I cleaned my '60s Zildjian A 'hats the day I bought them, to get the green
stuff off and check 'em out for cracks (none at all.) That was about 10 years
I used a toofbrush and lots and lots of mild detergent and rinsed for ages.
Finished off with guaranteed non abrasive polish and haven't cleaned 'em
since, and anyone who tries will have to have a 5a-ectomy performed by a
proctologist of their choice.
That's one extreme,
I bought a 20" nameless nasty in 1971. (Krud? Zit?) It cost me 50 pence -
around a dollar at today's X rates.
Sounded like a saucepan falling off a stove, but it did me sterling service
for many years and clipped to a 20" drum, made a useful in-transport
When I finally replaced it with a Sabian ultra-heavy HH 22 (not in the
catalogue btw) I took the 20, and on a nothing to lose basis, carefully
hammered sets of concentric rings into it, expecting I'd have to toss it away
By some sod's law defeating miracle, the vandalism transformed this pile of
trash into a gorgeous-sounding deep-rumbling long-sustaining and sweet
tam-tam soundalike that J. Arthur Rank would be proud of. I've now gone
precious on it. I'd be terrified of hammering it again and ruining this now
fine instrument.. but I'm quite happy to polish it. It has virtually no
lathing (grooves) in it, The Zildjians, for example, have quite pronounced
grooves and I think this makes some difference, though I still wouldn't
polish the HH which has a brilliant finish and not much groovery.
I experimented briefly with armor-all (?) as a surface protectant on the
grounds that it is supposed to be molecular-thin and beautifies everything.
It left nasty marks everywhere, on the cymbals and drum heads. Don't do it.
It is Folly.
You'll notice that nothing matches in my set-up. Everything chosen on sound,
not appearance, so I've got Sabian ride and crash, Zildjian hats and crashes,
Meinl crash (fast!!) and Wuhan bell/splash. I've got some Pearls somewhere
for eating Pizza off of..
Does anyone notice or care?
Maybe 14 yr old drummers who buy signature drumsticks so they'll sound
exactly like Joey.. but I'm not playing to them - (I'm playing to their
girlfriends :-) ) would probably notice the different logos and think
I'm playing cast-offs. Unpolished cast-offs.
AS you know, all 14 yr olds spend a lot of time polishing.
But not French polishing.