Cymbals add extra dimension and richness to any music you create! Not all cymbals are created equal, and some will add much more to your drum set than others in terms of quality and durability - particularly because some will fit into your existing kit and complement the overall sound much better than their counterparts that may rather sound unnatural. Each cymbal will have a slightly different tone to the next one and the more cash you'll spend, the better quality, profound sound, and unique craftsmanship you'll be able to discover. In this article, we've reviewed some of the Best Cymbals For Drum Sets in 2021 for your next gig or jam session.
We've reviewed a number of cymbals to help you match well with your desired genre. Whether it's jazz, metal, rock, funk, or pop that you play, we have got you covered. So, without any further ado, let's get you to it!
If you are a drummer, or you’re about to start drumming, you may already be interested in buying a cymbal. But, why? Simply because you want to get that crunchy, chimey crash sound to complement your beat. Why else? Because you want those calm hi-hats clapping, making your track rich, giving it that stereo width. And there's more to it. But, before we get to it, you should know what can you expect to pay for a quality cymbal.
We have put together this shopping guide and some recommendations to answer these questions and more! Let's dig in!
What Do I Need To Consider When Buying A Cymbal For My Drum Set?
The size/thickness of your cymbal is directly related to the volume and pitch you want to have. That being said, if you play in an intimate jam session or just want to jam, playing a thicker cymbal sensitively will help you hear all the nuances of the sound better! The most important factor is finding a cymbal that will complement the size and sound of your available drum kit!
When it comes to Cymbals, you've got three material options; Brass, B8 Bronze, and B20 Bronze. Brass is usually the least expensive but produces the lowest quality sound. B8 Bronze is a decent choice and the money is decent as well! Lastly, the B20 Bronze alloy Cymbals sound the best but they're also the most expensive ones.
The quality categorization based on materials is not a hard and fast rule but rather an observation. Remember, some of the best cymbals like the Paiste Collection are made from bronze!
Hand-Crafted vs. Machine Made
People often ask, why are cymbals so expensive? The simple answer is the hours of labor, handcrafting work that goes into their production! Cymbals can be divided into two categories when it comes to formation; hand-crafted ones and machine-made. The hand-crafted ones are usually more expensive and offer a much more unique sound as compared to other cymbals of the same size/model.
On the other hand, machine-made ones offer uniformity of sound throughout a single model.
It goes without saying but in case you're a beginner, you need to find out which ones of the cymbals do you want to have. We'll dig into this part in detail after a while.
Individual vs. Cymbal Sets
Whether you decide to buy cymbals individually or plan to have a set, your primary goal should be to get the best sound out of them and your drum kit ultimately!
When you buy a set, you're at an advantage because the manufacturer usually has featured well-blending, complementing cymbals in a pack. However, if you decide to buy them individually, you'll need to have an idea of their sound beforehand, especially if you're planning to use them with a kit later on. You don't want bright, punchy toms or a tight snare if they're going to be followed by a dimmed-down crash. If you know what you're doing, buying cymbals individually can give you more versatility and better sound!
The record-like grooves you see on your cymbals - those are created by lathing. Artisans do this to manipulate the pitch and sound of a cymbal. This is also enhanced using hammering - fine lathing results in less debris and a brighter tone. Wide lathing leads to a darker and warmer character due to the wider grooves created on cymbals.
Hammering adds shape and complexity to the sound. When it's done by hand, it's usually irregular and large and that leads to a harmonic, musical sound. If the hammering is done using machines or is done uniformly, the sound would be purer. If a cymbal is hammered too much, it creates that trashy sound that some musicians and drummers adore!
Rivets and Holes
The rivets and holes are also used to achieve the nitty-gritty of cymbal harmonies. For instance, apertures in crashes may help reduce overtone, eliminate airlock in hi-hats. Similarly, if there are rivets in the bell (center) or edge, it helps create a sizzle sound.
Types Of Cymbals
If you're a beginner or a parent buying a drum set for your kid, here are a bunch of cymbals to get started:
The crash cymbals have an explosive, large sound. Their sizes typically are 14" to 18".
The ping-like sound you hear during your favorite songs - mostly panned to the extreme left or extreme right. That's what Ride cymbals do! 20" - 22" rides are a good starting point.
The hi-hats produce a cool, calm sound that's not necessary but feels like a delight if you're playing it right.
Some Famous Brands That Make Excellent Cymbals
You may come across some local or newer brands or cymbals out there but for a regret-free purchase, these are the options you should go for:
Zildjian is one of the oldest companies in the world right now - they were founded in 1623 in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey).
Coldplay, Linkin Park, John Mayer's band, and many more are seen flaunting their Zildjian cymbals because they love them!
Sabian is not that old - was formed back in 1981. Fun Fact; it was founded by Robert Zildjian, one of Zildjian's owners. They are known to produce quality cymbals for both professionals and beginners.
They were founded back in the 50s and have produced some of the best cymbals since then. They're known for their experimentation with different cymbal alloys!
Best Cymbal For Drum Set FAQ
Q: What is the best size for a cymbal?
A: The best cymbal size depends on the style of music you play and the sound you want out of them! It's the thickness/diameter that help define the pitch/volume of your cymbal - more thickness and diameter means louder sound with a higher pitch.
Q: Can I use a smaller cymbal with a large drum kit?
A: The summary of this buying guide; as long as your cymbal sits well with your band, orchestra, or the sound you are trying to achieve, you're good!
Heck, if you can achieve the cymbal sound you desire with a spoon and a piece of steelware, that's fine too. The point is, your goal should be to extract a good sound and have a kit that's easy to set up and play.
Derek is a professional musician who specializes in percussion and works with the independent WGI group Cap City Percussion. With a Bachelors of Music from Capital University, specializing in Music Industry studies, he consistently finds himself playing and teaching percussion to anyone who has the will to learn. Derek is also a former member of DCI groups Legends (2014-15) and Colts (2016-18); he is also the percussion technician and instructor of the drum line at Olentangy High School. You may find him playing a gig throughout the greater Columbus, Ohio area.