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Under Pressure: Machine Hammered Cymbals

Under Pressure: Machine Hammered Cymbals

From castings forged in the foundry to blanks formed in the oven room, the cymbal making journey is one of many shapes and sizes. And whereas some blanks leave the oven room and head straight to the hand hammering artisans at SABIAN’s Meductic factory, certain designs require a rigorous shaping process involving machine hammering. This hydraulic hammering exerts intense pressure on the bronze, creating intricate dimples that add depth and character to each product. This high-profile technique not only raises the pitch of the cymbal, but it also amplifies its brightness and sharpness.

“We have these machines, and we can adjust the pressure and change the hammering peens, but it’s the operator that controls how and where they actually hit the cymbals,” said Randy Ross of SABIAN’s Research and Development team. “They rotate the cymbal, the speed, and how much they move it from row to row. So they’re really building that profile, even though it’s machine hammered.”

“When they pick up a cymbal and look at it, some may be a little lower and a little higher, and they know if it’s a higher cymbal they need to hammer out a little closer to the outside edge,” Ross said. “If it’s low, they can stay in a little bit, and so they end up with a very consistent profile one to another, because they do vary a little. And while some of our cymbals are machine hammered, those machines are carefully hand guided by our artisans, working each individual cymbal into a strong, stable and refined profile.”

Machine hammering allows for exceptional consistency in every cymbal produced, ensuring that each one has the exact same characteristics as the others in its series. But it’s not just about consistency; SABIAN’s machine hammered cymbals also offer a unique sound that is both powerful and nuanced. The machine hammering process produces a complex pattern of indentations on the surface of the cymbal, which creates a distinctive tonal character that can’t be replicated by any other means.

In addition to their sonic qualities, SABIAN’s machine hammered cymbals are also incredibly durable. The machine hammering process toughens the metal and makes it less susceptible to cracking or other forms of damage, ensuring that the cymbal will stand up to even the most demanding playing styles.

SABIAN offers a wide range of machine hammered cymbals, each with their own unique tonal characteristics and playing feel. These machine hammered cymbal offerings are designed to provide drummers with the perfect balance between tradition and innovation, combining the timeless art of cymbal making with modern technology.