How to Fix a Cracked Cymbal

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Cymbals allow you to add a different texture to your drumming. You can achieve a range of sounds, from a gentle wash to an intense crash. Cymbals are designed to withstand prolonged abuse as the job of a cymbal is to be hit repeatedly with a wooden stick or mallet. However, improper storage and poor stick technique can lead to cracks. Once a cymbal is cracked, its sound is altered irreversibly. However, there are steps you can take to prevent further damage and preserve the cymbal as a functional part of your kit.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Soldering
  • Solder
  • Bench clamp

Drilling

  • Fit a 1/8-inch drill bit to a standard drill. It's important to keep the two holes as small as possible to reduce the effects on the cymbal sound.

  • Place the cymbal bell-side down on your work bench and brace with a bench clamp. This prevents the cymbal from rolling around when you are drilling.

  • Drill a hole all the way through the cymbal at the end of the crack, as close to it as possible. Striking a cracked cymbal will cause the metal to split, extending the crack. The hole provides relief for the friction of the cracked parts rubbing together and prevents the crack from extending further. Most cracks start at the edge of the cymbal and gradually extend toward the center. However, in some rare cases a crack may begin and end away from the edge. In such cases, make two small holes, one at each end of the crack.

Soldering

  • Turn on your soldering iron and leave it to heat up.

  • Buff the area around the crack to make it shiny. This removes dust and makes the surface of the cymbal more likely to bond with the solder. Do this on both sides of the cymbal.

  • Put the cymbal bell-side up and fix it in a bench clamp.

  • Put a small amount of solder onto the tip of the soldering iron. Press the soldering iron against the cymbal, approximately 1/4-inch away from the start of the crack. Move the tip of the soldering iron toward the crack. Add solder when necessary and continue until you've soldered over the entire crack.

  • Remove the cymbal from the clamp, turn it upside down, clamp it and solder the underside of the crack. This is a temporary fix, but compared to drilling it typically retains more of the original sound of the cymbal. Soldering won't provide a long-lasting fix, but in an emergency you can use it rescue your cymbal if you have an important show.

Tips & Warnings

  • Modify your sticking technique if you find that you crack a lot of cymbals. Force is less important than correct technique.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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