We all expect a little wear and tear when it comes to our drum equipment over time, especially if you are playing and practicing a lot! But this doesn’t mean you should have to constantly replace cymbals because they are breaking too frequently.
Understanding why your cymbals might be cracking if they tend to do so a lot can help you to prevent it for longer. This means that this is well worth it if you want to hopefully save some money along the way!
Cymbals can crack for a number of reasons. In general, this will be due to a lot of stress on the cymbal which can eventually lead to cracks. This can be because of the type of cymbal, technique, your set up or simply from wear and tear over time.
Cymbals may crack due to a lot of stress being applied to them over time. This can be caused by your technique, set-up, cymbal type or simply from wear and tear over time.
So, you might now be wondering, how exactly do factors like technique and cymbal type affect how likely they are to crack. If so, keep reading for our full guide on why cymbals crack, and how to help to prevent it!
Why do Cymbals Crack?
Cymbals may crack due to a lot of stress being applied to them by frequent strikes. This can lead to wear and tear, and eventually cracks forming. You might notice cracks originating on the rim of your cymbal.
Cracks are more likely to occur if the strikes to the cymbal are particularly hard. This can become even more of an issue for example if you are striking a relatively thin cymbal very hard in order to produce a louder sound.
This extra force applied to the cymbal, especially if the strikes are very direct, can lead to wear and tear and eventually the cymbals cracking.
The angle that you strike the cymbal can also contribute to how likely they are to crack, especially when combined with hard strikes to the cymbal while playing.
Striking the edge of the cymbal are more of a 90-degree angle will cause a large amount of stress to be applied to the cymbal and may be more likely to cause cracks.
But don’t worry! There are some easy ways to help this based on your setup to ensure you can easily strike the cymbal at slightly more of an angle. Check out our section on ‘set-up’ below for some tips!
Crack can also occur by simple mistakes and accidentally catching different parts of your cymbal with your drumsticks. An example of this is if your cymbals have holes in them.
This can make it more likely that your drumstick could become stuck in these holes while you are playing, leading to some damage and even cracking.
Where are Cymbals Likely to Crack?
Cymbals in general are more likely to crack at the rim or edge of the cymbal. Cracks may originate here and progressively spread inwards to affect even more of the cymbal if not replaced.
If the cymbal also features holes, cracks may also form at the edges of these. Holes can also possibly increase the risk of cracking if the drumstick becomes caught within the hole while playing.
How to Prevent Cymbal Cracks
Direct strikes, particularly if they are at 90 degree angle can cause cymbals to crack if they are hit with a considerable amount of force. Using thicker cymbals which are tilted at an angle and striking them with a sweeping motion will make them less likely to crack.
Whether you are experiencing your cymbals cracking often, or simply want to try to prevent this before it even happens, the key thing to know is why cymbals crack. Once you know this, you can adapt your technique, set-up or cymbal type accordingly!
Direct strikes with lots of power behind them can make it more likely that your cymbal might crack. Some drummers suggest that instead of always using direct strikes, using slightly more of a sweeping motion could help to spread the force across more of the cymbal instead of on one small area.
However, it is important to ask a professional drum teacher for advice on the technique you should be using.
As we saw earlier, striking the cymbal rim at a 90-degree angle can cause more stress to the cymbal and lead to a higher chance of cracking. Spreading this force out across the cymbal is one way to reduce this.
In terms of your set-up, tilting your cymbal slightly can help you to strike it at more of an angle. This can mean that the force you apply to the cymbal will spread slightly more evenly across the cymbal, reducing the force on any one particular spot.
There is a huge variety of cymbals out there, and the most important thing to think about before buying your cymbal is which is the right one for you. This can depend on the type of music you want to play, and what kind of sound you want to produce.
Whatever it is, it is always a good idea to ask for advice in a music store or a music teacher to help you find the right cymbal for you.
Cymbal type can also affect how likely your cymbal is to crack.
Cymbals with holes
As cymbal cracks are most likely to originate from the rim, cymbals that also feature holes may be more likely to also crack from the edges of these holes.
Cymbal holes may also be more likely to crack if the players drumsticks get caught within them while playing. This could also increase the risk of further damage to the cymbal.
Cymbals come in a number of different sizes and thicknesses depending on their type and the sound they are designed to produce.
Thicker cymbals can be expected to be slightly more robust and resilient to hard strikes compared to thinner cymbals.
To conclude, cymbal cracking can occur due to technique, the cymbal type, your drum kit and cymbal set-up or just general wear and tear over time.
Knowing what the likely cause of the cymbal cracks can help you to reduce this in future and not have to replace them constantly! This could include slightly altering your setup, asking a drum teacher for advice on your technique, and making sure you have the right cymbal for the music you want to play and sound you want to produce.
We hope this post was useful! If you want more tips and tricks for getting the most out of your drum kit, don’t forget to check out our other blogs on all things drumming!