Cymbal Care...

There are some things that EVERY drummer should know from the very first day they get a drum set of their own. Here are some general drum tips that will save you a lot of time and trouble later on down the road. When I got my first drum set in the 90's, I was excited as anything. My parents had spent a little more on the kit and got me a Ludwig Superclassic in black (which I still own and play regularly). However, I was given absolutely no advice on how to care for the kit and cymbals and made a few mistakes as many new drummers do.

Cymbal Care
Some people believe that you HAVE to clean your cymbals for them to look and sound good. Well they're half right. Clean cymbals do look good, but don't necessarily sound any better. You do not have to clean your cymbals so they're sparkling for every practice and whilst it can be satisfying to clean them, you should be careful not to remove the manufacturer logo and model name. This is  Keyholed Cymbalall down to personal preference, I personally like to see logos on my cymbals whilst others polish them off as soon as they get them. If you're going to sell your cymbals on in the future, leave the logos; that way people can see proof that you're selling the cymbal you say you are.

Another VERY important piece of information is to ensure that you always, ALWAYS have cymbal sleeves on your cymbals stands. The purpose of a cymbal sleeve is to act as a barrier between your cymbal and the cymbal stand spike. If you don't use a cymbal sleeve, you're liable to end up with a "key holing" effect which can be seen in the picture to the right. This can weaken the cymbal and potentially lead to cracking from the bell of the cymbal. It most commonly affects ride cymbals as they're heavier and create more friction but no cymbal is immune.

cheap cymbal sleeveI've seen many of these products over the years in drum shops selling at 5 for three little bits of plastic tubing and I'm not surprised that some people don't use them (well I am but I can see where they're coming from). However, there are usually ways around these kinds of problems and this following tip will save you hundreds of pounds (well not hundreds, but a lot compared to buying the "proper ones") on those stupid little tubes.

Go to your nearest aquatic/garden centre who sell aqariums or accessories and buy some plastic tubing meant for aquariums and cut it up to size your cymbal stands. I buy 9/12mm tubing at around 1/m which lasts me for years and fits every cymbal stand I own, you can find an example of the tubing here (I have never used that company, they're just an example).

As long as you have good condition felts on your cymbal stands this method works just as well as the drum store tubing and is probably 100 times cheaper. It's also not a worry at gigs where you're kit sharing as those plastic tubes have a habit of falling on the floor or going "missing" just after the other drummer has used your stands.

So, if you don't have cymbal sleeves on your stands and didn't think you could afford it, get yourself down the garden centre / aquarium shop and buy yourself more tubing than you'll ever need for 2. I am quite content to lose 2-3 of these at a gig knowing that I have a little tub of them in my cymbal case (you do have a cymbal case don't you).


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