Cracked Cymbals (How to Repair Them, Crack Prevention)

Anyone who owns a drum set knows that a cracked cymbal is a nightmare. Cracking a cymbal can completely ruin its sound. They can crack from the edge, the structure, the keyhole, or the bell’s base, and a small crack can quickly develop into a large one.

If you have a cracked cymbal or want to know how to prevent it from cracking, keep reading, and gather all the information you can.

Take action early. If you see a small crack developing, make sure to fix it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get any worse!

How to Repair a Cracked Cymbal

Suppose your cymbal cracked. Is it finally gone for good, or can you repair and reuse it? Fortunately, you can. There are plenty of hacks and DIYs that can fix a cracked cymbal and make it work the same again, or reuse it for a different task.

1. Use a Drill

This hack is the easiest way to extend a cracked cymbal life and probably the most used one. For this, identify where the crack is, where it starts, and where it ends. Drill a hole where the crack ends and blends into the rest of the cymbal. You want to discontinue the crack and the larger the hole, the more effective it is.

Next, make a clear mark around the crack using a prominent marker and use a cutting disc to remove the part that you marked.

Polish the edges, and you’re good to go!

2. For Large Cracks in the Middle – Use a Bracket

Take a pen and mark off all the areas that you need to remove around the crack. Start by drilling the ends of the cracks to make them more visible. Then, use a cutting disc to connect the dots. Once you’ve done this, use a tool to remove the pieces. Doing this should be easier after you’ve made cuts and holes around the cymbal crack. Use a filing tool to smooth the edges.

Here comes the critical part- the bracketing.

The concept involves taking a piece of metal and using it to bridge the opposite ends of the crevice.

Start by measuring the crack and cutting off metal pieces accordingly.

Drill holes inside this metal piece to connect it to the cymbal. Drill similar holes in the cymbal along the crack’s edges; screw the bracket and the cymbal together, and done! The cymbal stand will hold it very well without any instability even though the crack is still there. Amazing, right?

3. For large or many cracks on the outside – Use a cutting disk (with caution!)

If you don’t feel like drilling a hole or think that the cracks are pretty big, you can use a cutting disc to remove the cracked part from the cymbal border. Afterward, you can shape, polish, and smooth its edges.

Now, depending on how far the cracks go and how big they are, you will have to cut a large portion of the cymbal’s edges. Doing this will ultimately reduce the size and diameter of the instrument, so keep that in mind.

Plus, this procedure involves sharp tools and sharp edges, so make sure you’re very cautious!

4. Drill Many Holes and Add Rivets to Create a Sizzle Cymbal

Rivets are pieces of metal that add sizzle to a cymbal. Adding this to your cymbal can add an extra jingle and spice into its sound.

For this technique, drill some holes into your cracked cymbal and grab some small pop rivets to insert into them. Ideally, musicians prefer drilling four holes at equal distances from each other.

Next, remove the mandrels from the rivets and use the remaining pieces. Ream them into place manually, but remember to leave them loose. There you go! Your repaired cymbal is ready to be reused.

5. Put Multiple Cracked Cymbals Together to Create a Cymbal Stack

In case the cracks are too large and cannot be fixed with any other method, combine them with other cracked cymbals and create a stack. Cymbal stacks are many cymbals layered on top of each other. When you hit a cymbal, it hits the other one, and the chain goes on, producing unique sounds that echo for longer.

The kind of cymbals that you use will determine the type of sounds that will result from hitting the stack. Each cymbal produces a different tone so that each stack will have a unique effect. Stacks can be costly, so if you have cracked cymbals in your collection, you might save quite some bucks.

How to Avoid Cracking Cymbals

Even though everything has a half-life, including musical instruments such as cymbals, you can prevent early damage and increase a cymbal’s longevity by several folds.

For the people who are here for these prevention tips, the following are a few ways that you can use to prevent damage and cracks to your cymbals.

1. Don’t hit them as hard

If you are a beginner with these musical instruments, don’t pay attention to how people use cymbals in movies. You don’t need to and should not strike them. Optimum pressure is vital if you want to use these cymbals for longer. If you hit too harshly or apply too much pressure, the chances are that you will find cracks on the edges sooner than you should have.

2. Work on your hitting technique – don’t strike the cymbal straight on.

Similar to the concept of striking too hard, you must also remember to use the right moves when hitting.

Instead of hitting the cymbal straight on, use a swiping motion. A swiping motion makes sure that the energy dissipates from the stick onto the cymbal and does not concentrate on one particular area.

If you hit a particular spot too harshly or keep hitting it repeatedly, a crack is inevitable.

3. The angle is also important

While close to the subject of stroke techniques, it’s also important to remember the angle and positioning of the cymbal.

A slight tilt is always better than leaving your cymbal flat, this will offer a downward motion and prevent poor striking or wrong angle striking to crack the cymbal, therefore extending its life expectancy.

This takes so little time to adjust but will prolong the life of your cymbal. It’s worth the time and effort.

4. Clean cymbals regularly

If you don’t give your cymbals the right care and cleaning, their life will decrease. Dirty cymbals are prone to rust and color change, so make sure that you use appropriate and specialized products to clean your musical instruments. In the older days, people used brass polish to clean their cymbals, which was fine.

However, abrasive brass polishers can be a little too strong for a cymbal that only requires stain removal. If you use the wrong product, you might damage the face of this cymbal and its tonal grooves.

Newer products are more selective and mainly designed for cleaning cymbals. They aim to prevent rust, clean the instruments thoroughly, and make sure they last longer.

Even still, try to stay within your budget and not spend on a $200 cymbal cleaner that you have no experience with.

5. Use good felts to cushion the cymbal against the stand.

Always use good cymbal felts. Their purpose is to reduce the contact between the stand and your cymbal. This cushioning effect increases the longevity of the instrument since metal on metal contact is a no-no!

When these metals sit on top of each other without a “cushion,” you might get cracks on your cymbal. They’re most likely to appear right in the middle. Those are the hardest to fix.

Thus, adding a felt is an excellent way to make sure your cymbal lives longer and stays protected from cracks.

Cymbal life and material

Cymbals are a product of brass, copper, and alloys, and they’re pretty long-lasting in general. However, how you care for them and use them also plays a vital role in deciding how long they will live. Using felts, hitting them adequately, using a swiping motion, and keeping them clean are some ways to increase the half-life of this musical instrument.

In case your cymbal does get a crack, don’t worry. There are always a number of ways to get rid of them and make your instrument reusable.

Use your creativity and the internet, and you can transform your cymbal to look good as new (well, most of the time anyway)!

Conclusion

Cymbal cracks are a nightmare for all drummers. Some of you might have faced this situation repeatedly with your precious collection of cymbals, while others are just starting to build their kit.

Well, no matter what kind of a drummer you are or how often you hit the cymbals with your sticks, cracks will appear sooner or later if you don’t take proper precautions.

It’s also useful to know what causes these cracks and the proper way to intervene if you spot a crack in your cymbal.

This guide consists of simple and easy-to-follow steps that you can use to prevent cracks on cymbals and thus extend their life expectancy.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your cymbals will remain crack-free for longer and stay protected.

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Mike O'Connor

Drumming has been my passion for over 18 years. I play quite a few different genres and I really enjoy experimenting with hybrid kits that blend acoustic and electronic drums. I love all things drumming!

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