Talk:Cymbal alloys

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While I'm delighted to have information added to this page and corrected, there have been some errors introduced by recent changes.

Things that I'm really glad someone picked up:

  • Saluda Glory is now correctly listed as b8, I had said b20. Dunno how I got this wrong, I have only their (awesome) Mist and Voodoo series in my current set and just slipped up somehow.

Things I've changed:

  • The wiki link to phases of matter was unhelpful IMO. The usage here is a specialised one of metallurgy, and isn't the same term at all.
  • The comment "traditional and brilliant" against Saluda Glory was unnecessary. Many different lines from other makers are also available in optional finishes, but AFAIK the alloy is the same regardless of finish in all cases. So I don't think we want to list all the available finishes here.
  • There was one example out of order (Saluda SSX). This ordering is not so much for the reader as for the editor, to make it easy to avoid duplication. Generally people seem to have got the hang of it.

Things I'm not sure about:

  • I've left Saluda SSX listed as Nickel-Silver, but I wonder where this info came from. The Saluda website doesn't say. If we don't know for sure, better not to say. The lists are not complete by any means, but they are as comprehensive as I can make them.

It may well be true, it would be quite revolutionary and Saluda are just the crew to do it.

Andrewa 17:34, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I'm afraid I think the changes from nickel silver to Nickel Bronze are just plain wrong. I think I know what you're trying to get at, but cymbal makers all over the world (and many metallurgists and metal supply companies) all call the stuff nickel silver. See the Paiste and Meinl web pages for a start, or go into any drum shop that stocks Meinl NS (note the 'S') or Paiste 402 series cymbals and have a look. I've added a comment to the article on nickel silver to point out that nickel bronze might be a better name. But it's not our job here to campaign to change it! (I notice there are some inaccuracies added to the nickel silver article too but this is not the place to deal with those.) Andrewa 19:13, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Removed text:

Nickel bronze is also called "nickel silver" by mistake - nickel silver is a stainless alloy of copper, nickel and zinc.

Such prescriptive linguistics are a bit old-fashioned IMO! But maybe this text or something like it (and some expansion) could go into the nickel bronze and nickel silver articles. Andrewa 19:34, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

More removed text:

It also leads to wear-out, therefore a professionally used tsching cymbal or church bell made of bell bronze does not last more than half a a men´s lifetime, statistically. The metal gets hair cracks which impair the sound and finally breaks visibly.

In ancient times silver was the most valuable metal, even more precious than gold, . And silver does not help a clear sound. Therefore, the silver was rather a sacrifice than actually mixed into the alloy.

There may be some truth in these claims, but I'd like some evidence, and the claim about men's lifetimes seems particularly suspicious... surely it depends on how often and hard it's hit or struck? There are bell-metal cymbals from the 1920s still playing well! They also need some rephrasing... what does than actually mixed into the alloy mean? Andrewa 20:56, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

More thinking... the first passage of removed text above seems to be suggesting that bell bronze has no fatigue limit, and that other cymbal alloys and particularly malleable bronze do. This may be true. Whether this technology has yet found its way into cymbal manufacture is another question.

As a first step, I'm researching whether any cymbal alloys have fatigue limits. Some copper-based alloys do and most do not.

This 487KB PDF looks a good start. Andrewa 14:49, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

IMO a far more interesting aspect of this is, if it's true that fine cymbals are operating outside the fatigue limits of the metal (which they certainly are if the material doesn't have one!) and if this is significant enough to cause failure of some cymbals in half a man's lifetime (a much bigger if - aluminium used in aircraft bodies has no fatigue limit, but there are Dakotas still flying safely), then this would probably produce an ageing effect long before failure. Such ageing might be a very desirable feature in cymbals (but not in bells) if properly controlled.

My reaction at this stage remains that this is the sort of hearsay often heard in drum shops and quite commonly printed in cymbal catalogues (written I can only assume by cynical sales folk who safely assume that few drummers know any metallurgy) and I'd like some evidence. Andrewa 14:32, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

With much regret I have reverted more changes made by an anonymous editor. This time, many examples were removed from the lists of examples.

Please, if you make corrections of this sort, give some justification. Do you have some old Foremost cymbals, for example (I have)? Have you had them examined by a metallurgist (I have)? Or do you rely on some other cymbal site (if so please cite it, either in the article or here)? Andrewa 20:59, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Another reversion of work by the same IP as before:

...Saluda Mist Brilliant, Saluda Mist Hybrid, Saluda Voodoo Brilliant, Saluda Voodoo, Saluda Voodoo EX Brilliant and Saluda Voodoo EX...

It's pointless listing for example Mist and Mist Brilliant as separate series. It's the same alloy throughout the series, only the finish is different. Many other manufacturers offer optional brilliant finishes as well, plus Paiste offers coloursound and Meinl offeres Champagne Finish. The Meinl Champagne Finish does subtly but significantly effect the sound, to my ears the coloursound doesn't, and whether the brilliant/traditional option does probably depends on the manufacturer. But here we're interested in the alloy. AFAIK, no manufacturer uses a different alloy for brilliant finish to the one they use for traditional finish within the same series of cymbals, so there's no point in separate listings.

The Hybrid, just BTW, is brilliant top and trad bottom. Saluda claim this affects the sound, and I'm quite happy to believe them, they seem to have their act together. In fact I know not everyone likes them, but personally I've found their organisation a pleasure to deal with and their cymbals a joy to play. But I also rather like my UFIP Naturals hats, splash and crash, which are unlathed top and trad bottom, sort of the opposite idea to the Saluda hybrid finish, and the UFIP sound is superb. My advice is, let your ears choose your cymbals and look at thr brand afterwards! End of POV rave. Andrewa 07:47, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Before you add your favourite cymbals to the top of the examples list...[edit]

Most if not all of the readers and editors of this page are drummers I guess. And we care about our cymbals. Yay team! And we have some varying opinions.

The list of examples is aphabetical. Putting your favourite brand at the front of the list is not NPOV, and will be corrected occasionally.

The other thing is, the list is minimal. There's no call to list for example both Saluda Mist Traditional and Saluda Mist Brilliant as examples of B20 cymbals. If there were Saluda Mist cymbals that were not B20, fair enough. But there ain't.

Don't get me wrong, I love Saluda B20 cymbals. I love my 12" Voodoo China and 10" Voodoo EX China Splash so much that when they first said they might produce a thin trad 12" B20 I committed to buying two of the first batch by return email. These were duly delivered almost a year later and are superb. Put either of them in the same kit as my 11" Paiste trad thin splash and ask which cymbal is three times the price of the other and you'll get it wrong every time (the answer is that the Paiste is the overrated, expensive one - but still a sound I'm keeping, obviously). If you're a really big hitter you will smash them (and the Paiste for that matter) clean in half first stroke, sure, but if you're that big a hitter your handler should buy you nothing thinner than medium thin splashes, and in stronger alloys (;-> ! That's what they're made for.

The point is not what cymbals you like. The point is, Wikipedia is not the place to promote them. Happy Hitting! Andrewa 17:35, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

or remove ones you don't like[edit]

I guess that someone doesn't like Saludas. No surprise, I think you either love or hate them. The big cymbal companies hate them, and so do drummers who are big hitters, or believe drum shop jive, or both. Lots of both categories around.

But we really should cover all brands. I'll fix it when I get around to it. Andrewa 16:19, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Hmmm... I'm not quite sure the Australian Government National Pollutants Inventory factsheet is really relevant to this particular article. The bronze article is a better place for this link, and it's there too.

So I'm removing it from this article. If you restore it please give a rationale. Andrewa 02:50, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Cymbal Secret Alloy section[edit]

whats this istanbul secret stuff? its horribly written, looks like it was from someone who had english as a second language, and looks utterly confusing... what gives?74.140.144.112 03:09, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Agree with above comments - a well-meaning contributor apparently wanted to help readers know what is the metallurgical content of Zildjian cymbal metal, but maybe it should remain a secret. Bigturtle 16:31, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Um, it's not a secret. The only people who will tell you that it is are jive-speaking sales types, and those they have fooled. But there are lots and lots of both categories around to listen to. Speaking as a drummer, I must confess that we're in general a gullible lot. Andrewa 16:14, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm, I've removed the section... which has been added three times now and removed twice by different editors, so I'm now the third... and also removed Istanbul Agop Cymbals from the See also section, where it was the only link!

The removed text is full of inaccuracies (as well as some pretty awful English). Not all of it is untrue of course, but I doubt it has any rescuable encyclopedic content. Some of it appears to be original research, some of it may just be drum shop jive promoting a particular line of (excellent) cymbals. Or it may even be written by a cymbalsmith... but cymbal making is an art as well as a science, and being a cymbalsmith doesn't mean you know everything about the history and metallurgy of cymbals.

I'm also working on some sources for this article... they weren't seen as important when it was written, but Wikipedia culture has changed and they are now very important indeed. Andrewa 07:37, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm, the secret alloy section I removed before is back, rewritten a bit. We'll try again... here it is if you want it, there's encyclopedic stuff in there, albeit without citable sources, which could be added to the article. But as a whole, the section doesn't belong. Andrewa 16:28, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

More on "secret" alloys[edit]

Paiste patent[edit]

The reference to Paiste patent 4,809,581 dated March 7, 1989 has been removed for some reason. This patent is for signature bronze which has several other names, and it's a very significant reference for many reasons. Looking into it; The US patent office database isn't easy to link to!

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=4,809,581.PN.&OS=PN/4,809,581&RS=PN/4,809,581 might work.

Or try http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm and put 4,809,581 (commas optional) in the search field.

It makes fascinating reading, is written largely in layman's terms, and covers not only the alloy composition but many details of the heat-treatment, hardness as tested, etc.. Andrewa (talk) 23:08, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Are there secrets?[edit]

It hasn't been possible to keep the composition of an alloy secret for more than a century now! It was once, and many 20th century cymbal company catalogues and brochures and perhaps even websites (I must check the wayback machine) made claims as to secret alloys. But by this time such claims were pure lies. I guess not many drummers are metallurgists or even have a metallurgist for a close relative, but my father is a metallurgist, and I grew up to the sound of his laughter at the absurd claims made in cymbal sales literature.

The problem is that there are now many "reliable sources" that fell for these claims, and I don't have one to quote refuting them. A good research project for someone if I don't get around to it first.

There are lots of secrets in cymbal making. Alloy composition is no longer one of them. Andrewa (talk) 23:08, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Other interesting sources[edit]

More to follow... Andrewa (talk) 23:24, 19 October 2012 (UTC)