Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What You Need To Know About Cymbal Alloys

Cymbal Alloys

There comes a time in every drummer’s career when they need to customise their kit with something special to give them a new sound that they can truly call their own. Choosing the components carefully you will be able to create your own style of music, your own sound and hopefully make the big time. Your choice of cymbal plays a huge role in determining your personal sound, but why do so many cymbals sound so different?

There are four main types of cymbal alloys that make up the huge plethora of cymbals you see and hear today. Of these four main cymbal alloys, certain manufacturing methods, along with the materials used to manufacture the cymbals make up the reason why they can often sound so different. Not taking the size of the cymbals into equation, they sound different because of their materials and structure.

Bell Bronze Cymbals

Bell Bronze Cymbals

These types of cymbals, which are also commonly called bell metal, are used in the majority of orchestras and large kits due to their wide dynamic range when compared to other types of cymbal. Manufactured mainly from one part tin to two parts copper, these cymbals are known to be harder than many other cymbals and are often hand-made, as the hardening effect of the alloys means that they can be troublesome to produce using mechanised equipment.

Malleable Bronze Cymbals

Malleable Bronze cymbals

This type of alloy used in a cymbal is often 8% that can be rolled into sheets easily unlike the other types of cymbal alloys. This cold rolling process makes them an easier cymbal to manufacture, meaning that this alloy in particular is the most commonly used in cheaper kits, as the metals and alloys are more commonly available in many different grades of thickness and sizes.

Brass Alloy Cymbals

Brass alloy Cymbals

Brass cymbals are often many people’s first cymbals. Being cheaper to manufacture, they are often used in toy kits and similar budget range kits that aren’t used by the professionals. Nearly all china-type cymbals and gongs are produced using brass, making them an inferior product. The typical makeup of these cymbals is usually 38% brass into copper, meaning the metals are readily available and easily manufactured, hence the cheaper price.

Nickel Silver Cymbals

Nickel Silver Cymbals

Nickel Silver cymbals are manufactured from an alloy of nickel and copper, with around 12% of nickel in copper used to make these cymbals cheaper to manufacture. Again used in beginner’s kits, many nickel silver cymbals can create a decent tone and have special effects that may fit in with your particular style of music. Many professionals overlook these “beginner” cymbals and opt for the higher end bell bronzes.

It is often a difficult task to find the right mix of cymbal alloy, price and tone to suit your playing style and your budget. Finding out that you diverted spending a large sum of money on a cheaper alloy cymbal might put you in the right direction when it comes to using your budget wisely. Otherwise, choose a cymbal that performs the best and has the tone you love, that way you can continue doing what you love and sound better than ever!

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