Common Terms & Definitions
A "cast" cymbal is manufactured by pouring hot molten bronze from a crucible into a mold to form a casting. Castings are then repeadetly heated, rolled flat and cooled, forming a blank. Blanks are then cold worked through a series of hammering and lathing to form a cymbal.
A "sheet" cymbal is simply machine stamped out of a pre-manufactured sheet of bronze or brass.
Harmonic tones or notes that are higher than the fundamental note generated by the vibrating cymbal.
Harmonic tones or notes that are lower than the fundamental note generated by the vibrating cymbal.
This refers to the length of a note, or in this case, the amount of time the cymbal continues to vibrate and produce sound.
Very similar to "sustain", refering to how long it takes for the cymbal to stop vibrating and to quit producing sound.
A "fast" cymbal has a very short sustain or decay, with vibration and sound dying off very quickly.
This is a way drummers describe cymbals that are quieter and lower in pitch.
This is a way drummers describe cymbals that are louder and higher in pitch.
Drum terminology often used when describing the stick as it strikes the cymbal. If you can hear the attack and articulation of the stick clearly and it is not overpowered by overtones and wash, then the cymbal is said to have good definition.
Often used when describing the build up of sound, including overtones and undertones, as the cymbal is struck repeatedly. Washy cymbals have less defintion, and sometimes a cymbal's wash can completely takeover, getting out of control.
Drum terminology used to describe cymbals that have little to no wash and limited overtones and undertones. Dry cymbals have very clear stick definition.
Cymbals that have not been lathed or had their outer surface removed are referred to as raw. Some cymbals are totally raw, or have raw tops and lathed bottoms, or a combination of raw and lathed top surfaces. Raw cymbals tend to be dry and fast.
Lathing removes the outer "cooked" surface of a cymbal to reveal a nice shiny look. Lathing also creates "tonal grooves" that help create each cymbal's individual sound characteristics.
Hammering is used to shape a cymbal's profile and to create tonal peaks and valleys that in addition to lathing, help create each cymbal's tonal qualities. Some cymbal companies use hand guided or machine guided machines for the hammering process, while other companies prefer the traditional method of hand-hammering.
This is metal to metal cymbal bell hole damage caused overtime as a cymbal rocks back and forth on a bare metal cymbal stand. You can prevent this damage simply by using flanged cymbal sleeves on your cymbal stands.
This is cymbal edge damage (dings) caused by bumps, impacts and/or poor cymbal care.
Used to describe the high pitched overtones some cymbals generate.
Generally used to descibe a softer, lower pitched cymbal with smooth overtones/undertones.
Refers to the sound made as the stick impacts the cymbal.
Cymbal sounds that are bright enough to be heard through a heavy mix of guitars, bass and drums, are said to "cut" through the mix.
Used to describe cymbals that have a distinct bright stick attack and a high-end shimmer.
This term is derived from and best described by taking a stick and beating the lid of an old metal trash can. The cymbal sounds will be somewhat harsh, metallic and thin.
Drum terminology used to describe dark, low pitched sounding cymbals.
Used to describe softer, smoother sounding cymbals.
Used to describe cymbals that come to life immediately at the point of striking.
Used to describe and measure the distance in which cymbal sounds can travel.