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E-Drum Do-It-Yourself: Acoustic to Electronic Conversions

Cymbals - China

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These are single-zone, simple triggers. With a china you won't be needing dual-zone anyway.


Pintech Practice Cymbal: China (14" - 18")
Simple, single-zone, non-chokable
For this conversion, I used:
(1) 14/16/18" Pintech Practice Cymbal - $13-$20
(3) 2" Diameter Piezo Element - 75 cents each
(1) 1/4" Stereo Jack - 30 cents each
(1) Roll of electrical tape
(1) Small 4mm Black Wire-Tie
(1) Roll of 5mm foam tape (should be about 1.5" wide)
(1) Glue gun with glue (optional, helps jack to stay in place)


1) Lay out the three piezos evenly around bow of the cymbal. The China will be done almost identically to the crash, except the cymbal is flipped and you will end up striking what normally is the underside of the cymbal.

2) Solder the three piezos in parallel to the jack. Remember, the head of the piezo goes to the sleeve, and ring of the piezo goes to the tip. You should take note of this because, if soldered the other way around, you'd have to change each bow instrument sound to an edge in your module.

3) Warm up the glue gun for step 4 if you decided to use glue. Wherever you decided to put your jack, drill two holes big enough for the wire tie on either side of the jack. I recommend putting the jack near the bell, as the cymbal behaves slightly differently from a normal crash. Thread the wire-tie through the holes and around the jack, then tighten with pliers, and cut off the excess.

4) (Optional) Squeeze some hot glue between the jack and the cymbal. Don't be afraid to use a lot, you'd be surprised what it takes to keep the jack from falling off.

5) Tape over the jack to hide the messiness. Now, cut 3 squares of 5mm foam tape and place them between each piezo and the cymbal.

6) Use the electrical tape to cover each piezo (as I've partially done in the photo), and tape the wires down.

7) Congrats, you're done! Because this is a china, the cymbal gets a little top-heavy, so I'd recommend tightening the wingnut down on the cymbal mount.

Instead of the underside, on the bow of the cymbal lies the three piezos. Don't worry about the messiness of the cymbal - yours will look better. This cymbal was a test and some residue was left over from the removal of spray adhesive. Those four strips are just strips of sticky tape covered up by electrical tape.

The jack is kept in place the same way as the crash.

The piezos as well are mounted the same way as the crash.

<-- Cymbals

2006 Michael N.
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