Hand-hammering and re-creating cymbals

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Hi !

I'm Johan from Bruges, Belgium. I'm a drummer and a sound-freak.

About 20 years ago I started getting a bit frustrated about the kind of cymbals that were available. I had been looking for really complex and dark sounding cymbals but I just couldn't find them in the shops. The modern K's sounded too one-directional and sterile to me. I liked the Turkish Istanbul cymbals better but still they weren't quite what I wanted.

So I started rehammering factory cymbals from Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, etc. to get the sound I wanted. After a while I learned how to change the sound a certain way through strategical hand-hammering and lathing. I've been doing it ever since.
I also found out that many types of student cymbals can be hammered into professional cymbals, providing the alloy is good.

The cymbals I hammered can be seen AND heard on this webindex page.

Some "before and after modification" files can be heard in THIS section.

Also check out some of the amateur cymbals I converted into professional cymbals HERE.



This was once a Paiste 3000 22" ride, now a very dark heavy ride:




This was a 20" Avedis Zildjian crash, now a light complex jazzride:




This was a Ufip Ritmo 16" crash, now a light trashy crash:




This was a Zildjian ZBT 20" ride, now a light (professional !) very complex jazzride:




A 16" Avedis Zildjian crash, now a china:



Finally a "before and after" pic of a cheap 16" Headliner crash cymbal, now a professional dark thin crash:
 
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M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
This thought has occurred to me before. What if I could take my cymbals and modify them to my own needs? Well I'm glad to think I'm not insane. I just don't trust any skills I have. Great job on those cymbals! Congratulations, I think we've just found ourselves a new market niche!
 
C

Chip

Guest
Holy crap, that's awesome!!!! Could you post a tutorial(or you could keep it to yourself........), have you done work with a cymbal manufacturer or did you learn it your self? That's awesome, I have some paiste 302's that could do with a soundover! The headliner looks the most different, absolutely amazing.

Did you need an anvil, I'd imagine you would to use the beak etc. How'd you mount them on the lathe? Is it a special one or conventional metalwork lathe? How many cymbal did screw through trial and error? ............Man I ask a heap of questions...

That's amazing stuff. One has to truly admire what you've done there, that headliner sounds ever so good now, would you be able to, say, write some more about this? This is really great stuff, does eery hit have to be precise, I'd imagine the lathing would be difficult, I have have trouble getting WOOD flat, but a cymbal......... you've really gotta tell man............
 
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Johan VDS

R.I.P.
No I don't work for a cymbal producer. I justed started doing it because I couldn't find the sound I wanted.

I learned it myself from trial and error.

My tools are pretty much the same as the ones you see on the websites of Turkish cymbalmanufacturers. Just a few hammers, an anvil and a large diameter lathe.

Hammering isn't something you can easily explain, it's an intricate interplay of shape, tension, thickness which you have to learn to control and get a feel for. You can only acquire that skill through many experience. The best way to start is with very cheap cymbals like Paiste 302 or Sabian Solar. But don't expect these to ever really sound good, their brass alloy doesn't allow for a decent sound.

Student cymbals that offer the possibility of upgrading to pro-level are mainly the ones made from B8 alloy.
 

Drummer Karl

KARL MEMBER
Johan VDS said:
No I don't work for a cymbal producer. I justed started doing it because I couldn't find the sound I wanted.

I learned it myself from trial and error.

My tools are pretty much the same as the ones you see on the websites of Turkish cymbalmanufacturers. Just a few hammers, an anvil and a large diameter lathe.

Hammering isn't something you can easily explain, it's an intricate interplay of shape, tension, thickness which you have to learn to control and get a feel for. You can only acquire that skill through many experience. The best way to start is with very cheap cymbals like Paiste 302 or Sabian Solar. But don't expect these to ever really sound good, their brass alloy doesn't allow for a decent sound.

Student cymbals that offer the possibility of upgrading to pro-level are mainly the ones made from B8 alloy.
Your results are soooo professional!!! You aren`t just a junior member, you have to get the rank "cymbalproducer" or so, too!!

Keep up hammering :)

Karl
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
There's a guy here in the US who does that too. The name escapes me right now but he turns out some wonderful sounding cymbals. I would imagine you ruin a lot of cymbals in the learing process. I admire your skills and ingenuity.
 

russcat

Senior Member
Dude I love how you name them "Undertaker Ride","Mysterious Crash","Happy Hi-Hats." Do you sell these cymbals?I listened to a lot of them and they all sound awesome!This is my favorite one:



 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
russcat said:
Dude I love how you name them "Undertaker Ride","Mysterious Crash","Happy Hi-Hats."
My friends at Cymbalholic.com helped me finding inspiration for these names.

Concerning your other question I figure it's best that I send you a mail. Which I will do now !
 

cdawg_2010

Gold Member
thats awesome! i dont think id be able to do that because id be afraid id ruin them. nice job tho, you should work for a company or start your own
 
C

Chip

Guest
The hammer and the anvil are fine, although the large dia. lathe...... what's the swing on it? I'd imagine it would be "12... Am I right? I'm thinking of upgrading, so the old 302's (or the school's crappy planet Z's, hahahaha) would be good to start.
Can you recommend any websites, videos etc for learning? You should make a video, I'd get it for sure.
Have you ever tried starting from scratch, casting your own, I was going to do this with a homemade forge from an old bell(bell bronze hehe..)
How did you mount it on the lathe, a mandrel-type contraption, or like a spindle with a thread that you can tighten them on to? Awesome work, once again!
 

Johan VDS

R.I.P.
Chip said:
Can you recommend any websites, videos etc for learning?
I don't know of any instructional material on hammering at present. It's really something you have to learn by trial and error.
The cymbals are indeed mounted on my lathe on a threaded spindle. Check some of the websites or Turkish cymbalbrands, you'll see some lathes there.
 
C

Chip

Guest
Thanks man, great help, I thought it would be too esoteric too really explain, but how would you you suggest to start? Say, visualise a certain sound and try to achieve it?? This is just something I've wanted to do for a few years but haven't had the cymbals to do it.
 
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