Enlighten Me on Cymbal Design

mbettis

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...Just pulling your chain Matt....
It worked. Consider it well-pulled. This is the first I'm hearing about it.

As far answers for the OP, you dudes have it pretty nailed as far as I can tell.

I say this a lot.....
Making cymbals isn't rocket science. But, it does take practice.

Thanks,
Matt
 

chillybase

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It worked. Consider it well-pulled. This is the first I'm hearing about it.

As far answers for the OP, you dudes have it pretty nailed as far as I can tell.

I say this a lot.....
Making cymbals isn't rocket science. But, it does take practice.

Thanks,
Matt
Hey Matt, if someone comes to you with a cymbal modification, do you steer the client in a direction based on the cymbal? Or do you try to get the sound they are after with the supplied cymbal?

This is a question off the path of my original questions for this thread.
 

mbettis

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I find out what they are working with, what they are looking to get out of it, and let them know the feasibility and likelihood of success.

If success looks like low odds, I suggest alternative, high-success-odds outcomes based upon what they have.

Or, I completely ignore the whole thing because of strange and crippling social anxiety. Kind of a coin toss depending on the given day.

Thanks,
Matt
 

chillybase

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This thread has been real educational. Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I'm learning a lot from this site already. :)
 

zenstat

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Here is a previous thread mentioning specific changes to make a cymbal crash better, with suggestions from Matt Bettis:


This is an example of the sort of information I've collected up from many discussions with a variety of people who make cymbals for a living. You'll see this one mentions both lowering the profile and thinning the edge (more taper).
 

chillybase

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What causes a note build up in a ride cymbal?

I feel that I must not be using the correct search terms for this as I couldn't find anything related to it on Google or through the DFO search function.
 

bongomania

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Probably resonance, which is essentially feedback. A vibration from one frequency or one node of the cymbal “excites” the same frequency at a different node, or excites a multiple (harmonic) of the first frequency, causing it to vibrate more strongly.
 

chillybase

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Okay, I did some more digging by searching for "ride cymbal resonance." Thanks, Bongomania. That looped me back around to a DFO thread about cymbal hum.

In that, some of the reasons could be:
1) A problem in the transition from the bell to bow
2) How the cymbal is mounted (crosstalk)
3) Don't worry as it usually gets lost in the mix and/or a live setting
 

zenstat

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What causes a note build up in a ride cymbal?
Interesting question.

Did you look at this 2012 thread on hum? I'm not sure which threads you found without a link.


There is a later thread I posted a sound file in from my 21" which suffers from low frequency hum. Much worse than the example in that 2012 thead in my opinion. But I haven't found it yet so I haven't given a link. The DFO search function does leave a bit to be desired. Also in that thread you can see more evidence of how and why cymbal words/descriptions/sounds aren't settled. The need for better terminology remains.

Pinksterboer (pages 38-40) has lots to say. He talks about there being 3 frequency spectrum zones (low, medium, high) which can have varying amounts of energy (hence volume) in them.

I'd add just "hammering" in general to your list in addition to anything specific about bell bow transition. The bell bow transition would be what you would investigate/change lessen a high frequency note build up (if I'm reading my Skiba properly).
 
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bongomania

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Yes and in large part it’s something that occurs to all cymbals in greater or lesser degree just due to variations in the individual piece of bronze and how it was worked on. So MAYBE a certain machine-worked model might be more likely to not/have a lot of resonant build up, but for something with more hand working, fuggeddaboutit.
 

chillybase

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This is the thread that I found.

Be back later. Time to commute home.
 

zenstat

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Yes and in large part it’s something that occurs to all cymbals in greater or lesser degree just due to variations in the individual piece of bronze and how it was worked on. So MAYBE a certain machine-worked model might be more likely to not/have a lot of resonant build up, but for something with more hand working, fuggeddaboutit.
Yes it's all "greater or lesser degree" in my book. No absolutes. No black and white. Cymbals put out different amounts of energy at different frequencies rather than produce one dominant note like a tuning fork. When we complain about the "note build up" it is because one frequency (be it low, medium, high) has come to our attention because there is too much of it compared to the other frequencies.

In addition to my 70s A Zildjian 21" which suffers from hum (low freq note build up) I had a 21" Bosphorus Antique which suffered from high freq note build up. I'm still not sure what we should call high freq note build up. And I'm not sure if I've heard mid freq note build up. And I wouldn't say machine hammered = hum more likely vs hand hammered = high freq build up more likely. I wouldn't even say hydraulic pressing plus concentric ring hammering = hum more likely vs hammered into shape plus irregular hammering pattern = high freq build up more likely.

All suggestions for better names for high freq note build up and med freq note build up happily received.

*edit* in that 2017 thread Seb had it: "a high pitch ring would be a ring, or a whistle to me". I like whistle because "ring" may be in use for other aspects of cymbal sound. But either does nicely.

Any sound file examples of mid freq note build up handy?

I'll post my 70s A Zildjian 21" and 21" Bosphorus Antique examples when I get a chance.
 
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dboomer

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Low frequency hum has always been my biggest cymbal complaint. It always seems to be a different frequency than what I would say was the predominate pitch note of a cymbal.

Somehow I’ve never found the control to turn it down
 

zenstat

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Low frequency hum has always been my biggest cymbal complaint. It always seems to be a different frequency than what I would say was the predominate pitch note of a cymbal.

Somehow I’ve never found the control to turn it down
Now that you have mentioned this, the thread I'm thinking of might have been one where you were asking about a low hum. When one of us finds the thread, then we'll know which one it is. :icon_e_wink:
 

dboomer

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Guilty. That was me.

in searching my posts I couldn’t find it either. But as I remember I didn’t get a definitive answer.
 

zenstat

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Guilty. That was me.

in searching my posts I couldn’t find it either. But as I remember I didn’t get a definitive answer.
Yes but we asked some good questions and had some good discussion. Who can ask for more? :glasses8:

Tried a few searches using Google Advance Search and found several more threads talking about low hum and Zildjian 21" Rock Rides. One could almost start to think there was a pattern here.

Did find this 2017 thread which demonstrates we aren't sure about Dry vs Wash as terms either. No definitive answer, but it does see Joe introduce the notion of "middle frequency hole" which harks back to Pinksterboer and his three frequency bands. Joe also puts forward the claim that it is the bell form of Intermediate old Ks which makes for the icy stick (plus something about lathing). Joe also points out that the Intermediate old Ks seem to offer that "middle frequency hole" in spades. Alas the link is to an example which is long gone. I've wanted more information on what morphology leads to cold vs warm cymbal sounds in general, as well as icy stick.


That thread also mentions heavier cymbals (as in those 21" Rock Rides, although my 21" hummer is only 2500g so lighter than those) can get out of control, or as I'm thinking of it in the context of hum: heavy cymbals have more sustain and if they have a tendency to build up at a particular frequency then you've got hum. Ample irregular hammering is your friend to avoid having that build up at a particular frequency, but only part of the story.
 
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chillybase

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My drum teacher and longtime friend has a 21" Bosphorus Antique ride. He needs to control it with a bit of moon gel as well. But I really like the sound of the ride and/or how he plays it.

I think hum is a good word for the low frequency. I do like whistle as you mentioned for the high.

I think my cymbal in question, at least to my ears, seems like it has a mid-hum. I am going to do more testing this Friday. It is a heavier 22" 60s Avedis medium ride (3373g). You may have seen it in the for sale section. And I don't know if it is the cymbal or how I have it mounted. Right now, I am using an Atlas mount with a straight Ludwig lift. I know that when I use my L80s that I get a lot of crosstalk which is minimized by adding felts.

Although, right now, it doesn't appeal to me. It does have some sentimental value. So I decided to keep it for now.
 

Seb77

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Any sound file examples of mid freq note build up handy?
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2F19_mscr_1945_p Here's a soundfile of a cymbal I got and haven't used a lot since it's a bit too heavy for my taste. There is a bit of low/mid build-up, maybe this is another reason it's not my most loved cymbal.
Picture at the bottom of the post shows an Audacity frequency graph of the frequency spectrum of the file as a whole. There is some frequency present throughout at the "b" above A440Hz, that's the strong peak in the middle. Not sure if this is still "low mids" or already some kind of "higher lows". The lowest tones ("hum"?), see the peaks toward the left, only come through with the heavy crashes near the end of the file. You need large speaker or headphones to hear those.

What's nice about this analysis tool is that it shows not only peak frequencies when you touch the peaks with the mouse arrow, but also converts them into muscial pitches, which you can play on a keyboard and see if you hear those tones in the file. (I like using a Rhodes sound for this because it's more sine-like/darker than most other sounds).

Re: mid build-up - A lot of china cymbals have this and it's there by design, the typical "caw" sound that the flange adds. I like particularly low china sounds, sort of "honky", for big band playing.
Example:
cymbal more or less solo'ed: https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fsecret-love-cym-only In context: https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fsecret-love-20-china-boy-low
Other chinas have a higher presence, or less of a single peak and more spread.
 

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