The tam-tam is a round, slightly convex disc. The narrow rim is turned up and likewise convex. The instrument is made either of hammered sheet bronze or cast bronze using a special alloy. The highest quality instruments come from the countries in which the tam-tam originated: China, Japan, Myanmar, Java etc. So that it can be suspended the instrument has two holes in the rim through which twine or wire is passed. These holes must be drilled in places that do not vibrate.
The cast bronze tam-tam, which is used mostly for orchestral playing, has a fairly high fundamental in relation to its mass; to compensate for this and to achieve the tam-tam sound required for the orchestra, it has to be a certain size (about 70 cm in diameter).
One or more tam-tams are suspended on a metal or aluminum stand which is usually on wheels.