Cymbals aren’t just part of your kit; they’re part of your style. They should be looked at as such as well. Not only can that add worlds of texture to your playing, but they can also improve your overall sound.
The only problem is, simply hitting your cymbals may become boring and dull after a while.
In this lesson, we’ll give you some tips and tricks that will help you to spice up your playing simply by approaching your cymbals in a different light.
Never limit your techniques to one voice. In fact, rudiments are the prime textural element of drumming. Whatever rudiments you know or are currently practicing, can be used on any of your cymbals. Take for instance the flam; using a flam on a cymbal will add some dynamics, vastly changing the overall feel of a piece. Performing a roll on your hi-hat can help to enliven your casual and simplistic single stroke patterns.
If you favor ghost notes, try playing ghost notes on your hi-hat, accenting every third note. Mix your notes up; there is no reason you should limit yourself to simply laying regular notes or grace notes. Mixing up your notes can add more texture, and make your playing far more interesting to your listener.
Notice how it gives a complete different tone than the cymbal itself. This can be used to broaden the sound of your jazz piece. Jazz is fun; not only is out boundless, but it can become extremely technical. Transfer that fun to your cymbals; experiment with striking different sections of the cymbal.
Some may produce different tonal qualities, and these are the placements you will want to take note of. The edge, the middle, and the bell of a ride all have the voice of a ride, but have different qualities. Tapping the underside of your cymbal also gives a different sound quality, as it is more muffled and muted. Never be afraid to experiment; you never know what can happen.
Accent your cymbals by performing other voices at the same time. If you play the ride, try adding the medium tom every other note. If you have to play the crash cymbal a lot, add some snare. Never think something is simply good enough, or just works well enough; use your imagination. Your cymbals can be a world of difference in your playing, but only if you learn to approach them in different ways.
Many drummers find this extremely hard to do, as most learn to use the snare and bass drum as the primary voices. Using the cymbals as a primary voice can help highlight other instruments within your jazz piece, and also give it a smoother, mellower feel.
In the end, the only way to perfect using cymbals in abstract ways is through practice. Keep your mind open, and don’t rule anything out. Above all, have fun with your playing.
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