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Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


Singing The Praises Of Paiste Cymbals

December 13, 2011; David Gill

Paiste (pie'-stee) is a percussion instrument manufacturer which holds a degree of supreme craftsmanship that in my opinion, no other manufacturer of cymbals, percussive sounds and gongs can match. One case in point is their 2002 drum set cymbal line. Beautiful lathing grooves, hand hammering, and shiny mirror finishes are standout characteristics of the 2002 line. The sounds drawn from them by drumstick, brush, or mallet truly serve up a din that is pleasing to the ears; bright, rich, warm and full sounding. True ear candy for the drummer.
The company's Symphonic gongs are gorgeous works of art that beg to be played. I have a 30" model. Its surface stylings and shavings catch the eye, as well as the light. When struck with a Paiste gong mallet, the ringing seems to pleasantly go on forever. Gong gut string manufactured for these gongs holds up very well. My advice on the maintenance of the gong string is to check it from time to time for wear and tear, and if necessary, replace it. More gong gut string can be ordered on request from Paiste. As for cleaning the gongs, what they manufacture for doing such on their cymbals; bottles of Paiste Cymbal Cleaner and its accompanying care product Paiste Cymbal Protector. I have come to know these two cleaning products as the most user-friendly to the drummer/percussionist. They have what competing cymbal manufacturers' cleaning products do not; pleasant scents.


Now for some advice on cleaning, proper care and playing of these terrific cymbals. Start with placing the cymbal on a flat table surface covered by a towel. If you have this device called a Cymbal Buddy Belt, which was manufactured by Gray-West Products, that helps because you can make it larger or smaller depending on the diameter size of the cymbal, with this black Velcro strap called a "Velcro Keeper" that sticks to this red patch of Velcro on the belt to keep it in place cleaning small size cymbals. The belt also has loops made of plastic. Since it has been discontinued, you may need to buy a motorized cymbal cleaning machine called The Cymbal Polisher that is available online from
After placing the cymbal on the flat surface, apply a sparing amount of Paiste Cymbal Cleaner to the cymbal with a soft, dry cloth, use more if needed. Rub the cymbal gently from center to edge in an outward spiral movement. Let the polish dry to a haze. Next, wipe off the cymbal, again going from center to edge, with a wet, soft cloth. Then polish dry with another soft, dry cloth. It helps to have two plastic bowls handy, one filled with water for immersing cloths in to wipe off the dried Paiste Cymbal Cleaner, and the other to place used cloths into, which can then be put into your washing machine after emptying them from it. If the cymbal has discoloration brought on by oxidization, which manifests itself through brown and green colors, a second application of Paiste Cymbal Cleaner will be required, repeating the aforementioned steps, then applying a sparing amount of Paiste Cymbal Protector. Even on Paiste cymbals that are bought new, it is still a good idea to use it after cleaning with Paiste Cymbal Cleaner to help keep the protective coating preserved that they apply to them at their factory.


A product I recommend for mounting Paiste cymbals on cymbal stands that protects them from cracking are Aquarian Cymbal Springs, which have pads for the tops and bottoms of the cymbals made of Neoprene rubber. There are ones with red colored pads for Crash cymbals, and ones with yellow colored pads for Ride and China cymbals. Neoprene pads outlast felt cymbal stand washers and hold their shape. Being that I cannot afford to be too careful, I use the ones with the yellow colored Neoprene pads on all of my cymbals, except for my Hi-Hats. In that case, I suggest using Gibraltar hi-hat clutch felts and clutch seat felts. They are the firmest felts you can get.
In the mounting of the Hi-Hat cymbals, with the top one, you want to secure it firmly to the clutch, but never so far to where the cymbal cannot move when you hit it. It should be played with the drumsticks flat on the surface, and not played on its edge. For the bottom Hi-Hat cymbal, it is wise to angle it to prevent air lock, there is a screw under the clutch seat for this purpose.

The cymbals are never to be struck on the edge nor are they supposed to be struck with direct hits. Playing with glancing blows is recommended to keep them lasting longer, employing twists of the wrists, as though they were slicing motions.
It is very important to get familiar with your Paiste cymbals and their dynamic ranges. Choose the right ones for the appropriate musical situations. A bad example would be a small, light cymbal for Heavy Metal music. Larger size cymbals like of the Power Crashes, Medium Crashes, and Wild Crashes in the 2002 line, as well as Crash/Ride cymbals in the RUDE line, are best suited for such a musical genre. The more you know about your Paiste cymbals, the better you will play them.

(Editor's Note: There is plenty of useful information and excellent recommendations on the Sam Ash Direct Website!)
In the area of cymbal storage, I recommend the Paiste 22" and 24" Professional Cymbal Bags. They have padding and plastic dividers to keep the cymbals from making metal-to-metal contact with each other. The bags can be carried by their handle straps, also have straps for carrying them on your back like a backpack or however it works for you. They should be stored flat, never on their edges. Retaining the plastic sleeves that Paiste cymbals come in when you buy them is also a good idea when storing them in the bags.
Paiste gongs should never be set on their edge. They may fall over and the rims may be deformed. For their storage, I recommend gong cases manufactured by Humes & Berg, padded with foam lining or the company's own Pro-Lining. In the cleaning of these gongs, you move in the direction of the shavings, using Paiste Cymbal Cleaner, then finishing later with Paiste Cymbal Protector, using soft, dry and wet cloths as described in the directions for Paiste cymbal cleaning.

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