Cymbal’s Lifetime – How Long do They Last?

March 28, 2022
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Although drummers want their cymbals to last a lifetime, they need to be fully aware that this isn’t always the case.

The biggest determinator of a cymbal’s lifetime is not only the material and manufacturing processes used for cymbal making but your style of playing as well.

Not only do your cymbals last longer with the way you strike them, but also with the way you take care of them.

Do cymbals last forever?

Like anything, cymbals also wear out over time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t last decades. How long they should last depend on how you treat them.

If you play them carefully, with natural dynamic range, handle them during transport, clean them and mount them wisely, you can be sure the quality ones will last a long time.

Do cymbals get better with age?

Cymbals do sound better with age for drummers who prefer the dark and mellow sound. As they age, they produce that specific dark and mellow sound in contrast to bright and loud new ones have.

Three main factors affect how cymbals will sound as they age, patina, metal fatigue, and film of dirt that gets on them over time.

Do thin cymbals break easier?

Not necessary. Thin cymbals can bend more. Brutal, force, wrong technique or cheap material are three main reasons behind cymbal crack. I you play your cymbals with light to moderate force with excellent control, they might not rupture that easily.

As I already said, playing with a proper technique should alleviate any worries about breaking cymbals, so thin cymbals can hold up as long as you don’t overplay them.

Thin cymbals are flexible, and they have shorter sustain, but I would not recommend them for heavy music styles – they work best with soft rock, jazz, etc. If you use them for any other music style, they will crack easier and faster.

Do cymbals crack?

They crack for sure, and various factors affect it. For example, crash cymbals crack more often than other ones.

Rides tend to last longer than crashes due to different ways of playing. However, they can crack fast due to heavy playing and some manufacturing defects.

Do cymbals wear out?

Yes, cymbals wear out over time. Powerful playing can wear them out quickly, and the structural metal composition weakens with time, causing the cymbals to break.

The cymbal’s wearing out is normal, and in some cases, drummers like to play them even though they wear out.

How often do cymbals need to be replaced?

Most drummers who have good playing techniques and do proper maintenance can use their cymbals for up to 20, 30 years, if not more.

If quality cymbals break after a short time, you should replace them – but also consider purchasing suitable cymbals for the appropriate musical direction.

Why do my cymbals keep cracking?

Cymbals keep cracking for various reasons. One of the reasons why they break is the strike position of the stick. Also, the power you use while playing, the thickness of the stick, and the material composition.

You should pay special attention to the material composition. As I already mentioned, with time, the metal composition will wear out, and older cymbals will crack.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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