Cymbals are an essential part of drum kits and are used in various types of music. They are available in different sizes, shapes, and materials, each producing a unique sound. Learning about cymbal types can help drummers choose the right cymbals for their music styles and create a distinct sound.
The most common types of cymbals are hi-hats, ride cymbals, and crash cymbals. Hi-hats are made up of two cymbals that are played together using a pedal. They produce a sharp, crisp sound and are used for creating rhythmic patterns. Ride cymbals are larger and thicker than hi-hats and produce a sustained sound. They are used for creating a steady rhythm and for playing accents. Crash cymbals are thinner than ride cymbals and produce a loud, explosive sound. They are used for creating accents and for emphasizing certain parts of the music.
In addition to these three basic types of cymbals, there are many other types of cymbals available, each with its unique sound and purpose. Some of these cymbals include China cymbals, splash cymbals, swish cymbals, and effects cymbals like bell and sizzle. Understanding the different types of cymbals and their unique characteristics can help drummers create a personalized and distinctive sound.
What Is A Cymbal?
A cymbal is a type of percussion instrument that produces a metallic sound when struck. It is typically made of copper-based metals, such as brass or bronze, and comes in various sizes and shapes. Cymbals are an essential component of drum kits and are used in various genres of music, including rock, jazz, and orchestral music.
A typical cymbal has three main parts: the bell, the bow, and the edge. The bell is the raised, dome-shaped area in the center of the cymbal. It produces a high-pitched sound when struck. The bow is the curved area between the bell and the edge of the cymbal. It produces a fuller, more sustained sound when struck. The edge is the outermost part of the cymbal. It produces a bright, cutting sound when struck.
There are several types of cymbals, each with its own unique sound and purpose. Some of the most common types of cymbals include:
- Hi-hats: a pair of cymbals that are mounted on a stand and played with drumsticks or a foot pedal. They produce a crisp, tight sound and are often used to keep time in music. Check out our guide on the best hi-hat cymbals!
- Crash cymbals: a larger cymbal that produces a loud, explosive sound when struck. They are often used to accentuate certain parts of a song or to signal the end of a musical phrase.
- Ride cymbals: a larger, heavier cymbal that produces a sustained, ringing sound. They are often used to provide a steady rhythm in music.
- Splash cymbals: a small cymbal that produces a bright, quick sound. They are often used for quick accents in music.
- China cymbals: a type of cymbal that produces a bright, trashy sound. They are often used for dramatic accents in music.
Overall, cymbals are an essential part of modern music and come in various shapes and sizes to produce a wide range of sounds. Interestingly enough, they also produce low volume cymbals.
Types of Cymbals
A drum set typically features the three most common types of cymbals: hi-hats, ride cymbals, and crash cymbals. However, there are several other types of cymbals that can be used to create different sounds and styles of music. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of cymbals.
Crash cymbals are used to create a loud, explosive sound. They are often used to accentuate important parts of a song or to signal a change in tempo or dynamics. Crash cymbals come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 14 inches to 20 inches in diameter. Thinner crash cymbals produce a brighter sound, while thicker cymbals produce a darker, more sustained sound.
Ride cymbals are used to create a steady, rhythmic pattern. They are typically larger than crash cymbals, ranging from 20 inches to 24 inches in diameter. Ride cymbals come in a variety of weights and thicknesses, which can affect the sound they produce. Heavier ride cymbals produce a more defined, “pingy” sound, while lighter cymbals produce a more washy, sustained sound.
China cymbals are used to create a unique, trashy sound. They are often used to add a touch of aggression or chaos to a song. China cymbals have a distinctive shape, with an upturned edge that produces a sharp, cutting sound. They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12 inches to 22 inches in diameter.
Splash cymbals are used to create a short, sharp burst of sound. They are often used to add a quick, bright accent to a song. Splash cymbals are typically smaller than crash cymbals, ranging from 6 inches to 12 inches in diameter. They produce a high-pitched, shimmering sound that can add texture and depth to a drum beat.
Effects cymbals are used to create a wide range of unique sounds and textures. They include cymbals such as bell cymbals, which produce a bright, bell-like sound, and sizzle cymbals, which have rivets or chains attached to them to produce a sizzling or rattling sound. Effects cymbals can be used to add a touch of creativity and experimentation to a song.
Overall, the different types of cymbals offer drummers a wide range of sounds and textures to work with. By combining different cymbals and experimenting with different playing techniques, drummers can create unique, expressive drum beats that add depth and character to any song.
Take a look at our guide on the overall best cymbals for your drum kit!
Anatomy of A Cymbal
A cymbal is a percussion instrument that produces sound by being struck with a drumstick, mallet, or brush. It is made of a thin, circular metal plate that is usually made of bronze or brass. The sound produced by a cymbal depends on its size, shape, thickness, and the way it is struck.
A cymbal has three main parts: the bell, the bow, and the edge. The bell is the raised area at the center of the cymbal, and it produces a bright and clear sound. The bow is the curved area between the bell and the edge, and it produces a rich and complex sound. The edge is the outer periphery of the cymbal, and it produces a sharp and cutting sound.
The taper is the gradual reduction in thickness from the bell to the edge of the cymbal. It affects the way the cymbal vibrates and produces sound. A cymbal with a steep taper will produce a quick and bright sound, while a cymbal with a gentle taper will produce a warm and mellow sound.
Curvature or Bow
The curvature or bow of a cymbal affects its tone and projection. A cymbal with a flat bow will produce a dry and focused sound, while a cymbal with a curved bow will produce a more open and expansive sound.
Understanding the anatomy of a cymbal is essential for choosing the right cymbal for a particular style of music and for achieving the desired sound. If you need a general recommendation for a good cymbal brand, we recommend you check out our dream cymbals review!
Sheet Cymbals vs Cast Cymbals
When it comes to cymbals, there are two main types: sheet cymbals and cast cymbals. Sheet cymbals are made by stamping a piece of metal into shape, while cast cymbals are made by pouring molten metal into a mold.
One of the main differences between sheet cymbals and cast cymbals is the way they are made. Sheet cymbals are typically made from a less expensive alloy, which makes them more affordable. However, cast cymbals are made from a higher quality alloy, which makes them more durable and long-lasting.
Another difference between these two types of cymbals is the sound they produce. Sheet cymbals tend to have a brighter, more cutting sound, while cast cymbals have a warmer, more complex sound. This is because cast cymbals are made from a thicker piece of metal, which allows for more complex overtones and harmonics.
In terms of price, cast cymbals are generally more expensive than sheet cymbals. However, this is not always the case, as there are many factors that can affect the price of a cymbal, such as the brand, size, and type of cymbal.
Ultimately, the choice between sheet cymbals and cast cymbals comes down to personal preference and budget. Both types of cymbals have their own unique characteristics and sound, and it’s up to the drummer to decide which one is best for their playing style and musical needs.
Types of Cymbal Finishes
Cymbal finishes can affect the sound, look, and feel of a cymbal. There are two common types of cymbal finishes: natural and brilliant.
Natural finish cymbals are not polished or buffed, giving them a more earthy appearance. They are often preferred by drummers who prioritize sound over appearance. The rough surface of natural finish cymbals can provide a more complex and nuanced sound, with more overtones and a longer sustain. However, they can also be more difficult to clean and maintain.
Brilliant finish cymbals are polished and buffed to a shiny, reflective surface. They are often preferred by drummers who prioritize appearance over sound. The smooth surface of brilliant finish cymbals can provide a brighter and more focused sound, with less overtones and a shorter sustain. However, they can also be more prone to fingerprints and other marks, requiring more frequent cleaning.
Cymbal finishes can also affect the durability and longevity of a cymbal. The polishing process can remove material from the cymbal, making it thinner and more prone to cracking over time. Some cymbal manufacturers offer different levels of polishing, from a light polish to a heavy buff, to allow drummers to customize the balance between sound and appearance.
In addition to natural and brilliant finishes, there are also other types of cymbal finishes, such as sandblasted, hammered, and lathed. These finishes can provide unique textures and sounds, but are less common and may be more expensive. Ultimately, the choice of cymbal finish is a personal preference that depends on the drummer’s priorities and playing style.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of cymbals in a drum kit?
The most common types of cymbals found in a drum kit are hi-hats, ride cymbals, and crash cymbals. Other types of cymbals that may be included in a kit include splash cymbals, China cymbals, and effects cymbals.
What cymbals should every drummer have?
Every drummer should have a pair of hi-hats, a ride cymbal, and a crash cymbal. These are the essential cymbals that allow a drummer to play most styles of music effectively.
What is the upside down cymbal called?
The upside-down cymbal is called a China cymbal. It is a type of cymbal that produces a unique, trashy sound that is often used in rock and metal music.
What are the names of the different types of cymbals?
The different types of cymbals include hi-hats, ride cymbals, crash cymbals, splash cymbals, China cymbals, effects cymbals, and many others. Each type of cymbal produces a unique sound that can be used to create a wide range of musical styles.
What is the purpose of a splash cymbal?
A splash cymbal is a small, thin cymbal that produces a short, bright sound. It is often used to create accents or to add a quick burst of sound to a drum fill or solo.
What are the differences between Zildjian and Sabian cymbals?
Zildjian and Sabian are two of the most popular cymbal brands in the world. While both brands produce high-quality cymbals, there are some differences between them. Zildjian cymbals are known for their bright, cutting sound, while Sabian cymbals are known for their dark, complex tones. Ultimately, the choice between Zildjian and Sabian cymbals comes down to personal preference and the specific sound that a drummer is looking for.