Cymbal Doctor is a cymbal cleaning, restoring and polishing system, the brainchild of American drummer Larry Jaworske (also a vintage car restorer) and Sam Lankford, whose expertise is in metallurgy, aviation and "marine polishes for extreme applications".
There is a Home Pro Kit and a more heavy-duty Touring Kit. We have the Home Kit which includes 24"x24" rubber work mat, 8oz bottles of cleaner/brightener, polish and sealer; rubber gloves, applicators and foam polishing pads, microfibre towels, ultra microfibre finishing towel, rugged electric polishing tool and pads, logo protection film, instructional DVD and strong gigging bag.
"The muck simply floated off and the cymbal came up spectacularly"
The DVD details the three-stage process of cleaning, polishing and sealing your cymbals. The operative words in the blurb are 'safe', 'fast' and 'mirror-like' finish. Well, it's pretty fast, though some cymbals required a lot of elbow grease. We took between five and 20 minutes per cymbal, with mostly good results. 'Mirror-like' finish might put you off. Most of this writer's cymbals have a regular, satiny finish. The few which have a brilliant finish don't need much renovating and the normal finish ones we don't want to end up brilliant.
So we were wary to start. We tried it first on a grubby old 18" A Zildjian with classic regular finish. We didn't get the easy dramatic results seen on the DVD, but by cleaning it twice, using lots of paper kitchen towel to get off the black (metal polishes often invoke black residues), we eventually achieved a satisfying natural gleam.
Next we risked a cherished 40-plus years old 20" Paiste Stambul which had been browny-orange for years. The muck simply floated off and the cymbal came up spectacularly. Bull's-eye. Encouraged, we spent idle moments all week tackling all manner of cymbals, old and new, cheap and expensive. Ancient stains and marks left by injudicious sticky tape would not budge. But most cymbals at least got a welcome freshening-up.
Finally we came to a Paiste 602 Paper Thin Crash. This it seems originally had a heavy 'varnish' and, working round the logo, we ended up with a mottled, dull cymbal which now looks worse. The message is that this is an undeniably effective product, but take care and don't get over confident with it.
With the heavy electric polisher the kit is expensive, but you can buy cheaper packs with just the cleaning products to spruce up your dowdy old platters. The cleaned-up cymbals do also sound a bit sparklier and fresher.