Gear & Set Up


People have been asking me about my set ups that I use. I have 1 basic set up that I use for most occasions: Gong Meditations, solo performances, and performances with others. The instrumentation will vary with the type of music being played, the size of the stage/venue, and mostly what instruments I feel like playing at each given moment. I see everything I do as always flowing and evolving. 

AUGUST 2021 NEW GEAR ALERT! I have recently (August 5, 2021) received a full set of 7 Paiste Bronze Gongs™! This is all very exciting and presents a lot of sound potential and possibilities. I’ll be posting information on my new set up incorporating some of these wonderful gongs. 

Please check out my YouTube™ channel for a series of video updates coming in the next few months.

Bronze Gongs 3

Now, with the new Paiste Bronze Gongs™, it will change yet again. Pics will appear once I start gigging again in September, as I took the summer off. Check my schedule here.

Below is a slightly more refined set up with a new gong (upper right) that I bought at the Chicago Drum Show in April. I also added aother mallet tray under the Jupiter gong. Now I’ve got everything off of the floor, except for a small handheld gong I’ve been using.

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Below is my set up at the 1st post-Covid gig. I downsized a bit, really looking to refine my sound to the essential instruments. It’s fun to bring a ton of gear, but it’s also heavy for me to haul around and set up.

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Below is my setup from April 2020, before Covid shut everything down. Since then, I have shuffled various things around and experimented with some new gongs and sounds. When I started playing live again in April 2021, my setup had changed with a focus on some different sounds/energy. I’ve been using 3 different  new gongs and 3 different old UFIP bell plates I got in 2010. There are also some different table instruments. I like to keep evolving and reaching for something new. At my first post-lockdown gig, the person at the studio remarked afterwards, “You have some new sounds!” She had heard me 4 or 5 times previously, so this made my day that she noticed.

Gongtopia 2021

Below is my set up from September 2019. The main changes are the addition of a 28” Chinese Sun Gong and a 26” Grotta Sonora Deep Gong. I also added the set of 3 Trangle Bells from Ryan Sheleledy and 4 additional Burma Bells. I could easily bring twice as much gear, but try to make it manageable.

Set Up 9:19

Below is my set up from May 2019. It has remained stable for the past few months, although I recently swapped out a few bells and other things for newer sounds that I have just acquired. Future plans are to add some small tuned Gongs to the set up.

5-19 Set Up

December 2018 - The Gongs have shifted, with the Jupiter moving up to the far right, and the Sound Creation #4 Water Gong taking its place on the lower left. The Venus Gong has moved down under the Jupiter, replacing the large bell plate, while the 22” Accent Gong is under the mallet tray on the right.

Full Set Up 12-18

Here’s my gear from August 2018 when I played a duo concert with GONGTOPIA TAIRAKU. My set up has evolved once again with the addition of the copper clad iron bells in the upper left, and some miscellaneous small bowls, bells, and shakers. I’ve also raised everything off the floor with the new table in front, and the mallet tray on the left. I’ve since added a matching mallet tray on the right. You can see that he basic set up remains the same as the July 2017 photo further below, but is always evolving as my musical vision widens. Also, as this was a concert situation, there are small table Gongs and a wood block, replacing various bells and bowls. I also used a small frame drum that’s not pictured.

Set Up 2018

Below is a July 2017 photo of most of my basic set up. Below that is a list of instruments in the set up.

2017 Set up

Shown above:

1)  4 - Burma Bells and 1 - Martin Bläse Trigon tuned to the Sun. Immediately below are a Paiste 6” Bell Chime and a very old UFIP 6” Ice Bell.

2) 4 - Burma Bells. Below them are an old UFIP 9” Ice Bell and 9” & 10” Paiste Pure Bells.

3) An old UFIP Ictus 75 12” Lokole and an L’Govsky Bilos/Bell Plate tuned to E.

4) Difficult to see because it’s turned away from the camera is a 12” Paiste 602 Ring Chime that I made from a broken cymbal. Also, missing from the left side of the bar is a 12x12” aluminum Bell Plate.

5) 32” Paiste Symphonic Gong. This is my main Gong. I base all my other sounds around it.

6) 32” Paiste Sound Creation #3 Earth Gong.

7) 28” Paiste Jupiter Planet Gong.

8) 13” Michael Paiste Volcano Gong.

9) 26” Paiste Sound Creation Sky Gong (prototype)

10) 10-Japanese Rin Bowls.

11) 1-Rin Bowl and 4 Singing Bowls.

Not seen: on the right side of the rack I usually have an old 24” UFIP Tampang and a 24” Paiste Venus Planet Gong.

On the floor I usually have 5 Drilbu hand bells of various sizes/tunings, 2 small wooden shaker boxes, and an old Hugh Tracey alto Kalimba.

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Above is a solo concert photo from April, 2017. In addition to what is shown in the 1st set up photo, on the far right of the rack there are 3-UFIP Tampangs: 24/16/15.75”. In the front left is my 10x26” Slingerland Haskell Harr model Scotch Bass Drum that I often use as a sound table.

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Here is another view from a concert in April 2017. You can see the Ring Chime on the rack to the lower right of the bass drum. There is a set of 5 UFIP Ogororo Bell Plates above the 2 large Gongs. Also, in the lower right of the photos are some small Chinese Opera Gongs and Paiste Accent Gongs.

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Above, from June 2016, is the main part of the Gong rack without either side, except for 1 wing arm with bell cymbals and bells. The front is my bass drum and large trap table.

Small Set Up

Above, from March 2016, shows ½ of the main rack without either side. The front is my bass drum and small trap table.

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