I cleaned my cymbals today for the first time in my life. I hated it!

underratedcowbell

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I know it seems strange but I have played drums for over 20 years and never in my life had I cleaned one of my cymbals ... today was the day ... arrrghhhh!

Long story short, I bought some dream bliss hi hats as a spare to my in house drum, and the seller "did me a favor" and cleaned the cymbals. I must admit they looked neat and he did a good job.

When I got home, I put the cymbals on the stand and immediately my wife says: wowww your other cymbals are really disgusting compared to these; what if you cleaned them hey?

Not wanting to upset my wife who is vert supportive, and lets me have a drum at home and make noise anytime I want, I went to the music store closest to home and bought some of those cleaning fluids.

They had Paiste and Zildjian; as i'm cheap, i went to Zildjian and thought: well this crap must be all the same! Cleaning was the most horrifying thing I did in my life: a complete mess, all dirty cloths flying in all directions, the bathtub ended with black residue from the oxidation patina of the cymbals ... a horror movie!

In the end my wife thought they looked beautiful all shiny and yellow; Personally my thoughts were: I lost 2 hours of my life and the cymbals now sound different and not sure if for the better! I don't think I'll ever do this again in my life.

Do any of you usually clean cymals? Are your experiences as terrifying as mine?
 

Squirrel Man

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Never did a deep clean like that, we get a lot of dust in the high desert so I use a dry dust cloth sometimes on the whole kit but no deep cleaning.

As a point of reference I've had my F250 for 10 years now, previously a Ram for 8 years. In the entire time I owned these two vehicles I've never cleaned them once. No car washes, no armor-all on the dash. Maybe wipe out some dog poo I got on the floor mat but that's about it.

What's the point?
 

Rotarded

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I wipe the fingerprints/skin oil off of my A Customs with white vinegar. My A series (1960s-1990s) have only ever been dusted.
 

Tama CW

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Did it twice. One old A with a huge dark green stain on the back. The other was a 20" Sabian ride with a black shadow left by a cymbal mute sitting on it for years. The base stains on those didn't come off no matter what I did with chemicals and SoS pads. I do not clean regular Zildjian A's or K's that have 30 yrs or more of patina.....too much work for so little gain. Though if that white vinegar trick doesn't leave any remains after removing fresh finger prints....I might try that.
 

Peterk256

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Bar Keepers Friend on B20 cymbals with lots of water, fairly easy, never regretted it. I tried BKF on a B8 2002 that I was prepping to sell and it turned weird colors in a short time, that's my only regret. Have used Groove Juice many times in the past, you got to use a lot of it to prevent spots/streaking so it's not economical.

I won't clean collectible cymbals like a 1953 2" stamp or a trans-stamp. But for stuff I play regularly, never had a regret, never got the sense there was any damage. Never heard any negative difference. I've had some cymbals with so much crud that it sounded like there was a piece of tape on the cymbal, then cleaning resulted in improving the sound to my ears. I've had 58 (yeah, I keep track on a spreadsheet) cymbals pass through my hands, probably cleaned half of them and that's my personal experience.
 

pwc1141

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For a long time I used only "raw" un-lathed ride cymbals and the hats semi-lathed so cleaning to achieve a "shine" was not an option. When I did own lathed cymbals I never used chemical agents, just damp cloths. I did get some Bar Keepers Friend from my daughter who lives in the US after hearing about it from a forum member but used it for other things once I realized it was Oxalic acid based. I now have one fairly new lathed cymbal that will just get the damp cloth treatment when it might need it....
 

paul

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I clean all my cymbals with Bar Keepers Friend every few months, depending on use. Patina is simply a form of corrosion that works to limit the high frequencies the cymbals create, making them less likely to cut through the mix of a live band and reducing articulation overall. Besides liking the look of shiny cymbals, I like the sound of clean pies.

When I started decades ago the best option for cleaning was Brasso, which required much elbow grease and generated a huge mess. BKF is fast, easy, and leaves my stainless steel sink even cleaner than the cymbals. I can clean ride, china, three crashes, splash, and hats in 30 minutes or so and wind up with clean cymbals and a couple of damp towels.
 

Tornado

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You have to really not care about your logos to use BKF regularly. Just be warned, they will come off.
 

pwc1141

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I studied too many magazine ads in the 80s and 90s and have an irrational attachment to logos. Wish I didn't, it would be a lot easier.
I have sold or traded cymbals with logos gone as the good ones are easily recognizable for what they are without logos intact, but I understand those who might wish to keep them.
 

ggmerino

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Only my Paiste cymbals (rock, funk etc.) and I use the Paiste cleaner and protector- they sound and look clean and crisp. Otherwise- all others (mostly jazz cymbals) sound better dirty- hurray for patina. When young I once cleaned a pair of old hats that sounded great and after cleaning sounded like cheap crap- never again.
 

Stretch Riedle

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I only started cleaning cymbals that were so dirty they sounded clangy and dark, and not in a good way. I also prefer Barkeeper's Friend. I switched from the powder to the paste. The paste is easier to use, clings to the surface, and is a lot less messy. BKF and hot water. Sure, a little elbow grease sometimes but that's ok. I had bought some old Zildjian Turkish K's [cheap, all had issues] that really didn't sound good and after I cleaned them they sounded much more musical. They even shined up a little. New or modern cymbals usually just need to be wiped off with a rag.

And the golden rule is...if the cymbal sounds great as is, don't clean it.

Stretch
 

Squirrel Man

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I personally dislike logos on the playing side so am happy to lose them ..........resale is not a consideration for me.
Same here. I can be a little OCD and when the hat logo works it's rotation to stick striking range I tend to hit a little harder lol
 

dsop

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I've had my F250 for 10 years now, previously a Ram for 8 years. In the entire time I owned these two vehicles I've never cleaned them once. No car washes, no armor-all on the dash.
That's insane. You need to regularly clean, and occasionally was the vehicle's paint. It is a protective coating over the body, and it is not going to last very long if you don't take care of it.

I don't regularly clean my cymbals, but some of my Paistes will get the occasional Pledge treatment. Very rarely I will break out the Paiste cleaner and go to town. I've never had a problem cleaning cymbals. 30 years ago when I was on the road regularly I would clean them once a year. When I worked as a drum tech for famous bands, I would clean their cymbals several times a week.
 

JCW

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I've gone 2-for-3 on cleaning cymbals recently. I have three 22s -- '60s Zildjian ride, an Amedia of some sort, and a '70s Zildjian Pang. The '60s ride was green and dull-sounding, and the Amedia wasn't really patinaed but was covered in stick marks -- I cleaned both with Bar Keeper's Friend, and the sound of each definitely improved to my ear, and the Amedia looks fabulous. Then I went too far and cleaned the Pang, which had I guess a "normal" amount of patina, but also had a big X of tape residue on the bottom. It cleaned up nice, but the thing basically turned into a mini-gong after that. This morning I tried some electrical tape on the bottom and a couple of sizzlers attached to strings on top, and am liking it again.

One thing is for sure -- BKF will do the job, and quick. But it probably won't be coming out to clean any cymbals here again for a long time.
 

sixplymaple

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I have never cleaned my cymbals besides a quick paper towel wipe. Some are 15 years old and look completely different now haha. I’m cool with that though, I actually think they sound a bit better now.

You should post some pics. I’m sure I would have hated doing it too lol.
 


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