Cymbal Care and Cleaning


Red Cymbals are hand made from high quality B20 bronze (except Low Volume Cymbals which are stainless steel) which is composed of 80% copper and 20% tin (that’s where the ’20’ comes from - the amount of tin). The life of the cymbals we make are dependant on the way that they are cared for. Our craftsmen in Turkey put a massive amount of effort into making each cymbal - you can see the process on our YouTube Channel and it is our hope that your cymbals will serve you well.

To avoid improper usage of cymbals through abuse, incorrect technique and neglect we provide some pretty straightforward suggestions below, if you have any questions please do get in touch:


  1. Play With A Glancing Blow / Stick Selection

Do your best to avoid hitting cymbals directly but use a glancing type of hit on the cymbal rather than hitting the edge or ‘through’ the cymbal. This technique will allow the full resonance of the cymbal to play out rather than choking the cymbal. Edge cracks on a cymbal are indicative of incorrect technique and can appear fairly quickly on a cymbal if played improperly. Cracks around the lathing can also appear over time and do not always indicate a manufacturing issue. Choose your sticks wisely - heavy sticks (e.g. 5B or 2B) or non-wooden sticks such as graphite sticks, on thinner cymbals are never good and can also damage heavier cymbals.

2. Choose the Correct Cymbal for you.

When choosing cymbals take into account the style of music you play and the volume required. We make a range of cymbals with a variety of sounds. Bright or brilliant finished cymbals are perfect for drummers who like their cymbals to project and conversely ‘darker’ cymbals are for drummers who want their cymbals to sit lower in the mix. A louder ‘heavy hitting’ drummer playing dark cymbals will generally break them.

Buying dark cymbals and then expecting them to be loud and hitting them harder is like buying a sports car to go off road. 

Consider the following general factors when purchasing a cymbal:

Weight - heavier/thicker means louder and more ‘ping’
Thickness - thicker cymbals are heavier and louder / thinner cymbals are easier to break if hit incorrectly.
Wash - thinner cymbals = more wash but also lower tone / less volume. Thicker cymbals usually don’t wash.
Finish - the brighter the finish the brighter the cymbal / darker cymbals = dark/dry sound
Lathing - the more lathing the cleaner/clearer the sound / less lathing = drier tones
Hammering - more/bigger hammering = more trashiness and wash
Raw finish = a more complex sound with increased attack
fx holes = a quicker decay and trashier sound but also more susceptible to cracking if hit hard.

3. Protect Your Cymbals

Protect your cymbals with a quality cymbal case or solid padded bag - we recommend SKB hard cases or Red Deluxe Cymbal bags as they will protect your investment from damage. Be careful when packing them and don’t put them under heavy objects such as amps and speakers, always put them on top of gear. Make sure that there are dividers between the cymbals and consider using Red Cymbals sleeves or Cymbal Sox. Be careful of storing cymbals in heat or cold such as leaving them in a car in summer or winter and alway protect the edges of the cymbals - don’t drop your case - especially on concrete.

4. Cymbal Stands Are IMPORTANT!

Make sure your cymbal stand is sturdy and won’t fall over (this will damage cymbal) and ensure that there are quality sleeves (nylon or rubber) on the tilter rod to avoid contact with the thread which will cause key holing or cracking. Metal on metal is only good if you are creating a cymbal stack.

5. Loose Is good - Tight Is Bad.

Allow plenty of movement for the cymbal and have at least a bottom felt in place (preferably with another felt and wing nut on top). Don’t use overly thick felts or ‘Cympads’ which limit movement of the cymbal. DO NOT MOUNT CYMBALS TIGHTLY by over tightening the wing nut (who does that?).

6. Mounting Your Cymbals: Angle And Height.

Mount cymbals lower and angled towards the player. High and flat or worse, angled away from the drummer, will almost certainly mean that the cymbals will be damaged. Mounting cymbals for looks / aesthetics is not usually a good idea. The main focus is on longevity of the life of your cymbals.

7. Aggression In Drumming - Your Style Might Kill Your Cymbals!

The more aggressive, tense or ‘heavy hitting’ you are as a drummer the more likely you are to break cymbals. Many drummers ask how durable our cymbals are yet the issue is not durability - it is how they are played. A ‘heavy hitting’ drummer should not be surprised when they break cymbals.

Cymbals are designed to be played dynamically and musically not forcefully beaten or smashed. 

IEM mix suggestion: we suggest allowing the mics on your kit to do the heavy lifting and ensure that the overheads are a little higher in the mix so that you don’t have to hit the cymbals harder to hear and feel them. Perhaps take your IEMS out sometime and check how loud you are playing.

Being relaxed is also another key when playing handmade cymbals. If the drummer is tense and smashing the cymbals hard they will eventually break. Relax and enjoy your cymbals.

8. Setting Up Your Cymbals (avoid concrete!)

Make sure when setting up your cymbals that you bring them out of the case or bag one at a time and definitely do not rest them on a hard surface especially concrete. Concrete will dent the edges of the cymbals and cause them to crack quickly. Dropping cymbals on any surface is never helpful to prolonging the life of your cymbals. 

Sharing is not caring for your cymbals - Don’t let just anyone use your cymbals! Make sure that people will show the same care for your cymbals that you do.

9. Cleaning

If you wish to keep your cymbals clean do you best to avoid finger prints or hand marks by picking them up with your hands on either edge. The oil from your hands will cause marks which can deteriorate into tarnish (green colouring), rust and discolouration. Wipe your cymbals after use with a lint free cloth.

Cymbals with a brilliant finish can be cleaned with cleaner or polish - we recommend Lizard Spit Cleaner or Polish as they generally will not remove logos (unless you try really hard). Darker cymbals or Traditional cymbals can be cleaned with a small amount of warm soapy water and a lint free cloth however we don’t recommend using polish as it may remove the finish or cause discolouration. NEVER use abrasive or citrus based products or household cleaning products especially Brasso, Bar Keeps Friend or other similar products. 

Cleaning vs Polishing: What’s the difference? Using a cymbal cleaner removes most stick marks, dirt and other light marks but does not polish cymbals to make them shiny again like new and should not remove logos. Cymbal polish may remove logos and will potentially make brilliant cymbals shiny (like new) however it can have an adverse effect on some cymbal finishes so use polish carefully!




Red Cymbals carry a 24 month warranty against manufacturing flaws, for the original purchaser, from the date of original purchase. 

It is a condition of sale that a cymbal, subject to a claim under our warranty, is returned to us by the original purchaser (and at their cost), with a copy of the original dated receipt and a completed warranty claim form, for review within the warranty period. The original purchaser is also responsible for the return freight cost of any successful warranty claim.

All cymbals, regardless of brand or manufacturing differences, have a natural life expectancy. A cymbal, by the nature of its use, is beaten. As such, eventually beaten metal will thin out, weaken, and then give way causing the cymbal to crack and/or break bringing the cymbal's life to its natural end. 

Red Cymbals are professional instruments designed to be used in a professional manner and for the purpose for which they were designed. Misuse occurs when cymbals are selected and/or used inappropriately, and/or played by people who do not know how to use, set up, or care for the instrument properly. Cymbal care includes: maintaining cymbal sleeves and felts, using cymbal stands that are properly operational, mounting cymbals low and angled towards the player.


Several things negatively impact on the life expectancy of a cymbal: 

Manufacturing flaws

A cymbal with a hidden manufacturing flaw, will reveal that flaw when placed under stress, which is usually within the first few hours of use. If a cymbal has been used for several hours, on several occasions and has retained its sonic integrity, any future breakage will more-likely be user-error, misuse, and/or or overuse, rather than a legitimate cymbal manufacturing flaw. 


Cymbals used more frequently will break sooner than a cymbal that is used less frequently over the same warranty period. Overuse occurs when the usual life expectancy of a cymbal is shortened by multiple users using the same cymbal more frequently and in different ways than a single player would. As such, it would simply be unfair to overuse a cymbal causing it to break prematurely and then make a warranty claim, claiming that it was the cymbal's fault that it failed.  


Using a cymbal (including positioning a cymbal, it's angle, or hitting a cymbal in a manner different to how a cymbal was designed to be used) will cause premature breakage. Breakages from misuse often occur when in-experienced (and experienced) drummers play, setup or treat cymbals as they have been influenced (or out of control), rather than learning how to set up and play a cymbal properly (under control) in the manner and for what is was designed.

For example: buying a 'jazz cymbal' to use for heavy rock, or heavy metal will cause the cymbal to break prematurely as a result of a mismatch in purpose and use. Much like a drummer using their favourite heavy 2B drumsticks on a 22" jazz ride used for a crash, with poor technique causing the cymbal to break sooner. Both circumstances are ‘mis-use', as a jazz cymbal is thin and was not designed for heavy playing or heavy sticks. 


Our warranty is therefore based on the legal principles of "quality", "fairness", and "fit-for-purpose", and therefore only protects the original purchaser: against the unknown presence of manufacture flaws (which usually appear on the first or second time the cymbals is used), and only while the cymbal is being used for the purpose for which the cymbal was designed, and as such, does not cover cymbals that have signs of misuse, or which have been knowingly overused. 

As such, a cymbal's warranty is void, and/or significantly limited (at Red Cymbals’s discretion), where: 

                                                i.                  The original purchaser is not the claimant;

                                             ii.                  The cymbal shows signs of misuse, and/or overuse;

                                          iii.                  The item has been purchased for hirer, and/or to be used by multiple users, who are unsupervised and/or have not been properly instructed on the proper use, setup, and care of cymbals. 

Where a cymbal is purchased by a group, for hire, for a House of Worship, or other multi-user purpose, they should be aware of the increased risk of damage, or breakage to cymbals, as multi-users introduce multiple and prolonged stress on the cymbal, and usually have differing expertise or skill levels. Therefore, standard warranty periods may not apply in such circumstances.

Furthermore, player issues like: bad hand/stick/stroke technique, heavy hitting, using drumsticks that are too heavy for the cymbals being played, improper treatment or misuse of cymbals, stacking or inverting cymbals, incorrect cymbal selections or setups, bad player habits/setup and/or inexperience, and poor playing techniques will all prematurely damage cymbals. 

Cymbals misused, overused, or subject to any of the above circumstances will reveal damage in the following ways:

1. Edge cracks, sections of broken cymbal and dents (waving) around the edge of a cymbal, are mostly from misuse or hitting a cymbal with the stick at an angle other than parallel to the bow of the cymbal.

2. Key holing - is usually wear at the cymbal hole area from metal rubbing on metal, which if left unattended can also result in a bell cracks.

3. Flea bites, are usually from dropping a cymbal on its edge. This shocks a cymbal and causes a shattering effect to the metal, much like panel of laminated or safety glass being dropped on its edge. A dropped cymbal will break sooner.

4. Bell cracks, which are around the base of the bell area are usually caused by restricting a cymbals movement and then hitting it in a way that causes cross stress or centrifugal forces to snap the cymbal in this area,

 An item, claimed under our warranty, will be replaced with the same or similar stocked item, of equal or lesser value, at the sole discretion of Red Cymbals. Furthermore, it should be considered, prior to purchase, that Red Cymbals manufacture cymbals 'fit for purpose', and therefore in all fairness, can only warranty cymbals that are used in the manner and purpose for which they were designed.

Cleaning: Wipe/buff your cymbals with a microfiber or soft cloth after use. Do not use Brasso, Windex and citrus based or abrasive cleaners. This will void your warranty and may remove the logo on the cymbal.

Playing technique: We suggest playing the cymbals mounted lower and on a slight angle toward the drummer as well as playing with a sweeping motion across the cymbal rather than hitting down on the cymbal. Mounting the cymbals high and flat or angled toward the audience may cause exertion of irregular force on the edge of the cymbal, potentially causing them to crack prematurely.

Any questions about our warranty can be addressed to

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