Are Used Cymbals Worth It

Are Used Cymbals Worth It? Buying Used Drum Cymbals

Are used cymbals worth it? What is the used cymbal lifespan? New vs old drum cymbals, which is better? If you are still contemplating whether to go for a used cymbal or not, then you should read this article, as we are going to give you some tips that you should consider before going for a used cymbal.

Are Used Cymbals Worth It

So, are used cymbals worth it? Are there any advantages to buying used cymbals? Here are some of the benefits of purchasing a used cymbal that you can consider if you are planning to buy one:

Way Cheaper Compared To New Cymbals

If you are a professional drummer who is on a tight budget and is looking to replace your old or cracked cymbal with a new one, you have three options. One is to buy a new and expensive cymbal, and the second option is to buy a new but entry-level cymbal, which really sounds not that good compared to what you are used to playing before. The last option is to buy a used cymbal which is considered to be of high quality and at a much lower price.

One advantage when it comes to purchasing a used cymbal is that they are less expensive compared to new cymbals, of course. With this reasoning, you can find professional or even flagship cymbals at a lower price that can match some mid-level and even entry-level cymbals. So, with this option, you can get a high-quality cymbal without breaking the bank. This is why if you are really on a tight budget, it is really an advantage to have this option for you.

There are times that you can buy a used Sabian AAX, a Paiste Signature, or Zildjian K-Custom cymbal at a very low price that is already close to some new entry and mid-level cymbals in the market. We all know that there is really a gap when it comes to the sound quality of flagship and lower-level cymbals, which is why if you are really determined to get a new cymbal but are on a tight budget, maybe having a used one is the way to go.

Older Cymbals Sound Better Than Before

Another advantage of going for a used cymbal is that they tend to sound better compared to a cymbal fresh from the box. Just like wine, old cymbals get a unique sound as they get older. However, there is really no exact proof of it; more and more drummers are giving positive testimonials with this theory due to their experiences in playing used and older cymbals.

Older cymbals usually have a different sound compared to when they are still new; however, it only depends on you whether you like its new and unique sound or not.

Disadvantages Of Used Cymbals

Although there are some great advantages of buying used cymbals that can help you improve your sound, there are also some disadvantages that come with it that you should consider before buying one, and here are some of them:


As these cymbals are already used by their owners, there is a possibility that they already have some cracks on them or they are already near to having one, putting some question marks on this current durability status. So, before buying one, you should always check first if it already has cracks or if there are some signs of it.

To check a cymbal for cracks, you should inspect its edge first using your fingers. Run your fingernail to the cymbal’s edge to find smaller cracks, which can be very difficult to be seen by the naked eye at first look. Your nail will help you feel if there is already a tiny crack on the cymbal. You can also notice if there are rough areas or dents, and this means that the cymbal was not properly taken care of by its owner.

The second thing you should check out is whether it has cracks on its bow and bell. Cracks in the bow mean that the one who played the cymbals is a hard hitter, while if there is a crack in its bell, then it means that the cymbal is mounted too tight. You should also check whether there are cracks in its center-mounting hole while also checking out if the hole is still a circle or not already, which is called keyholing.

Keyholing is the result of metal-to-metal contact between the cymbal and the stand for a very long time, and this can be a problem for the cymbal in the long run if it is not taken care of.

Fingerprints, Stick Marks, And Faded Logo

Another disadvantage when it comes to buying used cymbals is the fingerprints all over them, affecting their looks. If the previous owner also put some tape on the cymbal, it will leave some stick marks that can be very annoying. Lastly, older cymbals can come with a faded manufacturer’s logo, which can be a negative factor for other buyers. All in all, these disadvantages can’t affect the cymbal’s sound, as it is more on its aesthetics.

How To Prevent Cymbals From Getting Cracks

Having a crack on your cymbal can really affect its sound, which is why if you are buying a used cymbal, you should be careful in playing it, as it is already less durable compared to new cymbals. The first thing you should avoid is playing with it by hitting it straight down through the cymbal, but you should hit it with a glancing swipe. Play it with more of a side-to-side stroke rather than hit it straight down.

The second thing you should avoid is for the cymbals to have metal-to-metal contact with their stand, as this will cause cracks around its center mounting hole. Remember to always use cymbal sleeves and put the cymbal between two cymbal felts to protect them from getting damaged.

Another thing you should avoid with your cymbal is mounting it too tight on its stand. Cymbals are designed to swing freely from side to side when they are on a cymbal stand, and if they are not able to do this, this can be the main reason for them to crack in their bell or mounting hole.

The last thing you should avoid to protect your cymbal from getting damaged is to play it too hard. Although they are designed to take as much constant hitting as they can, there is still a limit on the force that they can handle. So, if you are playing with your used cymbal, try to go easy with them if you do not want to spend more and buy a new cymbal again.

Your used cymbal lifespan can still depend on how hard you play with it and if you have mounted it correctly in its cymbal stand. There are cymbals that have already lasted for more than 20, 30, and even 40 years, so it is not impossible for them to reach that as long as they are used carefully and appropriately.

So, are used cymbals worth it? New vs used drum cymbals? If you can afford a new high-end cymbal, then you should always go for it; however, if you are on a tight budget, going for a better quality but used cymbal will always be worth it, rather than going for entry-level cymbals.