From Rick Cormier, on his RickStix: «I’d never heard of Friction Mallets until 20 years ago when a guy from a New York City recording studio asked me to make some. He described their design. I built a bunch of prototypes so I could see what worked and what didn’t.
«Essentially a friction mallet is a length of cable with a superball on each end. (I bet you wish that YOU had thought of that!) When you hold it in your hand and let one or both balls drag across a smooth surface the balls vibrate making some very wild sounds. They can sound like whales, a race car, a cello, not to mention some embarrassing ‘poop’ noises! Dragging both balls can produce a chord! Drag one across a door, a window, a drum(!!!), a wall, a file cabinet, the side of your car! They are ridiculous…and hard to put down.
«Friction mallets are becoming very popular to use on gongs. Paramount Pictures commissioned me to build a huge assortment of friction mallets to drag across gongs as a film soundtrack effect. Since that time, several gong masters of national prominence have made me their friction mallet supplier.
«Note to Gong Masters: The most important consideration with friction mallets is the surface texture of the ball. Some gongs and gong masters get better results from glossy balls and some from matte finish balls. I suggest trying each, initially… Some of my customers even request specific balls. It’s all good. Let me know if you have a strong preference for color but know that surface texture is the primary consideration with friction mallets. Not all superballs work as friction mallets.»
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