Hand Hammering.. why?

tmdrum

Member
I agree with the OP.

I think hand hammering is a bit over rated. It's a marketing method more than anything.

Marketing method maybe for big manufacturers, but not for hand crafted turkish cymbal companies; it's working method they have always used to create their products.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I think hand hammering is a bit over rated. It's a marketing method more than anything.

People like think think, but that's how Tony and Elvin got their sounds...and while true, what's often left out is they went through boxes of cymbals to find just the right one. Just the fact that a cymbals was hand hammered didn't automatically make it sound good.

You're missing a step between "Some hand-hammered cymbals don't sound as good as others" and "Hand hammering is primarily a point of marketing". Some machine-hammered cymbals sound worse than others. Individual variation is a natural part of nearly all high-end instruments. One of the primary reasons people go nuts for Turkish Ks is because they're hand-hammered by people who were actively shaping them into an instrument with their strokes... and that continues in many manufacturers today.

Can hand-hammering be used as a marketing tactic? Absolutely. I think that's something Sabian obviously does. Is it the path to perfect cymbals every time? Well, arguably it is a time-tested method by individual artisans towards realizing the instrument to its fullest, so yes in that regard – absolutely not in the mass-production sense, I've heard plenty of crap hand-hammered cymbals in my lifetime. And yet, none of these mean that its effects, or for that matter the traditional Turkish method, are overrated in the slightest.
 

HenryColt

Member
I guy I know says that we, drummers, are more affected to the affairs of marketing than any other group of musics else.

And maybe it's true. The idea that something made by hand is better per se, it's false.

It's better if it sounds better, wheter is hand made or machine made.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
The idea that something made by hand is better per se, it's false.
I guess nobody said this in this discussion IIRC. Things made by hand are very often quite different, and that's what some people like. Others don't like it. ;-)
 

Purplestrat

Senior Member
No two of ANY musical instruments are the same. Period. Hand hammered cymbals are the worst though! If I go to Guitar Center and find an amp or guitar Ilove I can go home and find one online used for much cheaper and get 99% the same thing.

I've learned now that if I find a cymbal I love I better buy that exact cymbal! Especially stuff like Byzance. I passed on a Dark Ride that was perfect for me and have since bought two different ones on line and none of them sounded anything alike!
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
If I go to Guitar Center and find an amp or guitar Ilove I can go home and find one online used for much cheaper and get 99% the same thing.
Hahaha... The guitarist in my band would probably start coughing now and say "Nononononono!". But then, he's a guitar-nerd... :) (He has 15 electric plus a dozen acoustic guitars in his house.)
 

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Hahaha... The guitarist in my band would probably start coughing now and say "Nononononono!". But then, he's a guitar-nerd... :) (He has 15 electric plus a dozen acoustic guitars in his house.)

Yeah, I have a lot of experience trying out electric guitars and cymbals, and I'll say that any two copies of a given (mass-produced) electric guitar will likely sound and feel a lot more alike than any two Turkish-style cymbals (whether manufactured in the Old World or the New). Acoustic guitars, now that's another matter..!
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
...except that K Cons are completely machine hammered - meaning that the machine is making the stokes and runs on a combination of programmed, randomised, and guided strokes. No Zildjian cymbals are completely hand hammered anymore, and haven't been since 1981 (I believe). I can't speak for the other companies, but not even the Keropes are hand-hammered in the traditional understanding of that term.

I believe you are right, and I believe it's because of OSHA regulations. Zildjian is the only USA based cymbal company, so none of the other big boys are under OSHA's jurisdiction. I think OSHA said that hand hammering was dangerous to your hands long term (like using a jackhammer), so they more or less forced Zildjian to go all automated, and Zildjian had to spend millions of dollars to build machines that replicated hand hammering.

That's why the Canadian K's and the Early American K's are so sought after, because they were still being hand hammered back then.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm sure a master cymbal smith has a certain knowledge about the metal that you just can't duplicate with a machine. Every hammer hit is for a reason, whereas a machine just blindly plunks down, not taking into account the grain, and who knows what else these guys take into account. I'm pretty sure that the machine hammer has only one angle of strike, with one force. A man can't do that, and that alone should count for something. I think a man would adjust the angle of the strike according to his experience. I would think they would use all their senses, especially hearing, to know what to do with a piece of bronze. A machine has no sense of anything like that. I hope they keep hammering away.


Another good analogy is live music made to a click vs an organic live performance played without one. They are going to feel different from one another in an overall sense.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I'm sure a master cymbal smith has a certain knowledge about the metal that you just can't duplicate with a machine. Every hammer hit is for a reason, whereas a machine just blindly plunks down, not taking into account the grain, and who knows what else these guys take into account. I'm pretty sure that the machine hammer has only one angle of strike, with one force. A man can't do that, and that alone should count for something. I think a man would adjust the angle of the strike according to his experience. I would think they would use all their senses, especially hearing, to know what to do with a piece of bronze. A machine has no sense of anything like that. I hope they keep hammering away.


Another good analogy is live music made to a click vs an organic live performance played without one. They are going to feel different from one another in an overall sense.


I think a machine could be made that could take all those factors into consideration.
It would be prohibitively expensive though.
And specific frequency/volume parameters would have to be programmed
to obtain the desired result.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think a machine could be made that could take all those factors into consideration.
It would be prohibitively expensive though.
And specific frequency/volume parameters would have to be programmed
to obtain the desired result.

They're called human beings lol.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
They're called human beings lol.


Probably good to be alive while we have some little purpose.

Other than to serve the machines, that is.

Corn picked by hand tastes so much better than corn picked by machines - ha ha.
 

BachBeat

Senior Member
Perhaps we need another phrase that is less ambiguous to describe the process. I think there ought to be a difference - especially in marketing terminology and semantics - between:

- Cymbals that have had a machine hammering them which has been programmed by a person;

- Cymbals that have been machine hammered, but held and guided by a person;

- Cymbals that have been *partially* hand hammered, but machine shaped, pressed, etc; and

- Cymbals that have been completed hand made from blanks, without machine involvement (use of a lathe not withstanding. It would be expected that this would be hand-lathed while the machine rotates...)

Here is the blurb from each of the Big Three:

ZILDJIAN:

With the development of new technology, the hand hammering is not the most effective or efficient way to manufacture the highest quality, consistent cymbal. We now have the ability to accurately recreate hand hammering with computer-controlled machinery. A computer can be programmed to hammer a cymbal in a symmetrical pattern, as in the A and A Custom ranges, or randomly, as in the K and K Constantinople ranges. Symmetrically hammered cymbals have a high, bright cutting sound because the hammer rows are more organized and vibrations can easily travel across the body of the cymbal. Randomly hammered cymbals have a range of overtones and a darker sound because the sound vibrations have to travel through the many unorganized hammer marks. This new technology has allowed a consistency in cymbal sound that cannot be duplicated by human hands.

Verdict: Extremely unlikely that there is any hammering done 'by hand' - including on the Kerope and Constantinople lines. (By hand, in this case, = human being holding a hammer.)


SABIAN:

(HH Series) HH cymbals are traditionally hand-hammered into shape and sound by Sabian craftsmen. Each cymbal receives between 2,000 and 4,000 hammer blows, resulting in increased musicality, tonal complexity and unmatched sonic texture.

(Artisan Series) Artisan cymbals blend old-world cymbal-making with innovation. Traditionally hand-hammered into shape and sound by Sabian craftsmen, Artisan cymbals also receive hand-guided large-peen hammering for extra dark, complex musicality.

Verdict: Looks like a blend of hammering techniques. Still very ambiguous with HH though, due to unclear terminology. Unsure.


PAISTE:

The Master Cymbal
The master cymbals created by Sound Development form the basis for production and are kept as references in the different production departments. Each department’s goal is to contribute to producing faithful copies of these reference cymbals. This is the principle that ensures the ultimate in consistency and quality.

The Firing Department
The firing department prepares the round disks for later stages of production. A visual inspection ensures uniformity and sorts out flawed disks. The center of the cymbal is then heated to soften the metal, so that a bell can be pressed into it. A hole is then punched through the center of the bell. Some cymbals are sent through a high temperature oven in order to anneal them.

The Hammering Department
The hammering department gives the cymbal its shape. To conserve human energy, we utilize a pneumatic hammer. This tool aids the craftsman in the initial shaping of the cymbal. With his feet the craftsman controls the velocity and force, and with his hand the spacing and pattern of the hammering. The process is comparable to mastering four-way independence in drumming. Extensive and careful hand hammering using only hammer and anvil accomplishes the fine-tuning of the shape. An important aspect of this process is the truing, ensuring uniformity in shape throughout the cymbal.

The Lathing Department
The lathing department reduces the thickness of the cymbal to the correct parameters which usually also involves a thinning of the surface towards the edge of the cymbal. Our tolerances are minute, and measuring by micrometer is necessary to achieve them.

The Finishing Department
The finishing touches are then applied by smoothing the cymbal's edges, silk-screening brand marks and model designations on the instrument and then coating it with a special protective solution to prevent oxidisation.

The Verdict: Unlikely that there is any hand hammering, per this description.


Disclaimer: These 'verdicts' could be 100% wrong. Just based on the available information from companies on their public sites.
 
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