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View Full Version : To clean, or not to clean, that is the question.



doc_on_drums
02-04-2003, 07:23 AM
One thing that bugs me is a drummer with dirty cymbals on stage, Receintly a few have told me "I let cymbals stay dirty, it helps them develope caracter and makes them sound better". when they say that to me I'm hearing in my head, "I'm to lazy to clean them and this my best excuse".
Myself, I buy a cymbal for the sound and the look also, so I clean them regularly to keep them looking and sounding as closely new as possible. anyone elses thoughts on this?
Please tell me what brands sound better dirty so I can avoid buying them.

luvmydrumz
02-04-2003, 10:01 AM
Most cymbals sound awesome when you buy them, and unless they are used they are very clean. How could dust and dirt enhance the sound? I'd clean them.

griffix
02-04-2003, 10:07 AM
Id definetely clean mine. always have, always will

SLIPKNOT1
02-04-2003, 10:10 AM
The argument about not cleaning them comes from the fact that when you clean them, you remove a very small amount of the metal and therefore may change the sound. I have been cleaning my cymbals every three months for over a year and have noticed no difference in sound. Just clean them before they get to the point where they are filthy and you should be fine.

brizak79
02-04-2003, 10:44 AM
I'll clean everything but my Hi-Hats & Ride. I will wipe them down, but not clean them... I, too, think it adds mor charecter to them.

DRUMBOO
02-04-2003, 11:15 AM
i clean my cymbals whenever i think that they need it ... actually when we first bought our cymbals we bought them because of the sound it had when itīs been clean and shiny...

well and they look much better when theyīre clean donīt u think??

hann25
02-04-2003, 12:30 PM
I just use hot water, detergent, and soft toothbrush to clean my cymbals. Just wipe it dry and I've never used chemicals on them cause they might damage the tymbral groves.

luvmydrumz
02-04-2003, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by hann25
I just use hot water, detergent, and soft toothbrush to clean my cymbals. Just wipe it dry and I've never used chemicals on them cause they might damage the tymbral groves.


What kind of detergent do you use?
Does it take the ink stamp off?

DaveLombardoRules
02-04-2003, 07:33 PM
I clean my cymbals with Groove Juice as when I see fit. Which is fairly often because I can not stand to see greasy fingerprints on my cymbals!

Smoke N Drums
02-04-2003, 07:57 PM
I've been playing for awhile and never actually heard any cymbals that sounded BETTER when grunged out. This may be a myth left over from the early jazz days. (Or started by lazy drummers?)

I say shine 'em up. It looks more professional. After all it is call "a show" isn't it? I keep a cheap pair of cotton gloves in my cymbal bag to handle them with.........and extend the time until I have to shine them again.

doc_on_drums
02-05-2003, 09:27 AM
obviously it's an overwhelming majority..... to clean. The methods and cleaners differ but that's not the point (although I would never use a brush).
Your drum kit is the centerpiece of the stage (especially in small venues) and the first thing people notice when they enter the room. If your kit looks bad then your audience gets a bad impression of the band so.... clean.... clean... clean!

kc1-one
02-05-2003, 01:55 PM
don't bran new zildjian and sabian cybals look ace when there new they just shimmer in the light when your strike them.

i'd clean them but not offten maybe befor you are doing a gig or something and if you are , carry some cotton gloves with you soo u dont get finger prints all over after just cleaning.

on my cymbals i only clean the top the bottom is pretty clean from when i bought them and that was a year ago.

oh yeah when u by a bran new cym whats the best way to get that little anoying sticky bar code off the bottom?

Lord Phoenix
02-05-2003, 02:16 PM
it's opinion, havn't you guys seen the Zildjian earth rides(22" i think) absolute class, there was one in my local music shop 350-400 quid. Apparently, Zildjian put them in the mud for 2 years after they were made and they look very dull, but i've been told it improves the sound and nothing sounds like them.

xianx
02-06-2003, 01:16 AM
I guess I'll be the the objectional here. I have one set of cymbals that I play, due to a tight budget. I used to clean my cymbals whenever they got dirty...then I went a few months of not cleaning my hihats just to test to see if it sounded better....I have not cleaned them since. I have a pair of Zildjian 14" a Rock Hats. I have heard drummers play them with their's shined up, & they just don't sound as unique as mine. & on tape, nothing can beat them in my opinion. So, I started leaving all my cymbals dirty, & have loved the results I get. I suggest you pick a cymbal & just leave it dirty...See if you like the way it sounds better. It's just dirt. You can always clean it again. But it is all a matter of personal opinion...

Oh, & to the people that think that dirty cymbals look terrible, who cares what it looks like? It's all about the sound. Are you going to replace all of the members in your band because they're not the most physically attractive people ever?

hann25
02-06-2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by luvmydrumz



What kind of detergent do you use?
Does it take the ink stamp off?


Believe me or not. I use Tide (for washing machines!) and hot water. Just try to avoid brushing the logo/stamp area. But who needs the those stamp/logo? I'm not there to brag about my cymbals, I'm there to play! They dont give me endorsement contracts here in the Philippines anyway so why should I carry their brand name? hehehe.

Believe me or not. I have two sets of 14" A. Zildjian Hi-hats with me, both were used my father since 1980. And They still sound great and very tight! I only use detergent and hot water to clean them!

Last thing. I like to buy my cymbals in a "traditional finish" not the brilliant. They are easier to clean. :cool:

powermatt99
02-06-2003, 12:16 PM
I dont' clean my high hats or ride, but I clean my crashes. After the first time I clean my hats (AAX Fusion 13") i was disappointed by the sound difference. I bought my crashes (14" & 16" AAX Studio) becuase of how good they sounded together, so I try to keep them as new as possible.

kc1-one
02-07-2003, 01:57 PM
it all comes down to mater of opinion, no matter what it is with drums, not just cymbals, i know all of use a zildjian fans (i think) me personally zildjian is the best and probabley is, why would people by them 4 the name. but some people do like other makes like sabian and paiste because thats there opinion.some play with tama some pearl, DW, what ever.

I like the crisp sound of clean hi hats but i don't clean them because they sound better when there open dusty and dirty with sweaty finger prints on even thogh the sweaty finger prints harm the cymbal but i'v got cheap hi hats any way ZBTS But soon am getting Ģ180 zildjian a custom

if uv just got new cymbals and ur new to drumming i sugget exsperimenting with clean and dirty cymbales

hann25
02-08-2003, 11:12 AM
May I suggest that you get a K. Zildjian Constantinople. Quite expensive but sounds very warm and loud. Or maybe a K. Zild. Custom. Forgive me but I'm a fan of The K. Zildjian Series. I just found these cymbals fit my taste. Warm, unique and classic sounds.

rsdrumz
02-08-2003, 11:38 AM
I use Groove Juice on my A Custom crashes and splashes. They absolutely shimmer when they're clean (sight and sound). I don't however, clean my ride or hats- just a dusting every now and then.

arush
02-08-2003, 04:21 PM
when i was in india i didn't even know cymbal cleaner existed, so naturally i kept my B8s dirty as a pig's ***** and they sounded...like crap.

now i have pro sonix, and they sound amazing!! excellent prices. cos i got em free! anyway, so i cleaned em with this cymbal polish and it took some of the shinyness away from them i was so pissed, slipknot1 is right, cymbal polish takes a layer off, so try to use it sparingly
they tell u to use it as much as u can on the bottle because they want u to finish it up and buy another bottle!! don't give in to the rich man's game.

bottom line: good cymbals sound good, crap cymbals sound crap

does that make sense with my story? nevermind.

FINCH DUDE
02-17-2003, 04:22 PM
I WAS FLICKING THROUGH MY DRUM MAGAZINE AND I NOTICED THAT JOHN OTTO'S A CUSTOM'S HAVE FADED....THE EDGES ARE RELLY FADED AND THERE ARE FINGER MARKS EVERYWHERE...........
I HAVE HEARD THAT A CUSTOM'S REACT REALLY BAD TO POLISH...I KNOW BECAUSE MY LOGO HAS FADED....WIERD??

Jonathan_M
02-18-2003, 11:40 AM
All my cymbals are A Customs. Since they have a brilliant finish, fingerprints and buttmarks :D show up on them a lot easier than they would on a dull finish cymbal.

I clean them with Zildjian's liquid cymbal cleaner - being careful not to get any on the logos. If some does get on them, it's no biggie, wipe it off with a light touch. It's the hard rubbing that takes them off.

Takes a bit of elbow grease to get everything clean, but the results are well worth it. My decision now is whether or not I want to go to the trouble of doing the same on the *underside* of the cymbals...

FINCH DUDE
02-19-2003, 06:42 AM
HEY JONOTHATN_M..........WHEN YOU BOUGHT YOU'RE A CUSTOMS DID THEY ALREDY HAVE STAINS ON THEM.......MINE HAD A FAINT PURPLE STAIN ON IT.........?

Jonathan_M
02-19-2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by FINCH DUDE
HEY JONOTHATN_M..........WHEN YOU BOUGHT YOU'RE A CUSTOMS DID THEY ALREDY HAVE STAINS ON THEM.......MINE HAD A FAINT PURPLE STAIN ON IT.........?

No, mine were all stain free and sparkling! Hmmm, I wonder where that stain came from?

Have you tried anything to clean it off?

aenemic
02-19-2003, 11:04 AM
nope, never clean my cymbals... maybe I should, but I won't try it until I know exactly what I do... my A Custom crash was full with fingerprints when I bought it and it looks pretty greasy. but I doubt you notice it much when I use it on live shows.

Ferret
02-19-2003, 02:06 PM
See what works with each cymbal. A cymbal's tone is going to change anyway (depending on size & how hard you hit) as it gets "played in".
I have Sabian AAX crashes in the brilliant finish, and, since they sounded awesome when I first got them, I have kept them clean. (The brilliant finish just looks so much better when it's clean anyway.) Groove Juice just makes those things GLEAM!

But for the ride (22" HndHmmrd Power Bell), that thing is so piercing anyway, that not cleaning it as much as the crashes gave it a nice, more mellow character than when I took it out of the bag. (Or at least, as mellow as a 22" Power Bell can be!)

Groove Juice doesn't require any scrubbing or wiping (unless your cymbals have an inch of crust on them), and all my Sabian logos are still intact.

Then again, I once had a china that sounded better after I threw it down a concrete staircase....

MIDDLE CLASS
02-19-2003, 07:27 PM
I have a sabian aax studio ride. I haven't celaned scince i got it six months ago, and it's covered with white stick marks. Whats the most effective cleaner to get the marks off?
thanks.

ID
02-20-2003, 12:37 AM
I just started cleaning mine today for the first time in like 2 years. This sucks. Remind me to never let it go this long.

I really wish my Zildjans were brilliant finish. They still look like crap.

Do you thisnk Groove Juice would work better than the Zil. creme polish?

Ferret
02-20-2003, 10:15 AM
ID,
Unless you've got so much grit you can't even see the brass, I say give Groove Juice a try. It's a bit easier to work with (just spray, let sit, then rinse off with water and dry with a towel. But do wear some rubber or dishwashing gloves.)
Save the cream for the old, crusty spots and use the Juice for general cleaning. (Works great on hardware, too... Jeez, I sound like an ad.) Try it on the inside of one of your hi-hats.

drumwerker
02-20-2003, 10:40 AM
Since cymbals are metal they are going to get some degree of oxidation (tarnish, metal oxide). The removal of tarnish takes with it some of the metal oxide that formed at the surface of the cymbal. This is a microscopically small layer - the change in sound after cleaning a cymbal is usually do to a change in the vibration without all that dirt muffling it. Unless you protect the metal surface from oxygenation it will just tarnish again. It's alot like an automobile finish.

Paiste applies a wax-like finish on their cymbals, which helps to prevent and slow the oxidation. But repeated hits with the stick remove this protection and once you clean their cymbals, the protection is removed. They suggest reapplying a furniture polish to restore a protective finish to the cymbal. I use Meguire's Detailing Polish, which I spray on a cotton towel and apply to the cymbal, then buff off after a few minutes. It seems to work well.

In general, putting your fingers/hands on cymbals is probably the worst thing you can do, since the acids will react with the metal. The oil from your fingers will fix that acid in place, eventually leaving permanent marks. Avoid using any polishes that have lemon oil or citrus stuff in them, they may contain citric acid which will react with the metal.