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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 new techniques.

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.

David
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