Removing Cymbal coating, what results?

SgtThump

Platinum Member
That difference in sound can hardly be placed on the coating / lack of.

If you took 5 crash cymbals, all made in 1992, exact same cymbals as in same line, same model, same size etc, they would most likely all sound different.
That's the real issue about cymbals, IMO. I can't just flat out say I love a Zildjian Sweet Ride (for example), because some don't sound good to me and others sound fantastic.

I have no idea if I like coating or not, because the sonic differences between two of the same model and size can be so different sounding.
 

poika

Silver Member
The problem for me is when you get cymbals that dont really sound good enough to be "that cymbal", but they still sound good enough that you don't want to sell them.
And you keep looking / buying / going broke.

But I guess when it comes to this thing I'm a masochist because I just can't get enough haha!
 

TomH

Junior Member
I recently tried an experiment. I took a great sounding Zildjian A crash circa 1969 and cleaned it. I made a high resolution sound file of it playing ride patterns and crashes.

I then applied MinWax Satin Wipe on Poly which 90% cures in 7 days (100% cure in 30 days).

I played the cymbal for hours. The Poly coat showed zero wear. I then recorded the coated cymbal and compared the files over high quality ribbon driver head phones.

The result was absolutely no detectable difference in the sound of the cymbal by me either with ride or crash style playing.

My conclusion is the the factory coatings are likely polyurethane type polymers (a guess) allowed to completely cure before shipping and playing. If you like clean cymbals this might be a solution. If you don't care, let them discolor. We are all different and frankly thats OK. The test was really to resolve the issue in my mind.

If you decide to try this I suggest you start with an older cymbal without logos. That way you can remove the coating without losing anything but your effort to remove the coating.

Be sure to let the finish cure vs dry. Drying to the touch normally takes 24 - 48 hours. 90% curing normally take a week and is the minimum needed for striking the finish with sticks. 30 days is normal full cure time for poly without using an oven to bake the finish. I didn't want to attempt baking cymbals.

Hope this is helpful.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I have the same K Custom Ride. Mine felt waxy, I presumed it was cigarette smoke from the previous owner. Mine cleaned up with groove juice (a mild acid which removes tarnish but doesn’t attack bronze) and sounds a little livelier.

But the K Custom is a very heavy, dead sounding cymbal anyway.
 

jimb

Member
Thread revival only cause i was curious. Its not a great idea to remove the finish. I bought a 505 ride recently which had the coating removed and its a huge mess of fingerprints and sweaty marks which oddly are quite difficult to remove.....it looks like an explosion in a sauce factory...not pretty.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Thread revival only cause i was curious. Its not a great idea to remove the finish. I bought a 505 ride recently which had the coating removed and its a huge mess of fingerprints and sweaty marks which oddly are quite difficult to remove.....it looks like an explosion in a sauce factory...not pretty.
No No No!!......Don't try to remove them; fingerprints and sweat marks are "character" and "aging", so whatever you do, don't EVER polish them again, otherwise you'll completely change the sound of them AND you won't look like a hard-core drummer. :rolleyes: Both you and that cymbal have earned that nasty sweat stained look of dedicating every minute of your time to playing rather than caring for your instrument.
Sorry man, you're now forever stuck with an ugly cymbal, but look on the bright side; now you look like a total badass. Unfortunately, only to other drummers. The other 99.999% of the audience will just think you're gross and sweaty. But since you're a drummer, they probably already thought that anyway. 😛
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
The cymbal in question has no lathing lines, by the way, it is a Zildjian K session ride with a factory made hammering pattern. When you touch the cymbal you can feel the plastic-like coating on the cymbal that the new owners over at Zildjian feel that looking good is more important than sounding good. The plastic-like coating mutes the cymbal much worse then just a little dirt, and it is not the same as a natural patina. I have not removed the coating as of yet, so I have not experienced a brighter sound of the cymbal. This coating is either an epoxy or a paint on the cymbal to keep it looking good. I have removed the dirt on many old cymbals, this is very different.

Even if these coatings were available a hundred years ago, I do not believe they would have used them on the old hand-made cymbals, it dulls the sound. What I am trying to do is to get some life out of this cymbal. Right now, when it is played it dies too fast because of the plastic-like coating.
Surely Z knew exactly what their coating would do to the sound? If they wanted it to sound brighter, they'd have applied it to a brighter cymbal.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
I’m with you. I wanna play metal and not painted metal. I’ve stripped multiple cymbals. I‘m pretty sure the coatings are polyurethane so a paint stripper that included methylene chloride works well and is easy. But you will need to wear gloves.
 
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