What makes cymbals sound different?

The Art of Cymbal Sound: Understanding What Makes Cymbals Different

As a drummer, you know that cymbals play a crucial role in creating the rhythm and the soundscape of a song. But have you ever wondered what makes each cymbal unique? Why do some cymbals have a bright, sharp tone while others have a warm, dark tone? In this blog post, we will delve into the world of cymbals and uncover the secrets behind the differences in sound.

The Material Matters

The first factor that affects a cymbal’s sound is the material it is made of. Cymbals are typically made of bronze, a mixture of copper and tin. The ratio of copper to tin in the bronze mixture will determine the cymbal’s sound. A higher percentage of tin will result in a brighter, more cutting sound, while a higher percentage of copper will produce a warmer, darker tone.

In addition to bronze, cymbals can also be made of B20, a mixture of 20% tin and 80% bronze. B20 cymbals are known for their warm, rich tone and are a popular choice among jazz drummers. Another type of cymbal is the B8, which contains 8% tin and 92% bronze. B8 cymbals are known for their bright, high-pitched sound and are often used in rock and metal music.

The Shape and Size

The shape and size of a cymbal also play a significant role in determining its sound. A larger cymbal will typically produce a lower, more resonant tone, while a smaller cymbal will have a higher, more focused sound. The shape of the cymbal, such as its curvature, will also affect its sound. A flatter cymbal will have a more spread-out sound, while a cymbal with a more pronounced curve will have a more focused, concentrated sound.

The Hammering Process

The hammering process is another important factor in determining a cymbal’s sound. During the manufacturing process, the cymbal is pounded with hammers to shape it and add texture. The number of hammer strikes, the type of hammer used, and the pattern in which the cymbal is struck will all affect its sound. A cymbal that has been heavily hammered will have a more complex, nuanced sound, while a cymbal that has been lightly hammered will have a simpler, more straightforward sound.

The Lathing Process

The lathing process is the final step in creating a cymbal. During this process, grooves are cut into the cymbal’s surface to control its overtones and add definition to its sound. The number of grooves, the depth of the grooves, and the spacing of the grooves will all affect the cymbal’s sound. A cymbal with deep, widely spaced grooves will have a more complex, nuanced sound, while a cymbal with shallow, closely spaced grooves will have a simpler, more straightforward sound.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the sound of a cymbal is determined by a combination of factors, including the material it is made of, its shape and size, the hammering process, and the lathing process. Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions when purchasing cymbals and selecting the right cymbals for your music.

So the next time you’re in the market for a new cymbal, remember to consider the material, shape and size, hammering process, and lathing process. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to find the perfect cymbal for your sound and style.

Final Thoughts

Cymbals are a crucial component of drumming, and their sound can greatly impact the overall sound of a song. By understanding the factors that determine a cymbal’s sound, you can make informed decisions and find the perfect cymbals for your music. So go out there and experiment with different cymbals, and find the ones that bring your drumming to life.