How Cymbals Are Made

doing gigs gear Feb 23, 2023

Cymbals are an essential component of any drum set, providing the bright, shimmering sound that is a hallmark of many musical styles. Cymbals are made from a variety of materials, including bronze, brass, and nickel silver, and are produced using a variety of manufacturing techniques. In this article, we will explore the process of how cymbals are made, from start to finish, and examine some of the top cymbal manufacturers in the industry.

Cymbal Manufacturing Processes

There are two primary methods used to manufacture cymbals: casting and sheet metal forming. Casting is the process of pouring molten metal into a mold, which is then cooled and polished. Sheet metal forming involves cutting, hammering, and shaping metal sheets into cymbal shapes, which are then refined and polished.

Casting is the most common method used by major cymbal manufacturers, as it allows for precise control over the alloy composition and can produce consistent results. Sheet metal forming is used more often by smaller or custom cymbal makers who may not have the resources to invest in casting equipment.

Casting Process

The casting process begins by melting raw metal into a liquid form, typically in a furnace or induction heating system. The liquid metal is then poured into a mold, which is usually made of plaster or ceramic. The mold is designed to the desired cymbal shape and size, with extra material added to account for shrinkage during cooling.

After the mold has been filled, the metal is left to cool and harden. Once the metal has solidified, the mold is removed and the cymbal is removed from the casting. At this point, the cymbal is usually rough and unpolished, and requires further refining and shaping.

Sheet Metal Forming Process

Sheet metal forming is a more involved process that requires the use of specialized tools and equipment. The process begins with a sheet of metal, usually made of brass or bronze, which is cut into the desired cymbal shape using a laser or hydraulic press. The metal is then shaped and refined using a variety of hammering and shaping techniques, including rolling, lathing, and hammering.

Once the cymbal has been shaped and refined, it is polished and cleaned to remove any impurities or imperfections. This process can involve buffing, sanding, or chemical treatments, depending on the desired finish.

Top Cymbal Manufacturers

There are many cymbal manufacturers in the market, ranging from small boutique makers to large international brands. Below, we will examine some of the top cymbal manufacturers in the industry, and the products they offer.


Founded in 1623, Zildjian is one of the oldest and most well-known cymbal manufacturers in the world. They offer a wide range of cymbals, including the iconic A Zildjian and K Zildjian lines, which are used by many professional drummers in a variety of musical genres.

One popular cymbal from Zildjian is the A Custom Crash, which is made from a blend of bronze alloys and features a bright, cutting sound. Another popular cymbal is the K Constantinople Ride, which is a hand-hammered cymbal that produces a warm, complex sound.


Sabian is another well-known cymbal manufacturer, founded in 1981 by former Zildjian employees. Sabian offers a range of cymbals, including the popular AA and AAX lines, which feature bright, cutting sounds and quick decay times.

One popular cymbal from Sabian is the AA Raw Bell Crash, which is made from Sabian's B20 bronze alloy and features a raw, unfinished bell that produces a distinctive sound. Another popular cymbal is the AAX Ozone Crash, which features a series of small holes that provide a trashy, dark sound.


Meinl is a German cymbal manufacturer founded in 1951. They offer a wide range of cymbals, including the popular Byzance and Classics Custom lines. Meinl's cymbals are known for their bright, cutting sound and precise manufacturing processes.

One popular cymbal from Meinl is the Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash, which features a thin weight and unlathed finish for a dry, trashy sound. Another popular cymbal is the Classics Custom Dark Ride, which features a dark, earthy tone and medium-heavy weight.


Paiste is a Swiss cymbal manufacturer founded in 1906. They offer a range of cymbals, including the popular 2002 and Signature lines, which are known for their bright, powerful sound and long sustain.

One popular cymbal from Paiste is the 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat, which features a wavy bottom edge for a tight, crisp sound. Another popular cymbal is the Signature Full Crash, which features a bright, powerful sound and medium-heavy weight.

Amazon Purchase Links

If you are interested in purchasing professional cymbals from the brands mentioned above, you can check out the following Amazon links:

Zildjian A Custom Crash:

Zildjian K Constantinople Ride:

Sabian AA Raw Bell Crash:

Sabian AAX Ozone Crash:

Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Dual Crash:

Meinl Classics Custom Dark Ride:

Paiste 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat:

Paiste Signature Full Crash:


Cymbal manufacturing is a complex and detailed process, with each manufacturer using unique techniques and materials to produce their products. The major cymbal manufacturers, including Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl, and Paiste, offer a wide range of cymbals that are popular among drummers of all levels and musical styles.

If you are interested in purchasing professional cymbals, it is important to consider the sound and style you are looking for, as well as your budget. By doing some research and listening to sound samples, you can find the perfect cymbals to fit your musical needs.

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