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How to Make Cymbals Sound Better

By Wesley DeBoy ; Updated September 15, 2017
Mount, place and hit your cymbals correctly to improve their sound.

Although there are many makes and models of cymbals that offer a wide range of sounds, there are some techniques available for improving the tones they produce. Keep in mind that a poorly made cymbal will never sound as good as one that is well made. Because of this, consider acquiring a better made cymbal if you are still not happy with the way your cymbals sound.

Set up your cymbal stands correctly by making sure there is a nylon, plastic or rubber sleeve that keeps the center of the cymbal from touching the stand. Keep a felt above and below the cymbal to prevent it from rattling against the washer below and the wing nut above it.

Attach the cymbal loosely. The looser the wing nut is, the more freely the cymbal will vibrate. This increases the sustain of the cymbal, allowing it to ring out longer when hit. Tightening the wing nut too much will choke the cymbal. Securing the cymbals too tightly can also cause them to crack.

Place the cymbals as flat as possible, only angling them slightly toward you. Cymbals that are angled too much will react the same way that over tightened cymbals react when hit. This will cause them to lose sustain and increase their likelihood of cracking.

Hit your cymbals across the edge, sweeping across them as you do so. When hit, this technique will achieve the optimum sound from your cymbals. This is because this technique allows you to remove your stick from the cymbal before it begins vibrating, permitting the cymbal to vibrate freely.

Relax when playing to prevent hitting the cymbals too hard or too rigidly. The way you hit your cymbals will translate into the way they sound. Ideally, you should hit the cymbal and pull back quickly after doing so. Doing so will result in a more musical sound. If your arm is stiff when hitting the cymbal, it will strike the cymbal too hard. This technique can either cause the cymbal to ring out uncontrollably or "choke" the cymbal and prevent it from ringing out properly.

About the Author

Wesley DeBoy has been a writer since 2004. He has a variety of arts and entertainment articles published on various websites. DeBoy specializes in writing about professional audio, music and computer technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications production from Ball State University.