Drumming is full of triumphs and tribulations, from the moment you pick up your first pair of drum sticks until that final day when you hand your sticks off to the next generation to become a legend. Just when you think you’ve mastered that slick solo you’ve been working on for months and are ready to show off your moves to friends, you hear the heart-crushing sound of a cymbal gone wrong. Somehow, that “indestructible” metal instrument has been cracked, chipped, split or just plain broken… much like your soul. Now, you’re faced with a wrecked cymbal… or are you?
You have a few options if you’ve managed to bust up your cymbal. First, you probably want to find out if there is any way you can fix it. After all, you may have spent a lot of time and money on it, and parting ways could be tremendously emotional, not to mention costly if you’re throwing away something over a minor repair issue. There are professionals who can fix minor cymbal damage, but if your cymbal is trashed, you may have to get a little creative and find a more honorable solution than tossing it like a Frisbee.
Fashion it into a new kind of cymbal. Depending on the damage and the cymbal itself, you may be able to cut it down to a smaller size, with pretty great results. Plenty of drummers end up stacking the bells of broken cymbals together, or inverting a “repurposed” cymbal into a hybrid effects/hi-hat gizmo, among other configurations.
Add a little bling. Since your cymbal has seen better days, you don’t have a lot to lose by drilling holes through it, adding some jingles, chains or other metal “bling” on and around the surface.You may be pleasantly surprised by the different layers of sound you can create through a little experimentation.
Decorate your world with music. If the cymbal really has no hope for any type of restoration or recycling, you can always give it a place of honor in your house or studio. Plenty of people have turned broken cymbals into clocks, lamps or other interior design statements.
You, too, can be decorated. If you’re really good with cutting metal, or know someone who is, you can chop down your broken cymbal into pieces for jewelry-making, or, what renaissance festival would be complete without a knight in shining cymbal armor? Just some food for thought.
Of course, we also know that when we take care of our cymbals, there is less chance for them to break, but accidents do happen despite the best cymbal cases, temperature regulation and overall cymbal maintenance and care. Since cymbals are just as important in any drummer’s life as the drums we play, we know it’s comforting to have options if that sad day comes bearing a crack in our favorite crash, or a rip in our ride. We can be thrown off our groove by an effects cymbal gone wrong, but, as drummers, we already have the power to take a bad beat and make it into a righteous rhythm. We don’t look forward to those days when we may have to admit our trashed cymbal is too trashy to even play… but, if that day comes, we’ve all got each other and a brainstorm of ideas for how to best use a broken cymbal.