cracking cymbals

mxracer591

Junior Member
So, in the past few months, I've went through 2 china cymbals. The first was a 18' A custom, which lasted me for a few years, but not playing all the time. After I started playing with my band for awhile, and playing more then just every once in awhile, I cracked it after about 6 months. With it costing about $280, I was quite upset about this. I tried to find something to fit my taste, but somewhat cheap, because funding is an issue. I found a 18' regular A china high for $50 on craigslist. It looked like the guy had used it maybe twice, so I figured it was a good deal. Here it is 2 months later, and it has a crack in it. I have a video recorded from behind my drums, so you guys can check out my technique when I hit it. Any other advice would be appreciated too, I know I'm not the best, but I'm working on it. the link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D01zqEQkjlE
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I don't like the whole china concept anymore. They're too quiet for their size, you have to hit them in a place that's awkward for your stick and for the life of the cymbal and I always wonder of the next hit will be the last (and I'm no thrasher). Chinas are stupid.

I think effects cymbals like the ozone, or those meinl things are the go. Or get a few circular holes cut into an old crash. Much better IMO.
 

MattA

Senior Member
I have my china set up at more of an angle and try to strike it with more of a glancing stroke.

Haven't cracked one yet.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I don't like the whole china concept anymore. They're too quiet for their size....
That's the first time I've ever heard that said. Everyone else seems to think they cut like crazy. In the right setting you can wipe out the band with one.

MX, you might just try mounting the thing normally, right side up. It doesn't look as cool, but since you're basically using it as a crash cymbal, you may as well. That will relieve the nasty shock you're laying on it right now, and if you're not breaking your crashes, then you will almost certainly stop breaking your china types as well. When people started mounting them upside down, they were doing a lot of playing one the bow of the cymbal with the shoulder of the stick— basically anything you might play on the bell of the ride cymbal— but you're not using it that way. Otherwise, they can usually be found pretty cheaply on eBay, and you can just consider it a cost of having a cool-looking set up. The spring thing should also save it, but I can't stand the goofy wobble.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
I think effects cymbals like the ozone, or those meinl things are the go. Or get a few circular holes cut into an old crash. Much better IMO.
I've modified a bunch of broken (or already messed with) cymbals into bells. And when checking out those cymbals prior to modding them I noticed that cymbals tend to sound like/resemble chinas/effects pretty quickly. It doesn't take much to drastically change the sound. Even 2 (bigger) holes or cutouts give it that 'in which context would I use this' sound.

Depending on where your china is cracked you (= the orig. poster) might eliminate the crack by creating a hole there, and for balance (otherwise the cymbal is prone to getting a keyhole) add some more holes placed symmetrically. (I've done this on one cymbal - it had an 'inside' crack. Instead of cutting it down to a bell - which in this case seemed like a waste of material to me - I 'covered' the crack by a hole and added 5 more holes placed equally.) Or you might have some discontinued/cracked cymbals and experiment with modding them in a similar fashion. Might do the trick soundwise.

Do all drummers hit chinas the way you are hitting them?
 

wombat

Senior Member
Im no expert by any means but it looked at first viewing like you have your cymbals tilted sligthly away from you...so your whacking on the edge of the cymbal....maybee cambered more toward you may assist in longevity.

It also looked to my casual glance like you were banking straight into the cymbals rather than a slightly glancing hit.

If your hitting em as regularly as you are you should see them "rotating" in the direction of the glance....especially when you whack em as hard as the china.

Any cymbals going to cry for mamma if you hit em hard flush on the edge...only a matter of time really....

Thats my obsevations anyway.... for what theyre worth
 

Otto

Platinum Member
consider altering your strike a bit.

One way to think of it is "lifting" the sound from the cymbal instead of pushing the sound out of it.

Note that there is a point where more force does not produce more sound...and also a point where more force starts to muddy the frequencies the cymbal creates....just like a strike on a drum does.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
That's the first time I've ever heard that said. Everyone else seems to think they cut like crazy. In the right setting you can wipe out the band with one.
Well, a big one can be loud but compare a china to a crash of the same size, I think the crash is going to be a bit louder.

Not to mention the china design doesn't really allow you to play through it... if you want to hit it hard you have to smack it basically.

I dunno, someone tell me I'm wrong.
 

MattA

Senior Member
Well, a big one can be loud but compare a china to a crash of the same size, I think the crash is going to be a bit louder.

Not to mention the china design doesn't really allow you to play through it... if you want to hit it hard you have to smack it basically.

I dunno, someone tell me I'm wrong.
I would disagree, I've got a couple of 16 inch crashes and a 16 inch china and the china destroys the crashs in volume.

As Todd was saying, there's really nothing that cuts through more than a china.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
My china (20" Zildjian fx) cuts like crazy.

I turn it upside down like Vinnie does and that's maybe something you'd want to try if you want it to open up and don't want to hit the edge. Makes it much more versatile to me.
 

skod

Senior Member
Posted this in the other cymbal cracking thread a few weeks ago- but I think it still applies.

I believe that stick technique can really contribute to a cymbal's life, or lack of it. As pointed out here, cymbals really do have a physical limit, beyond which they simply don't get any louder- they just self-destruct.

I believe that the hardest thing there is for a cymbal is to get hit squarely with the butt of the stick, on a perfect radial line from the mount hole straight out to the edge (essentially, with the butt of the stick landing right at the junction between bell and bow). *All* of the energy from the stick transfers directly into the cymbal, and any energy beyond what is needed to make the cymbal speak has pretty much nowhere to go- so it begins ripping the crystalline structure of the metal apart. The stresses are highest right at the transition from bell to bow, so cracks can easily nucleate there. For folks that often crack crashes right at the bottom of the bell: take a look at your technique, and see if this might be applicable. This is the easiest way to crack a crash-ride, because you need to put a good deal of energy into them to get them to open up. This feels very rewarding, in a way. There's no question that the cymbal well and truly *knows* that it has been hit with this sort of a dead blow. However, it can be really destructive and expensive: I for one have several copies of that teeshirt from back when I was starting out. You can literally knock the bell right out of a cymbal in this manner.

Took a long time, but I finally trained myself to *never* swing at a cymbal with a square, radial lick like that. I always aim to slice across the bow well out from the bell, and to play through it at an angle, not hammering straight down as if to punch the stand up through the center hole. I want my cymbals to swing freely in a circular motion after a stroke, so that any excess energy from my adrenaline turns into swing, rather than ripping the cymbal apart. In particular, I do not want my cymbals to stop my sticks: I want them to carry through, so that not all the energy of the stroke goes into the cymbal. It seems to have worked, because at least for me, the cymbal cracking I was famous for stopped completely after I adopted it. It is certainly worth investigating, anyway. Your mileage may vary!
 

FlamFlamMan

Senior Member
Yeah, like others have said it looks to me like your hitting the cymbals a bit square (right through the middle). Try hitting them off to the side of the stand.

Also, you might want to consider something like an aquarian cymbal spring. These will let your cymbal swing around much more than a regular stand and dissipate energy. I only use one of these with my china and its last ~8 yrs with some fairly hard hitting (and some really hard hitting when I lent it out once).

Also, I know we drummers always cymbal shop with our ears, but I would suggest buying cheaper china cymbals. I've never spent more than $100 on one, and I don't think I ever could given how the design has a tendency to break. Find a store that carries Wuhan and go digging through the Wuhan pile for one you like.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I watched the video now.

1) It's mounted to high and/or too flat.

2) You're pretty much cutting right down on it 90 degrees with the stick.

3) It actually looks like you're pushing down on it and I can clearly see the cymbal stopping and rebounding from the stand while you hit it.


Makes it no surprise to me that they break.
 

OrangeAgent27

Silver Member
I took an old ZBT I had and pounded it with a mallet for about 20 minutes. I then beat it until it inverted on itself. I love it now. Bright, cutting super trashy without the "clang" of most chinas. Almost like those stackers except with some sustain. I could just be blinded with a form of "parents pride" but I do love it.
 

The Scorpio

Senior Member
Unless you alter your technique, I think you will most likely continue to crack china cymbals. With the style of music you are playing in the video, you almost have to hit the cymbal like you are to get the appropriate sound.

I second the Agazarian/Wuhan comment. To my ears they cut well and sound pretty good, plus they are pretty cheap.

Cool band!

Kyle
 

marko138

Silver Member
So, in the past few months, I've went through 2 china cymbals. The first was a 18' A custom, which lasted me for a few years, but not playing all the time. After I started playing with my band for awhile, and playing more then just every once in awhile, I cracked it after about 6 months. With it costing about $280, I was quite upset about this. I tried to find something to fit my taste, but somewhat cheap, because funding is an issue. I found a 18' regular A china high for $50 on craigslist. It looked like the guy had used it maybe twice, so I figured it was a good deal. Here it is 2 months later, and it has a crack in it. I have a video recorded from behind my drums, so you guys can check out my technique when I hit it. Any other advice would be appreciated too, I know I'm not the best, but I'm working on it. the link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D01zqEQkjlE
Good drumming dude. I enjoyed it. I'd lower all of those cymbals, china included. Put the china on a yellow (heavy) cymbal spring and tilt it toward you a bit. You're catching the edge with the shoulder of your stick and it's taking a beating.
 
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