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Topic: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping  (Read 3705 times)

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Offline Josh Servania

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Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« on: February 01, 2012, 01:48 PM »
Recently I've made the switch from Meinl cymbals to Zildjan ZBT cymbals. I like the sound on the ZBT's, but I'm sort of a heavy hitter when I REALLY get into the music and, as a result, they break fairly quickly; it has recently made me wonder if they're worth the money.

Any advice on what cymbals could prevent this problem?

I currently use:
2 Zildjan ZBT 16" Crash Cymbals
A pair of Zildjan ZBT 14" Hi-Hats
1 Zildjan ZBT 10" Splash Cymbal
1 Zildjan ZBT 16" China Cymbal
1 Sabian AA 20" Ride Cymbal
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Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 01:54 PM »
Recently I've made the switch from Meinl cymbals to Zildjan ZBT cymbals. I like the sound on the ZBT's, but I'm sort of a heavy hitter when I REALLY get into the music and, as a result, they break fairly quickly; it has recently made me wonder if they're worth the money.

Any advice on what cymbals could prevent this problem?

I currently use:
2 Zildjan ZBT 16" Crash Cymbals
A pair of Zildjan ZBT 14" Hi-Hats
1 Zildjan ZBT 10" Splash Cymbal
1 Zildjan ZBT 16" China Cymbal
1 Sabian AA 20" Ride Cymbal


Which ones are breaking? The 16" Crashes? The splash? The hats?

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 07:58 PM »
Ah, mostly the crash cymbals and the splash. The china and hats have lasted a significantly long time and the Sabian has lasted for the whole 2 1/2 years I've been playing.

Oh, and my mistake, the Sabian is a 20" B8 ride if that makes any significant difference...x3
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Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 07:32 AM »
Ah, mostly the crash cymbals and the splash. The china and hats have lasted a significantly long time and the Sabian has lasted for the whole 2 1/2 years I've been playing.

Oh, and my mistake, the Sabian is a 20" B8 ride if that makes any significant difference...x3

It sounds like you should look for larger cymbals, say 18" as I suspect that you are hitting the 16" cymbals hard in order to generate the volume that you desire. Also, look into Power Crash or Heavy Crash cymbals (you'll get more decibels). Look for a heavier splash.

Also, do you have a video of you playing? I'd like to see how the cymbals move after you strike them (and how you strike them).


Offline Mister Acrolite

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 08:09 PM »
I strongly agree with Tim: go with bigger cymbals. It's very easy to overplay a 16" crash - you should look at crashes in the 18 to 20" range.
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Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 09:25 PM »
It sounds like you should look for larger cymbals, say 18" as I suspect that you are hitting the 16" cymbals hard in order to generate the volume that you desire. Also, look into Power Crash or Heavy Crash cymbals (you'll get more decibels). Look for a heavier splash.

Also, do you have a video of you playing? I'd like to see how the cymbals move after you strike them (and how you strike them).




This is a video from about a year ago (although it was uploaded more recently than when it was filmed). I already apologize for the sound as the audio is sort of bad. The two crashes and the splash are the same brand, series, and size as I use today.

http://youtu.be/KMMHN1QaB9s

I'd like some guidance if you see something wrong with my playing technique. It has barely changed since this video was filmed. I have had absolutely no teacher or professional help me learn.

Thanks in advance!
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Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 09:32 AM »
I'm basically a straight-ahead rock drummer.  When I started drumming in earnest 7 or 8 years ago, I broke three cymbals in the first year and a half.  One was made of sheet bronze (B8 sheet - 8% tin cold rolled like your ZBTs), one was made of cast B8 alloy, and the third was cast B20 alloy (20% tin - more traditional for high-end cymbals).  So I don't think that you are going to buy an unbreakable cymbal. 

When I started out I concentrated mnostly on the "when" of my playing - my timing - but I didn't listen alot to the individual notes.  I would get lost in the joy of pounding away and I broke sticks, and then cymbals.  When I shifted my focus to include the "what" - the actual sounds I could achieve by playing dynamically - I quit breaking stuff.  Funny thing is, I'm still as much into the music as I ever was, I just manage my energy differently.

I'm sure that a pro could help you refine your technique and maximize your energy efficiency without taking anything from the music or performance.  I'm not a pro, but I do have a few observations:

1) In the video, your cymbals look to be set up fairly flat - more parallel to the ground.  This creates a more acute angle between the shoulder of the stick and the edge of the cymbal when you strike it which puts more force at the edge.  They look to have more angle to them in your profile pic, however, so it may just be the video angle.

2) There are quite a few strikes where you have reached "saturation" - you've hit the cymbal harder than required to produce it's maximum volume.  In these cases, the cymbal is moving to the stops of the stand which will cause damage.  The suggestions you've already received to use bigger cymbals would definitely help.  You'd get more volume and you're normal strike would not move a cymbal with greater mass as much.

3) If your video is typical of the music you play, you strike your cymbals a lot.  In the 5:50 video, I counted about 240 hits on just your two crashes.  By contrast, I looked at a 3 minute video I made of me playing a classic rock cover - I struck my three crashes a total of 37 times.  Something to consider, but you should still be able to play without a lot of damage.

4) It would probably be good to see all of you in the video, instead of just your hands and arms.  Seeing how your whole body moves while you play is good information.

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 03:06 PM »
I'm basically a straight-ahead rock drummer.  When I started drumming in earnest 7 or 8 years ago, I broke three cymbals in the first year and a half.  One was made of sheet bronze (B8 sheet - 8% tin cold rolled like your ZBTs), one was made of cast B8 alloy, and the third was cast B20 alloy (20% tin - more traditional for high-end cymbals).  So I don't think that you are going to buy an unbreakable cymbal. 

When I started out I concentrated mnostly on the "when" of my playing - my timing - but I didn't listen alot to the individual notes.  I would get lost in the joy of pounding away and I broke sticks, and then cymbals.  When I shifted my focus to include the "what" - the actual sounds I could achieve by playing dynamically - I quit breaking stuff.  Funny thing is, I'm still as much into the music as I ever was, I just manage my energy differently.

I'm sure that a pro could help you refine your technique and maximize your energy efficiency without taking anything from the music or performance.  I'm not a pro, but I do have a few observations:

1) In the video, your cymbals look to be set up fairly flat - more parallel to the ground.  This creates a more acute angle between the shoulder of the stick and the edge of the cymbal when you strike it which puts more force at the edge.  They look to have more angle to them in your profile pic, however, so it may just be the video angle.

2) There are quite a few strikes where you have reached "saturation" - you've hit the cymbal harder than required to produce it's maximum volume.  In these cases, the cymbal is moving to the stops of the stand which will cause damage.  The suggestions you've already received to use bigger cymbals would definitely help.  You'd get more volume and you're normal strike would not move a cymbal with greater mass as much.

3) If your video is typical of the music you play, you strike your cymbals a lot.  In the 5:50 video, I counted about 240 hits on just your two crashes.  By contrast, I looked at a 3 minute video I made of me playing a classic rock cover - I struck my three crashes a total of 37 times.  Something to consider, but you should still be able to play without a lot of damage.

4) It would probably be good to see all of you in the video, instead of just your hands and arms.  Seeing how your whole body moves while you play is good information.


This was really insightful Scot, thank you for the reply! It is true that I hit my crashes a lot in the music I play...it has just become a force of habit now.

For some reason it did not occur to me that a bigger heavier cymbal would be harder to overplay. So, all the suggestions of getting a bigger heavier cymbal were really helpful!

I do have a question about the cymbal angle though. How much of an angle should they be at to reduce the likeliness of damage? I've also learned over the years that parallel cymbals won't do well, but I've never quite figured out how much of an angle is good for both avoiding damage and hitting the cymbal comfortably.
Drummer of Skautomatic Weapons
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Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/skautomaticweapons

Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 03:14 PM »
I'm basically a straight-ahead rock drummer.  When I started drumming in earnest 7 or 8 years ago, I broke three cymbals in the first year and a half.  One was made of sheet bronze (B8 sheet - 8% tin cold rolled like your ZBTs), one was made of cast B8 alloy, and the third was cast B20 alloy (20% tin - more traditional for high-end cymbals).  So I don't think that you are going to buy an unbreakable cymbal. 




Not to steer away from the thread, but I need to address something written in the post above:

All bronze alloys (B8, B12, B15, B20, B22, etc.) are cast; many are then rolled into sheets (Paiste, Meinl), while others are cast as blobs and are either hammered into shape (like Chinese made cymbals, Dream, Wuhan, etc.) or are blobs that are first rolled and then pressed into shape using a drop-hammer (Sabian, Zildjian, etc.). The idea that an alloy is better than another simply because it wasn't rolled into a sheet (like some of the cymbal companies would have you believe) is nothing but pure marketing. Also, the idea that only B20 is used for "high end cymbals" is also false. Paiste 2002 and Giant Beat (high end cymbals) are made from B8 sheets, Paiste's signature line is made from B15 sheets and Paiste's 602 line is made from B20 sheets (yes, B20 sheets).

We now return you to your cymbal-breakage discussion.  ;D

Now as far as what is happening with frequent cymbal breakage, look to how you have the cymbals angled (100% parallel to the ground all but ensures that you'll be replacing your cymbals frequently) as well as over-hitting the cymbal, in an attempt to get more volume (which would be like turning your stereo volume knob up to where the speakers distort and then going beyond that point, in an attempt for even more volume).

Also, ask yourself these questions:

1 What do I want my ride cymbal to do for me? Do I want loads of attack and clarity at high volume?
If "yes", then look at the various Bell Rides, Metal Rides or Heavy Rock rides offered by various cymbal companies.

2. What do I want from my crashes? Explosive attack, long sustain and the ability to crash-ride at high volumes?
If "yes", then look at 18", 19" and even 20" crash cymbals with heavier weights (sometimes called "Power", "Rock", or "Metal" crash).

3. What do I want from my splash cymbal and .... am I hitting it more like a small crash?
If "yes", then look at a 14" heavy Crash in it's place; a Splash is mainly designed to speak quickly and quietly. There are some Metal splashes offered by the cymbal companies out there, so give them a shot if you have the budget, but if you break it as well, look at a heavy, small crash in its place.

And don't be put-off by what alloy the cymbal is made of; if your ears like it, then buy it and play it!

Here's a link from Paiste to give you an idea of proper cymbal usage:
http://www.paiste.com/e/support_usagecare.php?menuid=318

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 05:04 PM »
Not to steer away from the thread, but I need to address something written in the post above:

All bronze alloys (B8, B12, B15, B20, B22, etc.) are cast; many are then rolled into sheets (Paiste, Meinl), while others are cast as blobs and are either hammered into shape (like Chinese made cymbals, Dream, Wuhan, etc.) or are blobs that are first rolled and then pressed into shape using a drop-hammer (Sabian, Zildjian, etc.). The idea that an alloy is better than another simply because it wasn't rolled into a sheet (like some of the cymbal companies would have you believe) is nothing but pure marketing. Also, the idea that only B20 is used for "high end cymbals" is also false. Paiste 2002 and Giant Beat (high end cymbals) are made from B8 sheets, Paiste's signature line is made from B15 sheets and Paiste's 602 line is made from B20 sheets (yes, B20 sheets).

We now return you to your cymbal-breakage discussion.  ;D

Now as far as what is happening with frequent cymbal breakage, look to how you have the cymbals angled (100% parallel to the ground all but ensures that you'll be replacing your cymbals frequently) as well as over-hitting the cymbal, in an attempt to get more volume (which would be like turning your stereo volume knob up to where the speakers distort and then going beyond that point, in an attempt for even more volume).

Also, ask yourself these questions:

1 What do I want my ride cymbal to do for me? Do I want loads of attack and clarity at high volume?
If "yes", then look at the various Bell Rides, Metal Rides or Heavy Rock rides offered by various cymbal companies.

2. What do I want from my crashes? Explosive attack, long sustain and the ability to crash-ride at high volumes?
If "yes", then look at 18", 19" and even 20" crash cymbals with heavier weights (sometimes called "Power", "Rock", or "Metal" crash).

3. What do I want from my splash cymbal and .... am I hitting it more like a small crash?
If "yes", then look at a 14" heavy Crash in it's place; a Splash is mainly designed to speak quickly and quietly. There are some Metal splashes offered by the cymbal companies out there, so give them a shot if you have the budget, but if you break it as well, look at a heavy, small crash in its place.

And don't be put-off by what alloy the cymbal is made of; if your ears like it, then buy it and play it!

Here's a link from Paiste to give you an idea of proper cymbal usage:
http://www.paiste.com/e/support_usagecare.php?menuid=318



That link was very informative. Thank you for it, I'll bookmark it. x3

This is a lot of information and I'll definitely use it the next time I have to go cymbal shopping! I appreciate the advice!

There is one last thing I'm wondering about: your suggestion of replacing the splash with a small heavy crash, Tim. I really have gotten attached to the sound of my splash and I'm a little unsure if a small crash can provide a similar or better sound as my splash.

I'm willing to give it a try when my splash cymbal wears out, but I'd like to know if there are crashes out there that are tougher than splashes but provide a similar or better sound. ^^
Drummer of Skautomatic Weapons
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Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/skautomaticweapons

Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 06:12 PM »
Not to steer away from the thread, but I need to address something written in the post above:

All bronze alloys (B8, B12, B15, B20, B22, etc.) are cast; many are then rolled into sheets (Paiste, Meinl), while others are cast as blobs and are either hammered into shape (like Chinese made cymbals, Dream, Wuhan, etc.) or are blobs that are first rolled and then pressed into shape using a drop-hammer (Sabian, Zildjian, etc.). The idea that an alloy is better than another simply because it wasn't rolled into a sheet (like some of the cymbal companies would have you believe) is nothing but pure marketing. Also, the idea that only B20 is used for "high end cymbals" is also false. Paiste 2002 and Giant Beat (high end cymbals) are made from B8 sheets, Paiste's signature line is made from B15 sheets and Paiste's 602 line is made from B20 sheets (yes, B20 sheets).


Thank you for the education, Tim.  My choice of the words "high end" was definitely a mistake.  One of those cymbals that I broke was a Paiste 2002 - a professional cymbal to be sure.  I was merely trying to point out that my personal experience seemed to be independent of material or manufacturing process - I hope I got that across.  Thanks again for the correction.

Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 01:13 PM »
That link was very informative. Thank you for it, I'll bookmark it. x3

This is a lot of information and I'll definitely use it the next time I have to go cymbal shopping! I appreciate the advice!

There is one last thing I'm wondering about: your suggestion of replacing the splash with a small heavy crash, Tim. I really have gotten attached to the sound of my splash and I'm a little unsure if a small crash can provide a similar or better sound as my splash.

I'm willing to give it a try when my splash cymbal wears out, but I'd like to know if there are crashes out there that are tougher than splashes but provide a similar or better sound. ^^

Perhaps you could look at something inexpensive, like a 10" or 12" Wuhan splash or China (they're really inexpensive).

Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2012, 01:15 PM »
Thank you for the education, Tim.  My choice of the words "high end" was definitely a mistake.  One of those cymbals that I broke was a Paiste 2002 - a professional cymbal to be sure.  I was merely trying to point out that my personal experience seemed to be independent of material or manufacturing process - I hope I got that across.  Thanks again for the correction.

Not to worry; all is well!  ;D

Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 01:39 PM »
Perhaps you could look at something inexpensive, like a 10" or 12" Wuhan splash or China (they're really inexpensive).

I'll second Tim's suggestion.  I play Wuhan splashes and chinas and they sound great - I particularly like my 10 inch splash.  They've been remarkably durable for me, and at their price point, they are practically disposable.

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2012, 04:41 PM »
Not to worry; all is well!  ;D
I'll second Tim's suggestion.  I play Wuhan splashes and chinas and they sound great - I particularly like my 10 inch splash.  They've been remarkably durable for me, and at their price point, they are practically disposable.

Durable? :o I always thought they were fairly thin and, in turn, easier to break.

Yea I better come a decision on my splash soon...there's a crack in it. ^^;;
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Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2012, 05:22 PM »
Durable? :o I always thought they were fairly thin and, in turn, easier to break.

The point I've been trying to make is that there's no such thing as an unbreakable cymbal.  There are specific cymbals that can give you what you need for your music.  Tim gave you some great example questions to ask yourself when looking for cymbals.  But any cymbal can be broken.

Once you find the cymbals that work the best for your music, I think that you can do one of two things:

1) Find a way to modify your technique to minimize breakage.

or

2) Continue with your current technique and live with the breakage.

I'm not saying that your current technique is bad - it's really not for me to say.  In fact, your expression as an artist may require that you keep using your current technique.  But, as we live in an imperfect world, there are trades that have to be made.

So.  Yes.  The Wuhan spashes are durable for me.  YMMV

BTW, a cool thing to do with cymbals that are broken on the edges is to take some tin snips and cut them down to smaller cymbals or chimes.  you may get some new, interesting sounds.

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2012, 01:57 PM »
For the crash cymbals I have been  paying more and more attention to glancing hits on those since a year ago when i made that video. so its true they have been breaking less often. That's different when I play at live shows...I tend to go harder because of the adrenaline. For now, I can live with my current cymbals for everyday practice.

The splash cymbal is a different story. Like Tim said, I asked myself if I'm hitting the splash cymbal more like a small crash. This is VERY true. I like using the splash sound to fill in short gaps in loud sections of songs so I tend to hit the splash hard to cut through the rest of the band. In which case...I'll be taking your advice by finding a heavier/bigger splash or small crash to replace. I'm willing to try the Wuhan one you both suggested since it really is inexpensive. If it doesn't work for me, I'll do more research.
Drummer of Skautomatic Weapons
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Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/skautomaticweapons

Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 08:55 PM »
For the crash cymbals I have been  paying more and more attention to glancing hits on those since a year ago when i made that video. so its true they have been breaking less often. That's different when I play at live shows...I tend to go harder because of the adrenaline. For now, I can live with my current cymbals for everyday practice.

The splash cymbal is a different story. Like Tim said, I asked myself if I'm hitting the splash cymbal more like a small crash. This is VERY true. I like using the splash sound to fill in short gaps in loud sections of songs so I tend to hit the splash hard to cut through the rest of the band. In which case...I'll be taking your advice by finding a heavier/bigger splash or small crash to replace. I'm willing to try the Wuhan one you both suggested since it really is inexpensive. If it doesn't work for me, I'll do more research.

It can be tough when you are really pumped to play a show!   ;D

You've changed your crash technique a bit, but you seem reluctant to change when it comes to your splash.  Over hitting it isn't going to make it cut through the rest of the band any better.  In fact, it is probably keeping it from opening up the way it should. 

You could play around with the placement of your splash - reach for it a little more so you're not hitting through it so much.  Or you could get a bigger cymbal which would definitely give you more volume.

Offline Josh Servania

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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 09:40 PM »
It can be tough when you are really pumped to play a show!   ;D

You've changed your crash technique a bit, but you seem reluctant to change when it comes to your splash.  Over hitting it isn't going to make it cut through the rest of the band any better.  In fact, it is probably keeping it from opening up the way it should. 

You could play around with the placement of your splash - reach for it a little more so you're not hitting through it so much.  Or you could get a bigger cymbal which would definitely give you more volume.

I originally had the splash cymbal stand mounted in between my mounted toms, but it was hard to get up there and keep rhythm when doing fast drum fills between the snare and the splash. So, I switched it to underneath my left crash (as shown in video). But yeah, while I was practicing today I had the thought to putting it back to in between my toms.
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Re: Looking for Advice on Cymbal Shopping
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2012, 03:30 PM »
I'm a hard hitting drummer and I agree on the saturation issue. I also have an angle parallell to the floor. I think advices you recieved pretty much depicts your options.I would like to add thick to cymbals to the list. The produce a high sound volume and  manage to cope with harder striked. Though the sound will last for quite some time and thereby compromise your style of playing.I use a 18" bell ride as crash and almost identical to my 18" crash. The crash. The crash has cracks while the ride have not.

 


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