The cymbals are a type of percussion instruments the importance of which can’t be ignored by both beginner drummers and experienced musicians. However, whether you are buying them for the first time or just want to boost your drumming experience by updating your drum set, you will obviously need only the best cymbals.
Cymbals are an important and unique part of a drum kit which can’t be complete without them. They add tone and rhythm to the sound and can be used to highlight the transition to a new part of a song, to add effects to music composition, etc. The drummers also use them to make an accent in a dancing composition or musical passage.
It’s important to be aware of the types of cymbals to choose the right ones. The cymbals brands usually offer the cymbals of such types: crash, ride, hi-hat, clash, splash, and china type.
The crash and ride cymbals are usually used as a standard part of most drum kits. A crash cymbal serves to emphasize accents with a loud, powerful but relatively short sound. A ride cymbal is more universal and can be used to lead the rhythm and to emphasize accents as well.
The hi-hat consists of two cymbals: top and bottom ones. Not only the drumsticks but also the brushes are usually used for playing on hi-hats. To change the sound, these cymbals also can be opened and closed with the help of a pedal.
The clash cymbals are played by striking them together. They are most often used at concerts and orchestral performances.
The china type cymbals have dome of a cylindrical or truncated-conical shape. They are used to produce a bright, crisp, and explosive tone and for the creation of particularly powerful accents and staccato. The splash cymbals are quite similar to china, they are small, thin, and are mainly used to create different effects.
The cymbal reviews can be great assistants in forming your buying decision. And the informative buyer’s guide will give all the necessary information that a cymbals owner should possess. So don’t delay reading our article!
The Meinl Cymbal Set Box has a lot of chances to be the best cymbals in terms of versatility as the variety of types included in the pack will satisfy both experienced musicians and beginners. The pack contains 16″ crash, 18″ crash, 20″ ride, and a pair of 14″ hi-hats. It’s fair to say that such kit will complete almost any drum set. Plus, it produces a full range of sounds that you can dig into to find your own style. The cymbals also have enough volume to even cut through roaring guitars. It’s good as you won’t have to hit the cymbals too hard to be heard above the other instruments. In general, the sound produced by those cymbals can be characterized as aggressive, dark, with great decay.
- The cymbals have a solid, durable construction.
- Not the perfect choice for players who prefer a bright tone.
The Meinl Cymbals Ultimate Cymbal Set can be the best cymbal pack for those who value universality and don’t feel like buying every kind of cymbal separately. This huge set consists of 14″ hi-hat cymbals (top and bottom), 20″ ride cymbal, 14″, 16″ and 18″ crash cymbals, 14″ china cymbal, 8″ bell, 10″ splash cymbal, and 16″ trash crash with holes. All of them are made of brass alloy which suggests that this is an entry-level set. However, it doesn’t mean that they are of poor quality — this set is actually quite durable and suits for frequent usage. Besides, this is one of the most expensive budget cymbal packs which contains all types of cymbals that the professional arrangements usually include. So, it can potentially be the best cymbal pack for the money.
The Meinl Cymbals are very responsive which simplifies the process of playing. Besides, they keep their tone regardless of the level of impact, so they are also suitable for vigorous drummers.
- The cymbals have numerous setup options so you could find your personal sound.
- A little bit flat sound with short sustain.
This set includes 3 cymbals of different types: 14 1/4″ hi-hats, 17″ crash, and 21″ ride. They are among the most expensive cymbals on the market as Zildjian usually produces only high-quality equipment for professional drummers. Like all the cymbals from the Hybrid line, they are distinguished by a grooved area along the edge, and a non-grooved area in the center (both from above and from below). Also, they are distinguished for warm, deep, punchy, and melodious sound. They combine both traditional, K-style hammering, and modern hammering techniques, resulting in a unique sound. The hi-hats feature a “Mastersound” hammering on the bottom to provide fast and clean “chick” sound. They are also bigger than the usual hi-hats which means that they are able to deliver an extra volume and more breadth of sound. This set of cymbals is perfectly suitable for jazz, country, and rock music.
- The cymbals have a great combination of bright and dark sounds.
- There is a possibility that they can crack after severe usage.
The Sabian SBR Performance is a set of entry-level cymbals. They are from the budget line and can be quite good cymbals for both beginners and more experienced players. The set consists of 14″ hi-hat, 16″ crash, and 20″ ride cymbals. Each of them is made of brass which is much solid and harder than copper, for example. They were hammered under high pressure and have a lathed surface.
These cymbals are able to produce sound, suitable for any performances. The hi-hats give short and clear sound (but note that they won’t give good overtone when closed very tight), the crash is very sensitive, and the ride sound gives a soft and crisp sound with a characteristic click. All of the SBR cymbals have a thin protective layer to ensure long service life.
- This set is universal for any drum kit.
- All of the cymbals produce tight sound.
- Reliable in terms of quality.
- The pack doesn’t include splash and china, so you will have to buy them separately.
These 14-inch medium weight hi-hats from Sabian are produced for professionals and aren’t affordable for every drummer. They are mainly designed to work as a part of the best drum cymbals for studio recordings and concerts. These cymbals are manufactured from Sabian B20 bronze with the addition of tin and silver. This model is hand-crafted and was hammered under high pressure to reach instant bright responses.
These hi-hats have bright and clear cutting sound at any volume. They are from Sabian’s AAX series, remarkable for increases sensitivity, smooth frequency balance, absence of unwanted overtones, and sound distortion at high volume. The hi-hats have total response accuracy, as well as bright and flickering sound. In addition, they are distinguished by minimalistic design so they will harmoniously fit into any drum kit. They are suitable for any music style.
- Suitable for tight, fast, drum’n’bass work.
- Crisp and bright when played closed.
- Not as high pitched as the other models.
This china type cymbal from Meinl can satisfy high demands of professional musicians. Its design combines both traditional and modern tendencies. Like all the Byzance cymbals from Brilliant series, this cymbal was polished six times in order to reach a mirror surface. It was hammered by hand of a high-quality B20 bronze alloy (20% copper, 20% tin, silver). As a result, the B18CH-B has a combination of powerful repercussions, warm sound characteristics, and well-balanced frequencies. It has medium bright timbre and high pitch. When you hit it with your drumstick it produces clean and undistorted “cha” sound. This cymbal is not very loud but also not very quiet, it has an average volume. The recommended music styles are rock, pop, fusion, funk, R’n’B, and reggae.
- The cymbal is very melodious and has rich sound with some dark components.
- A little bit dry unless used in a studio setting.
This is a standard cymbal set which includes 14″ hi-hats, 16″ crash, 18″ crash, and 20″ ride. The present kit is a great choice for those who like when cymbals sound traditional and clean. They will suit both beginners and professionals. These cymbals were hammered by hand on the basis of the alloy of copper and brass. As a result, their thickness is no more than average. Their sound can be characterized as bright and very soft.
- All the cymbals have different weights (from light to heavy) so they cover a wide range of music styles.
- The crash doesn’t match the sound quality of the ride and hi-hats.
- It doesn’t come with a cymbal bag.
Cymbals Playing Technique
You are probably wondered how to play cymbals if you have decided to buy them for the first time. Whether you are going to learn how to play them by yourself or would like to hire a tutor, it’s better to be aware of the basics.
It’s obvious that the wrong playing technique will make any, even the most expensive, cymbals unusable in a fairly short period of time. The life term of the cymbals also largely depends on how intensively you use them. However, if you play them with caution and in a proper way, they will last much longer. The wrong playing technique contributes to metal fatigue, poor sound quality, or can even lead to cracks and breaks. So be sure to follow the next rules:
- Playing cymbals is a physical activity so proper body position is very important. Your weight should be evenly distributed over each leg so stand or sit with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Try not to hit the edge of the cymbal. It will not only ruin the sound (it prevents the cymbal from oscillating freely) but will also cause the damaging effect on both cymbal and drumstick. Try to hit the cymbal slightly away from its center, with a slight twist of your wrist.
- Don’t tighten the clamp screw too tight. Make sure that the cymbal can vibrate freely.
- Set the cymbal at an angle.
- Choose the sticks of proper weight and size. The lighter sticks are better for making sound accents and are also more sparing for your cymbals.
What are Cymbals Made of: Cymbal Alloys
The sound of cymbals significantly varies depending on what alloy they are made of. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular alloys.
There are four most popular alloys that are used in the production of cymbals: bell bronze, malleable bronze, nickel silver, and brass.
Bell bronze (B20)
It’s used in the production of gongs, in the casting of bells and high-quality cymbals. It consists of copper (80%) and tin (20%). However, the percentage of tin may vary. Also, some manufacturers tend to add a small amount of silver, gold, or phosphorus with a purpose to change the sound quality for the better. The cymbals made from this alloy are most frequently used in large orchestras as they have a huge dynamic range.
Malleable bronze (B8)
This alloy contains copper (92%) and tin (8%). The price for cymbals made from a malleable bronze is significantly lower in comparison with bell bronze. It also perfectly suites for beginner musicians or for those who have a limited budget but want to get cymbals for a high-quality sound.
This alloy usually consists of copper (88%) and nickel (12%). It also can be subjected to machining without any problems. The cymbals made from nickel silver have bright sound but aren’t as sensitive as alloys with copper and tin.
This alloy consists of copper (62%) and zinc (38%). They are one of the cheapest raw materials. The cymbals from brass are also good for beginners. They give out a warm timbre of the sound, but, unlike alloys with bronze, they are quite dull. The brass cymbals aren’t frequently used by professional drummers.
There are also cymbals that consist of an alloy of bronze with additions of silicone and aluminum. There is also the Saluda GH alloy which consists of four different alloys, based on copper with the addition of other elements. The Meinl FX9 is an alloy of copper, tin, manganese, and aluminum.
Cymbals Maintenance: How to Clean Cymbals
Any musician knows about the importance of keeping the cymbals clean. Such cymbals not only look attractive but also sound much better.
The main reason for cymbals pollution is the grease marks that are left on the surface with fingers and palms. The dust settles down on those marks and forms stains, making the cymbals dirty.
Almost all manufacturers of cymbals also produce the universal cleaning remedies that are suitable for most cymbals and leave a thin protective film, which protects the cymbals from contamination for 3-5 weeks. They all can be used the same way:
- Apply the remedy on each cymbal, in a spray form or with the help of a cloth.
- Leave the cymbals for 2-3 minutes.
- Clean the remedy from the surface of the cymbal with a soft cloth, and then polish them with a clean dry cloth.
Note that the cymbals with a specific coating can’t be cleaned with a regular cymbal cleaner. They must be washed with water and a small amount of water-based detergent (for example, a windows cleaner or mild soap). Then the cymbals must be wiped with a damp cloth and dried with paper towels or a dry cloth.
As a result of proper cleaning, the color of cymbals must be perfectly even. They don’t have to look like a mirror, just ensure that there are no stains and spots on the surface.
Remember not to use the abrasive materials, aggressive household cleaners, polishing pastes, acids, alkalis, acetone, and other solvents to clean the cymbals because they are guaranteed to damage the protective layer. Also, you can’t use the polishing machine as the cymbal surface will overheat and lose its properties.
However, it’s better to prevent frequent cleaning of your cymbals. The modern cymbals usually have a protective coating that prevents oxidation (which leads to the formation of green spots on the surface of the cymbal) and frequent contamination. So if you wipe them with a soft dry cloth after each use, it won’t be necessary to clean them every week. Also, it’s better not to touch their surface with bare hands, get the fabric gloves or flannel wipes.
Hi everyone! I’m Thomas Moody, also known as Guitarzan.
All my life, the guitar has always been my real love. I played as a featured guitarist in several bands over the years.
My extensive experience of teaching lessons and blogging taught me to write useful texts. I tried to keep as many notes about musical instruments as possible. So stay tuned—new articles are coming.