Taming cymbals

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Have you ever had a cymbal that you liked but wanted it to be a tad drier? Did you use tape or Moongel or Blu Tak to tame it? If so, where on the cymbal tends to give the best results? How much stuff did you use?

I'm thinking of toning my ride down a notch and I've always found the process to be trial and error ... and it seems to be that there's not a lot of margin for error.

All ideas appreciated ...
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Pol, never had to do it, but I know a player who has. He cut an over size washer from thick closed cell neoprene foam (a rubber foam) and placed his cymbal on that. From memory, it ended up (after some experimentation) being about 2.5" in diameter, although that's going to vary according to the cymbal bell design & desired level of "taming". I seem to remember there being a product already out there of similar design, but created for a different purpose.
 

haredrums

Silver Member
This is not the most sophisticated solution, but I just use thin strips of duct tape. Usually one or two close to the edge depending on how dry I want to get it.

Oddly enough, if you have two on, over time you can usually take one off and still get a nice sound. I don't know if this is just some weird hearing adjustment that you make or if the cymbal is changing as it ages, but that has been my experience.

Good luck.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
a long time ago I had a Paiste Rude 22" ride cymbal that I thought sounded horrible ....after a while of riding on it , it would just start growling

I took a piece of gaff tape about 5 or 6" long and stuck it on the bottom side of the cymbal about 2 inches from the bell and it made the cymbal slightly more desirable
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Moon, did you use that for jazz? I've been thinking about picking one up a used one- I keep seeing them around...

Pol, what I like to do is take the deadest cymbal ever made, and then slap two giant pieces of duct tape on it- I played on a pianist's Jack Dejohnette ride the other day, and that's what he did to it. I've never seen anything like it.

I've seen people use little ~1x4cm pieces of tape at various points on the underside of the cymbal- with a little experimentation you might be able to knock out the frequencies that are bothering you, while not choking the thing to death.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Moon, did you use that for jazz? I've been thinking about picking one up a used one- I keep seeing them around...

Pol, what I like to do is take the deadest cymbal ever made, and then slap two giant pieces of duct tape on it- I played on a pianist's Jack Dejohnette ride the other day, and that's what he did to it. I've never seen anything like it.

I've seen people use little ~1x4cm pieces of tape at various points on the underside of the cymbal- with a little experimentation you might be able to knock out the frequencies that are bothering you, while not choking the thing to death.
I did use it for some jazz gigs....and like I said it would growl a bit when digging in

the initial attack is very nice ...but there are some overtones of that cymbal that just make it very undesirable

its like there is a nice cymbal in there somewhere ....but its just not quite there


if you are playing jazz I would recommend steering away from this cymbal

much more of a rock to metal cymbal in my opinion

just to throw this out there....if you are looking for a nice ride for jazz I recommend the Meinl Byzance Sand Ride

very nice cymbal ....very versatile cymbal.....all styles actually
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Have you ever had a cymbal that you liked but wanted it to be a tad drier? Did you use tape or Moongel or Blu Tak to tame it? If so, where on the cymbal tends to give the best results? How much stuff did you use?

I'm thinking of toning my ride down a notch and I've always found the process to be trial and error ... and it seems to be that there's not a lot of margin for error.

All ideas appreciated ...
I have an A Custom ping ride which is very bright and I often like to tame it. I use some blue or yellow office putty (I think you call it Blu Tak over there). I roll it into a string a few inches long at the bottom edge of the cymbal for maximum dampening, close to the bell for less dampening.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I do this to a 22 Paiste Traditional ride, whose wash is just a bit too bright. Moongels get dirty after a while and loose tackiness, and duct tape leaves glue behind, so use gaffe tape (it's expensive but worth it). I folded a 3 inch piece to make a single "fin", and stuck that to the underside of the cymbal, about halfway in.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
You wanna tame your cymbal? Clamp it! Badda-climp badda-clamp...

Pol, I've tried many metohds to dampen my beloved pies. I really like the sound of old, worn cymbals and don't really care for the higher overtones. Tape is the easy and non-permanent solution. I've also tried shoe polish and recently salt and lemon juice to get a nice, quick patina built up.

There is a pretty good article by Bruce Wittet on his website. He has a tendency to ramble on excessively and then finally touch lightly on the point. From what I'm told it's a bit like reading a Joyce novel.

Article 1

Article 2

If you do go the shoepolish route just remember to do it to the UNDERSIDE of the cymbal and not the top like my dumb ass did.

I had some great success coating my 20" XS20 medium ride with table salt and a liberal dose of lemon juice. Left it on for a day or two then removed it with a damp rag. The mix left a nice green patina on the cymbal which really rolled off those nasty high overtones. Perfect practice/smaller gig ride now. If I were a braver man with a steadier hand and a ball pein hammer I would take a few whacks at it. Unfortunately I am not.
 

Metamega

Senior Member
You wanna tame your cymbal? Clamp it! Badda-climp badda-clamp...

Pol, I've tried many metohds to dampen my beloved pies. I really like the sound of old, worn cymbals and don't really care for the higher overtones. Tape is the easy and non-permanent solution. I've also tried shoe polish and recently salt and lemon juice to get a nice, quick patina built up.

There is a pretty good article by Bruce Wittet on his website. He has a tendency to ramble on excessively and then finally touch lightly on the point. From what I'm told it's a bit like reading a Joyce novel.

Article 1

Article 2

If you do go the shoepolish route just remember to do it to the UNDERSIDE of the cymbal and not the top like my dumb ass did.

I had some great success coating my 20" XS20 medium ride with table salt and a liberal dose of lemon juice. Left it on for a day or two then removed it with a damp rag. The mix left a nice green patina on the cymbal which really rolled off those nasty high overtones. Perfect practice/smaller gig ride now. If I were a braver man with a steadier hand and a ball pein hammer I would take a few whacks at it. Unfortunately I am not.
Have I agree with the first part. I find new cymbals, especially hats get better sounding the mte their played. My 22 inch ping ride took me 5 years to tame it. Just didn't clean it for 5 years. Really focused it up.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Have I agree with the first part. I find new cymbals, especially hats get better sounding the mte their played. My 22 inch ping ride took me 5 years to tame it. Just didn't clean it for 5 years. Really focused it up.

Ive gotten slammed around here for saying not to clean your cymbals so they sound better

glad to see some here understand
 

haredrums

Silver Member
Ive gotten slammed around here for saying not to clean your cymbals so they sound better

glad to see some here understand
Oh Yeah!

Got to leave that gunk on, makes a good cymbal sound even better. I think that gunk may explain my earlier comment about how over time you can take the tape off of a cymbal and still maintain it's focused sound.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Oh Yeah!

Got to leave that gunk on, makes a good cymbal sound even better. I think that gunk may explain my earlier comment about how over time you can take the tape off of a cymbal and still maintain it's focused sound.

abso friggin lutely

..........
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
All ideas appreciated ...
On my 20" K custom ride cymbal I've put a very small piece of electrical tape, it's very thin, it's 1/3 of an inch wide and one inch in lenght (1 cm x 2.5 cm) and it's sitting about an inch lower than the bell, it's just sufficient to "tame" the cymbal a little bit, I do this sometimes on my china too, it's a swish, it's just perfect to cut some of the harshnes on the cymbal, but it also depends on which style of music and which sticks I'm using, sometimes I don't use any dampening, I tried blu tak and moongel, but for my tastes it tames the cymbal too much. :)

Also, I don't clean my cymbals anymore, I just run a dry cloth to remove the dust from time to time, have done so for the last 20 years. :)

What ride are you using Polly?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thanks all for a plethora of ideas.

I'll have to be careful because I accent and crash it regularly. I'd like just a small amount more clarity in the ping. It definitely doesn't need goo / tape on the bell, which is already small and light.

He cut an over size washer from thick closed cell neoprene foam (a rubber foam) and placed his cymbal on that.
Sounds like a way to cut the tops or tame a full on bell.


try clipping a clothes peg to the edge, or a paper clip
Ta but I can't see that working, Kat. Paper clips would fall off and pegs would dampen too much before falling off :)

As a related question, do you guys do anything to turn your cymbal into an effects cymbal apart from the usual - sizzles, chains and stacking?


I just use thin strips of duct tape. Usually one or two close to the edge depending on how dry I want to get it.
I had a Paiste Rude 22" ride cymbal that ....after a while of riding on it , it would just start growling

I took a piece of gaff tape about 5 or 6" long and stuck it on the bottom side of the cymbal about 2 inches from the bell and it made the cymbal slightly more desirable
I've seen people use little ~1x4cm pieces of tape at various points on the underside of the cymbal- with a little experimentation you might be able to knock out the frequencies that are bothering you, while not choking the thing to death.
Placement is the key and I find the experimentation tricky. Theoretically, the closer to the bell, the higher the pitch of reduced overtones and the less effect on the overall wash.


I have an A Custom ping ride which is very bright and I often like to tame it. I use some blue or yellow office putty (I think you call it Blu Tak over there). I roll it into a string a few inches long at the bottom edge of the cymbal for maximum dampening, close to the bell for less dampening.
Yeah, it's Blu Tak here - and it comes in yellow and blue too. I always keep some in my general drum stuff bag - it's good for tweezing rattles in cymbal stands too.

I'd probably be inclined to use this rather than tape because it doesn't leave residue, although there is the chance of leaving serendipitous gunk :)


I do this to a 22 Paiste Traditional ride, whose wash is just a bit too bright. Moongels get dirty after a while and loose tackiness, and duct tape leaves glue behind, so use gaffe tape (it's expensive but worth it). I folded a 3 inch piece to make a single "fin", and stuck that to the underside of the cymbal, about halfway in.
It should be easy enough to replace older pieces of putty. Just working through the Oz/US translations here ... I thought gaffa tape and duct tape were the same thing? Strong, cloth-based and very sticky - a musician's best friend for emergency fixes and taping down leads.

Curious about why you created a fin rather than just sticking it flat ...


You wanna tame your cymbal? Clamp it! Badda-climp badda-clamp...

... I really like the sound of old, worn cymbals and don't really care for the higher overtones. Tape is the easy and non-permanent solution. I've also tried shoe polish and recently salt and lemon juice to get a nice, quick patina built up.

There is a pretty good article by Bruce Wittet on his website.
Nice work, Clamps :)

I like this part of the article (not far from the bottom of Article 1):
If you’ve never taped a cymbal it seems daunting. You have to pick and choose, to experiment. Above all, remember, you’re customizing your tone, not wrapping a fridge. Begin with a short strip of tape mid-way between bell and edge. The logic is that the higher frequencies reside in the bell and close to the bell.



One or two strips may not radically alter sustain and you may think you’ve achieved nothing. That’s why you ought to do careful before-and-after tests. What you haven’t altered in one way, you may have tweaked in another. Two small strips of tapes at the edge (not recommended), for example, won’t appreciatively alter harmonic content in the mid frequency range but it will kill sustain by a full second. Conversely two strips close to the bell will remove upper register zing.


First you must decide if you’re seeking sustain or overtone control—I’m well aware they’re intimately related and not totally amenable to isolation, meaning what you do to frequencies will affect sustain. And feel.


Traditional “tape freak” protocol suggests the application of an evenly-spaced tape pattern on the underside. For example, strips go at 10:00 and 4:00; if you require more, 8:00 and 2:00, and so on.
If you do go the shoepolish route just remember to do it to the UNDERSIDE of the cymbal and not the top like my dumb ass did.

I had some great success coating my 20" XS20 medium ride with table salt and a liberal dose of lemon juice. Left it on for a day or two then removed it with a damp rag. The mix left a nice green patina on the cymbal which really rolled off those nasty high overtones. Perfect practice/smaller gig ride now. If I were a braver man with a steadier hand and a ball pein hammer I would take a few whacks at it. Unfortunately I am not.
Shoe polish would be messy wouldn't it? And if it dries, wouldn't it flake off?

If you completely and thickly covered a cymbal with black boot polish you'd probably end up with something that looked and sounded like the Zil Pitch Black series :)

Messing with the coating / chemical structure of the cymbal's surface is for braver souls than me.


I tried blu tak and moongel, but for my tastes it tames the cymbal too much. :)

Also, I don't clean my cymbals anymore, I just run a dry cloth to remove the dust from time to time, have done so for the last 20 years. :)

What ride are you using Polly?
MAD, the cymbal's a 20" Zil A medium. A delicate balance. I think DMC's idea of using strips rather than blobs would allow for more control over dampening.
 

burn-4

Senior Member
Ive gotten slammed around here for saying not to clean your cymbals so they sound better

glad to see some here understand
totally agree- makes the cymbals sound miles better

I wonder if this is the fact that your ear just gets used to them over time? Because I bought a new set of k hybrid hats after mine broke and they sounded terrible at first, but within a month of daily use and rubbing my sweaty hands on them they sounded great
 
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