Anyone clean just one side of an old old cymbal? I did...

jasyr

Member
Got a 1950's 18" B20 that was/is pretty tarnished. Boarderline too dark looking, for me at least. But hey, soot is cool. It's not rusty or green or anything. So i used Barkeeper's Friend on just the bottom and it shined up very well.

Ok, this is not really scientific but just by rapping with my fingernails on the bottom-side with my ear a foot below, it sounds nicer than the un-cleaned top from above.

I've decided for now to leave the top, which i lightened up a little with only dish soap & bristle brush.

So did i get the cymbal "50%" brighter sounding?

Do top & bottom of a cymbal radiate same frequencies/volume balance?

I left the 18" un-de-gunked on the top as this cymbal has a little of klang in it... (no hammering.) I figure it probably sounds better tamped down by the aging. (especially since it's for R'n'R band crashing). There's not much fine beautiful high end hiding in the cymbal.

If i decide to BF-clean the top side, I'm thinking about beginning with the bell & 1st third of the bow, or, edge+outter 2/3rds of cymbal.
Leaving bell area patinaed would, to me, look cooler. But what would the de-gunking of each area bring to the table? (aside from gunk).
It's obvious i don't know cymbal physics!
All i know is moon gel on the bell cuts highs & on the bow it cuts lows.

I have some 1970s Zildjian hihats that have been around the block. Dull, dark, vintage, same with them. I only cleaned the insides with BF... (ok so I'm a poser?)

Am i the only one that's done this?



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Steve30907

Well-known member
I don't think it will brighten it up a lot. If you don't care for the cymbal sound it probably won't change your opinion much. Every cymbal is an individual instrument if it doesn't work for you pick up something that does.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
IMHO the ‘gunk’ simply drags down the sound of the brass. Have you ever heard of a guitar player who never cleans the neck? They always wipe down after playing to remove the residue and sweat. Cymbals are just metal that attract a buildup of s..t over time and that will affect the sound. If you like deadened metal then leave it gunky, otherwise you should do what you thought in the first place.
 

jasyr

Member
Well i am mainly a guitarist of over 45 years. Sound doesn't come from the back of the neck last time i checked. But that doesn't stop some geek somewhere probably to have said somewhere, it 'changes the tone'... the guitar-thing is a scary wormhole.

I do have ancient flea market guitars i've never changed the strings on and made vinyl with them. I also change strings (Pyramid) on most of my many many acoustic and electric guitars. When?, is a matter of entropy and the big picture.

Slowly removing the patina is just an experiment in how much aging/(time) is reversed. Old cymbals are interesting to me for 2 reasons... 1) metal that's not made that way anymore, and2 how it has aged. Like the guitar world I'm from... Do you want a pickup that has aged, or a new one? Or a new one aged? It's ajust a filter. (I play synths too.) As a song writer, its about the journey as well as the end gunk (music) of a life well lived.

I've never needed or thought of relic-ing a guitar; they are tools, not investments to me. Also always been a manual laborer & never needed to buy pre-shredded jeans either. I'm amazed no one has (yet) marketed factory-direct rusty buggered cymbals. Have i bought a guitar just because it looked cool? ya. Have i read threads where dudes clean an old funky cymbal and didn't like it afterwards? Ya. That's why i proceed with caution. If i buy a clean old cymbal i keep it that way too.

...Bought used an early 80's Zildjian 20" Ping Ride that looked like it was from a frat house-band cellar, forever. (Because as a musician that pays his rent that way, i don't have much money to throw around.) It was gray from dust, sweat, puke, beer & piss. I kept it like that for 2 years just to revolt week-end musos with their 400 dollar shiney pies. It sounded fine in a rock band context but then i took BF to it when i was ready for a free change & i got into brushes. There's always Moon Gel.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Well i am mainly a guitarist of over 45 years. Sound doesn't come from the back of the neck last time i checked. But that doesn't stop some geek somewhere probably to have said somewhere, it 'changes the tone'... the guitar-thing is a scary wormhole.

I do have ancient flea market guitars i've never changed the strings on and made vinyl with them. I also change strings (Pyramid) on most of my many many acoustic and electric guitars. When?, is a matter of entropy and the big picture.

Slowly removing the patina is just an experiment in how much aging/(time) is reversed. Old cymbals are interesting to me for 2 reasons... 1) metal that's not made that way anymore, and2 how it has aged. Like the guitar world I'm from... Do you want a pickup that has aged, or a new one? Or a new one aged? It's ajust a filter. (I play synths too.) As a song writer, its about the journey as well as the end gunk (music) of a life well lived.

I've never needed or thought of relic-ing a guitar; they are tools, not investments to me. Also always been a manual laborer & never needed to buy pre-shredded jeans either. I'm amazed no one has (yet) marketed factory-direct rusty buggered cymbals. Have i bought a guitar just because it looked cool? ya. Have i read threads where dudes clean an old funky cymbal and didn't like it afterwards? Ya. That's why i proceed with caution. If i buy a clean old cymbal i keep it that way too.

...Bought used an early 80's Zildjian 20" Ping Ride that looked like it was from a frat house-band cellar, forever. (Because as a musician that pays his rent that way, i don't have much money to throw around.) It was gray from dust, sweat, puke, beer & piss. I kept it like that for 2 years just to revolt week-end musos with their 400 dollar shiney pies. It sounded fine in a rock band context but then i took BF to it when i was ready for a free change & i got into brushes. There's always Moon Gel.
Ok so I should have said strings and fret board instead of neck. Shoot me.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I selected all of my cymbals individually for their specific sound. As such I maintain that sound by not allowing junk to accrue on them and by cleaning them periodically. It has little to do with aesthetics (but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the look of my cymbals). (y) 🙂 That’s not to say that that’s the law...if someone likes the sound of a cruddy cymbal, why would they clean it?!🤔
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Now if you wanted to take a more scientific approach to finding out how much difference gunk vs clean makes... you could record the cymbal prior to and post cleaning, then use a frequency analyzer on the sound waves and see what the actual difference is. (Of course you will have to keep the playing as even as possible to try to limit that as a variable on sound difference)... In my case I like the look of clean cymbals, I think it is psychological since it is a negligible difference to my ears at least but for looks clean cymbals just look better. Just like I hate shabby chick shit, to me is called being poor... I like things to look taken care of not used and abused...
 

jasyr

Member
It was plainly obvious comparing with finger nails tapping the 18" crash's top vs. bottom.

When i BarkeepersFriend-ed my hat's insides & bottom i didn't need recordings... it was just way better sound. And those 3 sides don't look new either, by a long shot.
...In the guitar world things go into way more crazy stuff than this. & so far the replies have been refreshing compared to the bizarre psudo-science I'm used to with guitar people .

Where's the dudes that will chastize me for cleaning an old cymbal? Help me out here.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Am i the only one that's done this?
So many threads on this. So much incorrect information.

Oxalic acid doesn't so much "clean" a cymbal... It simply dissolves the patina exposing raw alloy, which will now oxidize/patina rapidly and unevenly unless you neutralized the PH on the cymbal surface with something like a baking-soda + water bath.

On a related note, stripping the top 2" of topsoil off of your yard with a bulldozer isn't "mowing your lawn".

On a positive note, the cymbal is not damaged, and will continue to be useful for the rest of it serviceable lifetime.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
The smoke machine I use for our light show always leaves a film on my cymbals so I clean them regularly - never noticed a difference in sound either way..... :unsure:
 

jasyr

Member
Is it incorrect that Barkeepers's Friend doesn not remove any of the metal?...
I settled on that because this is what i read on many threads.
 
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