First time buying cymbals. Drum help!

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starwa12s
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First time buying cymbals. Drum help!

Post by starwa12s » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:36 pm

I was wondering if anyone can recommend some good cymbals. This is my first time buying cymbals (my grandfather purchased my first kind. Some Zlidjian low grade stuff). I understand that it's a good idea to go out and try them before purchasing them, but I want to get some good heads up as to what I should be looking for (Afterall I am just the guy behind the kit... not the person standing in front of it). I may purchase 2 or just one. If just one I would like a ride that could double as a crash. I play indie rockish sort of music. Deerhoof, Sebadoh, Elliott Smith. Something very versatile. Could go from softish sort of acousitc music with horns to rocking drum crazy Who like drum beats. How does the size effect the cymbal. How does the thickness. How does darkness and brightness effect the outcome of being hit alone or when it's hit with the bass. I don't know. I want some good starter things. I've already destroyed for the most part both of my cymbals from bashing the hell out of them. Also, maybe some reccomendations for high hats. I might be looking for something used since I'd imagine new stuff would need to be broken in. I don't know. Just lay it all out for me. I also record digital stuff and the overheads would be at3035 condensors. Looking to spend anywhere from $200-$600 over time. Let me know what's up. Thanks a lot in advance.
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:13 pm

hard to go wrong with an 18" zildjian A crash and a 20" ride of some variety. the A is just your standard, good sounding crash, you can wash on it and it sounds nice. $200 or so. ride i dunno, you really do just have to play them and pick one you like. get something that has a different character than the crash...thinner cymbals are generally considered better for recording, thicker cymbals tend to drown out the drums, as do big heavy hi hats....

and on that note, if you're really destroying cymbals from bashing the hell out of them....ya gotta stop man. there's not an engineer alive who hasn't, at some point, complained on the interweb about drummers wailing on the cymbals. it makes it really tough to record. not trying to be a jerk, i'm just sayin'.

i predict garges will have a more articulate answer for you soon.

scott

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Post by starwa12s » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:18 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:and on that note, if you're really destroying cymbals from bashing the hell out of them....ya gotta stop man. there's not an engineer alive who hasn't, at some point, complained on the interweb about drummers wailing on the cymbals. it makes it really tough to record. not trying to be a jerk, i'm just sayin'.
I only bash away when practicing or playing live. When I record I tone it down (I discovered this through trial and error. My bad.)
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Post by cgarges » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:53 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:i predict garges will have a more articulate answer for you soon.]
Yeah. What Scott said...

No really. Like most things in life, you need to weigh some give-and-take issues. If you're bashing your cymbals beyond usefulness, then you need to do one of two things: Adjust your technique or deal with all the realities of using heavy cymbals or cymbals designed for bashing. Most people seem to prefer the sound and response of thinner cymbals for most applications and if you want some general-purpose, middle-of-the-road type cymbals, thinner cymbals will most likely get you in the ball park faster. That's not to say that thicker cymbals are useless or sound like crap, they're just much more specific-sounding than comparable cymbals of a thinner weight in most circumstances.

18 inches is a good, versatile cymbal size and maybe a good place to start. But really, there's no substitute for just listening to a few cymbals at a store and buying what you think will work best. Often times, especially with cast cymbals made with largely hand-controlled manufacturing techniques, two of the same model cymbal can sound almost ENTIRELY different from one another. It's easy to make certain suggestions about what particular model is the most middle-of-the-road, but that's far from a guarantee that what's at your local store will sound like one that you've heard before or one that someone has recommedned.

Go to a well-stocked dealer and listen before you buy. You can also check out what's being used by some drummers that you like and/or trust and start making decisions from there, but ultimately, let your own ears and hands be the judge.

Chris Garges
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Post by mpedrummer » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:34 pm

I'm particularly fond of odd-sized cymbals. I don't know what it is, probably just a coincidence, really, but my favorite crashes have been 17 and 15 inches, favorite ride, 21. The only place this doesn't hold true for me is the hihat, where good old 14 is still the magic number.

I have two K Dark Crash Zildjians, and I absolutely love them. They shimmer without sounding brittle, and while I mostly use them for rock, they aren't inappropriate for many styles. I think the jazz nazis would turn up their noses, though.

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Post by Fieryjack » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:40 pm

Just get some Paiste 2002s. I've never met any that I didn't like. Flexible crashes that can also be used as rides....say an 18".

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Post by nlmd311 » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:33 pm

Not to single out one manufacturer, but if you head over to www.zildjian.com you can sample some not so great samples of their lines so you can get a better idea of what you might want to go to the store and buy... not sure if other cymbal makers have this on their sites (and I'm too lazy to check).
I myself have been wanting a 20" A Custom Medium ride for a while now. I tried a 20" (I think, although it may have been a 22") Zildjian Deep Ride when Guitar Center was clearing them out a few months ago. Stupid cheap. About $120 I think. Just didn't sit right with me though. Had a nice bell sound... Might want to see if they still have some of those around at that price. Should be able to withstand a beating, if you must, and provide a "cutting" live sound. Don't know that I would like it for recording, at all, though.
As for hi-hats, I've gone through a couple with the 14" Zildjian New Beats being the keepers. I liked my set of 13" A Customs, but once I got the New Beats I just found myself never using the Customs anymore (and sold them to fund other crap.).
All personal opinions, really. Just wanted to give you mine since that seemed to be what you were asking for.

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Post by MikeCzech » Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:21 pm

My favorites in recordings have been the Zildjian Projection Crashes. They just have this sweet sustain to them, it's beautiful.

For hat's I've like the Zildjian K's, but it really depends on how you use them.

I'm pretty much a fan of the zildjians, but I've heard a few nice sabian splashes.

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Post by Professor » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:59 am

I have to say that it's better to buy them in person then to buy them mail-order, even if you 'try them in person' before mail-ordering. As Chris said, there can be a pretty steep difference between the same make, model and size.
Recently I bought a whole new cymbal lineup for the recording studio. I worked pretty quickly since I had a rough idea of what I was looking for, and didn't feel the need to cross-compare every damn cymbal in the store. I picked a place that was really well-stocked and spent about 1.5-2 hours with the intent of picking out 2 rides, 1 hi-hat, & 2-4 crashes. I ended up with the 2 rides, 1 hats, 3 crashes, 2 splashes and 1 china.
I started with the ride actually because I had a very good idea of what I wanted there. I knew I wanted one darker, splashier ride that would sound good if crashed & side-sticked, but would still deliver some definition and articulation in that style of playing. I have had a 20" K ride since 1987 that has been perfect for that and was looking for a rough sonic match to it for the school. I did try almost every ride in the place and ended up with a 20" K ride, though out of three identically marked 20" K rides, only one fit the sound as the others were way too bright and 'pingy'.
The second ride I wanted was a bright & pingy ride for rock/pop styles similar to a Sabian 21" AA dry-ride I have had since 1992. I found my way to another Sabian, but this time a 22" Paragon ride which fit the sound very nicely. This one can't be crashed or side-sticked as well because it is thicker and heavier and so gives a nasty, bright twang to the sound, but it is superbly articulate with normal playing with an amazing bell sound. (No surprise on a Neil Peart signature cymbal.)
From there, those two cymbals, well really just that Paragon ride helped me find the rest of the cymbals. That ride was available in a package with a 16" crash and 14" hats. I tried both, cross compared to maybe a half-dozen other cymbals of the same size and took the package. Then since I was getting those Paragons I tried a few others and got the matching 18" crash, and "effects pack" with 8 & 10" splashes and 19" china. Then I rounded things out with a nice, dark, rich-sounding 18" sabian HH crash. $1500 later, I was on my way.
Now that's how I happened to pick out the cymbals, but I think it's a good way to go. Have a target for one particular cymbal that will be the key to the setup. In my case it was the two rides, and I think in most cases that should be the key cymbal, unless you never play ride and always play hihats. Then it should be hats. But get an idea in your head of your perfect sound and some important criteria like ability to crash the ride or have a nice bell sound. Then find a well-stocked store and try every ride they have back and forth again until you find one. If none of them work, then go somewhere else and repeat the process. But once you have the key to your cymbal sound, then you can start picking other cymbals around that one, and they will practically pick themselves.

Oh, and if you're beating the shit out of your cymbals, it's time to learn about pulling your sticks up and off the cymbals. Don't try to crash through the cymbals! You'll actually choke the sound more, and you'll be more likely to break the cymbal. Think of 'pulling the sound out of the cymbal' and swing your arm like you're casting a fishing line. You really will pull more sound out of the cymbal, and you'll never break one.

-Jeremy

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Post by I'm Painting Again » Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:42 am

I have to say most common new cymbals besides maybe some zil A's and Z's in the local megashops all sound really bad to me..its hard to audition cymbals unless you have a really nice specialty shop near you..a shop liek that might have a better current new/used/"vintage" selection..

cymbals are weird and mysterious and expensive be sure to take your time in your audition process..

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Post by tguncle » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:17 pm

The pre-aged dry light ride Zildjian (I think it's part of the k line) is great as a ride/crash combo, but they crack easy with really hard playing (but they sound great!) --> Little known fact, Zildjian has a one year warranty against cracking (assuming you didn't run over the cymbal with your car)... so for me it's usually two cymbals for the price of one!

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Post by Garthplinko » Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:27 am

I agree with the remark about Paiste 2002s. You will be happy.

I also agree w/ the Projection crash choice if you're a Zildjian fan.

The Zildjian Sweet Ride is also really nice.

Good to know about the warranty - how do you go about sending that in?
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Post by tguncle » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:20 pm

Garthplinko wrote:
Good to know about the warranty - how do you go about sending that in?
As I recall you get pre-authorization to mail it back to them and you need to include a copy of your receipt. I think the nice people at Best Music in Oakland might have even done it for me once!

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Post by cgarges » Wed Feb 15, 2006 1:14 pm

Paiste used to have the same warranty. I think they still do. When the Signature series first came out, they had a one year fire and theft warranty on those cymbals, too. There was a little card you had to fill out at the dealer. Personally, I prefer playing with a technique that makes the cymbals sound good without breaking, but that's just me.

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Post by tguncle » Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:27 pm

cgarges wrote:...Personally, I prefer playing with a technique that makes the cymbals sound good without breaking, but that's just me.

personally I enjoy playing like a drunk caveman, hence my extensive knowledge of cymbal warranty!

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