Surface Appearance and Cosmetics in Cymbals

Surface Appearance and Cosmetics in Cymbals

How much does the appearance of a cymbal's surface matter to you, or influence your purchasing decisions?

As a cymbalsmith making fine instruments by hand, some amount of "character" in the bronze is to be expected - whether variations in colour of the raw material, or the presence of cosmetic artefacts in the surface.

By this, I mean small pits where perhaps some impurity found its way onto the metal as it was being prepared in the foundry. This gets rolled / pressed into the surface of the cymbal blank, sometimes only revealing itself when hand-hammering or lathing and taking the cymbal through the production process.

Often these present as tiny marks in the cymbal, and you'll even find these in cymbals from "The Big Four" (Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Meinl). Sometimes, however, they may appear to resemble cracks. As a cymbalsmith, I can make a customer aware that, structurally speaking, the cymbal is in fine shape, and it's merely a cosmetic thing. But I fully understand that this can make a buyer nervous.

Luckily, my cymbal blank supplier is receptive to any complaint I have (which is, thankfully, rare!) and replaces any such material with efficiency and a friendly attitude.

To help ease a customer's concerns, I offer a full warranty on defects once a cymbal is purchased, but I remain safe in the knowledge that any cymbal I produce for sale receives a full inspection before demos and listing, meaning I can confidently state that any surface artefacts are just that - cosmetic rather than structural.

There's a wide rage of opinions on this subject, what are your thoughts on it?

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