I've heard it said hundreds of times that hitting a crash cymbal with a "glancing blow", rather than straight on, will extend its life and help prevent it from cracking.

Has anyone actually tested this, though? It's pretty easy to explain why glancing blows might help, and it's intuitive that it should help, but have any controlled tests been done to compare the lifespan of cymbals when either of these two techniques is used?

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    I want this to be a Mythbusters episode… Oct 12, 2021 at 1:29
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    Hiding them away in their cases & never using them prolongs their life too. More seriously, I've known drummers who can break anything inside 5 minutes & others who have gear that lasts a lifetime. Some people just 'happen' to things. My own cymbals are 30 years old now [ride is much, much older] & look like when I bought them.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 12, 2021 at 6:28
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    I was taught to use this technique to make the cymbal sound better, which it definitely does. If it also lasts longer then I’d say this is definitely the way to play. Smashing straight through the cymbal produces a one-dimensional sound in my experience. Oct 12, 2021 at 11:33
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    As far as "happening" to things. When I started drumming, I broke cymbals all the time. After the first 5 years, I haven't broken one cymbal. Almost 40 years later, still no cracks. And I've never glanced my hits. Oct 12, 2021 at 11:42
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    Whether it preserves the cymbal life, won't it produce a different sound? I wonder if the question "how hard a straight it is safe for the cymbal but produces the desired sound?" would be more to the point. And, FWIW, I've wondered this myself. Oct 14, 2021 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


This is a classic ballsitics impact (physics) problem. The glancing blow reduces the peak sress but increases the time of contact between the drum stick and the cymbal. Thus the impulse give to the cymbal (total deflection) can be about the same. The longer time and reduced stress however can change resonance frequencies induced in the cymbal therefore in this case produce a deadening effect. The extended life of the cymbal would be related to the lower stress associated with the glancing blow.

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