There is little worse than sitting down at a drum set, ready to rock, and noticing a crack, chip or break in a crash, hi-hat, splash or other cymbal. It’s not uncommon for cymbals to become damaged through normal use, storage or transportation, but the resulting disappointment a drummer endures can be the hardest part of moving beyond a broken cymbal. Because of the process a drummer goes through in order to find the right cymbal to produce a personal sound, these instruments can become especially valuable. While many cymbals can be repaired by a professional, it is best to try to maintain the cymbal’s inherent beauty and quality through preventative measures.
Hitting a cymbal with a lot of force, like hard rock, metal or punk drummers do can take a toll on the cymbal, especially if the cymbal is thin. A crash cymbal, for instance, comes in a variety of weights and thicknesses, each with its own resonance and volume. Thin cymbals may produce a louder tone overall, but the thicker varieties can certainly make up the difference in volume with the overall acoustics, and save a drummer from a sad break-up with a beloved member of a carefully chosen drum kit. The angle in which a cymbal is hit can also affect its durability, and it is recommended that drummers hit at an angle, instead of directly on the top of the cymbal. The placement of the cymbal can also affect its durability, as well as the padding chosen to hold the cymbal in place. If the metal of the cymbal touches the stand or hardware used, there is a better chance of breakage. Be sure to use the right padding and felt for the cymbal to help reduce wear and tear.
Storage of the cymbals is just as important as cymbal choice, set up and even playing style. While cymbals are durable and resistant to most weather changes, changes in temperature can have an effect on the alloy used. Improper handling can also cause nicks or scratches on the cymbals. Store and transport cymbals in cases or bags to help protect them from the elements and rough treatment. Be sure to keep cymbals clean and free of dirt and debris, as these can also wear away the protective finish needed to keep cymbals in top shape.
Caring for cymbals and choosing the right type of cymbal can assure a drummer of the longevity of a favorite sound and resonance during solos and fills. By taking the right steps in choosing, playing and caring for cymbals, these instruments can last a long time, bringing joy to the drummer and audiences at a local gig or around the world.