Do cymbals change in sound much over time / use

CaptainCrunch

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High frequency hearing loss is also common as we get older,, may be a factor for some.
It’s absolutely a fact that on guitar forums, guys talk about how as they’ve gotten older they’ve moved away from liking the roar of a Les Paul through a Marshall, and grown to appreciate a Strat or Tele through a Fender Twin. The overwhelming majority prefer to believe it’s a matter of refined and mature tastes rather than needing the icepick shriek to hear any highs at all.

In regards to cymbals, they’re circular springs. I could be convinced there is a break-in period as the metal takes a “set”, but after that I’d think any changes came down to dirt or damage. I‘d be interested to hear recordings of the same cymbal the day it was purchased and say, a month, a year, 5 years afterwards. But it would need to be a VERY controlled environment to replicate the conditions of the original recording each time.
 

Old Drummer

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I think they change a little, at least from new to well-used. I have no clue whether or not the molecules change, but would think that the accumulation of dirt, oil from fingerprints, and spilled beer (or communion grape juice for church drummers) would have some muffling effect, which in turn should account for the perception of "mellowing."

The rub, however, is that if you're the one playing them over the years, the changes are so imperceptible week to week that your ears are steadily adjusting. Also, I'm a firm believer in the natural tendency of players to adjust to their equipment by playing differently. That is, I think the selection of equipment is somewhat overemphasized and adjusting to the equipment you already have is under-emphasized.

Of course, cleaning and polishing cymbals adds a whole new wrinkle . . .

But yeah, I think cymbals change in sound somewhat over time--just doubt those changes can be easily distinguished from our steady adjustments while playing them.
 

Fat Drummer

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I think all of the above is correct.... I have read an abundance of information over the past 40 or so years stating that indeed cymbal physical proprities do change with years. We KNOW dirt and patitina changes the sound and we 100% KNOW that our ears chage with time and we precive sound differently. I dont think of of this comes as a real surprise, it's physics and age... both for the cymbals and us!
 


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