Meet the First Online Cymbal Rental Service – Cymbal Swap

justin netti cofounder cymbalswap

Once you start to dive in, there's so many different options between cymbal size, alloy, finish, weight, hammering technique and lathing style. The options are unlimited...

If you haven’t heard of Cymbal Swap, now is the time to check out this awesome website in the drum community. The company offers the ability to rent and buy cymbals from 20+ brands, sell/trade your cymbals, and order custom cymbals from their partners.

Enjoy this in-depth article with founding partner, Justin Netti, about the origin of Cymbal Swap, the ins and outs of the cymbal industry, top cymbals on the market today & much more.

Table of Contents

Tell us about the origin of Cymbal Swap

The idea for Cymbal Swap came about truly out of my own personal journey searching for new cymbals. As a lifelong drummer, my drumming evolved over the years and I went from playing punk rock to indie rock, funk, and other styles. I knew I needed some different cymbals for some of the new projects I was playing in.

For many years I had the same set of Zildjian cymbals -14″ New Beat Hi-Hats, 16″/18″/20 Avedis Vintage (70s/80s) crashes and a 20″ 80’s Avedis Deep Ride. The hats, 20″ crash and 20″ ride were all on the heavier side and very loud and I was looking for some thinner/darker cymbals with a lower overall volume. As we all know, cymbals can be expensive and I was very constrained on my budget for a new set, so every so often or if I saw a deal pop up, I’d buy a new cymbal, but once I got it home on my kit I found that the cymbals either didn’t blend well with my other cymbals, or it wasn’t the sound I was looking for. Depending on where I purchased, in a store, online or facebook marketplace, returning the cymbals sometimes wasn’t a possibility, so I was “stuck” with the cymbal and then ultimately would try to sell it. Often times I would lose money on the sale with having to either list it lower than what I purchased and then there would be sellers fees from Ebay or Reverb, and shipping costs/taxes.

Being kind of a picky cymbal guy, my collection soon added up with several cymbals that I really didn’t love…they were ok, but I still couldn’t find the sound I was looking for. At the time, I lived outside of the city and there wasn’t a drum shop within an hour drive, so shopping online was usually how I found new/used cymbals. At this point I had a few crashes, a few rides and 2 sets of hats and still wasn’t happy with my set up. I had already spent over $2,000 and thought there must be a better way to try out cymbals on my kit so I can compare with my other cymbals in my set up. I searched online for a “cymbal rental service” and couldn’t find any drum shops that offered rentals. Seeing that this didn’t exist I ran it by my cousin James who was also a lifelong drummer. We both agreed the idea was pretty cool and may be something to explore further, so we began our research. We interviewed drummers, developed a business plan and came up with the name Cymbal Swap! We were super excited to offer this unique service and help out fellow drummers find cymbals that they’d really love.

In December 2021 we registered the LLC and began developing a website and started purchasing cymbals for our rental inventory. Our goal was to curate and hand pick a large collection of popular cymbals as well as rare, vintage, and unique hand hammered cymbals from boutique brands and independent cymbalsmiths. Once we had about 150 cymbals in the collection we launched the website in November of 2022, opened for business and started our marketing efforts! Word quickly spread online and soon both Zildjian & Sabian had reached out to us, so we knew we were on the right track.

What were you doing prior to starting Cymbal Swap?

Prior to starting Cymbal Swap, I was (and still am) producing video content with my freelance video production business. I’ve been producing, directing, shooting and editing video since 2002 and have worked in many different areas of film, television, broadcast, documentary, corporate, news, live music/events, sports and marketing projects. I’ve had the chance to work with Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, A&E, Food Network, MTV, Facebook, Linkedin, Pepsi, Island Def/Jam records, Sony Entertainment, Fox Sports, Nike, MotorTrend, and so many more. I had a really amazing career that allowed me to grow my experience, travel and meet a lot of incredible professionals. Some highlights was shooting the Super Bowl pregame show in 2010, SXSW production with amazing bands like The Shins and of course my first job as a videographer & road crew tech at 17 years old touring the country with the rock band CKY as they headlined and then opened for Guns N Roses.

I used to travel a lot as a videographer and so when covid hit, many of my friends in that production industry had lost their jobs as productions were shut down. I pivoted to focus on primarily video editing, working from home, and it really helped get through the pandemic era. I really did miss playing music though and I knew at some point I wanted to be involved with drumming/music in some sort of capacity.

What's one of your favorite independent cymbal brands?

As an authorized dealer for 20+ cymbal brands at Cymbal Swap, it’s really hard for me to pick out just one. Before I started the company, I didn’t even know that there were so many cymbal brands. Once you start to dive in, there’s so many different options between cymbal size, alloy, finish, weight, hammering technique and lathing style. The options are unlimited…and that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to find the cymbal that’s right for you.

Out of all the brands that Cymbal Swap offers, I guarantee there’s a cymbal in our collection for you. It may not be the brand you typically play, but you won’t know unless you step out of your comfort zone and try something different. You’d be really surprised to see & hear that all of these brands have something great to offer.

Since I didn’t really answer your question, I will throw this one out there…one of my favorite cymbals in our collection is the 20″ Timothy Roberts Handcrafted Cymbals Landmark Ride…it’s a thin ride in the 1800g range and just a well balanced crash/ride that is super versatile, dark and complex. This one spoke to me immediately, but there are so many great cymbals in our collection. It’s a revolving door of bronze at Cymbal Swap and I can’t wait to try out the next cymbal and share it with our community.

What is a common misconception between cymbalsmiths and cymbal designers?

Cymbalsmiths are cymbalmakers who are creating, hammering and lathing cymbals by hand. They may be a single person that does everything from sweep the floors, create the marketing, answers the phone/email and everything in between. They may have a small staff, but when you order a cymbal from a cymbalsmith, you know who is doing the work and you usually can work with them directly.

Cymbal Designers may outsource the manufacturing of cymbals to another company or cymbal brand and while they may not disclose that information, that’s not to say that these designers are not equally as passionate about cymbalmaking as a cymbalsmith who is doing the hammering/lathing themselves.

There’s tons of options out there from both cymbalsmiths and cymbal designers, so play what you like, mix and match. Without logos and brand names we just have sounds and that’s what we should pay attention to here.

Learn more about the types of cymbal manufacturers

What's the top rented cymbal(s) on Cymbalswap.com?

Currently in May 2024, our top rented cymbals are 15″ Zildjian K Sweet Hi hats…the K Sweet series are thin with unlathed bells and that style of cymbal has been very popular overall.

Sabian’s HHX Complex series, Paiste 2002‘s and Meinl Byzance are always heavily requested cymbals as well.

You’ll find these top brands in most shops, so although I love these brands and series, I’m excited for drummers to explore many of the other brands that Cymbal Swap offers.

Generally drummers know a brand name and so that’s what they look for, but with cymbal rentals, you aren’t committed to purchase that cymbal so it offers an opportunity for drummers to try cymbal brands outside of their comfort zone to discover new sounds.

What can the drum community expect from you in 2024?

Drummers can expect to see more cymbal options at Cymbal Swap this year. We’re constantly discovering new cymbal brands, forming partnerships with cymbalmakers and taking trade-ins from our customers, so there’s always something new to discover!

We’re also working on a new website with a really amazing user experience. We’ll begin to offer accessories and options from brands like Gator Cases, Gibraltar, Gretsch, Remo, Vater, and Vic Firth.

Thanks so much to The Drum Directory, we love this awesome resource! We appreciate the opportunity to share our story with the drumming community as well!

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