Maintenance 101: Caring For Your Drum Set Cymbals

Drum Set CymbalsTaking special precautions and caring for your instrument is important for all musicians – just taking a few minutes to clean your guitar, for example, can ensure a longer life of strumming and jamming.

Similarly, taking good care of your drum set is an important habit to keep up.  Too many drummers forget the importance of keeping their drum set clean, and tend to pack up their equipment carelessly.  Cymbals, especially, are easily forgotten during this process.  Taking a few minutes to clean cymbals and give them a little TLC can make a big impact on retaining their tone and sound.

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind for caring for and cleaning your drum set cymbals, as noted on the Rock Drumming Underground website:

Cleaning Your Cymbals
The number one source of dirt on your cymbals is finger prints. Although your fingers may look clean, they are covered with oils that will eventually harm your cymbals. Every time you touch or transport your cymbals, you are covering them with finger prints. Fortunately, there are many products out there for cymbal cleaning. Groove Juice is a spray on cleaner that polishes well and will only cost you around 10 bucks. Be sure to be careful with the polish you use, though – most are corrosive and can irritate your skin and/or damage your clothes.

Wing Nut Tension On Your Cymbal Stand
Wing nut tension is usually overlooked by drummers. This is the screw that you tighten over the felt on your cymbal stand. First, make sure you have 2 felt pieces on each stand – one underneath and one on top of the cymbal. This is very crucial, as it will act as a cushion and absorb a lot of energy that usually harms the cymbal. With this in mind, you do not want to tighten your wing nuts too much. Cymbals emit their sound by vibrations, and if you have it on too tight, you will restrict its movement. On the flip side, too loose a wing nut will allow too much movement, which can shorten the life of a cymbal drastically.

Transporting and Storing Your Cymbals
Whether you’re traveling to a gig or storing your cymbals, remember a few basic rules. Never leave them standing upright. Cymbals that are left leaning upright will put a lot of gravitational force on the bottom, and will eventually cause warpage. Always store them laying down on a padded surface. If you are storing more than one, do not place them on top of each other unless you have a cloth-like material between them. Also, cymbal bags are a must for any traveling drummer. The investment is well worth the safety for your cymbals!

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Photo by Tim Waclawski.

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