Your cymbals are among the most important parts of your sound as well as one of the most expensive parts of your kit. In addition, where the sound of your drums can be modified by the use of different heads, tuning and muffling, cymbals perform best in their natural state. Therefore, keeping them in optimum condition is critical for a number of musical, visual and financial reasons.
Stands and Holders
Avoid metal-to-metal contact between your cymbals and mounting hardware by using plastic or rubber sleeves on the center rods and felt or foam washers above and below the cymbals. CRX recommends Cympad cellular foam cymbal washers. These parts tend to wear out over time and should be inspected and replaced as needed. Individual parts and repair kits are also offered by cymbal, hardware and accessory companies and available at most drum shops and music stores.
Use a top mounting screw to prevent the cymbal from falling off the stand during heavy playing but do not overtighten it. Make sure that the cymbals can move freely as they will sound better, absorb the striking force and, ultimately, last longer. This is especially true in crash, china and top hi-hat cymbals.
It is important to properly maintain the parts of your cymbal stands that contact and support the cymbals because they also help protect the sound and condition of the cymbals. This includes the use of wingnuts, washers, seats and sleeves on the tilter section of the cymbal stand ().
Also check and replace the washers on the hi-hat clutch and seat from time to time (). Use the threaded adjustment screw that is below the bottom hi-hat cymbal to angle the cymbal slightly and improve the sound.
Mounting and Playing Techniques
Two basic yet often overlooked aspects of cymbal care are correct positioning and playing techniques. Applying the following simple rules will protect your cymbals and allow you to get the best sound, performance and lifespan from them:
Keep your cymbals tilted at a slight angle so that you are striking them on the face; not directly on the edge ().
Use a glancing stroke to “pull” the sound out” of the cymbal rather than a stroke straight into the edge of cymbal ().
Relax. Developing a smooth, fluid playing style will enhance your sound while protecting your cymbals as well as your hands and wrists.
Bags and Cases
Always use a top-quality, well-padded cymbal bag or hard case to protect your cymbals during storage and transport. For local gigs, a soft bag or light to mediumweight hard case offer protection and practicality without breaking your back or your bank account. Major tours require the strength and protection of heavy-duty road cases.
A full range of hard and soft cases are available from a wide variety of cymbal and case companies. Compare prices and features and choose the one that best meets your needs.
In either “case”, make sure your cymbals are separated from each other by cloth dividers or plastic bags to avoid cymbal-on-cymbal contact.
Regular cleaning will help keep your cymbals looking and sounding like new. For light dirt, fingerprints and tarnish, try gentle cleaning with warm, soapy water. In more extreme instances, a specially-formulated cymbal cleaner may be required. Several good cymbal cleaning and polishing products are commercially available, including Groove Juice, which is highly recommended for CRX and other B20 cymbals. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s directions and try cleaning a small test area before using any polish or cleaner on your cymbals.