Is It Common For Some People Not To Take Care of Their Gear?


Senior Member
i wonder this, because, I just bought a used cymbal, Paiste 16" signature fast, and though it is in good condition, (no stick marks, no cracks, etc) it is really dirty and has a lot of fingerprints on it. Is it that hard to rub the cymbals down every once in a while with a little cleaner?

I came over to drums from guitar. A lady friend of mine told me if I take care of a woman like I take care of my guitars, it would be a lucky woman. (Note; Impossible, can't be done. there is nothing I take care of better than musical instruments LOL)

I just wonder that, when you spend hundreds of $ on something it would seem worth a modicum of effort to keep it in tip-top shape.



Platinum Member
I don't like shiny cymbals. I prefer to buy them used and dirty, preferrably with a dark patina as well. Shiny cymbals just look gaudy to me...


Platinum Member
I care for my cymbals but never clean them. Any oxidation, patina or fingerprints are fine, mind you I don't eat fried chicken on them either.
I too don't like shiny, and never buy a brilliant finished model.

Beam Me Up Scotty

Silver Member
I like my cymbals dirty. The patina adds a slight mellow warmth to the sound of the cymbal; many drummers like this, many do not. Totally subjective.
That being said, cymbals don't really require maintenance, unless you like them to look shiny and new (absolutely nothing wrong if that's your preference).

As for my drums and hardware, I wipe down my drums every week, usually dismounting everything and using cloth to get in all the nooks and crannies. The pedals are lubricated as needed, and any rust that forms on the tension screws is removed by either CLR or some equivalent, or they are replaced altogether.

My stands/rack get wiped down every now and again, but they're not really moving around a whole lot, so they seem to be fine. Unless they start rusting, I wipe 'em down with some warm water on a cloth, then dry them off. Usually this is done whilst they're assembled. Can't say I've ever had rust issues on the stands themselves, even the ones that are at least 5 years old.

So to answer your question, yes, I feel that maintenance of your highly expensive instrument and hardware is of paramount importance.


Red Menace

Platinum Member
I really don't like shiny cymbals. When I played guitar I used to polish them all the time and keep the string nice and clean. Now as a drummer I actually play gigs and I really don't polish my gear. I too like cymbals with a nice layer of patina. I have actually artificially aged cymbals for a darker tone.

Now this is not to say that I don't care for my gear. My stuff is bagged and I take care when loading and unloading to not break anything. However I hit the stuff so I don't baby it.


Platinum Member
So I'm betting the OP didn't buy "relic" guitars.

There was a time when I didn't like things that were shiny and new. Something about it screamed "newbie" to me. I wanted to walk in and have people think that I've been at it awhile. Over time I got over that and let my playing speak for itself. So I have no aversion to clean or newish gear. I watched Robben Ford's tech polishing his guitars before every show for a few years and decided that it he could play nice shiny new stuff, so could I. That said, while I treat my instruments with respect, I don't baby them rf fastidiously go over every nook and cranny looking for a smudge. IMHO they're meant to be played.

I've been collecting some new cymbals lately as I've migrated to a darker washier thing. And the ones I've found that I liked the best were new. But I don't polish them or wipe the fingerprints off. There's still some part of me that likes stuff to look like it's been played. And cymbals are one of those things that get better with age. So I'm not going to etch away any metal with cleaners or polishes. Just let them age naturally.


Platinum Member
I am guilty of not cleaning my gear as often as I should. It isn't really dirty, maybe some dust, but nothing that will really hurt anything. Now if something were to be spilled on them or whatever, you damn right I would clean them right away.

When I was a lot younger I was incredibly OCD about cleaning my gear. Like spend an entire day disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling OCD. It was bad.


Gold Member
They're inanimate pieces of wood, and metal.

I take good care of them (because if they get stolen, or damaged, it directly impacts my ability to have fun with my band) but I don't clean them, and I have never wiped a cymbal. Sod it, too much beer to drink post gig for that crap :)

Bought some lemons a while back to clean my cymbals up with....came in handy for some gin and tonics one weekend

They're not people. They won't get hurt feelings if you bump one of them against the door jamb on the way in the rehearsal room, nor will cymbals get sad if they're left dirty.

Most importantly they're there to be used, to be hit, crunched, crashed, walloped, bashed, smashed, boinked, twoinked, kazooed, badoomed....

I can't understand sometimes the almost reverent attitude people have towards them.

But this is just my very humble, and personal, view on them.


I have CDO. It's like OCD but the letters are in the correct order. LIKE THEY SHOULD BE.

Having said that, I can't see spending thousands of dollars on gear only to let it rot away. I take pride in the appearance of my drums not to mention the few guitars, basses and keyboards I own.

Keeping them in "as new" condition as possible for their lifetimes is just something I like to do (more like compelled to do ; ). I have a 35 year old set of Pearl Exports that look new as well as guitars and basses from the early '90s that look incredible.

Having said that, cymbals are a different story. I like mine au natural.... mostly. I've purchased a couple cymbals new which have had the fingerprints of everyone who came into the store and touched them all over the cymbal's rim. I'll clean these off but after that the cymbal is on its own. I like the patina that builds and the sound characteristics that shape the cymbals sound.

This thread actually brings back some nostalgia too. I was in the basement cleaning my drum set for an upcoming weekend show. The news was on the TV in the background and the talking head suddenly announced that Keith Moon, drummer for The Who had died. That sucked.

But back to the point.... Take care of your gear! Somebody may want to buy it someday and gear in good condition sells for way more : D


Senior Member
For one thing, it's impossible to keep cymbals clean. All my cymbals now are natural/regular finish and don't show dirt as much, but the brilliant ones I've owned were covered in fingerprints and showed discoloration more easily, which I have to admit I didn't like. But more importantly, fingerprints and stick marks aren't really "wear." That's like calling scratches on a pick guard "wear." Now, cracks and dings, that's a different story.


Platinum Member
For the most part, I like to keep my things clean. I too came over from a lifetime of playing guitar and I saw just as many people with dirty and beat up guitars as I do with dirty and beat up drums/cymbals. Nothing at all wrong with that, but my preference is to keep things somewhat clean.

The weird thing about me is that I actually ENJOY cleaning my gear. Honestly... I'm a guy that "fiddles around" alot and cleaning is part of that.

I will also say that I like cymbals to 'shimmer' tonally and cleaning them helps keep that sound.


Gold Member
There is a big difference in giving gear a "wipe down" and taking care of it. Two short stories to illustrate.

1. I play in an adult community orchestra which rehearses in the band of a local small college so we are using equipment that is used by others. The percussion students at the college NEVER put away their gear. It is ALWAYS left out all over the place and rarely covered. (In a previous post I said I wouldn't use those superlatives again. I lied.) Who is teaching these kids this behavior? I, as principle of the section, have even left signs urging them to put their stuff away to no avail. I have even put their stuff away in unlikely places so they will have to hunt for it thinking that they would then take better care of it also to no avail. I would never treat my gear that way.

2. Many years ago when I was in college, I played in a band in which we had two drummers. By happenstance, we had identical kits, both white pearl MIJ (remember, this was the 60's). Though mine weren't expensive, I treasured them. I had hard cases for them and always packed them for transit. My colleague transported his in a van. He would back up said van to the door and literally throw them to the back still assembled. Needless to say, his didn't last too long. Some years later I sold my kit to my local high school when I got my Zickos (after all, who needs more than one kit). Unfortunately in short order they were matchsticks.

Sorry for the rant but taking care of drum gear is close to my heart.


My preference is to keep my gear clean, including my cymbals. The best advice I read about that was if you like how they sounded when you bought them, then clean them. Again, all user preference. However, I don't think not cleaning cymbals = neglect. Drums and hardware on the other hand...

One thing that always gets me is when I'm at a gig and I see the band's drummer coming in the club, dragging cymbal stands in with the cymbals attached. This whether it's sunny, raining or snowing. Soon followed by carrying in the nested drums without cases. Again, it's everyone's preference, but I believe in respecting my instrument. Mojo and all that, you know??


Platinum Member
I wipe down my guitars after every use because I actually touch those.

I rarely clean or wipe my drum stuff because the contact is indirect, and I don't really care how it looks (it shares a room with 3 litter boxes so a little dust and finger prints are the least of it's worries).


Senior Member
I take care of my stuff, carry it around on a cart in bags and cases. I did clean a ride cymbal with cymbal cleaner but it came dingy as heck new from a music store for a great price. I got rid of the kiddie fingerprints from a few years of display, but i'll let it patina like my others. I baby my drums, but not too extreme. They are meant to get hit after all.

My only beef is with people who abuse their nice gear. I played a local band showcase once. The back had a truck dock and a long ramp down the side of it in concrete. As I was loading my truck with my kit I saw a young teen drummer from a high school aged band ROLL his bass drum up the concrete ramp. It is round, but still.. Spurs, tom mount, lugs, etc, all rumbled and thumped as he scraped it up the ramp. Ugh! I think they were wrapped and not stained or painted and beat to heck a little bit. The kid chucked at me as he rolled it by, saying "oh, well... beats having to lift it!" Really?!? Dumb kid..


Senior Member
I use cymbags to protect my cymbals from damage. Keeps them clean as well, though I don't care too much about that. Although I did clean my 21" K Custom Hybrid the other day, but that was after a pigeon had shat on it during an outdoor gig (mid song, while I was riding it; really annoying).



Silver Member
I bought a two year old set of Rogers drums in 1979. Today, they don't look much different now than they did then. You can see age, some case wear, a few scuffs here and there, but over all.... they still look fantastic. I take care of my gear. I have seen a lot of drums that were just beat to pieces through neglect and outright abuse. I purchased a five year old set of Ayotte Custom drums once that already had rust on the hoops. Who pays 4500.00 for a top line set of drums and then lets them develop rust in just five years? I picked up four DW 9000 series cymbal boom stands once for 120.00 that the guy was selling because they were "wore out," It was all grime and dirt and never once cleaned. They stand with DW stands I purchased new and you have to look to tell which were mine and which I bought used, "wore out." I have three 1960s Rogers sets that all are coming up on 50 years old, they look nicer than a lot of good sets that are only five years old.

There is no excuse to abuse a musical instrument through neglect. That is just lazy and stupid.


Senior Member
As someone who buys and sells gear, the answer is definitely yes.
My personal gear is very well taken care of although I don't believe in cleaning cymbals.
The gear I flip is always a mess. Dust, grease, smoke, #$%@&* duct tape, you name it. It is not only the low end gear either. In the past month I have acquired vintage gear from Gretsch, Ludwig, Slingerland, Zildjian, Sabian, etc.. All in deplorable condition.
Some of the neglect is due to ignorance. Some people simply just don't know that you need sleeves on your stands to prevent keyholes.
Also, drums change hands a lot. That cymbal you bought used may have had a dozen previous owners. Only the first owner paid hundreds for it.
Since I fix and re-sell gear, I have mixed feelings on the subject. I hate to see good drums mistreated, but if everyone took good care of their gear, I'd be out of business.


Silver Member
I keep my cymbals very clean. I clean them after every couple of shows.

My nice gear is well cared for. My 'throw around' gear is treated as such. I use my cheap ddrum kit for practice and for shows where I know my kit may possibly take some aesthetic damage. I took my Yamaha kit to one show, and by the end of it, it was covered in beer and silly string. Wasn't entirely happy about cleaning it all off. Now, when I play there, my ddrum kit comes with, instead.