I can remember the percussion equipment at Capital High School, circa 2001. I was a junior in high school. Even though our band was pretty good, our percussion equipment was as reliable as a Ford Pinto. This was especially true with our cymbal stands.
In our high school the suspended cymbal stand served triple duty for the drum set, front ensemble and convert band. It was even converted into a makeshift wind-chime stand at times. It was really put through the ringer. This constant abuse equated into various rattles coming from the stand. This is especially dreadful during concert season and can ruin musical moments, especially during soft passages.
Do the following to let your suspended cymbal speak without any rattling accompaniment.
1. Make sure all the nuts are tight on the body of the stand.
I’m sure most of you reading this have already thought of that, but you never know what that new clueless freshmen is disassembling back there between rests.
2. Take off the wing nut on the top.
For concert band purposes the wing nut is not needed. It will only add to the rattle! If your a band director reading this, your cymbal stand probably doesn’t have one anyways! These wing nuts are usually the first thing that goes missing.
3. Get a few spare parts for your stand
Steve Weiss Music out of Philly (Go Eagles!) will help you out with spare cymbal sleeves for your stand! If you want to go the cheap route, take your stand to home depot and find some rubber hose that fits the stem nice and snug. This will help distribute the vibrations and reduce the wear and tear on the cymbal. A cracked cymbal is not a happy cymbal!
(Ex. of a Yamaha brand cymbal sleeve. Used and abused…)
4. Best option: Buy a REAL suspended cymbal stand.
Sus-pend: verb, To hang, so as to allow free movement.
The first known use of the suspended cymbal was in Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d’un Artiste, en Cinq Parties by French composer Hector Berlioz. In this piece, the percussionist was instructed to play a hand cymbal, with leather straps, suspended using foam mallets. This was in 1830. They didn’t have high tech machined aluminum cymbal stands. I the purest sense, a suspended cymbal should be a hand cymbal that is suspended by its strap. Check out this cymbal stand from Meinl. True suspended cymbal stands will give the best possible sound.