Updated drum hardware (products) for cymbal mount toppers


Murphy’s law continues !

Since my  blog post from 2012 about making one-piece cymbal toppers (from blocky dice-toppers and tape), it seems that various companies have made some similar products.

More importantly, the dice-knobs that my toppers are built out of are made of hard plastic with threaded drilled holes. After years of setup, playing, and tear-down, some of these plastics parts have stripped and failed.

So, let’s review what else I’ll “try and buy” in my “quest for the best”

The stands to satisfy:

I’ve invested in (and so far been satisfied with) DW 7000 series boom-stands for over 15 years.   While some other manufacturers may make boom-arms and cymbal tilter-stems that offer some proprietary one-piece solution, I’m nowhere near buying whole new stands just to make this easier.

Effectively, I’ve had to find the right wing nut assembly to fit the unique mounting bolts on the stems of my DW stands. This is DW’s part # SP431 assembly.

DW tilter assembly
from the DW parts catalog, showing an exploded view of DW’s unique cymbal tiler assembly. Note the higher set of shallow-stop threading (for SP2007 cymbal wing nut) VS the lower set (for the SP432 mount base ).

For those unfamiliar with DW’s cymbal mount design; the bolt on the DW cymbal stem is only partially threaded (making it “on” or “off”), but can adjust tension and/or height of mount from the bottom, where the whole mounting assembly is threaded onto the tiler assembly.

This shortened stem-threading unique to DW’s design became the crux; it worked with  my modified dice-toppers, other problems with other toppers stemmed (pun intended) from not quite fitting…

Vater Slick-nut :

Vater makes a hard-plastic assembly with felt attached. The device grabs the threaded bolt of your cymbal with a spring-loaded button that pushes a (partially threaded on the side)… provided the threaded (part of the) mounting bolt is sufficiently long.

vater pushbutton
the Vater slick-nut in use on a standard mounting bolt.
vater slick nut
Vater slick-nut, showing its allen-key spring-tension adjustment.


  • super fast one-handed usage
  • integrated design
  • tension of spring can be adjusted with allen key (enabling locking them down)


  • unable to tighten down firmly.
  • threaded nut-bumper is at a fixed depth, and does not work with the partially threaded top of DW cymbal stand’s mounting bolts.
vater too short 2
the Vater Slick nut proved incompatible with the partial-threading of the mounting bolt of my DW stands.

The Tama QuickSet Cymbal Mate

As seen on this YouTube review, Tama’s QuickSet Cymbal Mate this has a similar design to the Vater slick-nut, but with two spring-loaded jaws.

tama constructoin
Tama’s cymbal topper has two spring-loaded bumpers (threaded to push against the threaded bolt) that get a decent grip, but require abundant threading.

I thought this may provide a better grip, but it proved not to work. Rather telling that the device is nowhere to be found on Tama’s website.

The Aquarian Cymbal Spring.

Switching it up, I tried Aquarian’s cymbal spring, a technology that I’ve literally seen around in stores since I started drumming in 1994. Obviously, this thing is built to last and works, but I have my concerns.

The device fastens it’s own bolt and washer on top of your existing (threaded) mounting bolts, held in by a set screw.

aquarian 1 only
the solution from Aquarian is simple and durable, but only allows a single cymbal… no stacking, and the mounting set-screw bolt may chew up the threads of your cymbal-stand’s mounting bolt.

When I tried to mount this on the stunted-threading of my DW cymbal stands, it just didn’t work out. Sorry no pics to prove it.

Moreover, it’s fixed-tension design only had room for a single cymbal, so it would not allow stacking of cymbals (which I enjoy doing to get more brass on fewer stands).

The DW felt-wingnut “combo” (SM2231)

After trying and failing with the above store-bought alternatives, I kept falling back to my dice-knob constructions… that is until DW came out with their own factory-made solution that fits with my DW cymbal stands.

Part number: SM2231 is an interesting design; the wingnut and felt-washer are held together with tension, not glue.

DW construction

Disassembling the DW combo washer was difficult (a testament to it’s durability), and reveals how it works. A notch in the wingnut mates within the grated hole of the plastic washer.

Obviously, since this is made for DW cymbal stands, the thread size and depth match perfectly for my DW stand’s mounting bolts. This allowed em to (once again) take advantage of the DW’s mouting bolt’s ample height to stack another (inverted) cymbal (such as a bell) on to a single mounted cymbal.

dw stack
Given the post-mounted adjustable depth of my DW stands, I can now go back to using stacks of cymbals on a given bolt. I even started affixing a thin washer to the smaller cymbal to simplify and speed-up assembly.
DW in use
here we see my various “stacks” in action. a cup chime above my Thrash ride, a Zil-bel above a china, and a Wuhan “jing” above a Bosphorous Trash cymbal. … all with a cymbal felt taped onto the crowing 2nd cymbal.

So, thanks DW for finally making your own product a little bit better.

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