Memphis Gong Chamber – Memphis, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

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Memphis Gong Chamber

Ethereal alien hums and haunting whale songs emitting from...a giant sheet of vibrating metal? 


In our energetic universe teeming with a cacophony of sounds, it’s no secret the vibrations around us have a profound impact on our lives. In the heart of Tennessee, there’s a gong chamber that just may change everything you think you know about the power of percussion.

Ranging from atmospheric hums to something straight out of Dante’s Inferno, the giant gongs at the Memphis Gong Chamber can produce some pretty impressive tones. The shop opened in 1987 and specializes in gongs of all shapes and sizes. They primarily cater to healing and spiritual communities, but people also come from all over the world to feel the vibrational impact inside the Gong Chamber. The gong is an acoustic instrument that you actually ‘feel.’ Customers are drawn to the relaxing, meditative vibrations of the gong,” owner Jim Pettit says. 

Inside the Chamber, there are 250 gongs ranging from 20 inches to 80 inches. In a video demonstrating the 80” Paiste Symphonic Gong (the largest of them all), one musician drags drum sticks across the surface to produce a mind-bending, rippling sound wave. 

It’s like a soundtrack from somewhere deep in outer space, complete with alien sighs, angelic choral hums, and weird whale sounds that make you pause and think: wait, is this really coming from a single vibrating piece of metal?

And those eerie, otherworldly sounds emitting from these massive sheets produce a visual effect, too. Pettit says the most common descriptions of the sounds by both spiritual healers and first-time listeners are: “Flying through space with the planets going by 2) On top of the mountain with an eagle view 3) On the ocean floor watching the waves crash over you.”

Yeah, it’s weird stuff. 

Some even call it a “sound massage,” saying the vibrations actually massage their internal organs. In another video, Gong Chamber first-timer Chris Coleman stands with his back near the seven-foot vibrating gong: “It feels like the hairs on my body are standing up. Oh my god, this is amazing. It’s so serene, like everything you’re thinking just…” Stops? He goes on the say that “his life has been changed” and that it’s really something that has to be experienced in person. 

So if you can’t splurge on the 80-inch Paiste Symphonic Gong (it costs a mere $28,000), you can always take a pilgrimage to Memphis Gong Chamber for Nancy’s Sound Journey—an hour-long session of mind-and-body relaxation through the deep tones and vibrations of Memphis Gong Chambers’ incredible Paiste gong selection, singing bowls, and chimes. Recline in a zero-gravity chair, close your eyes, and let the soothing percussion guide you to stillness, mindfulness, and inner calm.

Know Before You Go

The Memphis Gong Chamber is available Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only for gong purchase selection or a Sound Journey session—community session (2nd and 4th Saturdays)  for $45 per person or private session for yourself ($175) or a group (maximum of 6 in each group--$200-300). For more information, go to www.memphisdrumshop and click on Events.

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September 30, 2019

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