1. Gather your tools
While some embrace the ‘darker’ sound of the funky build up of patina on their metals, for those who prefer a bright, clean sound, today we’re looking at how to restore cymbals to their former glory.
Cymbals get dirty, and not only then is the aesthetic tarnished, but the tonal quality changes as oxidation occurs.
If you like your cymbals as bright as possible, you’ll need to clean them. Here we are using a cymbal cleaning solution which bleaches pretty much anything it comes in contact with. For this reason we like to take the job outside and use our patio. You will also need water, a brush and a towel.
2. Apply The Cymbal Cleaner
Some methods call for lemon juice and such like to clean your cymbals but here we will stick with a purpose-designed cymbal cleaner, Groove Juice (the big companies such as Zildjian, Sabian and Paiste do their own versions).
The majority of cleaners come in a spray bottle for ease of application. Spray evenly over the surface of the cymbals (one side at a time) and watch them change colour before your eyes.
3. Get scrubbing
Get scrubbing.This step should only be necessary if the cymbal is particularly soiled or has deep grooves like these Zildjian K hats.
Use a toothbrush or similar to get into the grooves and clean out all the crud. Never use a wire brush as this will scratch or even wear down the cymbal’s surface.
Be sure at this point to work around any brand logos if you want to keep them, as they will come off.
Rinse with water. Your best bet is to take them outside (if you’re not already) and hose them down.
Again, be cautious around the logos as they become softened by the cleaner. With this in mind, you may prefer to gently pour water over the cymbals to rinse the chemicals away.
5. Dry and polish
Once you have rinsed off the last of the cleaner, grab a towel or polishing cloth and give your revamped pies a good dry and buff.
These old hats haven’t come up perfectly but there is a marked improvement. ‘Brilliant finish’ cymbals yield the best results. Don’t try to clean un-lathed cymbals as that won’t be fun for anyone!