Tuning Cymbals?

HUdrummer

Senior Member
Yesterday my friends stepdad gave me and my friends ride to guitarcenter. I got some sticks, and my friend got some new guitar strings. on the way back home he mentioned something about tuning cymbals. he said that you screw the top of the stand, and put cymbal tape under the cymbal. Can someone please explained this to me on how its done, and how it changes the sound?
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Cymbals can't really be 'tuned' in the traditional sense. There are no strings to shorten, nothing to tighten or loosen on the 'actual' cymbal.

Using the wingnut is asking for trouble, because if you clamp down too hard then you might break the cymbal over time - but in moderation, I can see how a heavier felt may affect the sound slightly. I don't actually use wingnuts at all, but that's not a tuning thing.

Using tape, on the other hand, is fine. I do that a lot. I have a beautiful Istanbul ride that I just wanted to take some of the 'trash' out of and a few small pieces of duct tape strategically placed did just that. I'm actually considering riveting that particular ride cymbal - which I guess is another kind of 'tuning'. A lot of people here may frown on me using tape, but with cymbals - particularly hand-made cymbals - it's very hard to get 'exactly' what you're looking for. You can't change anything about them, which is why I think they're actually a purchase that needs much more consideration than buying drums.

If you have a cymbal that's 'mostly' there, you might be able to get what you want by a few small things like tape or even how you strike it. Most of the time, I don't hugely care about what drums I'm playing (as long as they're reasonable) and care much more about the cymbals.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Well, in the strictest sense you don't tune cymbals because they don't really make a single note.

Of course, there are lots of ways to augment a cymbals sound but it's not really tuning.
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
No, I wrote that today!

I care more about the cymbals, but the Guru drums really are exceptional and aspirational. What I mean is that drums that sound OK and are stable will be adequate (the snare has to be 'just so, mind), whereas I am genuinely picky about cymbals. Given the choice though, a set of those Guru's would go down very, very well indeed.

I'd rather have a set of poor drums thrown at me to play on at a gig than a poor set of cymbals.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
First off, don't listen to a guitar player on how to tune drum gear!

But as mentioned, over tightening the wingnut on a crash cymbal can lead to eventually cracking the cymbal. It is never a good idea.

Tape doesn't "tune" a cymbal, but can be used on rides to shorten the sustain and give it more of a focused sound, which or may not be desirable depending on what you're going for.
Tape on a crash is just a good way to make it sound terrible.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
No, I wrote that today!

I care more about the cymbals, but the Guru drums really are exceptional and aspirational. What I mean is that drums that sound OK and are stable will be adequate (the snare has to be 'just so, mind), whereas I am genuinely picky about cymbals. Given the choice though, a set of those Guru's would go down very, very well indeed.

I'd rather have a set of poor drums thrown at me to play on at a gig than a poor set of cymbals.
Got you Duncan. As always, I'm just pulling your string!

The bottom line is, you can do a lot to a mediocre (ahem) drum to make it sound acceptable, but almost nothing to a mediocre cymbal to improve it's sound.

How's your funky beat coming along btw?
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Pretty mediocre. You'd think it would've improved after all this time...
 
S

sticks4drums

Guest
I know this sounds like another plug for Sabian, but it is the only company that I know of that will actually remove up to an inch of your cymbal to help you get the sound you are looking for.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I know this sounds like another plug for Sabian, but it is the only company that I know of that will actually remove up to an inch of your cymbal to help you get the sound you are looking for.
Also a mild plug, Amedia will build you any of their expansive series, in any size & any weight. So, if you want a 28" Galata china, but 30% lighter than standard, no problem! Even better, they won't charge you a premium, except customer requested shipping of an individual cymbal, & that's down to the master distributor to cost. Now that's what I call custom tuning!
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Didnt Saluda get busted a few years back for selling Stagg blanks or something?
I'm just digging around and having a look.

What it looks like is that Saluda didn't just use blanks, but whole cymbals and then reworked them. That's fine, but that isn't what Saluda were claiming at the time - until they were called out on it. Saluda were claiming to use only blanks, not whole cymbals and in some cases the 'reworking' was minimal.

http://www.unitedgrooveworkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=879&start=60

Sadly, two of the finest cymbal reworkers (Johann and Mike Skiba) have both passed away, so if you want real quality work, it's getting harder to find.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
No, I wrote that today!

I care more about the cymbals, but the Guru drums really are exceptional and aspirational. What I mean is that drums that sound OK and are stable will be adequate (the snare has to be 'just so, mind), whereas I am genuinely picky about cymbals. Given the choice though, a set of those Guru's would go down very, very well indeed.

I'd rather have a set of poor drums thrown at me to play on at a gig than a poor set of cymbals.
Interesting; I think that I agree and must have been thinking that for awhile which is why I recently added another ride cymbal.
 
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