Updated: Oct 5
Taken from a new Patreon-exclusive video post, this preview shows a little insight into a few methods of flattening a cymbal.
This tends to be most useful when making or "fixing" hi-hats, to ensure even contact between the edges of each cymbal.
In the past I've hesitated to post very precise tutorials, partly because I like to encourage independent thought in my students, but also perhaps there is still an element of revealing how the tricks are done! That said, I'm usually the first to claim that sharing and openness is what I'm going for, so in checking myself I decided now's the time to really dive in and help people in very specific ways.
Being entirely self-taught means I've encountered all the costly pitfalls and made all the mistakes that helped me learn to get to where I am today. In a way, I want my students to make mistakes, but only knowing that I've laid the foundations for the solutions before the fact, often under the radar! It's a great way to learn.
However, I'm well aware of how frustrating these things can be, so I've decided to make a series of videos and blog posts diving into specifics, showing how it's done. Whether it's designing a cymbal lathe, posture when hand-hammering, or detailed lessons such as this one.
This video also raises the question of whether or not it actually matters that a cymbal sits flat. I'd argue that if a thing makes a noise, it can be an instrument. So, chasing "perfection" in shape can be a distraction from the production of something intended to be musical.
In a recent Group Cymbalsmith Zoom Session (which I run monthly) this question came up - how to flatten a cymbal which sits unevenly on a tabletop, for example. One answer was "it doesn't matter as long as it sounds good". I agree with this, but as an experienced cymbalsmith I'm in the fortunate position of knowing how to achieve it, and so can choose to have it not matter. I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me as I was learning.
The fact is that there is a way to achieve a flat edge (several ways, in fact), and so my thirst for knowledge guided me to figure it out! Now that I have, I can decide when or if it matters. I completely understand why my students want to know the methods, but informed decisions win over received wisdom every time.