Cymbals are made of metal - most people know that. But what types of metal are actually used to make cymbals and what do they consist of?
Most often, three different kinds of alloys are used for cymbal manufacturing. We take a closer look at them in this article.
This alloy is also known as "bell bronze". The alloy consists of 20% tin and 80% copper.
It is the B20 alloy that is associated with professional cymbals and it is also used for e.g. gongs.
The B20 bronze must be heated in order to be processed. Therefore, producing a B20 cymbal is a long and time consuming process.
Among other things, the B20 cymbals must go through a rolling machine up to 15 times before reaching the thickness required for hammering. (Here it is worth noting that the cymbals must be reheated in an oven before each rolling.)
All cymbals on CymbalONE are made of B20 bronze.
(With the exception of the UFO low-volume cymbals made from zinc).
B8 bronze consists of 8% tin and 92% copper and is a so-called malleable alloy. This alloy can - unlike the B20 bronze - be rolled out in plates in a cold state. This makes the material much easier to process. Therefore, it is also cheaper to make cymbals of B8 bronze.
The B8 bronze is used primarily for cheaper cymbal series, typically aimed at beginner drummers. However, there are also examples of professional cymbals made of B8 bronze such as Paistes 2002 and Giant Beat series.
Paiste 2002, Paiste Giant Beat, Paiste 802, Paiste Alpha and Paiste 502, Meinl One of a Kind, Meinl Custom, Meinl Amun, Meinl Raker, Meinl MCS, Meinl Classics and some Generation X cymbals, Sabian B8, Sabian B8 Pro, Sabian Pro, Sabian Pro Sonix, Sabian APX and Sabian B8X, UFIP Tiger and UFIP Supernova, Zildjian Planet Z, ZBT, ZXT, ZHT as well as S Series Zildjian Pitch Black.
Brass is used exclusively for beginner cymbals. These are the cymbals you get when you buy a cheap beginner drum kit. The brass is typically made of 63% copper and 37% zinc.
Meinl Marathon M38, Meinl Meteor, Meinl HCS, Harpy B, Solar and Sbr from Sabian, Paiste 101, Paiste 302, Soultone Intro, UFIP M8 and Planet Z from Zildjian.
There are also cymbals of other metal alloys. It is typically the content of tin that varies. An example of this is Paiste's Signature alloy. It consists of somewhere between 13-18% tin and the rest is copper.
Nickel silver has also been used in the past to make cymbals. An alloy that - in the opinion of some - should be called nickel-bronze, as it consists of 12% nickel and 78% copper. This alloy, like B8 bronze, is also malleable and can be purchased in whole sheet metal. Examples of cymbals of this alloy is be Meinl Streamer and Marathon N12, Paiste 402 as well as the original Paiste 101 from 1970 (the current 101s are made of brass).