TTNW Custom 20” A Ping

TTNW

Pioneer Member
As previously threatened, I have taken the plunge and hand hammered my first cymbal. Some of you may recall that I have had a love/hate relationship with my A Ping ride for years. I liked it when I bought it years ago but in the last few years, I have found it to be very one dimensional and sometimes downright annoying.

I have a couple of Ks and their darker tone has probably contributed to my not appreciating anymore the brighter, cutting qualities of the Ping. I have always “resorted” to my Ping when the music required I have a loud enough bell and cutting enough stick sound to be heard. I’ve wanted to swap it out for a Sweet Ride or an Armand (I had no takers of course) or just sell it and move on.

Instead I bought a ball peen hammer and a small anvil and decided to experiment with changing its sound on my own. I read all the info I could find on how to start and what to expect.

Below are a few pictures of the results.





Three weeks ago, I started by picking a spot about three inches in from the edge where my first hammer strikes would definitely hit the top of cymbal directly above the small dolly anvil. The cymbal in this spot was perfectly flush with the convex curve in the anvil. I made light hits so I could get a feel for making hits that had that “meaty” metal-to-metal-to-metal contact. I was totally nervous that I might crack the cymbal. I rotated the cymbal and kept going until I had traveled all the way around the cymbal back to my starting point. I repeated this about a half inch farther in with harder strokes. Every dozen or so strikes, my hammer would make less than perfect contact and a frightening more reverberating sound would result. I started to adjust my hits and feel for hitting the right spot on top where the anvil was below.

I made about 5 bands around the cymbal and then played the cymbal with both wood and nylon tip sticks to see if I could any difference. I thought that I could hear a difference but most likely the first few bands of hammer strikes probably didn’t change the cymbal’s sound.

I had heard that after hammering a cymbal, it should be left to “relax” or settle down from the stress put on it by hammering. Two days later, I played the cymbal again but it sounded the same.

I started hammering again and this time I made harder strikes and felt more confident that I wasn’t going to crack the cymbal if I made good metal-to-metal-to-metal contact. I made a band of strikes all the way around that had two deep marks close together and others with three hits near each other. Some with only one. When about half the surface area had been hammered, I gave the cymbal a rest for a little over a week.

Then I played the cymbal and noticed that it was slightly drier than before. The annoying tone of the wash was still there but it was noticeably reduced. Excited by this positive result, I completed hammering the cymbal from about a half inch below the bell to about a half inch from the edge. I continued with my alternating deep and not so deep strikes. The deeper strikes were definitely visible on the underside of the cymbal, but just barely. I played the cymbal after every new band of strikes around the circumference.

Yesterday, I put it up in the ride position on my kit and played it for about an hour and a half.

What a difference the hammering has made. It still has a bright tone but it is significantly drier than before. Not as dry as my KC High Definition ride but I’m glad because that’s not what I was going for anyway. It used to just ring on and on with even the lightest of stick hits and was very clangy. Now, it’s sustain is about 50% reduced and most of the annoying (to me) frequencies are not apparent. With a wood tip, lower volumes sound darker but still with that A type sound. Sort of like the ride sound on “Riders of the Storm”. With a nylon tip it sounds like a heavy A Ride should and the wash doesn’t build up as fast at all. It’s much more controllable. It’s still not a very crashable ride but I would have had to take a lathe to the cymbal to make it thinner and more crashable and I don’t have one yet. (uh-oh, I see a lathe in my future). I left the bell alone because I’ve always liked the bell sound and I’m not going to hammer it until I get a round “cannon ball” shaped anvil. The small convex dolly anvil I have doesn’t sit well in the cup of the bell and I’m afraid I’ll crack it.

Well there it is. I finally popped my cherry on hammering my own cymbal and overall I’m pretty pleased with the results. I have so much to learn about how to do this and I’m pretty sure that the changes that I made to the Ping ride's sound were probably the easiest ones to achieve with no experience. I do have a new appreciation for how much skill and effort must go into producing professional quality cymbals. Maybe after I get a few dozen cymbals under my belt, I might have some insight into how to get different sounds out of the various methods of hammering.

My wife has my H2 so I am going to make a short video instead this weekend and post it for those that might want to hear. I’ll try to position the camera mic so that the sound is as good as possible from the camera. When my wife returns from her trip, I’ll make a better recording so those of you with pingy rides or with A Ping rides for that matter can hear the contrast.

For now, I’m happy with the fact that I didn’t ruin the cymbal, I have a new off shoot of my drumming and I can start liking my Ping ride again.
 
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zepplin92

Senior Member
wow that is so cool, its like an A custom ride now, lol. It must be hard to strike a cymbal with a hammer, i know i couldnt do it. You should post some sound files or something so we can hear the difference.
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
Looks like you did a great jog hammering. I'm looking forward to hearing what it sounds like.
 

Solaris

Silver Member
Wow, nice job there. Glad the final result turned out well. Expensive exercise if something did go wrong.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
We'll see if I screw it up. I'm probably going to work the bell some when I get another anvil.

I played it again today and it does sound good. I will post a video this weekend so you guys can hear it.
 
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