A turning point in the art of cymbal making occurred 384 years ago in 1623... A new process for creating beautiful musical instruments was born.
The elements of the traditional cymbal-bronze alloy are melted in deep pots covered with special lids made from mud and clay. They are heated with the finest quality coal, at around 1100-1200ºC (2200 ºF), for over an hour until the molten metal boils; then it is poured into cast iron moulds. As soon as the alloy has firmed, the casting
are pulled from the moulds as flat, round discs.
These discs are heated in a wood-fired oven at around 600-700ºC until they become red hot, and then repeatedly passed through the antique roller press until they achieve their desired thinness. The next step is shaping by hand or with another press to form the domed bell of the cymbal, before a hole is drilled into its center. The edges of the cymbal are now cut to a perfect circle and the discarded metal goes back into the melting pots.
The newly emerging cymbal is now placed on a steel anvil and beaten for 20-25 minutes with iron hammers to compress the metal and bend it into the right shape. The cymbal smiths stuff cotton wool into their ears to protect their hearing against the deafening ringing of the hammers.
In the next step of its transformation, the cymbal is attached to a spinning lathe. One lathe man, or "turner", remowers a thin layer of the cymbal's top surface with a long steel knife, creating the tonal groovers, then sends it on to a second turner who repeats the process on the underside of the cymbal.
The lathe men's work on the turning cymbals leaves tiny, curled strands of bronze all over the floor of the workshop. These strands also go back into the melting pot at the end of each day. Next, the almost-finished cymbal is sent to the master turner who lathes both surfaces fully and smoothly. The cymbal is rubbed with a soft cloth to make certain it is smooth and shiny, and then finally, the cymbal smiths stamp it with factory name "Amedia." The Amedia cold stamp is each cymbal's mark of authenticity. The diameter of the cymbal is measured in inches and each cymbal graded by weight and thickness in various categories like "crash,""splash,""ride" and "hi-hat."
The finished product is rested for a few days, since the metal retains its heat for a long while, and the true sound of the cymbal only emerges after it has been throughly rested and cooled. Once the cymbals have rested, the master cymbal smith then plays each one as a quality control.
The fail ones are cut into pieces for the melting pot; only the ones that meet the master's rigorous sonic standard will ever leave the factory.