What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying Used Cymbals?

Lori Kilchermann

There are both pros and cons to buying used cymbals. Some of the pros are seen as lower cost, the ability to hear the cymbal prior to buying it and occasionally trying the cymbal before making the purchase. Cons to buying used cymbals are often unseen cracks, dull sound caused by old material and lack of a warranty on the cymbals. Occasionally, the purchase of used cymbals will allow a drummer to buy a better set of cymbals than he or she could typically afford to purchase, however, the cymbals are usually being replaced for a reason by another drummer.

Drummers often have old cymbals that can be bought for relatively cheap.
Drummers often have old cymbals that can be bought for relatively cheap.

Cymbals are a metallic component machined to produce a particular sound. Each cymbal is responsible for creating and producing a bright sound that is crisp and clear, and that will sustain its note for a long period after it has been struck with a drum stick. One of the cons in buying used cymbals is that the metal has become fatigued and no longer produces a bright sound or long sustain. Old cymbals commonly become dull-sounding and produce a very short note with nearly no sustain. Occasionally, cleaning and polishing the used cymbals will help in giving the metal a cleaner and longer-lasting sound.

One of the most expensive components to replace on a drum kit are the cymbals. Many drummers sacrifice sound quality for a more reasonable price when looking to change cymbals. The pro to buying used cymbals is that a much better, more expensive set can often be bought for the same price as a set of no-name new cymbals. The problem with this is that a buyer will sometimes become obsessed with the brand name of the cymbals and will overlook any flaw in the excitement of purchasing the set. Another con in purchasing used components is commonly seen when buying the components from a stranger and separate from the drum kit: the cymbals could be stolen.

Perhaps the greatest con in buying used cymbals arises not from the discovery of a broken or damaged cymbal, but from the discovery of a counterfeited cymbal set. This is usually done by applying a spray-painted logo from a quality cymbal onto a cheaper cymbal. Some counterfeiters spend a great deal of time to distress the cymbal's logo just to make it look like a legitimate cymbal from a more expensive manufacturer. Once placed on the cymbal stand and struck with a drum stick, this con can usually be detected.

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