confused:

No, you wouldn't have "6 different notes" - you would have the same note sounded on six different strings. (Besides which, you might risk wrecking a guitar with that sort of inappropriate tension on all its strings.)

But what does this have to do with clock gongs? You seem to think that only a gong that has been altered to produce a 440 A will "produce its purest sound". So you are saying that a gong sounding anything other than 440 CPS is impure?

Is this recommendation you made for the surgical shortening of gongs based upon some weird rite of purification? :rolleyes:

Neeth
02-07-2011, 11:54 PM
Perhaps I misinterpreted the method of tuning to 440. In the past have I have attempted to play the banjo, and to use the 440 pitch you have to develop an ear and tune all the strings to different notes that harmonize with the 440 pitch. That was what I thought the reply advising the 440 pitch meant. I don't try to "tune" the gong to a piano, but I do try to get a pleasant sound. The comment about a rusty gong is a good point. A friend has an Ansonia with a rusty and pitted gong that the best note that can be gotten is a very flat "clunk".

Ken W

NECCnut
02-08-2011, 12:12 AM
I think mass has a lot to do with the perceived quality of the sound. Some of the cheaper gongs, even on antique clocks, have thin wire gong material but a heavy base. Better gongs have heavier metal coils and an even heavier weight, sometimes weight and the gong base. I believe all this contributes to the sound quality.

Thyme
02-08-2011, 12:29 AM
Perhaps I misinterpreted the method of tuning to 440. In the past have I have attempted to play the banjo, and to use the 440 pitch you have to develop an ear and tune all the strings to different notes that harmonize with the 440 pitch. That was what I thought the reply advising the 440 pitch meant. I don't try to "tune" the gong to a piano, but I do try to get a pleasant sound. The comment about a rusty gong is a good point. A friend has an Ansonia with a rusty and pitted gong that the best note that can be gotten is a very flat "clunk".

Ken W

Tuning a single pitch instrument such as a gong (that is not playing or sounded with any other instruments) to conform to a standard of pitch is totally irrelevant. It serves no purpose, whatsoever. It doesn't matter what the pitch is. Achieving a "pleasant sound" has nothing to do with pitch (frequency).

You mentioned harmony, and you are correct. Harmony (or dissonance) can only have relevance in the sounding of more than one note. As you mentioned (as with a banjo or a guitar) a musical instrument must be in tune with itself and the other notes it generates, hence the need for tuning it. An even more relevant example would be that of a piano, playing in a concert with an orchestra. In most cases an orchestra tunes to the oboe. The "A" the oboe sounds and that the orchestra tunes to is often NOT a 440 "A". (Modern orchestras often prefer and use a sharper "A", more like 442 CPS or more, because it supposedly gives a 'brighter' sound.) It's entirely a matter of preference, and it has nothing to do with "impurity".

When there is a piano involved however, the orchestra must tune to the piano - for the simple reason that all the other instruments can easily retune themselves, but the piano cannot. If the piano is tuned to a 440 A, that will be the standard observed. Not because it will sound any better than it would if it were 443 (or whatever) but simply because there needs to be a harmonic standard that everyone else will tune to.

If there were only ONE note being sounded by one sole sound generator and no other sound generator is involved (such as a clock gong), there would be no need for any standard or for doing any tuning. But neither would the sounding of one single note be considered music. And that is why a clock gong need not be tuned to any particular pitch or frequency.

John Prevatte
02-08-2011, 08:39 AM
I called my grandaughter last night to un-fuddle my memory and she reminded me that it was the A note or 1st A above middle c that was the closest one to my gong sound. Nipping the wire end brought it right to 440 Mz. and a cleaner tone was achieved.

Sorry about the confusion but IM old and senility is unfortunaly setting in.
I have learned a lot by reading all this.

john

shutterbug
02-08-2011, 08:59 AM
Ahhh. No problem :) One thing that should be mentioned in support of what has been said is that in some cases, the case itself will have a set frequency inherent to it's construction. Like a champagne glass. If you can find and match that frequency you're going to set off some nice harmonic sounds. This would be much more likely in a metal case with thin construction.

berntd
02-08-2011, 04:56 PM
Hello all,

After my Gustac Becker gong spiral experience (see thread), I can safely say that if the spiral in itself sounds bad, there is no real way to fix it.

I tried everything, short of rehardening the wire.

I have a feeling htat something happens to the wire over time. The steel was probably a poor qulity to begin with.

It had 2 spirals and both were the same.

They sounded the same, in the clock and on a piece of external board for testing.

Dunno.

Luckily, the owner was just soo happy that his clock finally had a movement and was working :D

Kind regards
Bernt

Jay Fortner
02-08-2011, 09:21 PM
Steve, I worked on a korean wall clock here a while back and it to had a strange fuzzy sound. Turned out to be a loose hinge pin in the door. When the clock strikes it resonates throughout the whole clock,anything that is loose will shake and rattle. The door glass on an Emporer Grandmother clock bout drove it's owner nuts till I put some dabs of hot glue over the glazing pins. Another trick that I have thought of but not done yet is to dip the end of the hammer in Plasti-Dip. You know,the stuff that you dip tool handles into.

Dave B
02-08-2011, 10:09 PM
I have an LF and WW Carter that sounds like a cross between the coming of the apocalypse and garbage men throwing lids around. :oOver the years, I have tried all sorts of tricks to change the timbre, with a rather notable lack of success. About five years ago, I finally said, "Enough of this nonsense; learn to live wit' it, Mon!" Now, I never even hear it, except when I forget to wind it and it does not go clangdebang in the night. THEN it wakes me up. :D

Thyme
02-08-2011, 10:33 PM
I have an LF and WW Carter that sounds like a cross between the coming of the apocalypse and garbage men throwing lids around. :oOver the years, I have tried all sorts of tricks to change the timbre, with a rather notable lack of success. About five years ago, I finally said, "Enough of this nonsense; learn to live wit' it, Mon!" Now, I never even hear it, except when I forget to wind it and it does not go clangdebang in the night. THEN it wakes me up. :D

Gongs and bells have this in common: their construction affects the overtones produced and the fundamental way they sound.

I've got one like the one you mentioned. It's a Smiths clock that my wife has on her dresser in our bedroom. It's a very small clock with a short drop and the gong is just very tangy sounding, with the overtones it produces lasting rather longish, several seconds after the strike. I've literally had nightmarish auditory hallucinations some nights when that gong sounds. (There are four other striking clocks in our bedroom: 1 bim-bam rod chimer, 1 strikes on a bell, another is a cathedral gong and another is a soft, single strike, chime rod type.)

But the only one that ever disturbs my dreams any is that nasty little &%**@## Smiths gong...:@

harold bain
02-08-2011, 11:32 PM
Thyme, I know I could never get away with any striking clocks in the bedroom. My wife complained that the tick from a 400 day clock on my dresser was too loud:rolleyes::o

NECCnut
02-09-2011, 12:02 AM
What? I can't even hear those unless I take the glass off and put my head right up to the clock.


Thyme, I know I could never get away with any striking clocks in the bedroom. My wife complained that the tick from a 400 day clock on my dresser was too loud:rolleyes::o

shutterbug
02-09-2011, 11:16 AM
What? I can't even hear those unless I take the glass off and put my head right up to the clock.
Harold must have married a much younger woman :D

harold bain
02-09-2011, 11:46 AM
Yep, 4 years younger:o. But much better hearing than I have (too many loud rock concerts:rolleyes:).

shutterbug
02-09-2011, 12:43 PM
Yep, 4 years younger:o. But much better hearing than I have (too many loud rock concerts:rolleyes:). Yeah, I 'hear' your pain. In my case, I was the guy standing in front of the speaker doing Jimi Hendrix feed back licks :D

Bill Ward
02-09-2011, 02:37 PM
Hmm, isn't Thyme a musician too? Anyway, he's right about tuning. The pitch would probably only be noticeable to someone with absolute perfect pitch, i.e. with the ability to identify exactly the pitch of a tone. (I used to know a musician who bought a special turntable which provided for adjustable pitch playing because it drove him crazy that the music on LP records frequently was slightly speeded up or slowed down to match the track timings with the available recording time per side.)
Anything rattling in the clock can be annoying; often, it's the fly.
All the mechanical connections from the gong to the case frame must be firm, or they'll rattle. Any rattle or resonance sucks energy at that frequency from the gong, making for a ragged sound.
The harder the hammer the more overtones it produces (the large area a soft hammer touches on the gong damps out some higher overtones.) Higher overtones are what makes the gong sound tinny. Leather can be softened with neatsfoot oil, available from cobblers (i.e. shoe repairmen, not incompetent horologists!) You might try a plug of felt. Plastic hammers are usually harder, but a plug of silicone rubber or sealant might be an improvement.
Where the hammer strikes, and at what angle (i.e. in the plane of the gong, or perpendicular to it), has a big effect on the harmonic complement.
Thinning the taper where the gong inserts into the base is one way to lower the pitch, but again, to what end? It's also a very good way to break off the base! Rust does have an unpleasant effect, but again, it's dangerous to clean it off mechanically. Perhaps this would be a good application for electrochemical rust removal- at least the metal wouldn't be lost, though it would be soft on the surface.

Thyme
02-09-2011, 05:46 PM
Hmm, isn't Thyme a musician too? Anyway, he's right about tuning. The pitch would probably only be noticeable to someone with absolute perfect pitch, i.e. with the ability to identify exactly the pitch of a tone. (I used to know a musician who bought a special turntable which provided for adjustable pitch playing because it drove him crazy that the music on LP records frequently was slightly speeded up or slowed down to match the track timings with the available recording time per side.)

Yes, I have two degrees in music and you are right about perfect pitch. Very few musicians have it, however, and accordingly I doubt that non-musicians have perfect pitch. (BTW, having perfect pitch does not necessarily make you a better musician than one who only has relative pitch.)


Rust does have an unpleasant effect, but again, it's dangerous to clean it off mechanically. Perhaps this would be a good application for electrochemical rust removal- at least the metal wouldn't be lost, though it would be soft on the surface.I wouldn't say it is dangerous to remove rust. Usually a rotary wire brush wheel mounted on a lathe does the job nicely. You do need to hold onto the part being cleaned firmly while in contact with the wire wheel however, so as not to have the part become an unintended projectile. :0:

shutterbug
02-09-2011, 05:56 PM
I've known a few people with perfect pitch. All of them could distinguish an A when they heard it, for example. But I never met one who could identify whether a note was perfectly exact. For instance, you couldn't rely on one of them for tuning your guitar without a reference point to hear. Still need a tuner :)

Bruce Barnes
02-09-2011, 07:06 PM
Clean rust?,just use naval jelly and steel wool one,twice even thrice and re attach !! You wont get it all as there is ALWAYS pitting but the end result is worth the little effort.
Bruce

chimeclockfan
02-09-2011, 07:47 PM
Make sure there aren't puny cracks in the gong. Sometimes, coil gongs tend to develop unseen cracks that mess up the tone.

Many striking coil gongs aren't tuned to an exact note, unlike chime bars. There are tuned coil gongs, but usually in Westminster chime clocks.

I must say, a larger rectangle wire coil gong (liked used in older longcase clocks) is going to sound better than a thin wire coil gong. Many of these USA clocks used a thin wire coil gong (sometimes a thicker one), and these tend to be random, it terms of sound. Some sound okay, others sound very dull.

Here's an example of one of the best sounding coil gong strikes I've heard. This uses twin coil gongs using thicker wires for the coils.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thN8-ArjmeQ

Thyme
02-09-2011, 10:27 PM
I've known a few people with perfect pitch. All of them could distinguish an A when they heard it, for example. But I never met one who could identify whether a note was perfectly exact. For instance, you couldn't rely on one of them for tuning your guitar without a reference point to hear. Still need a tuner :)

That's not perfect pitch; that's having a sense of "relative pitch". Relative pitch can be developed over years of practice, usually related to one particular note. For me, trained as a violinist, I could reproduce a 440 "A" at any time from my auditory memory- (in my performing years, even if you awoke me in the middle of the night I could automatically do this accurately), because all violinists tune to an "A" of 440 or so, and that's the first thing they must do to tune their instrument (quickly and with facility, I might add) before they begin playing anything. But for me to identify any other pitch in any other octave quickly, I needed to refer back mentally to that internal reference point first. This process is called "relative pitch" and most professional musicians develop it over time and through practice.

However, having a sense of absolute or "perfect pitch" is quite different, and very uncommon, even among professional musicians. Those rare few can name ANY note immediately upon hearing it, spontaneously, in any octave without thinking about it. I suspect it is peculiar to those precious few who have extensive pianistic training and are gifted and capable of doing this. However, this rare ability does have a downside. If any note is slightly off pitch from the regulated tuning standard, it bothers them tremendously.

For more on the topic, click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch).

harold bain
02-09-2011, 11:01 PM
One of the best sounding spirial gongs I have is about 1/8 inch thick. It's in a large Vienna regulator. I suspect the case has as much to do with the sound as the gong. It's not particularly loud, but to my ears, it's a nice clean resonating sound.

shutterbug
02-10-2011, 01:16 AM
However, having a sense of absolute or "perfect pitch" is quite different, and very uncommon, even among professional musicians. Those rare few can name ANY note immediately upon hearing it, spontaneously, in any octave without thinking about it. I suspect it is peculiar to those precious few who have extensive pianistic training and are gifted and capable of doing this. However, this rare ability does have a downside. If any note is slightly off pitch from the regulated tuning standard, it bothers them tremendously.

For more on the topic, click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch).
No, the ones I referred to could tell you any note you played. But still, couldn't tell if an 'E' was an exact E or just close.

NECCnut
02-10-2011, 03:41 AM
That's what I was saying earlier--the thin wire gongs sounds "tinny" and the thicker wire gongs sounds deeper and fuller--it's all a question of mass. The greater the mass, the deeper, and potentially better, the tone.


Make sure there aren't puny cracks in the gong. Sometimes, coil gongs tend to develop unseen cracks that mess up the tone.

Many striking coil gongs aren't tuned to an exact note, unlike chime bars. There are tuned coil gongs, but usually in Westminster chime clocks.

I must say, a larger rectangle wire coil gong (liked used in older longcase clocks) is going to sound better than a thin wire coil gong. Many of these USA clocks used a thin wire coil gong (sometimes a thicker one), and these tend to be random, it terms of sound. Some sound okay, others sound very dull.

Here's an example of one of the best sounding coil gong strikes I've heard. This uses twin coil gongs using thicker wires for the coils.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thN8-ArjmeQ

bangster
02-10-2011, 04:25 AM
Talking about removing rust, nobody has mentioned electrolysis. Simple, effective, and absolutely non-destructive. There's a whole slug of threads on the topic, from a year or so back.

bangster

Dave B
02-10-2011, 04:58 AM
No, the ones I referred to could tell you any note you played. But still, couldn't tell if an 'E' was an exact E or just close.
The only person whom I ever met who had perfect pitch COULD tell if a given note was exact, sharp or flat, and by how much.

Thyme
02-10-2011, 11:20 AM
No, the ones I referred to could tell you any note you played. But still, couldn't tell if an 'E' was an exact E or just close.
The only person whom I ever met who had perfect pitch COULD tell if a given note was exact, sharp or flat, and by how much.

That illustrates the difference. Those of us with relative pitch can do what you described.

When testing for absolute pitch the person who has it is never wrong in identifying the note, no matter what octave it is in.

chimeclockfan
02-10-2011, 03:05 PM
That's what I was saying earlier--the thin wire gongs sounds "tinny" and the thicker wire gongs sounds deeper and fuller--it's all a question of mass. The greater the mass, the deeper, and potentially better, the tone.

I also remember a coil going mounted on a larger block (like the Kaiser gong) will sound better than one that's directly mounted to the case (like a cuckoo clock gong). Better resonance, too. It is good to ensure the gong block is screwed tightly to the case as well.

On the subject of musical pitch, non tuned coil gongs never produce one particular musical tone. The tuned ones do. Compare these two clocks.

Westminster on tuned coil gongs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbpwzKG3OQk)

Hour strike on non tuned coil gong (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh4JaBL8eb4)

These American clocks were never built with coil gongs like these in general. IMHO, these T/S American clocks never sound alike. Some have very loud high pitched gongs, others sound more akin to beating a frying pan against a pillow.

It's probably all been pointed out already, but it's worth pointing out again, since some others don't seem to get it.

shutterbug
02-10-2011, 03:21 PM
On the subject of musical pitch, non tuned coil gongs never produce one particular musical tone. The tuned ones do.
Well, depending on how you mean that. :)

All gongs produce a note (tone). The tuned ones are tuned together so that they can produce harmonious sounds, but even then there is great variance between clocks (different keys, for instance).

chimeclockfan
02-10-2011, 03:44 PM
What I say is what I mean. While I see that all gongs do produce a note or some sort... the tuned (Westminster, et al) coil gongs have a much more dominant musical pitch to my musical ears, than the non tuned coil gongs.

The non tuned coiled 'wire' gong has many random harmonic tones so it becomes more difficult to decide which is the 'main' pitch. On the flat wire Westminster gongs, you can clearly hear what note is being played (E D C G).

Regardless, most striking clocks don't have the coil gong tuned to a particular note, unlike the tuned Westminster sets. I have seen a video of a New Haven clock with Westminster on the same gongs used in the T/S clocks in the past... very unharmonious compared to the W&H I linked above.

Thyme
02-10-2011, 09:49 PM
What I say is what I mean. While I see that all gongs do produce a note or some sort... the tuned (Westminster, et al) coil gongs have a much more dominant musical pitch to my musical ears, than the non tuned coil gongs.

The non tuned coiled 'wire' gong has many random harmonic tones so it becomes more difficult to decide which is the 'main' pitch. On the flat wire Westminster gongs, you can clearly hear what note is being played (E D C G).

Regardless, most striking clocks don't have the coil gong tuned to a particular note, unlike the tuned Westminster sets. I have seen a video of a New Haven clock with Westminster on the same gongs used in the T/S clocks in the past... very unharmonious compared to the W&H I linked above.


Waaait a minute. :smile:
Westminster clocks have chime rods, not gongs.

Am I missing something here? Or are chime rods being confused with coil gongs? :confused:


"On the flat wire Westminster gongs...No. Chime rods are not gongs. They are neither flat, not are they wire. Chime rods are usually used to sound more than one note (except for those few clocks that have only ONE chime rod, as some actually DO). The sounding of more than one tone is part of the definition of what music is. Simply put, by most definitions, sounding one note (or tone) alone, by itself, is not considered music. And even if you did consider it "music", tuning would not matter at all- because there would be no other pitch for it to be related to (or compared to).

Rods need to be tuned relative to each other, for the tune they produce is musical. One note (or pitch or tone - call it whatever you wish) need not be in tune with anything at all, because it is free standing. But once there are two notes involved it requires that they be tuned, due to the way they relate to each other. Then tuning matters, a LOT! Harmony cannot exist or be possible if there is only one note present.

Gongs and chime rods are not the same. Please don't confuse them.


The non tuned coiled 'wire' gong has many random harmonic tones so it becomes more difficult to decide which is the 'main' pitch. On the flat wire Westminster gongs, you can clearly hear what note is being played (E D C G).You are mostly correct here, but you are expecting the two to be the same and they aren't. On a gong, as with a bell, there is still always a fundamental tone produced, plus many overtones. Whether they sound pleasant to the ear or not depends upon the construction of the bell or the gong. Chime rods are more refined as sound generators than gongs are. Thus you have a harder time hearing the fundamental tone of a gong than you do with a chime rod. Crappy gong (or bell) = crappy sound. This has nothing to do with tuning. You are correct in your realization that a gong is a more crude sound generator than a chime rod. But comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. :rolleyes:

harold bain
02-10-2011, 10:08 PM
Thyme, Westminster chime on coiled gongs, in a New Haven chime clock with Willcock chimes:
http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=70274&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1282782188 (http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=70274&d=1282782188)
Not uncommon, and often in a very good quality clock, such as Elliott.
This one has a very good sound for what is basically a black enamel wooden case.

Thyme
02-10-2011, 10:21 PM
Thyme, Westminster chime on coiled gongs, in a New Haven chime clock with Willcock chimes:
http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=70274&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1282782188 (http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=70274&d=1282782188)
Not uncommon, and often in a very good quality clock, such as Elliott.
This one has a very good sound for what is basically a black enamel wooden case.
Okay. (The exception proves the rule.) Probably in terms of technological superiority these gongs predate most Westminster chime clocks that use rods. Rods will give you better sound and more "bang for your buck".

Now look at the construction of the gongs. Heavy flat material, not a simple wire construction. Of course they will sound better than the average simple, commonplace gong. It proves my point.

Most wire gongs used on common manufactured clocks were in production for decades before 1900. Don't expect them to sound as good as those that were designed decades later after 1900 (and on pricier model clocks such as the one shown). ;)

harold bain
02-10-2011, 10:42 PM
Thyme, yes, the spiral gong predates just about everything else when it comes to Westminster and other chimes (except nested bells). The next development was the tubular chime, which pretty much ended the spiral gong in chiming tall clocks. Seth Thomas used nested bells in their Sonoras originally, but to cut costs, later went to tuned chime rods.

Thyme
02-10-2011, 10:58 PM
Thyme, yes, the spiral gong predates just about everything else when it comes to Westminster and other chimes (except nested bells). The next development was the tubular chime, which pretty much ended the spiral gong in chiming tall clocks. Seth Thomas used nested bells in their Sonoras originally, but to cut costs, later went to tuned chime rods.

That's it in a nutshell. I'd guess there were relatively few of these broad spiral gongs made compared to the millions of standard thin wire gongs on most old clocks (as is probably those under consideration in this thread). I have one of these flat gongs on one of my clocks and the tonal quality is deep and rich - vastly superior to all the other typical pre-1900 wire gongs.

Why do some bells sound terrible and some sound wonderful? It depends on how well they were made. Can you tune a bell? ('Tain't easy.) Maybe the only thing that's harder to do is trying to tuna fish. :/:

<groan> (Sorry- that's a fractured fragment of a musician's joke.) :razz:

harold bain
02-10-2011, 11:28 PM
Thyme, Seth Thomas called their spiral gongs "Bell Metal Gongs" in many of their 1920's clocks. Also called them "Cathedral Bell" in earlier (late 1800's and early 1900's) clocks. These are much better quality than your typical OG spiral gong piece of wire.
The material used to construct them would be at least a large consideration in the better sound to these gongs, as well as the flattened shape and extra thickness.
Note that modern cuckoos still use a thin piece of wire, much like early OG's.

chimeclockfan
02-11-2011, 12:39 AM
No. Chime rods are not gongs. They are neither flat, not are they wire.

Ironically, many sources have called them 'rod gongs' in the past. :rolleyes:


Okay. (The exception proves the rule.)

I had posted a link to a W&H gong chime clock earlier that you seemingly ignored.

It would've been nice if you took a look at the links in my earlier post instead of jumping to conclusions.
The Westminster coil gong chimer by W&H uses coil gongs with thicker flat steel wire, similar (but not even close to identical) as the New Haven clock Harold posted.

By the end of the day, the OP is simply asking about how to achieve a better sound out of what seems to be a dud gong.
If nothing that's been advised works, there is no help for it that doesn't involve replacing the gong.

I agree with Harold about the Seth Thomas 'Bell Metal Gongs'.

Regardless, here is a 'bell metal gong'. Please click on the link, as the videos won't magically appear in the post today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz-o-nuTPyY

Attached is the W&H clock.

Mike Phelan
02-11-2011, 04:19 AM
Waaait a minute. :smile:
Westminster clocks have chime rods, not gongs.


Rods, gongs, bells and tubes are all used on Westminsters.

As for the pitch thing, it's beyond my comfort zone, but I know that some instruments do give more fundamental than harmonics and others produce tones not related to the fundamental, like those with reeds.

Closed organ pipes as on cuckoo clocks give mainly odd harmonics, like a clarinet or gedackt organ stop, plus a certain amount of wind noise.

soaringjoy
02-11-2011, 07:49 AM
As they used to say in the past: "The gong sells the clock".
There was an article on that in the Bulletin, some years ago.

So, a gong isn't a gong, isn't a gong.
At least in German there is a wide variety of terms that can
be used - and technically, every word indicates something else
and folks often get confused there.

The makers of the higher priced clocks spent a lot of energy and
wits on these things, especially on high quality coil gongs.
Of course, they were harder and more expensive to make, compared
to the rods.

Talking about a superior coil gong, there were many components,
coming together, not only in making and pitching the specially
tempered steel coil itself, or the mount, but also in the case making.
Through trial and error, they found out, that the backboard wood
would reflect on the sound - pine wood was the first choice.
The space and shape of the resonance body also mattered, as in
a violine.
The best coil gongs were flat ended near the mount, with the rest
of the coil round.
Whoever hears a well adjusted double coil gong, pitched to matching
notes, will be fascinated, even if it's only a "striker".

Very few makers, as for instance Furtwängler (LFS), even tried out
different gongs in different cases, untill they had a "perfect" match
and sound...;
inside the factory, they were proud to name their products
"resonancial springs" instead of mere "gongs".
This procedure was layed out in an essay about a visit to the LFS
factory in detail and is almost a whole chapter in Gerd Bender's book
"Die Uhrmacher des Hohen Schwarzwaldes und ihre Werke, Vol. II".

So, to end this up, what I wanted to say is:

To a vast degree, the sound you can really get depends on what
you've got.
A cheaper mantel clock will never sound as good as a high quality
bracket clock, no matter what you do. IMHO.

Jurgen

bangster
02-11-2011, 08:10 AM
I once made a coiled gong out of wire from a coat hanger. It was butt-ugly, but had a pleasant tone.

Don't remember now what I did with it. Probly threw it away. What else would you do with a coat-hanger gong?:Party:

bangster

Dave B
02-11-2011, 03:29 PM
Probly threw it away. What else would you do with a coat-hanger gong?:Party:

bangster


Going, going, gong. :)

Thyme
02-11-2011, 05:57 PM
Ironically, many sources have called them 'rod gongs' in the past. :rolleyes:



I had posted a link to a W&H gong chime clock earlier that you seemingly ignored.

Sorry, but my computer server has been too slow lately to load youtube videos.


It would've been nice if you took a look at the links in my earlier post instead of jumping to conclusions.Granted, but Harold posted a photo and that was all that was needed for me to understand the design. My follow up replies acknowledged the nature of these gongs, which are far superior to the common pre-1900 American gongs.


By the end of the day, the OP is simply asking about how to achieve a better sound out of what seems to be a dud gong.
If nothing that's been advised works, there is no help for it that doesn't involve replacing the gong.We certainly agree on that. If you read my other posts I've been saying that all along. Essentially "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." :smile:

It would be nice to see a photo of the OP's gong. I would expect it is nothing like the high quality gongs presently illustrated, which are in a class of their own.

Ken M
02-11-2011, 06:18 PM
My 1930's Seth Thomas has a nice sound, but I wish I could turn the volume down so the neighbors don't complain. I was thinking about replacing the hammer with a little ball of twine or something.

shutterbug
02-11-2011, 06:31 PM
My 1930's Seth Thomas has a nice sound, but I wish I could turn the volume down so the neighbors don't complain. I was thinking about replacing the hammer with a little ball of twine or something.
Your Seth probably has a leather tip that is worn off. You can drill it out and buy some material for it, or fashion one out of leather boot laces. You may have to burn it to harden it a bit, but try it soft first to see how it sounds.

Ken M
02-11-2011, 06:36 PM
Actually, the leather tip is in pretty good shape. And, if you heard it, you would say that it's not loud. But when I'm sitting in my Florida room (clocks location), at 11 at night, and the neighborhood is still and quiet (old people neighborhood), that thing sounds like a train crossing!

shutterbug
02-11-2011, 10:44 PM
Actually, the leather tip is in pretty good shape. And, if you heard it, you would say that it's not loud. But when I'm sitting in my Florida room (clocks location), at 11 at night, and the neighborhood is still and quiet (old people neighborhood), that thing sounds like a train crossing!
As long as they're old people, you have no worries. If they can hear it at all, it brings back old memories of better times :)

Dave B
02-11-2011, 10:49 PM
I had one client who had a Seth Thomas Mantle on which he had placed a band aid around the hammer, with the padded portion striking the gong. He requested that I either leave it on, or replace it with a new one, because he liked the reduced volume. Because I was doing a movement overhaul, and didn't want to do a partial job, I put a new one on, after replacing the worn hammer leather. Without my hearing aids, I could not hear the gong at all, unless I was standing right next to it. So, if you want to quiet it down a little, Ken, you might try that.

Thyme
02-11-2011, 11:22 PM
Originally Posted by Ken M http://mb.nawcc.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?p=530899#post530899)
My 1930's Seth Thomas has a nice sound, but I wish I could turn the volume down so the neighbors don't complain. I was thinking about replacing the hammer with a little ball of twine or something.
Actually, the leather tip is in pretty good shape. And, if you heard it, you would say that it's not loud. But when I'm sitting in my Florida room (clocks location), at 11 at night, and the neighborhood is still and quiet (old people neighborhood), that thing sounds like a train crossing!

The situation you are describing sounds like another good reason why I would never consider moving to Florida. :rolleyes:

BTW, are these neighbors of yours actually complaining, or are you just worrying that someday they might complain?
-> posts merged by system <-

As long as they're old people, you have no worries. If they can hear it at all, it brings back old memories of better times :)
Maybe their hearing aids are cranked up to the highest setting so they can even hear the mosquitoes. Maybe that's why every little sound might be bothersome. :confused: Not all oldsters are pleasant to be around. :@

Thyme
02-12-2011, 12:02 AM
I had one client who had a Seth Thomas Mantle on which he had placed a band aid around the hammer, with the padded portion striking the gong. He requested that I either leave it on, or replace it with a new one, because he liked the reduced volume. Because I was doing a movement overhaul, and didn't want to do a partial job, I put a new one on, after replacing the worn hammer leather. Without my hearing aids, I could not hear the gong at all, unless I was standing right next to it. So, if you want to quiet it down a little, Ken, you might try that.

After mulling this problem over for a while I thought of two very different solutions that can be utilized.

Old person's solution: Put a bandage on it.

Young person's solution: Put a condom on it.

(Add more of either or both, until the auditory arousal is quelled to the desired degree.) :D

Ken M
02-12-2011, 08:43 AM
The situation you are describing sounds like another good reason why I would never consider moving to Florida. :rolleyes:

At least I'm not digging out of two feet of snow!

BTW, are these neighbors of yours actually complaining, or are you just worrying that someday they might complain?
-> posts merged by system <-

After all my complaining about other people. someone is bound to retaliate! But for now, I'm the only one complaining!

Maybe their hearing aids are cranked up to the highest setting so they can even hear the mosquitoes. Maybe that's why every little sound might be bothersome. :confused: Not all oldsters are pleasant to be around. :@

I'm a semi-oldster that isn't very pleasant to be around.


I had one client who had a Seth Thomas Mantle on which he had placed a band aid around the hammer, with the padded portion striking the gong. He requested that I either leave it on, or replace it with a new one, because he liked the reduced volume. Because I was doing a movement overhaul, and didn't want to do a partial job, I put a new one on, after replacing the worn hammer leather. Without my hearing aids, I could not hear the gong at all, unless I was standing right next to it. So, if you want to quiet it down a little, Ken, you might try that.

I'll try the band-aid trick, of something similar. Thanks!
-> posts merged by system <-
Ok, I give up. How do you people do that quote thing? Mine are all bungled up no matter how I do it!

shutterbug
02-12-2011, 10:15 AM
Ok, I give up. How do you people do that quote thing? Mine are all bungled up no matter how I do it!

On the bottom of each post is a tag "quote". Press that, and the original message will come up. You'll notice tags enclosed in brackets which indicate the beginning and end of the quote. You can delete anything between those tags, leaving what you want to quote. Then add your comments AFTER the end quote tag. You can also type the tags in yourself exactly as you see them and accomplish the same thing.

Thyme
02-12-2011, 01:21 PM
Originally Posted by Thyme http://mb.nawcc.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?p=531000#post531000)
The situation you are describing sounds like another good reason why I would never consider moving to Florida. :rolleyes:


reply:
At least I'm not digging out of two feet of snow!

I'm prepared and equipped for snow removal. I'm not prepared for year round high humidity and heat, bugs, reptiles, palm trees and all the idiots (that used to live here in NY) who are now living in Florida. :D

soaringjoy
02-12-2011, 01:46 PM
Ken,

if the hammer is leather tipped, you can
rough it up a little bit with an emery board.
That will soften the sound.

Thyme,

they have killer mosquitos down there, big as pigeons.:rolleyes:

Jurgen

Ken M
02-12-2011, 03:26 PM
I'm prepared and equipped for snow removal. I'm not prepared for year round high humidity and heat, bugs, reptiles, palm trees and all the idiots (that used to live here in NY) who are now living in Florida. :D

Heat, bugs, and large number of idiots, are a problem. But my ex-wife in Colorado got all my winter gear! Guess I'm stuck.


Ken,

if the hammer is leather tipped, you can
rough it up a little bit with an emery board.
That will soften the sound.

Thyme,

they have killer mosquitos down there, big as pigeons.:rolleyes:

Jurgen

As it turns out, the leather tip was seriously dried out. So I scraped it off, cut a little dot out of my leather slippers, made a couple other little adjustments, and I have the sound, and I think the volume, I'm looking for. But, it sounds a whole lot louder at 11PM, than it does at 3PM. I'll let ya know!

gvasale
02-12-2011, 03:46 PM
Actually, that's no joke about sounding louder at 11pm than 3pm. The ambient noise usually decreases, and the density of the air changes, getting thicker. This means sound travels more easily and over greater distances. Wintertime with very cold air will make sounds farther away seem out of place when compared with hot air in the summer.

bipid44
02-24-2011, 03:46 AM
This makes no sense at all. A gong can be of any pitch and it has nothing to do with the tonal quality of the sound produced. Not all gongs are tuned to a 440 cps "A". Why should they be? So what has your recommendation of using a tuner got to do with it? Nothing. Unless you want all your clocks to sound a perfect "A" - which is why you are cutting them down to achieve that peculiar goal. There is nothing magical about a 440 "A", or a 442 "A", or any other pitch. It doesn't matter what the pitch (or note) is that is produced because there is no other pitch or note for it to relate to. This is not a chime clock where the notes produced need to be in tune with other notes being sounded. It's not a problem considering that the clocks in this discussion have only one gong.

I see it possible that the frequency might make a big difference depending on the natural resonance of the clock case. I suspect that not all cases resonate at 440 cycles. Maybe each clock needs a different frequency depending on the size and material of the case? Just like concert halls are designed for the acoustics of orchestras, the clock case can't be changed but the pitch of the gong can be adjusted for the best sound.

Thyme
02-24-2011, 12:26 PM
I see it possible that the frequency might make a big difference depending on the natural resonance of the clock case. I suspect that not all cases resonate at 440 cycles. Maybe each clock needs a different frequency depending on the size and material of the case? Just like concert halls are designed for the acoustics of orchestras, the clock case can't be changed but the pitch of the gong can be adjusted for the best sound.

Nonsense. Case in point: a violin (or any stringed instrument) plays notes of an extremely wide range of pitches. If the instrument sounds lousy it is due to the construction of it (in effect, the point you are making, i.e. the nature of the case itself). Altering the frequency produced won't make it sound any better. And a change made to the pitch of the one note it produces will do nothing to improve the soundboard.

If anything, you might be better off in improving the case or at least making sure nothing is deficient (loose, rotted, etc. - a valid point that others have made in this thread). But hey, it's not a Stradivarius - it's only a clock case. :bigsmile:

Dave B
02-25-2011, 10:49 AM
Resonant frequency of any clock case is more likely to be either sub or super sonic than almost anywhere within the normal range of human hearing. Certainly nowhere near 440 Hz. Think about the old trick of plucking a ruler held on the edge of a desk. That ruler/desk combination is far more resonant than any clock case I have ever encountered.

bipid44
03-08-2011, 10:12 PM
Nonsense. Case in point: a violin (or any stringed
instrument) plays notes of an extremely wide range of pitches. If the
instrument sounds lousy it is due to the construction of it (in effect, the
point you are making, i.e. the nature of the case itself). Altering the
frequency produced won't make it sound any better. And a change made
to the pitch of the one note it produces will do nothing to improve the soundboard.

:bigsmile:

Can't agree with you. Small violins play high notes. If an instrument needs
to play low notes, the case is larger. The viola plays lower notes and the
case needs to be larger than the violin.

And the effect is not limited to stringed instruments. Same with horns.
Tuba is bigger to allow resonance with lower notes. It's the size of the
case that determines what frequencies are resonant and therefore heard
better. Just as some rooms are designed with better acoustics (one of the
rooms at Dumbarton Oaks).

Musical instruments have multiple harmonics and require a shape, size, and
material to enhance that sound. The better sound of the Stradivarius is
the result of all the factors working together. A Stradivarius could not be
made with any type of wood and another violin maker using the same wood
could not turn out a different shaped violin that sounds like a Stradivarius.

To prove this, take a guitar and block off part of the inside sound chamber.
Tonal sound and volume will change.

Yes, the experiment with the ruler and the desk is correct. But put the
ruler on the correct size and material desk and it's much, much louder. For
the same reason that a guitar sounds louder than the plucked ruler on the desk.

Thyme
03-08-2011, 11:01 PM
Can't agree with you. Small violins play high notes. If an instrument needs
to play low notes, the case is larger. The viola plays lower notes and the
case needs to be larger than the violin.

And the effect is not limited to stringed instruments. Same with horns.
Tuba is bigger to allow resonance with lower notes. It's the size of the
case that determines what frequencies are resonant and therefore heard
better. Just as some rooms are designed with better acoustics (one of the
rooms at Dumbarton Oaks).

Musical instruments have multiple harmonics and require a shape, size, and
material to enhance that sound. The better sound of the Stradivarius is
the result of all the factors working together. A Stradivarius could not be
made with any type of wood and another violin maker using the same wood
could not turn out a different shaped violin that sounds like a Stradivarius.

To prove this, take a guitar and block off part of the inside sound chamber.
Tonal sound and volume will change.

Yes, the experiment with the ruler and the desk is correct. But put the
ruler on the correct size and material desk and it's much, much louder. For
the same reason that a guitar sounds louder than the plucked ruler on the desk.

So what is your point?

Musical instruments are designed to accommodate a vast range of frequencies and must be designed to do so and sound good across that range of pitches played upon them.

How many different frequencies need a clock case accomodate when there is only one coil gong involved? (The nature of a single gong is the topic of this thread.)

Consider this: if your average clock movement and gong are installed in a small wood case and an identical set of the same components is installed in a much larger case (as is frequently found) will the gong sound much different?

Following your logic, does this mean that larger clock cases have (or need) much larger, huge gongs compared to small cases? :rolleyes:

Apparently they don't. Why not?

And what about cermamic, glass, metal and china clock cases? Unlike wooden stringed instruments, how should we attempt to adjust their cases to satisfy your theory?

bipid44
03-09-2011, 01:27 AM
So what is your point?



I guess you MISSED the point.

That the case enclosing any sound has an effect on the sound.
It's not that complicated.

Designing and working out the formulas and measurements can be
complicated. The concept isn't. That's why there are different
acoustical designs for musical instruments, concert halls,
auditoriums, recording studios, theaters, restaurants, and even
homes. The sound of a clock, like anything else is effected by
the case.

Thyme
03-09-2011, 12:23 PM
I guess you MISSED the point.

That the case enclosing any sound has an effect on the sound.
It's not that complicated.

Designing and working out the formulas and measurements can be
complicated. The concept isn't. That's why there are different
acoustical designs for musical instruments, concert halls,
auditoriums, recording studios, theaters, restaurants, and even
homes. The sound of a clock, like anything else is effected by
the case.

You didn't address any of my questions, and there is a reason why.

The important point is that if a clock case had any effect on the sound of the gong it would be one of timbre, not frequency. The frequency (and even the timbre) is created by the gong itself. It is simply bolted to a piece of wood, metal, china (or whatever), which acts as a soundboard. Any effect from the case would be negligible at best.

Your comparisons to concert halls and even to violins is useless. Citing the size of the case is also pointless, as no clock case is designed as a musical instrument is. No one is going to bother with "formulas and measurements" for a clock case. The manufacturer certainly didn't when the clock was produced.

It's not a Stradivarius - it's only a clock case.

No, I didn't miss your point. Unfortunately it is irrelevant.

bipid44
03-09-2011, 02:12 PM
Your comparisons to concert halls and even to violins is useless. Citing the size of the case is also pointless,..

No, I didn't miss your point. Unfortunately it is irrelevant.

OK. You win. You're right about everything.

You're the verbal (written) bully here. Make your points without facts but
by attacking and writing that several other people's posts "make no sense",
"useless", "pointless", and "senseless".

I happened to agree with the post by John Prevatte http://mb.nawcc.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?p=529565#post529565) that you called
nonsense and was offering support of his position. Guess you brook no
other opinions since you have all the facts.

Bye. I'm out of here since I'm not interested in your aggressive writing that is accompanied by errors and misunderstanding.

(But I expect you will want the last word)

Thyme
03-09-2011, 04:24 PM
OK. You win. You're right about everything.

Thank you. After acquiring two degrees in music I do have knowledge about the subject.


You're the verbal (written) bully here. Make your points without facts but
by attacking and writing that several other people's posts "make no sense",
"useless", "pointless", and "senseless".

When some people take offense at criticism (are too easily offended) and their opinions are challenged (i.e. shown to be lacking in knowledge or making sense, or irrelevant) they label this as "bullying". They see disagreement as a personal attack. This is what comes from taking things personally. Recently "bullying" has been redefined as a subjective experience, a rationalization to condemn anything or anyone the supposedly bullied person deems offensive.


I happened to agree with the post by John Prevatte http://mb.nawcc.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?p=529565#post529565) that you called
nonsense and was offering support of his position. Guess you brook no
other opinions since you have all the facts.

Bye. I'm out of here since I'm not interested in your aggressive writing that is accompanied by errors and misunderstanding.

(But I expect you will want the last word)

Why not? You avoided the questions I raised in response to your theories and irrelevant observations that were part of the discussion. Now, instead of defending your position you are avoiding the discussion altogether.

"Q-tip" (Q.T.I.P.): Quit taking it personally.

oldclocklover
01-19-2012, 07:51 AM
Hi all
I'm new to this site and relatively new to clocks, although I've loved them since a child. "I'm now in my sixties and retired". About 4 years ago I found an old Garrard Clock at my late m,other-in- laws home, clearing out her posessions and eventually got it going once I sorted out the broken suspension spring. I have more background in woodwork and built a mahogany case built on photos found of a 1795 Georgian original found on the internet. To get to the point, that gong sounds excellent, a good tone. I recently bought a Smiths Enfield Circa 1950 on E Bay with the intention of learning how to take it apart for cleaning and rebuilding, making any repairs necessary, having previously purchased a book on the subject. After removing the clock from its case and setting it up on the bench, I put the pendulum in beat and found the clock worked perfectly without having to make any other adjustments. It also looked very clean for its age. I therefore decided on a little oiling and rebuilt it into its case after some refurbishment and a new dial.

I now find that the sound from the gong is in plain words awful! not a "bong" more of a "CLANG" which is annoying the wife, and sound like it was owned by the Adams family. I've tried the usual adjustments to the hammer and leather pad with little or no effect. The fitting is firmly bolted to the clock base and everything is secure.

I am wondering whether I could replace the coil with a Brass rod to give a similar sound to a westminster chime clock, albeit on a single note. Has anybody tried this? If so what guage of rod would be recommended and length, bearing in mind sufficient room in the case. The only other alternative I can think of is to try a different maker of coil.
I recently helped an old neighbour set up his original Enfield clock made by the original company in London before thev war and clearly the difference in quality is a proverbial thousand miles better than the Smiths Enfield made here in Wales after 1948, which is very cheap by comparison. To get back to the original point of this posting, has anybody any other suggestions?

If anyone wants to see a photo of my "mock" Georgian clock let me know.
Cheers
Allan from Swansea ( what a football team !)

gilbert
01-19-2012, 08:11 AM
Welcome to the MB OCL. Have you tried bending the hammer rod to change the sound at all? I 'think' I associate a clang with the hammer being to close to the gong (and hitting it to hard I suppose). We always like to see pics and in particular pics of the movement in this case may halep with any suggestions the experts might have.

shutterbug
01-19-2012, 08:56 AM
Some other things to look at:
Mounted firmly to the base. The wood is the sound board.
Base firmly mounted to the case.
Gong secured to it's mount.
Gong clean (you'd be surprised how much this helps)
Coils not touching when vibrating.
Hammer strike near base of gong.

oldclocklover
01-19-2012, 08:59 AM
Hi Gilbert, Thanks for the reply. Yes I have tried bending the rod and adjusting the height. The leather pad was very hard and dry and not badly worn. I tried massaging with oil to soften it but its the actual tone of the coil i believe is the crux of the problem, probably made from inferior quality steel. I may use wire wool to get it back to the base metal to see if it improves the sound, but I don't have much faith it will.

Scottie-TX
01-19-2012, 09:52 AM
Yes; WELCOME! From your "clang" description I suspect the sound cannot be changed but is simply the character of it's material. Some just plain don't sound good. Yes. You could relace it with a different coil of your choice. I have at times even replaced the coil with a single rod.

Thyme
01-19-2012, 11:04 AM
Yes; WELCOME! From your "clang" description I suspect the sound cannot be changed but is simply the character of it's material. Some just plain don't sound good. Yes. You could relace it with a different coil of your choice. I have at times even replaced the coil with a single rod.

Scottie is correct (as he usually is). :)It's the nature of the gong itself.

I have a Smiths clock (made around 1950) that is very similar to the one you are describing. It's a very small mantle clock that my wife has on her dresser in our bedroom. The overtones produced by the gong itself are so harsh that if you are in certain stages of sleep it will literally provoke nightmares - as it has for both of us at times. :o

Other than that it's a very nice, well made clock. When it comes to the noises that mechanical clocks make, it's all what you get used to. We have a total of six clocks in our bedroom alone, and they all strike. After a while you don't notice all the ticking and bonging.

oldclocklover
01-19-2012, 11:11 AM
hi Scottie and Shutterbug
I just finished scraping all the corrossion and muck from 60 years of age on the coil until it was gleaming. There was also some pitting. The result is it does sound more ringing but I still don't like the sound. Definately considering a single chime bar. Any suggestions where I may find one and best way of fitting it. I have taken in all your suggestions and just about tried everything else except a replacement.
Thanks again. I'm now trying to find a few broken clocks to learn/practice on.

oldclocklover
01-19-2012, 11:23 AM
Hi Thyme
I don't know which is worse. six clocks all chiming at the same time or one after another! I believe Smiths bought out the old Enfield company in about 1933 but left the original directors in place and their workforce. That company continued making clocks to their own patern until around 1940. It was only after the end of the war that Smiths opened a new factory in Ystradgynlais in the Swansea valley. (just a few miles up the valley from me), I remember the factory well it closed in 1980 when mechanical clocks went out of fashion. There was definately a downturn in quality once the Smiths owners took charge more's the pity but the clocks were made as cheaply as possible in order to survive. I believe they made pocket watches only during the last year or so for another company.

Douglas Ballard
01-20-2012, 07:40 PM
I just bought a sessions tall mantle. It arrived in pieces, not due to the packing but because of the age, everything was dried out. I glued the backboard (in two pieces) and the frame for the front. I'm not happy with the sound of the coil gong, very tinny and it is clean and tight to the sound (back) board. I am going to try using an Ingraham or Seth Thomas gong. Will have to do some retrofitting but I'm thinking it will sound much nicer than the original. I've tried "tipping" the hammer with various things, none of which helped.

Scottie-TX
01-21-2012, 06:35 AM
Yeah; re-tipping the hammers seems only to change the amplitude of the "KLANGG" rather than the timbre of it.

shutterbug
01-21-2012, 11:17 AM
Yeah, you can't make a Cuckoo gong sound good no matter WHAT you do to it :) Same holds true for cheaply made gongs of all kinds.

moe1942
01-21-2012, 11:33 AM
IIRC ST's had leather in the hammer. See if the end of the hammer is hollow. If so make a leather insert and that will soften the sound a great deal. I have a heavy duty hole punch and old leather belt for that job.

shutterbug
01-21-2012, 11:37 AM
IIRC ST's had leather in the hammer. See if the end of the hammer is hollow. If so make a leather insert and that will soften the sound a great deal. I have a heavy duty hole punch and old leather belt for that job. You can also buy leather shaped to fit from most suppliers.

moe1942
01-21-2012, 12:09 PM
You can also buy leather shaped to fit from most suppliers.


Bug, buy is such a nasty word...:smile:

Tony10Clocks
01-21-2012, 04:50 PM
Just a thought. Wonder what it would sound like if a guitar string was attached inside the case instead of a gong.
Or has anybody tried it

Thyme
01-21-2012, 05:49 PM
Just a thought. Wonder what it would sound like if a guitar string was attached inside the case instead of a gong.
Or has anybody tried it

It depends on how it is attached and tensioned and it would require a soundboard. I don't know of any clocks that are designed like pianos, as such instruments are complex and expensive to build. I certainly would not be practical, and it is far easier to use a gong.

As is sometimes said: "if nobody uses it, there's a reason".

shutterbug
01-21-2012, 07:43 PM
It would certainly require more tension than you could apply with your hands. You'd need a way to tension it on a frame. A wood case would not likely survive the pressure for long.

Jay Fortner
01-21-2012, 08:54 PM
I'm glad this thread came back to the top. Something I've been thinking about trying is to take a modern chime rod and coiling it just to see if it would work. Some of these rods have a very nice sound. I'm sure that y'all have noticed these rods are tapered down where they go into the screw and have you noticed that they're flatted on one side of the tapered portion. I'm guessing this is for tuning?

dfariswheel
01-21-2012, 09:33 PM
Here's a couple of tricks you can try to lessen both the loudness and the harshness of gongs.

An old timers truck was to make new inserts for the hammers from paint brush bristles. Cut some bristles and pack them tightly into the hammer, possibly with a little glue to secure them.
You can make up a bundle of bristles by wrapping them tightly with thread, and once they're in the hammer, remove the thread.
The trick here is to get the bristles just the right length.
Too long and they'll spread open, too short and they're as hard as leather.

Another trick is to make new hammer inserts from silicone plastic.
This is the type of stuff that feels like human skin and is often used for dive masks.
The softer material lowers the sound and makes it sound a little more "mellow" than a harsh CLANG.
I haven't experimented with it, but I'm thinking that you could make hammer inserts from silicone caulking compound.

shutterbug
01-22-2012, 10:20 AM
I'm glad this thread came back to the top. Something I've been thinking about trying is to take a modern chime rod and coiling it just to see if it would work. Some of these rods have a very nice sound. I'm sure that y'all have noticed these rods are tapered down where they go into the screw and have you noticed that they're flatted on one side of the tapered portion. I'm guessing this is for tuning?
Yes, they can be tuned 'lower' that way. Shorten to make higher. I've often thought about the same thing. It would interesting to see if the rods would bend, or would they need to be annealed first? In theory, as long as the coils don't touch each other, the rod should sound the same whether straight or coiled. I have a broken one here some place. Perhaps I'll get some time to experiment. They would sure make a fine sounding gong :)

moe1942
01-22-2012, 10:45 AM
If the case will accomodate the length of the chime rods just modify the movement arm for three hammers and use three rods.. Then you have an instant chimer.

shutterbug
01-22-2012, 11:12 AM
If the case will accomodate the length of the chime rods just modify the movement arm for three hammers and use three rods.. Then you have an instant chimer.
Actually you'd have a nice harmonious striker :D

moe1942
01-22-2012, 01:12 PM
You are the wordsmith...:smile:

R.G.B.
01-22-2012, 05:03 PM
Here's a couple of tricks you can try to lessen both the loudness and the harshness of gongs.
An old timers truck was to make new inserts for the hammers from paint brush bristles. Cut some bristles and pack them tightly into the hammer, possibly with a little glue to secure them.


I was wondering what was used in my French mantle, thanks.
117697

shutterbug
01-22-2012, 05:21 PM
Looks like leather.