Special mallets are generally used for the tam-tam:
Material: Hard felt, wood, metal
Diameter: approx. 6–15 cm
Felt, heavy fabric
Length: approx. 28–35 cm
Disc-shaped, round, diamond-shaped
Other mallets are also used, for example bass-drum, timpani and cymbal mallets, drumsticks, triangle beaters, brushes, xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba and vibraphone mallets, and superballs. The hands are sometimes also used.
A superball has a shaft made of wood or rattan which is the same length as a marimba or vibraphone mallet’s shaft. Its head is a rubber ball and it comes in a variety of sizes.
Soft mallets temper the attack and the tone builds up more slowly. Harder mallets accentuate the attack and the tone reaches full development more quickly.
Smaller mallets do not generate the lowest partials (depending on the size of the tam-tam), but are all the more suitable for effects.
Occasionally the tam-tam is rubbed with the following objects: a wine glass, cardboard tubes, an electric vibrator, chains.