Cracked Cymbal

I recently bought a Paiste black label 2002 20″ crash from a colleague.  I will probably write more about that later.  However, my friend threw in a cracked 20″ A. Zildjian & Cie Constantinople ride cymbal for free.  This cymbal apparently used to belong to USC, at least from the inscription scratched under the bell, and dates from the early 1970’s.  It has a grommet in the center hole, which probably indicates some keyholing from being played on a stand without a sleeve.  It had a network of cracks that someone had unsuccessfully tried to stop by drilling holes.  Here is a picture of the cracks:

cymbal 002-25

And here is the stamp, which unfortunately is now gone:

cymbal 001-25

The cymbal had character, but I was afraid to play it much for fear it would crack more, or even shatter.  I posted pictures of the cymbal on the Drum Forum site ( and asked what people would do about it.   Was it salvageable?

Drum Forum, otherwise known as DFO, had a lot of refugees from the Cymbalholic site on it at the time because Cymbalholic was going through massive changes and was inaccessible.   There was a lot of esoteric cymbal expertise available.  Some people said it was a lost cause.  One said to cut it down to a 16″.  Others recommended a user called “Premier Player” who did wonders with a Dremel machine.  Premier Player (Premier is a brand of drums) contacted me and offered to work on it.  I sent him the cymbal and he proposed a plan for repair, which was essentially the “Cookie Monster” repair: take a big chunk out of it.  I knew this was a gamble.  There was no way to tell what it would sound like.  He said sometimes they come out better than ever before, even magical, but other times not so much.  I decided to go forward with it.  Here is the repaired cymbal. The repairman calculated that the bite out of the edge is about 5% of the total cymbal area:

A-Zil-Cie-cymbal 009

Here is a clip of what it sounds like.  Unfortunately I don’t have a before clip to go with it, but I think it sounds very similar to what it sounded like when I got it, but perhaps slightly lower in pitch.  I am using a Vic Firth AJ2 wood tip.

It is not what I would call “magical” but I think it sounds pretty cool.  It is definitely a jazz cymbal, and I will find uses for it in recording and maybe even in coffee house gigs, where it is sure to be a conversation piece!

About guitarsophist

I'm a guitar-playing rhetorician professor.
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