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Cymbal Combinations


Scott Fehl

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Are there specific schools of though on the way to combine cymbals in a kit?

 

For example is it better to have your two crashes be greater than an inch apart in diameter: 16" & 18" good, 16" & 17" bad. Is mixing something like a 16" custom A with an 18" K medium a bad combination since they are so different? I have noticed some drummers use 2 or 3 of the same exact type and size, while others have a mix.

 

When I was demoing crashes last night, I liked the Custom A, but thought the 16" & 17" together sounded awful. Also, I didn't think they went well with the regular A series. I really liked the new 16" A & cie Vintage crash- it was sort of bright and mellow at the same time. It also seemed to go well with some of the standard A series.

 

Within the Zildjin line alone, there must be over 100 possible crashes! It seems as though that I prefer the thinner crashes. I am sure there are several ways to do it, but do you guys have any general guide lines for mixing?

 

BTW: these would be for recording only, so I am not concerned about volume.

 

This message has been edited by Scott Fehl on 06-05-2001 at 11:10 AM

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Hey, Scott:

It is good to see that you are giving long and serious thought to your drum and cymbal purchase. So many times ... we as humans get swept up in the lust of the moment and make a purchase we live to regret!

You will make a much wiser choice this way.

 

I recomment you give a listen to the new Sabian HHX series. It is a set of cymbals that are designed to produce a very controlled attack and decay. May be what you need for the studio.

 

DJ

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I have noticed that every single cymbal is different, even those of the same model. Also, sometimes even if you don't think you will like a particular cymbal you should try it, because you might stumble across an individual one that just rocks.

 

For example I was all set to buy a pair of 14" Zildjian New Beat hats, which I'd always liked, but when I got to the store, all the ones they had didn't really bowl me over. So I started checking out others. They had a pair of 15" New Beats, which I hadn't even considered, but when I heard them they really sounded killer! So that's what I got. They have a very distinctive sound, for sure, and I've played identical hats that don't sound the same.

 

I started buying cymbals by picking a favorite crash, which turned out to be a Zildjian K 16" Thin Dark Crash. Then I would take that cymbal to the store while deciding on other cymbals, to make sure they sounded good together. I think that's the only way to really make sure. My other crash is an 18" Zildjian A thin. I had never particularly liked that cymbal before, but again, this individual one happened to sound good and it was compatible with my 16" crash when I played them together. So that gives me two different crash tones but they don't suck together at all.

 

Having had the experiences that I have I would always make sure you play the individual cymbal you're going to buy, and bring your others along so you can hear them together!

 

--Lee

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 06-05-2001 at 02:26 PM

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I noticed the same thing. They had 3 16" Custom A crashes, all definitely were similar but yet noticeably different.

 

I really, really liked the 16" A & cie Vintage. maybe I will get that and build the set around that like you suggested Lee. I think it will go well with the Custom A hats I already have.

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I have a whole set of A customs and they are great...especially live ...for me. I still like to record with paiste's though.

 

I don't care for sabians so much. They are not as pleasing to my ear, as a matter of fact they are my least favorite. But lots of players hate paistes. So whatever turns you on. I generally play with 2 or 3 crashes, a ride and on occassion a splash and china. John Bonham always said drums sounded better than cymbals and I tend to agree with him.

 

There are no set rules. In fact I was playing a recording this weekend where I had played bosophorous cymbals...one ride, one hat, one crash.

 

And they were totally dry/trashy complex sounding but it was a drugged out tune and they were hip as hell. I like my cymbals extremely clean and precise or extremely complex in tones.

 

I have about 20 or 30 cymbals though.

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Scott, my kit is just for recording also, and I have definitely always favored thinner cymbals for recording. You have to hit a thicker cymbal harder in order to make it really ring, and I find that if you do that in the studio, the kit ends up sounding like too much cymbals and not enough drums.

 

--Lee

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I don't think there are any firm rules to picking cymbals. Years ago, Zildjian used to sell cymbals in packages; supposedly matched to sound great together. These were NOT the cheapo entry-level cymbals packages like you see today mind you.

 

I think the best rule to use when combining cymbals is to use your ears. Every cymbal is different ... even if it has the same model name or description.

 

I highly recommend thin to medium thin cymbals. The heavy or thick cymbals sound awful to my ears ... but heavy hitters and those with poor playing technique typically crack cymbals easily. The heavy cymbals keep that from happening ... but sound nasty (to me).

 

I've been endorsing Sabian cymbals for over 10 years now and I absolutely love them. I used to play a combination of Zildjian, Sabian and Paiste, but finally found a combination of cymbals with Sabian that I really liked ... so I've been with them ever since.

 

I highly recommend that you check out the AAX and the HHX Sabian cymbals, especially if you are a heavy hitter. This line of Sabian cymbals are formed while the metal is in a cold state; allowing the cymbal to stay thin and yet is very strong. It's like having the sound of a thin cymbal but the strength of a heavy one.

 

I own several collectible cymbals that I like, such as a 15" Sizzle Crash by UFIP. Paiste makes some nice cymbals as well. I personally can't stand the sound of A. Zildjians; makes me want to hurl. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif

 

It all comes down to YOUR ears and YOUR personal taste. There are many flavors of ice cream ... you have to pick the one(s) you like best.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Hey, Scott:

 

Yes, I like the medium thin to extra thin crashes. I use them for every application. Typically, A thin crash has a better "wash" of sound. True, ... the thinner the cymbal, ... the lower the tone of the cymbal, but ... this is what has typically been true for those cymbals that you or I have always heard and said ... "Not *THAT* is a cymbal!"

 

Politically speaking, all the companies make great cymbals. When I started playing back in 1974, Zildjians were the only real choice. During a phase of mainly studio work, I worked with Paistes. I loved the diversity of sound and at the time, if I needed to replace a 15" crash, ... I could go get another one and know it would sound almost identical to the one I was replacing.

Then came Sabian! I was always intrigued with the story of Sabian. The fact that the company was owned by Robert (Bob) Zildjian as a split that he had with his older Brother Armand due to differences in manufacturing opinions after their fathers death. That the factory was the factory that housed the Hand Hammered artisans from Turkey that had always built Hand Hammered cymbals. And finally that Mr. Zildjian had the family mindset to name the company after his 3 children SA(sally)BI(billy)AN(andy). There has just always been something special about that to me.

 

Watch later this week for an article set to launch at MusicPlayer.com that is the Sabian Factory Tour. Perhaps this will help you to make your decision.

 

I do know that the new HXX series was designed specifically to compete in this medium thin to thin "controlled" sound that you are seeking.

 

Hope this helps.

DJ

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Well after driving myself half crazy for the last 3 nights I finally settled on something.

 

16" custom A & 16" custom dark K

 

I really think I prefer having two cymbals of the same size but with slightly different pitches & timbre. You can do more stereo washes an playing back and forth without getting drastic pitch changes like you would with a 16" & 18". I might add a 17" or 18" custom dark K later for variety.

 

The HHX sounded nice but they have a very strong low freq wa-wa thing happening. In fact every Sabian I tried seemed to have it. I had a 17" AAX for a day and together with the Zildg custA you would get a strong low freq wa-wa on the Sabian side and a more pure shimmer on the Zildj side. Very disorienting stereo image when recording.

 

 

 

This message has been edited by Scott Fehl on 06-07-2001 at 09:30 AM

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