Should I clean my cymbals or not!
This is not going to be a how-to of cymbal cleaning! So I will
not go into detail about that process.
This is however a big topic on forums and I thought I would try
and shed some light on the topic and offer some advice.
Depending on the cymbal and how old it is, I would not polish
it... If you play a lot of gigs and you want shiny cymbals, then
that is your choice, but the history of the cymbal and its sound
is "set in history" and if you take a very early untouched
cymbal and start polishing it, in time the sound will change.
Hmmm.. What do I mean by that? Well, like everything in this
world, over time things will wear out and if something happens
on a regular basis it will affect it. Simple things like playing
a record over and over will wear it down.
Metal items that touch and do not have any lubricant will wear
down. The constant rubbing on a cymbal will eventually wear it
down and that in turn will change the sound of the cymbal.
How much? How Long? I have never tested it or do not have the
equipment to make the determination, so I can only speculate based
on other things that we interact with daily.
For historical evaluation and valuation, a cymbal has a certain
physical look to it and that is why it is better left untouched.
The patina and color over time give it that vintage look. If you
are after super shiny cymbals there are a variety of contemporary
cymbal makers that are trying to give you that sound, but with
So I guess anything from the early 1900's to the 1960's should
be left alone if you plan on selling it and or trying to keep
the vintage look. After that time cymbal manufacturers were changing
the way cymbals were made and they are not as sought after as
cymbals from earlier manufacturing dates.
Here again, it is your cymbal and if you want to melt it to make
jewelry then it is your business, but many people traveling to
this web site find an old cymbal and look for information on what
to do with it.