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Choosing The Right Cymbal
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Choosing which cymbal to buy can be a very long and confusing task. There is a wide range of cymbal companies on the market, most of whom having a vast selection of all types of cymbals. The three most popular cymbal companies, Zildjian, Paiste and Sabian are the main preferences for most drummers. But don’t be afraid to spend some time looking at other companies as a lot of them offer high quality cymbals. I am going to discuss some of the main contributing factors when it comes to cymbal selection.

The Sound When looking to purchase a new cymbal, the first thing you want to ask yourself is, what kind of sound do I need/ what kind of sound am I looking for? This will be a major contributing factor towards your final decision. If you are a rock/metal drummer you will primarily want a full sound that can cut through a heavy mix. Thus you will look at heavier/thicker cymbals as they will be more suited to the style of music you are playing as heavier cymbals generate more volume.Alternatively if you are a jazz drummer you will look for nicer crisp sounding cymbals, generally the thinner cymbals.

Durability The strength of this factor ultimately comes down to budget. If you can afford to replace your cymbals as soon as they break (and let’s face it, unless you are a famous rockstar, odds are you won’t be able to), you will buy your cymbal without much consideration to durability. But if you are like the vast majority of drummers who want their cymbals to last, this will need to be considered. Generally the thicker the cymbal the more durable, so for students who are on a tight budget you might want to steer clear of the thinner cymbals, especially if you are a hard hitter. With this being said most cymbal companies will replace cymbals under warranty for cracks and such (as long as there are no signs of misuse/mistreatment etc.) for up to one or two years depending on the company. Make sure you are clear on warranty information before buying, especially if you are dealing with international dealers.

Setting Another major contributing factor is the kind of setting you will be using the cymbal in. If you are looking for a new set of cymbals for the studio, you will look for a cleaner sound generally generated by thinner cymbals. If you are looking for a cymbal to choose live in a rock setting, you will look for a louder cymbal. If you are primarily a student and the majority of playing will be down in your basement or in your garage, the sound quality won’t be as important so you would mainly aim for durability.

With that being said this is just a rough guide, a lot of drummers will buy unorthodox cymbals for their style of music because they desire certain characteristics of that certain cymbal. Basically, just because you are a metal drummer, does not mean you cannot play quieter, thinner cymbals. But say for instance you are a student (as mentioned above), you would not buy a $500+ thin cymbal because it will crack/damage easily and the improved sound quality is not necessary for that type of drumming. If you are feeling uncertain on making your cymbal choice, there are a few guides and such on the market that can help you, and personally I think this can be worth your money to invest in, you don’t want to purchase a cymbal you regret buying.


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