CLEANING CYMBALS

JDFaulky

Active member
I have a set of Zildjian K Sweet cymbals, all traditional finish obviously, and these things are super prone to stick marks that stick out like a sore thumb. I like the way they look when they're cleaned up but after playing them it looks like they were murdered with a stick.

Anybody have any of the traditional Ziljdian K series cymbals and clean theirs? What's your method? I've read several online but I'm so worried I'll mess these things up. They're too expensive for me to experiment on with weird chemicals and such. The Zildjian cymbal cleaner only works for Brilliant finishes unfortunately or I'd buy a bottle.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I have a set of Zildjian K Sweet cymbals, all traditional finish obviously, and these things are super prone to stick marks that stick out like a sore thumb. I like the way they look when they're cleaned up but after playing them it looks like they were murdered with a stick.

Anybody have any of the traditional Ziljdian K series cymbals and clean theirs? What's your method? I've read several online but I'm so worried I'll mess these things up. They're too expensive for me to experiment on with weird chemicals and such. The Zildjian cymbal cleaner only works for Brilliant finishes unfortunately or I'd buy a bottle.

I have honestly been using Simple Green to clean my cymbals for the past few years. We started doing this with all of the marching cymbals (a mixture of many different Zildjian series) where I teach and it works really well...I had always used the Paiste cleaner before, which was also not bad, but seemed to be a little more messy and labor intensive, for just about the same results as Simple Green. I have even tried it on my 40's and 50's era Zildjians and it worked fine too. I find the SG does not take the logos off as aggressively, and i like my cymbals to have the logos and stamps

All of my Zildjian K's are from either the 90's or 2000's. I have K's, and K Dark Customs.

we use a diluted version of the large bottle of concentrate. I do about 2 cap fulls of SG in a medium sized spray bottle filled with water. It definitely gets fingerprints and (wood) stick marks off pretty well. It does not make them shine like factory new, but neither does the Paiste stuff when I have used it. You can play with the mixture as you see fit.

I spray on the SG solution (and previously the Paiste stuff), and then use a medium bristled toothbrush and go in circles around the cymbal. After doing that, I rinse it off, and then go around with a towel. Depending on the time in between cleanings, I sometimes have to do that again.

On a side note, I NEVER use nylon tipped sticks b/c I hate when the nylon gets into the grooves of the cymbals. (I also don't like the sound or feel) I also rarely get stick marks from using wood tipped sticks, so most of the "dirt" on the cymbals are finger prints or just collected dust.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If anyone wants to polish their cymbals to a high shine, Wrights Silver or Copper cleaning paste really works. Not logo friendly, but your cymbals will look like Buddy Rich's cymbals. You cloth will be pure black, and the black never stops. Meaning you could polish it to a high reflective shine, and polish it some more and the black just keeps coming.

Me I couldn't be bothered. I'd rather play them than clean them
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
If anyone wants to polish their cymbals to a high shine, Wrights Silver or Copper cleaning paste really works. Not logo friendly, but your cymbals will look like Buddy Rich's cymbals. You cloth will be pure black, and the black never stops. Meaning you could polish it to a high reflective shine, and polish it some more and the black just keeps coming.

Me I couldn't be bothered. I'd rather play them than clean them

yeah...for my set cymbals, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have cleaned my cymbals in 40 years

the marching cymbals get it every other weekend during the fall though
 

PEvans

Junior Member
My cymbals have been out on my kit in my living room for I guess 16+ years. There is a decent layer of dust and just residue, they don't really wipe off. The set is a mix of mostly A series (traditional), one A custom (brilliant), and one K custom hybrid. For better or worse I have used the old Sabian spray cleaner and Zildjian polish on some of them in the past.

I don't really care about getting them to a crazy high shine, particularly the K custom. I would certainly not like to change their color or take the logos off. However, I would like to get them clean so the residue doesn't contribute to stick marks and so they look like someone cares about them. It seems like the product for the A custom would be Zildjian polish, though it would look out of place with a like-new shine. For the others...

1. Is there any reason not to just clean them with dish soap and warm water? I hardly ever see this recommended; maybe I'm missing something.
2. Has anyone tried Meinl cleaner? This is the one for traditional and brilliant finishes. I hardly see it mentioned here
3. There is an interesting Youtube video where the guy is using diluted Groove Juice. What say you about that?

Thanks.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
I have a set of Zildjian K Sweet cymbals, all traditional finish obviously, and these things are super prone to stick marks that stick out like a sore thumb. I like the way they look when they're cleaned up but after playing them it looks like they were murdered with a stick.

Anybody have any of the traditional Ziljdian K series cymbals and clean theirs? What's your method? I've read several online but I'm so worried I'll mess these things up. They're too expensive for me to experiment on with weird chemicals and such. The Zildjian cymbal cleaner only works for Brilliant finishes unfortunately or I'd buy a bottle.
My cymbals have been out on my kit in my living room for I guess 16+ years. There is a decent layer of dust and just residue, they don't really wipe off. The set is a mix of mostly A series (traditional), one A custom (brilliant), and one K custom hybrid. For better or worse I have used the old Sabian spray cleaner and Zildjian polish on some of them in the past.

I don't really care about getting them to a crazy high shine, particularly the K custom. I would certainly not like to change their color or take the logos off. However, I would like to get them clean so the residue doesn't contribute to stick marks and so they look like someone cares about them. It seems like the product for the A custom would be Zildjian polish, though it would look out of place with a like-new shine. For the others...

1. Is there any reason not to just clean them with dish soap and warm water? I hardly ever see this recommended; maybe I'm missing something.
2. Has anyone tried Meinl cleaner? This is the one for traditional and brilliant finishes. I hardly see it mentioned here
3. There is an interesting Youtube video where the guy is using diluted Groove Juice. What say you about that?

Thanks.
What causes stick marks in the first place? Do all sticks do that?
 

JDFaulky

Active member
What causes stick marks in the first place? Do all sticks do that?

Pretty much all of my sticks leave marks, especially on the hi-hats. I primarily use hickory Pro Marks and Vic Firths.

Right now I basically use a little spray bottle of water and spray them down and dry them off quickly with a microfiber cloth. That seems to work okay at the moment.
 
Last edited:

StefaniB

Member
I have honestly been using Simple Green to clean my cymbals for the past few years. We started doing this with all of the marching cymbals (a mixture of many different Zildjian series) where I teach and it works really well...I had always used the Paiste cleaner before, which was also not bad, but seemed to be a little more messy and labor intensive, for just about the same results as Simple Green. I have even tried it on my 40's and 50's era Zildjians and it worked fine too. I find the SG does not take the logos off as aggressively, and i like my cymbals to have the logos and stamps

All of my Zildjian K's are from either the 90's or 2000's. I have K's, and K Dark Customs.

we use a diluted version of the large bottle of concentrate. I do about 2 cap fulls of SG in a medium sized spray bottle filled with water. It definitely gets fingerprints and (wood) stick marks off pretty well. It does not make them shine like factory new, but neither does the Paiste stuff when I have used it. You can play with the mixture as you see fit.

I spray on the SG solution (and previously the Paiste stuff), and then use a medium bristled toothbrush and go in circles around the cymbal. After doing that, I rinse it off, and then go around with a towel. Depending on the time in between cleanings, I sometimes have to do that again.

On a side note, I NEVER use nylon tipped sticks b/c I hate when the nylon gets into the grooves of the cymbals. (I also don't like the sound or feel) I also rarely get stick marks from using wood tipped sticks, so most of the "dirt" on the cymbals are finger prints or just collected dust.
Does this work for fingerprints as well?

Someone was playing on my kit a couple of weeks ago and left their fingerprints all over the cymbals. I tried just water and buffing with a microfiber cloth. It helped but the fingerprints markings are still there. I don't expect my cymbals to remain factory new looking but the fingerprint areas do stick out.

Stick marks, meh. I figured I'd have to live with them. They seem to buff right out with just a dry microfiber cloth but I'm not currently bothering with it.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Does this work for fingerprints as well?

Someone was playing on my kit a couple of weeks ago and left their fingerprints all over the cymbals. I tried just water and buffing with a microfiber cloth. It helped but the fingerprints markings are still there. I don't expect my cymbals to remain factory new looking but the fingerprint areas do stick out.

Stick marks, meh. I figured I'd have to live with them. They seem to buff right out with just a dry microfiber cloth but I'm not currently bothering with it.

it can...I think it depends on how oily the fingerprint was....when I do the Simple Green, I use a soft bristled tooth brush and do small circles going along the lathe-groove to get stubborn stuff out...and again, I am more going for getting the actual residue out than I am going for a certain look.
 
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