There are over 50 different types of cymbals that you can buy for your drum kit, and I have seen drum sets that are equipped with over 30 cymbals! Every cymbal has a unique use; however, there are only 3 cymbals that every drummer should have!
These cymbals are:
These 3 cymbals are included in almost all drum sets and are used while playing nearly every song!
I am not going to go in depth about explaining each cymbal; however, I will be briefly going over the sound, purpose, and size of each of them!
The Hi Hat-Used Most Frequently
You should really become fond with your hi-hat because it is the cymbal that you will be hitting most often!
A hi-hat is basically two cymbals that are attached to a pedal. Pressing down on the pedal clamps the two hi hat cymbals together and produces a very short and high pitched sound. On the other hand, releasing the pedal separates the two cymbals and produces a high pitched sound that lasts longer!
The hi-hat is generally hit with the drum stick in your right hand, and is played throughout the verses of songs!
It is the most important cymbal in a drummer’s kit, so you should really spend some money and get a high quality one!
I use a 14 inch Sabian XS hi-hat and would highly recommend it. It is REALLY durable and produces an amazing sound! You can check out Amazon’s selection of Sabian Hi Hats!
The Ride Cymbal-Low Pitch And Long
The ride cymbal produces a lower pitched and longer sound than the hi-hat and is the second most important of the three.
Ride cymbals are generally used for the choruses of songs and are hit at the same frequency as the hi-hat! They are also generally hit with the drum stick that is in your right hand; the other hand will be used to hit the snare drum!
The sizes of ride cymbals greatly vary; however, I use the Sabian XS 20 inch model. (Check out the Sabian ride cymbals on Amazon)
You should be using the ride cymbal to change the sound of your drum beat; however, the time and tempo should remain the same when transferring from hitting the hi-hat to the ride cymbal!
If this is hard to understand, follow this example...
Imagine that you are playing a drum beat that uses the hi-hat and snare drum. The beat should carry the same rhythm when you begin hitting the ride cymbal...the only thing that should change is the sound! Basically, the beats per minute should remain the same whether you’re playing the hi hat or ride cymbal!
Ride cymbals tend to crack easily since they are very big, so buying a cheap one probably won’t do you any good.
The Crash Cymbal-One Hit Is All That You Need
The legendary crash cymbal is used to add some flavour and flare to the drum beat that you are playing. It is one of the most important cymbals; however, it is often overused!
The crash cymbal is not meant to be frequently hit; but rather, it is meant to be hit once or twice during each section of the song. For instance, you might hit the crash cymbal once upon entering the chorus of the song and once upon ending the chorus!
The majority of crash cymbals are 16 inches wide; however, you can choose to get ones that are slightly larger or smaller...whatever suits your taste!
I personally use the Sabian XS 16 inch crash cymbal, and it works wonders. It produces the perfect tone and is ridiculously durable. (Take a look at Amazon`s massive selection of Sabian crash cymbals)
Your crash cymbal should produce a tone that falls between the hi-hat and ride cymbal. However, you should note that the size and tone of a crash cymbal are correlated...larger cymbals produce lower notes and smaller cymbals produce higher notes!
The Placement Of These Three Important Cymbals
You can place the cymbals in whichever way that you want; however, I have managed to come up with a way that suits the preferences and needs of the majority of drummers!
Hi-Hat placement- I, as well as most drummers, like to place my hi-hat to the left of the snare drum. The hi-hat should be placed close to the snare drum because they are often played together!
Ride Cymbal placement- I have placed my ride cymbal directly to the right of the floor tom. This allows it to be easily accessed, while still being out of the way of the other drums!
Crash Cymbal placement- I usually place my crash cymbal slightly to the left of the ride cymbal. I think that this is the optimal placement because most drummers hit the crash cymbal immediately before or after playing on the ride cymbal so they should be close!