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How to buy used cymbals

Updated on April 13, 2011

How to check for cracks...

Look closely on the edge of the cymbal and slide your finger all the way around it to check if there are any loss of metal. The edge should be smooth and clear of any bends. Now look at the mounting hole – it should be perfectly round – if it is uneven and resembles a keyhole this is a sign that this cymbal was not treated with care.
Remember to check for cracks in a well lit area (preferably daylight).

&copy 2010 photo by AK8000
&copy 2010 photo by AK8000

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Some drummers I know are afraid of buying a used cymbal. If you are reading this, probably you are too. But fear not! Choosing good used cymbal is not hard at all if you stick to a few simple rules.

Rule Number One: Do not buy a cracked cymbal, EVER!
Even if it is extremely cheap, and crack is very, very small – know that this cymbal WILL end up in trash very soon. If someone implies that one crack in cymbal he sells is insignificant they simply lie or do not know what they are talking about. Every crack will get bigger and ultimately lead to disaster.

Note: This does not apply for people who intentionally buy cracked cymbals to experiment with them, cut them into new shapes, and in general know what they are doing.

Rule Number Two: Avoid cymbals made out from brass!
This is pretty straightforward – brass cymbals sound really bad, cracks easily and often. They appear cheap, but remember wise saying „poor man pays twice”.

Focus on professional or semi-professional series. Why? Because they age well and are very durable. For half the price you get excellent sounding cymbal. Search for cymbals made from precious B20 or B8 bronze alloy, and those that you know are hand made.

Rule Number Three: Insist on sound check before you pay!
Okay, this one for many will sound trivial but I must say this – if the seller make you excuses when you want to hear the cymbal first, then probably he is not the person you want to do business with.
No cymbal sounds the same so make sure you like the sound. And one more thing: never, ever believe sound clips found on the Internet. They can give you a rough idea how the cymbal sounds, but cannot replace testing it live.

Rule Number Four: Good cymbal sounds good – it does not need to be shiny!
Many drummers never clean their cymbals, and nothing is wrong with that. Actually frequent cleaning or using wrong liquids can damage the cymbal coating. So do not be put off by the first impression of a cymbal you consider on buying if it is dirty.

These simple rules can help you in your journes through the land of quality used cymbals. Feel free to share some thoughts on how to buy used cymbals, and your past experiences.

Happy hunting!

Share past experiences about buying used cymbals!

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    • Ronnie Pistons profile image

      Ronnie Pistons 3 years ago from SC

      I like repairing cymbals.