Modified - A brief overview on different ways i have modified different instruments. Please also see the source material page for a listing of found instruments and their uses.

broken cymbals

What to do with broken cymbals? If the crack is on the outer edge, you can remove it by cutting out the surrounding area. I use a die cutter and clean up the edge with a wire wheel. Cutting away the cracked area can be accomplished using different tools, but whatever you use, be sure to wear protective gloves and eye-wear. Depending on the size of the crack, this can leave a large chunk missing, which will affect the sound.


In some cases, the crack will not be affecting the edge, in which case you can cut out the crack. Seen here is Brandon Relfs "Sleeping People" cymbal, where a radial crack resulted in three different cracks. I carefully cut each out, the resulting sound was a bit more trashey than the original but totally usable. Note this was a heavy cymbal, thinner cymbals will have a more dramatic change to their sound.


Depending on the size of the cymbal, how deep the crack is, and what you're planning on doing with the resulting cymbal, my go to modification is to cut out the entire outer ring, usually on a lathe. This will leave a smaller cymbal, usually with thick bell cymbal-like properties. All the cymbals at left have been cut down from larger broken cymbals. Clockwise from top - paiste black colorsound crash (cutdown and hammered), paiste crash (cutdown, it bend back a bit during the lathing giving it a bit a chinese cymbal sound), sabian hihat (cutdown), zildjian ride (cutdown and edges bent with pliers) and paiste crash (cutdown).


Beyond simple bell cymbals, I take large heavier cut down cymbals and cut segments into them, creating chime cymbals with multiple sounds from one instrument. Depending on the weight of the cymbal, you can get an instrument somewhere between a bell plate, and cymbal and a more ring-ey agogo bell.



Here is a picture of a cymbal on the lathe. Be careful, these things are dangerous.



when lathing out a cymbal, you are also left with the outer part. These can be use for a variety of things, I usually make windchimes out of these, but more recently have been grinding/filing the edges down and using them on top of drums.



Here is a paiste rude crash/ride that cracked at the edge. I lathed out a smaller cymbal (about 11" across) which i use for either a bottom hihat or a very heavy bell cymbal.

I grinded/filed down the edge, cutting it in half - the lower half you see fits perfectly on a floor tom for trashy effects, the other half was cut into smaller pieces and used for a few different ideas.






One idea was to mount the pieces into chains of pieces, using nylon rope. These cymbal chains have a wind chimey sound, and dependiong on the cymbal used can be very different sounding, from light and chimey to crashy and clangey.








As an outreach of the tambourine jingle cymbal below, I took the small pieces of the paiste cymbal above and riveted them to this no-name 20" cymbal.








Another idea - I took this outer edge from a broken paiste black colorsound (you see the smaller cymbal in the first picture) and riveted it to an old ludwig cymbal. It is quite trashy and wonderful.








tambourine jingles

I riveted 16 tambourine jingles to the no-name cymbal. With the jingle so close to the edge, they weight down heavily and stop the cymbal from ringing, giving an acoustic sound gate effect.








tambourine jingle 2

After the first jingle cymbal, I realized that 16 jingle where a bit too much and made this cymbal with only 8, giving a bit more ring to the sound.









floor tom / bass drum

over the years i have used several modified floor toms for smaller bass drums. the problem i have had is that often these floor toms are deeper than i want, often have too much sustain and lacking in attack. i recently bought this 70s 16"/18" ludwig floor, and decided to do a bit of modification. as you can see, the bottom edge has a bunch small drill holes were the original owner was trying to keep the wrap from pulling. i decided to cut the drum down, starting by pulling the wrap off, then skilsawing the shell. the next steps will be sanding down the bottom edge, re-cutting it and drilling for hardware. more pics to come.






floor tom / bass drum

Here is the next step, i had Parson at Vessel Drums cut the edge on the front, then i drilled for the new hardware and put it all together. Still needs some wrap, legs and tom arm bracket.







floor tom / snare drum

Another idea - I have for several years been searching for deeper/lower pitched snare drums. Marching snares are a sound i like but fitting a drum this deep on a snare stand never works. I decided to modify this 70s Slingerland marching snare by adding 70s Slingerland floor tom brackets and legs. By tuning the drum down and adding a bit (lot) of tape, its easy to switch back from snare to floor tom, even in mid-song. Still working on this a bit, i plan to swap out the coated top head for a double ply and replace the terrible generic strainer somebody put on it.











Fall 2010 - i've been spending long nights in the garage with paint stripper, sand paper and a few old drums. Firstly, I've got two old bass drums, a 50's Slingerland 28" and a 70's Ludwig 28" that Marcos Fernandes gave to me. Both got stripped of their covering, and i've been painting stripping and sanding away. I'm planning on staining the Ludwig since it has such a nice mahoganny outer ply, i don't know what to do with the Slingerland. Also, have been stripping the hoops on the Ludwig of their black paint to stain them to a matching wood color. I also got Jasco on my bare skin for the first time, it was delightful.

The second project i've been working on is a early 60's Slingerland kit with a 24" kick, 16" floor and a 13" tom. I spent a lot of time last year on this and then shelved it for a while, and i'm back. I still can't decide whether to wrap them drums in gold sparkle or leave them as is. I'll let you know what i come up with.

the 28" ludwig after being de-wrapped the green sparkle wrap that was painted over white
heres all the glue and some of the paint from the 28" 50's slingerland marching bass drum two views of a secret - the original hoop - "is that tar?" JH, and then after some Jasco and sandpaper.