The cymbals of a drum kit are just as versatile as the drums themselves. Drummers often overlook things on the cymbals; however rudiments, beats and solos can be played to great effect using the cymbals alone.
I’ll be explaining how you will be able to work the cymbals by using different practice methods and techniques. I’ll also explain how different forms of playing can affect the sound itself.
There are many different types of drumsticks that are available. Some sound better than others for certain styles of playing or songs. One of the best sounding sticks to use on the cymbals are the brushes. There are two types of brush, metal and plastic.
Metal brushes are what most professional drummers would use as they have better rebound and are easier to use, however plastic brushes can still be good if you are beginner. The reason brushes sound so great on cymbals is because they can be played differently to sticks.
Skilled brush players can “swoosh” on the snare drum, this is technique used when a drummer rubs the brush on a drum. This technique can be transferred onto cymbals and can sound great though it isn’t very commonly used.
Another stick that is using great on cymbals is the beater. This is a thin stick with compressed padded wool attached to the end. Crescendos can be played with beaters, and they can sound either very soft or very loud depending on how hard you hit the cymbal.
This can be a great technique to use if you want to split up parts of a beat or put pauses into a song. A cymbal choke is when you crash a cymbal and then grab it with your fingers to cause the sound to cut out. Choking is used a lot in funk drumming, when the beats are very choppy and sound off time.
The best way to incorporate rudiments into cymbals is to try and learn the rudiment with a beat. Opening and closing the hi-hat can also add a new edge to a rudiment. A great example of rudiments played on the cymbals in the Steve Gadd paradiddle groove. This beat has gained worldwide recognition for being one of the best drum beats ever created, and it’s simply a paradiddle!
Cymbals solos don’t get used very much, however they can be a great way to break up a solo and lower the volume down to give a piece more dynamics. The best way to play a cymbal solo is to utilize all of the parts of a cymbal; this will give you a wider range of tonality.
Cymbals can be played on the bell, the edge or the center. Mixing up the impact points when playing a rudiment can be a great way to start.
Remember not to ignore the cymbals. Practice rudiments on them, experiment with different sticks, try to use you fingers; and most importantly treat them like they are drums!
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