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Spray painting drum cymbals.

Member for

21 years 2 months
I thought it would nifty to paint my cymbals to match my drumset...

how do you think this would affect the sound and performance of the cymbals?

lol...

Comments

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Sun, 02/25/2007 - 13:42
We need Remy on this one...

IMHO, a really bad idea, but if you are more interested in looks and not actually using them, I guess its cool. Paint may stick for a short while... until you hit them with a stick.

Wooden cymbals would paint really welll and last much longer. You could even add some trim around them and paint those another color.:lol:

Member for

16 years 9 months

drumist69 Sun, 02/25/2007 - 13:50
How would it affect the sound? Badly. The coating of paint would choke the cymbal's sustain. Paiste used to make a "Colorsound" line back in the 80's I remember. I don't know what they used to color the cymbals, but I bought a black crash cymbal, because I was in high-school, and thought it looked neat. Thing cracked within 3 months. Which brings up another point. If you choke the cymbal's natural vibration, you're most likely shortening its life by adding stress to the metal. Unless you want to do this for looks with cheap cymbals only for a video shoot or something, I would think its a bad idea. ANDY

Member for

15 years 7 months

BobRogers Sun, 02/25/2007 - 14:08
I was going to pile on with the "really bad idea" response, but then I thought about all of the logos that are spray painted on by the makers. I suppose it might be possible to do it without killing the sound, but I really doubt that it would be worth the time and effort to do all the experiments. At any rate, I've been convinced I can hear a difference in sound when I've cleaned a gunky cymbal, and paint qualifies as gunk in my book. I guess I might try it on a cymbal I thought was too wet, but not on a whole set.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 02/25/2007 - 15:25
gunky cymbals can also get that dark sound some people are interested. I purposely dont clean my cymbals because I dont like bright and crisp.

consider this though:

when you buy a cymbal it usually has a logo or brand painted on it. Maybe if you paint the cymbal with whatever they use to do that logo...'


or maybe just because the logo is small and very thin (usually comes off after a couple polishes), it doesnt matter.

who knows.

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Sun, 02/25/2007 - 17:54
Interesting topic.

I must say, in the brass-playing world, there is MUCH heated debate as to the merits of lacquer on an instrument. (One camp suggests that the lacquer is so thin that it has little to no impact on the sound and protects the instrument from tarnish and premature wear. The other camp suggests that the lacquer deadens the sound and is willing to live with the tarnish.)

That being said, I'm in the latter of those two camps and recently unlacquered my own personal instrument. (Something that the guy who made my horn would absolutely freak out about since he's in that first camp).

Anyway...after unlacquering my horn, I noticed a tiny difference. That difference was not noticed by anyone else in my section.

Of course, the principle in which both cymbals and brass instruments make sound is exactly the same. The only difference is that the surface area of my horn is at least double that of a large crash cymbal.

In other words, I say go for it. The difference should be negligible at best.

Cheers -

J.

Member for

17 years 2 months

zemlin Sun, 02/25/2007 - 19:58
If I were going to try this, I'd use Lacquer - it's thin, dries fast, and easy to repair in the event of stick damage. Also, it would be easy to undo if it turns out to be a problem - acetone will take it right off - probably the original logo too.

Make sure you CLEAN the cymbals well before you paint - I'd probably use acetone for that too. Make sure you're working in a well ventilated space.

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Mon, 02/26/2007 - 06:14
theaero wrote: The only reason I am contemplating painting my cymbals is because I have a crappy sabian b8 set. Even if it didnt do harm or change sound, if I had some Custom Ks or something high end, i still wouldnt risk it.

There's nothing too bad about the B8s. They're about as thick as trash can lids, but that's about it.

A thin coat of paint shouldn't cause any issues.

Either lacquer like Karl suggests or *lightly* spray paint with a thin, even coat.

Member for

15 years 7 months

BobRogers Mon, 02/26/2007 - 06:35
I agree that there isn't really much risk here. A thin coat of lacquer comes off with a rag dipped in lacquer thinner and a darker, drier sound may be a good thing (especially to someone who likes Custom K's).

Jeremy - If I understand my physics of musical instruments right (a big if) there's a big difference between the function of a cymbal (which acts as both the generator of the vibration and the resonator) and a horn (whose primary function is to constrain the vibrating column of air) Yes, the horn is a resonator as well, but it's the air inside doing most of the vibrating - isn't it?

To me the better analogy is coating guitar strings (though that doesn't get the whole picture either).

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Mon, 02/26/2007 - 06:41
BobRogers wrote:
Jeremy - If I understand my physics of musical instruments right (a big if) there's a big difference between the function of a cymbal (which acts as both the generator of the vibration and the resonator) and a horn (whose primary function is to constrain the vibrating column of air) Yes, the horn is a resonator as well, but it's the air inside doing most of the vibrating - isn't it?

Not quite.

Yes, the air inside does in fact vibrate, but it's not the majority of the sound. The air in the horn must travel greater than 12 feet before it even leaves the instrument. Even at great speeds, that would be a significant delay between attack and sound.

The vast majority of the sound comes from the vibration of the metal. (Which is why it makes such a HUGE difference in the sound when horns are made out of different metals.)

Cheers -

Jeremy

Member for

15 years 7 months

BobRogers Mon, 02/26/2007 - 07:36
The air doesn't travel from one end of the horn to the other. It sets up standing waves inside the tube. To stop a note, you just stop blowing. You don't grip the bell like you would to stop the note of a cymbal. I guess my point is that it just projects the sound rather than creates it. The guitar analogy would be that the horn is the soundboard - the air is the string. A cymbal is both. (Again, in my imperfect understanding.)

I was going to do some research on this for a book on partial differential equations and sound. I got sidetracked on another project. Maybe I'll actually learn this some day.

On the lacquered/unlacquered horn issue. I've met people who think it makes a difference on solid body electric guitars. Of course, they're rock musicians, so you never know what they've been smokin'.

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Mon, 02/26/2007 - 08:19
BobRogers wrote: The air doesn't travel from one end of the horn to the other.

It actually does Bob.

This is evident by the technique known as "stopping" on the horn in which the air exiting the bell is restricted using the right hand and thus altering the sound (significantly) and altering the pitch by 1/2 step.

The pitch alteration is a side-effect of less metal vibrating. However, the timbre change is caused by the air not leaving the instrument. (As is evident if I were to remove the bell of my horn. The pitch would change, however, the timbre would alter only to a degree, not to the degree which is achieved by stopping.

Of course, not to mention the fact that I can feel the air rushing past my right hand while I play.

Member for

15 years 7 months

BobRogers Mon, 02/26/2007 - 09:25
Aaak. My mistake. Of course there is a basic s flow. (You're blowing in one end. The air must go somewhere.) But it is the standing wave superimposed on the flow that causes the sound - not the flow. You can blow all you want into a brass instrument and there is no sound until you buzz and create the standing wave. I would guess that the stopping has more to do with altering the shape of the cavity than the restriction of the flow - but I really don't know.

Anyway - I've hijacked this thread pretty badly. Sorry.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/26/2007 - 18:40
Cucco wrote: The air in the horn must travel greater than 12 feet before it even leaves the instrument. Even at great speeds, that would be a significant delay between attack and sound.

The air doesn't need to travel through all 12 feet before sound comes out the end. Imagine if the horn was full of water - blow in the mouthpiece and water immediately comes out the other end - but its not the water that was at your lips an instant before, its the water that was already at the bell end.

The sound waves (pressure variations in the air - and in the metal of the horn, too) travel at the speed of sound, of course. But the bulk airflow is much smaller, and doesn't contribute much to the sound that is generated. I don't think that the air "rushing past" your hand is going Mach 1, right?

In all, both the horn material/shape and the air column inside it contribute to the sound that you hear - but I would think that the majority of the contribution is from the air itself, which is then modulated by the vibration of the metal.

Sorry to continue the hijacking...

There's one way to answer the original cymbal question... try it and let us know what happens!

Member for

17 years 8 months

Cucco Mon, 02/26/2007 - 20:00
Perhaps the mod of this forum could split it where we begin to go off on a tangent...

But...
There seems to be a misconception of how a brass instrument works. It is not merely the vibrating column of air which makes the sound. It is a symbiotic relationship between the air and direct coupling of vibration (lip buzzing into mouthpiece into metal). Take any of the equation away and you are still left with sound, but not one that is really recognizable as the instrument being intended.

I encourage all of you to check out http://www.lawsonhorns.com. Walter and Bruce have put some very good white papers out to several scientific communities regarding how brass instruments actually work. It's quite fascinating to visit their shop. One of the cool tools they have is a speaker which has been mounted to a mouthpiece which allows a repeatable signal (vibration) to be passed into a horn and measured. Bear in mind, there is VERY little vibration of air involved in this procedure and a very recognizable horn sound emerges from the bell.

My point about the air coming out the bell was to state that:
1 - the air does in fact pass through the entire instrument
2 - It is not merely the vibration of the air which creates the sound.

To suggest that the air is the single greatest component in the sound is counter to all of my personal experiences. For example, the simple changing of a bell flair (the last 10% of the metal on a horn) can completely change the entire sound of the instrument. This isn't voodoo or subjective - this is accepted fact.

Seriously...check out Lawson's page, there is some very good info there.

Cheers! (y)

Jeremy

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/26/2007 - 20:39
The trumpet body is a resonant chamber. The buzzing is the voice. Simple, like a person yelling in a quonset. The person makes the sound, the enclosure shapes and enhances it.

Oh, and I think spray painting cymbals is a craptacular idea, unless you're going to be hanging them on a wall or something. With spray paint's mass and finish I think you'll achieve dull sound rather than a darker sound. I've done my share of experimenting with/destroying instruments.

Member for

15 years 7 months

BobRogers Tue, 02/27/2007 - 06:42
I'm in the office now with four books in front of me on the physics of musical instruments. (All overdue by the way - better do something about that.) I definitely don't qualify as an expert in this, so let me separate some of the things that are clear to me, from what is a bit fuzzy while replying to Jeremy.
Cucco wrote: ....There seems to be a misconception of how a brass instrument works. It is not merely the vibrating column of air which makes the sound. It is a symbiotic relationship between the air and direct coupling of vibration (lip buzzing into mouthpiece into metal). ...[snip]...One of the cool tools they [Lawson Horns] have is a speaker which has been mounted to a mouthpiece which allows a repeatable signal (vibration) to be passed into a horn and measured. Bear in mind, there is VERY little vibration of air involved in this procedure and a very recognizable horn sound emerges from the bell.

My point about the air coming out the bell was to state that:
1 - the air does in fact pass through the entire instrument
2 - It is not merely the vibration of the air which creates the sound.
The speaker demonstration shows that point 1 (while true) doesn't mean much in the production of sound. The speaker replaces lip buzzing as the driving generator of vibration. There is a lot of vibration going on because you are forcing the system at a resonant frequency. There is just no flow of air through the horn. Flow is an irrelevant byproduct of using lip bus to drive the internal vibration of the air column.

All of the books I am looking at (and as far as I can tell, Lawson's calculations as well) treat the vibrating column of air as the only factor in determining the basic notes and overtone series of the horn. The lip buzz drives the notes, but the shape of the mouthpiece, tube, and bell determine the notes and the overtones. In fact, the calculations assume the walls of the horn are rigid (though some of the books talk about adding minor correction terms to make up for the fact that this is only approximately true).

The role of the bell in coupling the vibrating column of air to outside air is crucial, but the books are far less clear on how this works. The bell is referred to as an "impedance matching device" but they don't say how much is related to its shape and how much to it's vibration characteristics. There is a good deal of material on bell design, and the info is probably in there, but it would require a good deal of study for me to understand this. That the shape of the bell is crucial is clear from the original calculations which assume the bell is rigid. How much the vibration of the bell contributes to the projection of the sound is much less clear to me.
To suggest that the air is the single greatest component in the sound is counter to all of my personal experiences. For example, the simple changing of a bell flair (the last 10% of the metal on a horn) can completely change the entire sound of the instrument. This isn't voodoo or subjective - this is accepted fact.
What is clear from my reading is that the vibrations of the column of air is the single greatest factor determining the fundamental notes and the overtone series. The primary factors determining this are the shape of the horn (all parts) and the driving frequency. The factors involved with transferring the energy of this vibration to the surrounding are far less clear to me.

I think it is a very common tendency of musicians to take the basic physics of their instrument for granted and focus on the aspect that determine the fine details. You can make a valveless horn with a mouthpiece, a length of plastic tube, and an appropriately shaped tin funnel. Yes it would sound awful, but it would produce the proper notes and overtone series. You have always been able to take that as a given and focus on factors like the metal used in construction which produces the fine differences between instruments. Has that affected your ideas about the basic factors that produce sound?
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