Cymbal Buying Guide

Selecting a good new or replacement cymbal has a lot to do with the type of music you play and the environment that you play in. Almost always you will get the cymbal delivered or take it home and hear something at least a little different than you expected, or heard in the store, so itís important to do as much real world scenario testing as you can in the store. Buying cymbals online is a great idea, because you can save a ton of money, but just be sure to know what youíre looking for. Obviously you canít try them out online, but you definitely can try a friends, or try them in a local store before you go shopping online for the best prices.

About Cymbals

Cymbals are one of the oldest musical instruments known to man. Some reports and archeological proofs show that cymbals have been with us since pre-historic times. There are a few different varieties that you need to be aware of when shopping.

Crash Cymbals

Crash Cymbals produce a loud, but short, ďcrashĒ type of sound and are normally used to accent particular passages in music or song. Typically crash cymbals are not used as part of a normal cadence or beat, but can be used to build effect. Crash cymbals come in thin and heavy varieties, are always tapered at the edge, and can most commonly be seen in sizes ranging from 14 inches to 18 inches in diameter.

Hi-Hat Cymbals

Hi-Hats are normally configured as two cymbals opposing each other on a steel rod with a foot pedal and spring configuration to activate them. Many drummers will use the drumstick, the foot pedal to clash them together, or even a brush to play them. Standard hi-hats are 14 inches each, and normally a heavier grade cymbal, but many drummers experiment with different sizes and even different grades on the top and bottom. Hi-hats are typically used much more in cadence and patterns than regular crash cymbals.

Ride Cymbals

Another common cymbal is the ride cymbal. The ride is used a lot more to keep the rhythm so itís one of the most important (and common) cymbals in any drummers kit. Standard ride cymbals are 20 inches, but can range anywhere from 18 to 24 inches normally. The sound from a ride cymbal is a longer sustained shimmering tone.

Some Cymbal Buying Tips From MGR Readers

Iíve bought cymbals in the store because I thought they sounded good, and then got home and hit them the way I normally do and ended up having problems with breakage. Give that crash a solid smack when youíre in the store and maybe buy one weight heavier than you were thinking, you canít go wrong. Ė Dave M., Nashville, TN

I always let someone else in the store play the cymbal Iím thinking about purchasing. Gives me an idea of how it sounds from different angles. Call me crazy, but it helps. Ė Tony, NY, NY

Talk to other people and get their help. Your first instinct might be to go with a thinner cymbal when what you should really be looking for is a heavier model. You need to consider your normal playing venue and tips like that are usually received by the guy at the local drum shop. Use him. Ė Rich Brenan, LAX

Donít be afraid to really wail on those sample cymbals in the store, itís your hard earned money, you really need to give them a workout. Take your own stix too! Ė Damien C., Natchez, MI

If you can, set up the test cymbal the same way it would be configured in your kit. Hit it just as hard as you normally would lots of times and just listen. Youíll know if itís the right hunk of metal when you hear it. Ė Shane Working in Asia

If you have any tips to help our readers make a better decision when shopping for cymbals, please contact us and we'll post your thoughts here!