Tips for Choosing a Cymbal Setup That Suits You

suitable hi hatYour cymbals are the second soul of your drum set. Thus, buying a cymbal line is a task that should be taken quite seriously. There are dozens of resources regarding different makes and models of cymbals.

However, the best judges will probably be your two ears. Cymbals should not be bought by just taking a look at the price tag and the brand that produces them – you really should not trust anything that shines too much like gold on first encounter.

Although budget is quite a serious factor when it comes to buying anything, in the case of cymbals your budget should only determine whether you are going to buy cast or stamped cymbals. After that, personal trial should be applied.

Finding the Proper Order to Select Cymbals

Most advice regarding cymbal acquisition tells you that if you want to find a surely stable setup you should simply choose models from a certain makes certain line. Let’s admit it, that method usually works – for those who do not want to find the best combination of cymbals. In order to do that, you have to personally test the cymbals you might buy and try to come up with combinations that match.

The core of your drumming setup is your hi-hat cymbal, so that should be the first you choose. Next, you need to choose a ride cymbal that matches your hi-hat, and then one or more crash cymbals that match your other cymbals. Following this algorithm, you will hopefully end up with a highly coherent setup.

Actually Buying the Cymbal Setup

Before moving on to specific criteria for different cymbals, you have to decide what kind of music you are going to play. Different cymbals are suitable for different styles and different playing environments.

a.) Finding a good hi-hat. The hi-hat is the heart and brain of your cymbal setup. When choosing a hi-hat, you should check the following different sounds: closed state, open state, sound upon closing with the pedal and the sound it makes when you hit the open hat and then immediately close it using the pedal.

b.) Finding a good ride cymbal. In the case of the ride cymbal it is the sound of the surface and the bell that really matters. Also, if you are playing rather aggressively, you should also check the sound the ride produces when it is hit on the edges.

c.) Finding good crash cymbals. The main characteristic of any crash cymbal is the sound it produces when hit on the edges. However, crashes also have interesting features: you should probably also check how choking the cymbal sounds.

Selecting Additional Cymbals

Apart from the regular hi-hat-ride-crash triumvirate, you might want to purchase additional cymbals as well. There might be two different reasons to do that. In the first case, you might want to complete your cymbal setup with different effect cymbals. These might include china cymbals, china splashes, splashes or bell cymbals… the effect cymbals industry is quite broad.

The second case is when you want to purchase alternative cymbals to replace some of the usual cymbals you use in certain scenarios. In such a situation you probably should not buy a whole range of different cymbals. For example, you might only need to install lighter crash cymbals when switching to fusion from hard rock.

In such a scenario, you have two crash cymbals that you use for different purposes, but your ride and your hi-hat are constant members of the drum set. Choosing such alternatives is totally case-dependent – you should only remember that you do not have to reinvent the wheel anytime you buy a new cymbal.

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