Cymbal Care and Cleaning
Cymbal Care Guidelines
Red Cymbals are hand made from high quality B20 bronze (except Low Volume Cymbals which are stainless steel) which is composed of 80% copper and 20% tin (that’s where the ’20’ comes from - the amount of tin). The life of the cymbals we make are dependant on the way that they are cared for. Our craftsmen in Turkey put a massive amount of effort into making each cymbal - you can see the process on our YouTube Channel and it is our hope that your cymbals will serve you well.
To avoid improper usage of cymbals through abuse, incorrect technique and neglect we provide some pretty straightforward suggestions below, if you have any questions please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Play With A Glancing Blow / Stick Selection
Do your best to avoid hitting cymbals directly but use a glancing type of hit on the cymbal rather than hitting the edge or ‘through’ the cymbal. This technique will allow the full resonance of the cymbal to play out rather than choking the cymbal. Edge cracks on a cymbal are indicative of incorrect technique and can appear fairly quickly on a cymbal if played improperly. Cracks around the lathing can also appear over time and do not always indicate a manufacturing issue. Choose your sticks wisely - heavy sticks (e.g. 5B or 2B) or non-wooden sticks such as graphite sticks, on thinner cymbals are never good and can also damage heavier cymbals.
2. Choose the Correct Cymbal for you.
When choosing cymbals take into account the style of music you play and the volume required. We make a range of cymbals with a variety of sounds. Bright or brilliant finished cymbals are perfect for drummers who like their cymbals to project and conversely ‘darker’ cymbals are for drummers who want their cymbals to sit lower in the mix. A louder ‘heavy hitting’ drummer playing dark cymbals will generally break them.
Buying dark cymbals and then expecting them to be loud and hitting them harder is like buying a sports car to go off road.
Consider the following general factors when purchasing a cymbal:
Weight - heavier/thicker means louder and more ‘ping’
Thickness - thicker cymbals are heavier and louder / thinner cymbals are easier to break if hit incorrectly.
Wash - thinner cymbals = more wash but also lower tone / less volume. Thicker cymbals usually don’t wash.
Finish - the brighter the finish the brighter the cymbal / darker cymbals = dark/dry sound
Lathing - the more lathing the cleaner/clearer the sound / less lathing = drier tones
Hammering - more/bigger hammering = more trashiness and wash
Raw finish = a more complex sound with increased attack
fx holes = a quicker decay and trashier sound but also more susceptible to cracking if hit hard.
3. Protect Your Cymbals
Protect your cymbals with a quality cymbal case or solid padded bag - we recommend SKB hard cases or Red Deluxe Cymbal bags as they will protect your investment from damage. Be careful when packing them and don’t put them under heavy objects such as amps and speakers, always put them on top of gear. Make sure that there are dividers between the cymbals and consider using Red Cymbals sleeves or Cymbal Sox. Be careful of storing cymbals in heat or cold such as leaving them in a car in summer or winter and alway protect the edges of the cymbals - don’t drop your case - especially on concrete.
4. Cymbal Stands Are IMPORTANT!
Make sure your cymbal stand is sturdy and won’t fall over (this will damage cymbal) and ensure that there are quality sleeves (nylon or rubber) on the tilter rod to avoid contact with the thread which will cause key holing or cracking. Metal on metal is only good if you are creating a cymbal stack.
5. Loose Is good - Tight Is Bad.
Allow plenty of movement for the cymbal and have at least a bottom felt in place (preferably with another felt and wing nut on top). Don’t use overly thick felts or ‘Cympads’ which limit movement of the cymbal. DO NOT MOUNT CYMBALS TIGHTLY by over tightening the wing nut (who does that?).
6. Mounting Your Cymbals: Angle And Height.
Mount cymbals lower and angled towards the player. High and flat or worse, angled away from the drummer, will almost certainly mean that the cymbals will be damaged. Mounting cymbals for looks / aesthetics is not usually a good idea. The main focus is on longevity of the life of your cymbals.
7. Aggression In Drumming - Your Style Might Kill Your Cymbals!
The more aggressive, tense or ‘heavy hitting’ you are as a drummer the more likely you are to break cymbals. Many drummers ask how durable our cymbals are yet the issue is not durability - it is how they are played. A ‘heavy hitting’ drummer should not be surprised when they break cymbals.
Cymbals are designed to be played dynamically and musically not forcefully beaten or smashed.
IEM mix suggestion: we suggest allowing the mics on your kit to do the heavy lifting and ensure that the overheads are a little higher in the mix so that you don’t have to hit the cymbals harder to hear and feel them. Perhaps take your IEMS out sometime and check how loud you are playing.
Being relaxed is also another key when playing handmade cymbals. If the drummer is tense and smashing the cymbals hard they will eventually break. Relax and enjoy your cymbals.
8. Setting Up Your Cymbals (avoid concrete!)
Make sure when setting up your cymbals that you bring them out of the case or bag one at a time and definitely do not rest them on a hard surface especially concrete. Concrete will dent the edges of the cymbals and cause them to crack quickly. Dropping cymbals on any surface is never helpful to prolonging the life of your cymbals.
Sharing is not caring for your cymbals - Don’t let just anyone use your cymbals! Make sure that people will show the same care for your cymbals that you do.
If you wish to keep your cymbals clean do you best to avoid finger prints or hand marks by picking them up with your hands on either edge. The oil from your hands will cause marks which can deteriorate into tarnish (green colouring), rust and discolouration. Wipe your cymbals after use with a lint free cloth.
Cymbals with a brilliant finish can be cleaned with cleaner or polish - we recommend Lizard Spit Cleaner or Polish as they generally will not remove logos (unless you try really hard). Darker cymbals or Traditional cymbals can be cleaned with a small amount of warm soapy water and a lint free cloth however we don’t recommend using polish as it may remove the finish or cause discolouration. NEVER use abrasive or citrus based products or household cleaning products especially Brasso, Bar Keeps Friend or other similar products.
Cleaning vs Polishing: What’s the difference? Using a cymbal cleaner removes most stick marks, dirt and other light marks but does not polish cymbals to make them shiny again like new and should not remove logos. Cymbal polish may remove logos and will potentially make brilliant cymbals shiny (like new) however it can have an adverse effect on some cymbal finishes so use polish carefully!