Cymbals are Dangerous!


One thing I really need to keep in mind when working on cymbals is just how dangerous aspects of it can be.


This video demonstrates the state of a cymbal's edge after trimming to size, and my fingers are proof that one slip can result in scars for life, or worse!


Cymbal making is of course a creative, musical endeavour full of nuance and fine detail. But it's also a raw, elemental process. Metals are melted together at blistering temperatures, industrial rollers and presses push and pull the material into its initial shape, hammers are swung hundreds, if not thousands of times over, blades bite into the bronze as it spins to remove crust and add features to the "landscape" of the surface through which the sound will need to travel.


So, it's no surprise that the processes involved come with certain dangers. Most of my accidents have occurred when I've been tired - rushing to complete a task despite a nagging voice in my head telling me things are about to go wrong. But tired or not, the craft needs to be approached with respect - for yourself and the tools & materials.


Very often, the best advice I can give someone learning cymbal making is not to do it, at least for a while. To take a rest, slow down and regain some energy and perspective. When faced with puzzles or frustrating hurdles, it's tempting to power through looking for solutions, but as soon as we allow it to get to us, we're at the mercy of the darker edges of the experience, and more often than not we end up wishing we'd downed tools much sooner and walked away.


In my experience, this approach leads to clarity - the subconscious is better able to process problems and potential solutions when given space to do so, and I'm amazed at how many times I've felt defeated by some of the challenges presented, only to return once rested with an instinctive and unexpected knowledge of how to overcome them.


In short - if you decide cymbal making is for you (which I thoroughly support!), never forget that balance and rest is of the highest importance.

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