Polishing cymbals

felonious69

Well-known member
Can a car polisher/buffer be used for polishing cymbals? I am new to (drum) ownership and was wondering how to make it easier.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Let them age, no polish is the best polish. You don't want to fill space between the lathe lines.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Can a car polisher/buffer be used for polishing cymbals? I am new to (drum) ownership and was wondering how to make it easier.
The answer is, no not really. If you want clean shiny cymbals:

1: Clean dry towel to knock off loose debris. Circles for 5 mins.
2: A clean, warm, damp towel. Circles for 5 mins
3: A clean dry towel to absorb the soiled water. Circles for 5 mins.

If you have a particular stain, like a dark splotch of schmoo, or need to correct something that a simple towel won't accomplish, try adding a safe solvent. This begins with a drop of Dawn-style detergent in a warm water bath. Rarely will something demand extreme measures, where petroleum solvents like Naphtha are used... Maybe if a cat pissed on your cymbals or something.

If you find yourself in a situation where your 6-year-old puts a banana peel on your Hi-hat rod (cause it looks funny), and you take your kid to Disney world for two weeks while the banana peel rots on your 15" K-Thin Zildjian.... That's when you get out the q-tips and naphtha.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I would avoid all chemicals, instead utilizing a dry or damp cloth to wipe them down, sometimes with a hint of dish soap. Be certain to dry all surfaces thoroughly.
 
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J-W

Well-known member
Cleaning cymbals and polishing cymbals are two entirely different things. The recommendations above are for cleaning.
Polishing cymbals can be a tricky thing since some are "traditional" finish, some are "brilliant" finish and some are supposed to have a patina finish. While this seems to be a controversial subject, traditional finish (bare metal) can be polished while "brilliant" and patina can't/should not. Some believe that even traditional finish cymbals shouldn't be polished, but if done correctly any bare metal can be safely polished. They key words are "bare" metal and "correctly". If you polish a coated (brilliant) finish, it will ruin the coating.
Do you know what kind of cymbals you have?
And, no, a car polisher won't speed up the process and you risk leaving marks (scratches) in it. Besides, it's unnecessary as it can be a pretty quick and painless process without any mechanical help if done correctly.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Cleaning cymbals and polishing cymbals are two entirely different things. The recommendations above are for cleaning.
Polishing cymbals can be a tricky thing since some are "traditional" finish, some are "brilliant" finish and some are supposed to have a patina finish. While this seems to be a controversial subject, traditional finish (bare metal) can be polished while "brilliant" and patina can't/should not. Some believe that even traditional finish cymbals shouldn't be polished, but if done correctly any bare metal can be safely polished. They key words are "bare" metal and "correctly". If you polish a coated (brilliant) finish, it will ruin the coating.
Do you know what kind of cymbals you have?
And, no, a car polisher won't speed up the process and you risk leaving marks (scratches) in it. Besides, it's unnecessary as it can be a pretty quick and painless process without any mechanical help if done correctly.
I used the term polish broadly. I've reworded my statement. The gist: I don't apply chemical compounds to my cymbals, unless you deem soap and water chemical compounds. And I don't use soap often.
 

felonious69

Well-known member
These are Meinl HCS Bronze "Traditional" finish18" crash and 20" crash/ride.....I know, I know, but I am beginning and they are way better than the tin cans that came with a Roadshow....Again, I know, I know
 
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felonious69

Well-known member
If you find yourself in a situation where your 6-year-old puts a banana peel on your Hi-hat rod (cause it looks funny), and you take your kid to Disney world for two weeks while the banana peel rots on your 15" K-Thin Zildjian.... That's when you get out the q-tips and naphtha.
Thanks...like I said , new to this!
Isn't this last part also the part where you trade in the 6-yr-old for a newer model or a redhead 20 yr old?
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Let them age, no polish is the best polish. You don't want to fill space between the lathe lines.
Aren't the lathe lines being filled with dust and grime over time? I thought cleaners pulled that type of stuff off the cymbal which is why the cleaning rag gets dirty.

Also what's the consensus on Zildjian Polish (for brilliant cymbals). I was just about to buy this for my A customs.

 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
There’s a really long thread with every opinion about cymbal cleaning and polishing.
Worth a read through.
But to answer your question, buffing traditional finish cymbals will change the grooves and change the sound. Personally, I’d recommend groove juice in this situation, as its an acid that slowly dissolves stains and patina, but doesn’t attack clean bronze.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I use a small, low-rpm random orbital polisher with a soft terry cloth pad(s) that is held with one hand to help clean and polish my cymbals. I use the Paiste cymbal cleaner and their cymbal protector on all my cymbals, both brilliant finish and traditional.

I started using this type of orbital polisher about ten years ago and have been using the Paiste products for about 30 years. I don't always use the polisher and if I'm cleaning just a few cymbals, I do them by hand. But more than 3 and I'm using it. It definitely cuts down on the cleaning time. Here are snaps of the most recent time I cleaned up my main two sets.

18" HH thin crash (traditional), 20" HH Viennese ride (brilliant), 14" AA Sizzle hats (brilliant), 16" HH Thin crash (brilliant), 17" HH Dark crash (traditional), 10" Paiste Signature splash (brilliant/factory coated).
1593831511812.png


21 AA Rock Ride (brilliant) , 18 AA Thin Crash (traditional), 17 AA Medium Crash (brilliant), 16 AA Thin Crash (brilliant), 16 Wuhan China (brilliant), 14 AAX Studio Crash (brilliant), 14 AA Flat Hats (brilliant), 12 AAX Splash (traditional).
1593831809021.png
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
But to answer your question, buffing traditional finish cymbals will change the grooves and change the sound. Personally, I’d recommend groove juice in this situation, as its an acid that slowly dissolves stains and patina, but doesn’t attack clean bronze.
Not only does it grind away the peaks with microabrasives, but any grooves typically get filled with a mixture of bronze particles and (usually paraffin) wax, and it's really hard to get off.

We don't use acids because they leave a low surface PH which results in accelerated and uneven patina due to the catalyzed oxidization.

Groove juice, branded cleaners, and cymbal polishes are overpriced snake oil. It's a scam.

What's the old adage?
A bad scammer will sell you a cure for your ailments. Once you don't get better, the gig is up.
A good scammer will convince you that you have an illness when in fact you do not, so that the scam can go on forever.
 
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