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Do Thin Cymbals Break Easier?


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The durability of thin cymbals is a topic of much debate among drummers. While thin cymbals are known for their expressive sound, there are concerns about their susceptibility to breakage. This guide explores various factors that influence the durability of thin cymbals and provides insights into their care and maintenance.

Material Composition

Thin cymbals are typically made from bronze alloys, such as B20 (80% copper, 20% tin) or B8 (92% copper, 8% tin). The composition of these alloys affects the cymbal’s sound and durability. B20 bronze, for example, offers a wide frequency response but is more brittle and challenging to work with, making it more prone to cracking if not handled properly.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of cymbals involves casting, hammering, and lathing. Each step can impact the cymbal’s durability. Hand-hammered cymbals, for instance, may have small imperfections that can affect their longevity. The heating and cooling processes also play a crucial role in determining the cymbal’s structural integrity

Playing Technique

One of the most significant factors affecting cymbal durability is the drummer’s playing technique. Striking the cymbal with glancing blows rather than direct hits can reduce the risk of breakage. Overplaying or hitting the cymbal too hard to achieve higher volume can lead to cracks, especially in thinner cymbals.

Mounting and Setup

Proper mounting and setup are essential for extending the life of thin cymbals. Using appropriate felts and nylon sleeves can prevent direct metal contact, which can cause key-holing and cracks. Ensuring that the cymbal is not mounted too tightly allows it to move freely and absorb the striking force better.

Care and Maintenance

Regular inspection and proper care can significantly enhance the durability of thin cymbals. Cleaning the cymbals with mild, non-abrasive cleaners and avoiding extreme temperatures can prevent oxidation and maintain their structural integrity. It’s also crucial to handle cymbals by their edges to avoid dents and nicks.

Common Myths

There are several myths surrounding the durability of thin cymbals. One common misconception is that thin cymbals inherently break easier than thicker ones. While they may be more vulnerable under certain conditions, proper technique and care can make thin cymbals last just as long as thicker ones.

Advantages of Thin Cymbals

Despite concerns about durability, thin cymbals offer several advantages. They are more expressive and responsive, requiring less force to produce a wide range of sounds. This makes them ideal for genres that demand subtlety and nuance, such as jazz and softer rock.

Disadvantages of Thin Cymbals

The primary disadvantage of thin cymbals is their lower volume and shorter sustain compared to thicker cymbals. This can lead drummers to overplay them, increasing the risk of breakage. Additionally, their flexibility, while beneficial for sound, can make them more susceptible to damage if not handled carefully.

Choosing the Right Cymbal

Selecting the right cymbal involves understanding your playing style and the genre of music you play. Hard hitters and those playing louder genres may benefit from thicker cymbals, while those seeking a more nuanced sound may prefer thinner options. It’s essential to balance the need for durability with the desired sound characteristics.


Thin cymbals can be durable if treated with care and played with proper technique. While they may be more prone to damage under certain conditions, their expressive sound makes them a valuable addition to any drummer’s setup. By understanding the factors that influence cymbal durability and taking appropriate measures, drummers can enjoy the benefits of thin cymbals without compromising their longevity

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