Cymbal Durability

Toast Tee

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I'm sure this topic has come up before, but I can't find a thread dedicated to it, so maybe I can get some answers, opinions, experience........
Maybe it can save some of us a few bucks one day?

What cymbals are most durable, and why do you think/know? Any brand?, alloy... B20, B14, B8......?

From what I've gathered in my time as a member here, and from what I've read, thinner cymbals are less likely to crack. Thinner cymbals have more give, and less stiff. That makes sence. Now, what if the thinner cymbals have a flea bite? Will the flexibility work against it?

I would think thin cymbal, that has a flea bite would have the best chance to end up cracked, as it's going to flex quite a bit more, and the small edge dings would be more suseptable to "tearing"
 

Mongrel

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Cymbals that are played properly are least likely to crack....

I have a cymbal from the 50s with at least two MAJOR "flea bites"...it is cracked in the bow. I have owned this cymbal since 1978. The flea bites were there when I bought it. The crack was not. As a young, untaught and stupid kid I used to beat the pizz out of that cymbal trying to keep up with an idiot with an Ampeg V4 cranked to '11'. I am not a pro by any stretch, but I have not cracked a cymbal since sometime in the 80s, and I have cymbals that I use from the 60s and 70s on a regular basis.

The only cymbals that "cracked" in my possession were cymbals that were abused, not played properly and pushed beyond what anyone should reasonably expect them to endure. NOT saying you can't get a 'bad' cymbal that may crack when played properly, just saying this has been *my* experience.

I can only imagine two scenarios that would crack a cymbal-one would be at the hands of someone using improper technique, and two would be from metal fatigue over a period of time playing at super high volume trying to keep up with (over) amplified guitars. Even then, it would not happen overnight, but would happen over a period of time from the metal just giving out. I cannot fathom any other context where a cymbal that is hit properly and used in a reasonable manner would ever break. Excluding splash cymbals of course, which are really in a separate category.

I know there are examples of Jazz drummers playing cracked cymbals (Tony Williams comes to mind, but there are others), and I assume they cracked while these guys were using them. I would think that could be attributed to metal fatigue after hours and hours and hours of playing them. So even proper technique over time may crack them but that is not something an average drummer will face in their lifetime.

Willing to 'stand corrected', but the above has been my experience and is my understanding of the subject.
 

Toast Tee

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I've had a very similar experience to you, when it comes to cymbals.
I've had 1 cymbal crack on me in over 30 years. My first used cymbal I ever bought. An 18 2002, I picked up in the eve, and didn't inspect it. In a week, I was playing, and the volume left. I was pissed, but the guy made it right. This is now going back 2 years.
Anyway, I bring this up, as some of my favorite cymbals have been dropped, and few have flea bites.
I guess I'm now paranoid one will crack. Mainly my 20 inch Giant Beat. I've sanded it down, so it's smooth, and I've had no problems.
I do use large sticks (American Rock Classics)' and do hit hard, when the music calls for it. I don't intentionally hit em with glancing blows, but I think the angle, and height have helped me out.
It's just I see so many drummers playing with broken cymbals, I felt I had to ask...
Are there cymbals that break easier than others?
Like you, I've seen world class drummers using broken cymbals (Gadd, for one).
I guess my paranoia about my 20 inch GB has me questioning things. I love the way that cymbal sounds!, but it is thin, and does have a comprise.
I've seen cymbals crack by the bell, the edges, dent. Idk, I just figured I've been very lucky, and want to hear other opinions.
I've even bought brand new cymbals with defects on the very edge, at a discount with no problems.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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Cymbals more prone to break? I worked in a music store for a long time, and I can tell you only my personal experience, so this should not be taken as Gospel. We carried (small store) Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste. During that time, I don't recall having ever replaced a B20 cymbal (it had to have happened, I just don't remember it)). The B8s, on the other hand, were replaced regularly. These included 2002s, Sabian B8s, and zildjian zBT and the like. I can't speak at all to the reliability of other brands.

I've been playing since 1964, and I've never broken a cymbal. In my first years of playing, I had awful technique and simply abused my cymbals. Pure, dumb luck that they never broke. Somehow, that luck has held.

GeeDeeEmm
 

JDA

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cymbals crack from an edge nick (accident) that will work its way inwards. 2) banged/pushed explosively hard popped, against the "immovable" cymbal stand stem- creates a remote fracture somewhere in the body of the cymbal, along, lathe lines ; 3) bell hole spidery cracks from years of use; tightened down, (also and swinging against stand stem) , chopped down on by hi hat clutch and pedal.


Hitting one spot on a (free-floating-swinging-moving) cymbal with a wood stick with none of the above factors? never. (the wood stick will give way (break) first..)
my 2 cents
 
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Toast Tee

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cymbals crack from an edge nick (accident) that will work its way inwards. 2) banged/pushed hard against the "immovable" cymbal stem- creates a fracture somewhere along the lathe lines ; 3) bell hole spidery cracks from years of use; tightened down, chopped down on by hi hat clutch/pedal.


Hitting one spot on a cymbal with a wood stick with none of the above factors? never. (the wood stick will give way (break) first..)
That's my concern with my 20 GB. I do have a pre serial 602, with a couple decent sized flea bites. It was given to me along with a pristine 602. I use the one with the flea bites all the time. I was told fhe fle bitten one had been like that for years. That cymbal hasn't cracked (well yet anyway)
As for the GB, I sanded the bite down to where the bite has a smoothness to it. My hope is, w/out any sharpness to the bite, the energy bypasses the compromise easier, than if there were any sharp/jaggedness for the bite to spread? So far, so good, but I'll see in time.
I'll just continue to play it, and hope for the best. If worse comes to worse, I'll have to get a new one. Nobody said being an unsigned drummer was cheap
 

JDA

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You have another resort if when the nick become an inward crack -is to pin-drill 3/32nd the end or 5/32nd if you want to add a rivet
 

jptrickster

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Haven’t had the best of luck with 602 crashes, I’m minus 3 for Paiste 18’s
Minus one on the A Zildjian but it was a paper thin 16 so a little thin for my ham fisted thrashing. I dunno but I know a few guys that like playing broken cymbals they say they sound better
 

lrod1707

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I've luckily have never had a cymbal crack. I've only bought one used cymbal so I don't know what history it had and I ended up selling it anyways after 2 months of use. Since I'm the original owner, if any of them break I'll be 100% certain I was the cause of the break. So far, so good!
 

Old Drummer

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The only cymbal I've ever had crack on me was my old A. Zildjian ride, and while I didn't notice what caused the crack, I'm pretty sure I know what it was.

I used to transport my cymbals by stacking them together in a hi-hat clutch, but without a case. This worked fine for the smaller cymbals, but not the largest ride. All the cymbals stacked together was a lot of weight, and the edge of the largest one bore the brunt of any drop. I'm pretty sure I or someone else dropped the entire cymbal stack, and that cracked the largest one.

Solution? Either a cymbal hard case or a larger cymbal on the outside that you don't use and therefore don't care if it cracks.

Surely it's possible to crack a cymbal by playing it. Everything eventually breaks. But I never broke one that way.
 

polycrescendo

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I've always heard that thin cymbals "give" more and crack less often than thicker cymbals. I am surprised that my K Hybrid 19 crash is still kickin' after some harsh years of very heavy playing and that does have quite a thin edge.

One set of crashes that I have seem to be indestructable and those are the 17" and 18" Sabian AAXplosion crashes. Those have been through a lot of accidental hard hits and abuse with zero damage and they really sound great to my ears/ not clangy.

If you want to prolong the life of a china go with the Ahead cymbal springs, those have all but stopped me from cracking a china for 10+ years.<---- slightly OT
 

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