[Repairing & maintaining your cymbals by Waywood Music]

Cymbal Maintenance & Repair


The aim of this page is to help you keep your cymbals in tip-top working condition and to prolong their working life through careful maintenance and repair (where necessary).

Ensure that surfaces are free of corrosion and check the edges for signs of damage (bending, chips and cracks).

[Diagram showing the anatomy of a cymbal]

Anatomy of a cymbal (click image to enlarge)


Check the bow of the cymbal and around the bell for cracks. Cracks can either 'radiate' across the cymbal from edge to centre, or along the 'grain' of the tone grooves i.e., parallel to the edge.

If YOU DO GET A CRACKED CYMBAL, CAREFULLY drill a small hole at the end of the crack nearest the bell if the crack radiates from edge towards the middle. If the crack is PARALLEL TO THE EDGE, drill a hole at BOTH ends. Although this will extend the life of the cymbal, its days are numbered!


[Repairing a cracked cymbal image]

Repairing a Cracked Cymbal



Check the upper and lower surfaces of the cymbal for scratches, dents or chips. In addition to visual checks, play the cymbal across the whole area, checking for 'dead spots' and listening for evidence of damage e.g., buzzing or rattling.

[wuhan china bell]Please note that in some ethnic cymbals such as authentic chinas, the quality control across manufacturing is not as controlled as with the big companies. Therefore, small defects may be present. These should be checked and assessed to make sure that they will not get worse. In particular, the balance of metal across the cymbal can vary considerably, leading to it being heavier on one side than the other. Providing this does not adversely affect the sound of the cymbal, it can be used to create a wider range of sounds from the cymbal. Commercially-produced cymbals tend to be more consistent over the playing surface due to the high level of quality control.

There is evidence that your cymbals will improve in sound with age, but they will also get dirty, which can impair their sound. If your cymbals need cleaning, use a damp cloth with a mild detergent. Rub the cymbal in a circular fashion from the centre hole out to the edge. For the removal of corrosion and more deeply ingrained dirt use a proprietary brand of cymbal cleaner. ALWAYS follow the maker's instructions.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER us steel wool, abrasive domestic cleaners such as those used for cleaning the bath, or polishes for silver, brass or copper ware.

ALWAYS case your cymbals, being careful not to pack them too tightly on top of one another. This is likely to lead to cracks and splits.

ALWAYS put some type of protection BETWEEN the cymbals when cased e.g., plastic bags or thin rubber sheets.

Store the cymbals in their case VERTICALLY where possible.


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