Concert Cymbals

Quick guide to popular Concert Cymbals

The Concert Cymbal

Without cymbals, your drum set would be like a car without tires. The tires give character, capability and good looks to your car. Thus the cymbals complete the kit.

Most cymbals are suspended on stands or sometimes attached to the stands that carry drums. The hole in the center allows setting. That center is commonly raised like a cup or dome. When the bell is struck, the sound is much higher than the rest of the body. From the cup to the perimeter or rim, the cymbal’s thickness tapers to a thin bow towards the “crash” area or perimeter.

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The Sound of the Concert Cymbal

As to sound, the larger and thicker cymbals have louder and more sustainable sound. The thinner ones have low pitch but they respond right away. Cymbals are made of cast or sheets of metal by pouring raw metal alloys into molds. Heating, rolling, shaping, hammering and lathing follow in the process. Hand hammering does not mean that the cymbals were hammered with the hands. They are hammered with an actual hammer. Hammered cymbals give a rich, dark, low-pitched tone while those that are machine hammered have a higher pitch. No two cymbals are alike for no two procedures for hammering are the same.  Musicians swear that cymbals sound better as they age.

The cymbal’s metal comes from a larger sheet. So each batch from the same metal tend to create similar sound. Lathing comes to create uniqueness in each cymbal by providing it with unique tonal characteristics.  Individual preferences, as to jazz, rock or pop, differ and lathing can produce a quality that matches them. For instance, jazz favors dark and complex cymbal tones, while rock goes for brighter and louder sound. Sonic effects however depend much on the drummer. Even the placement of the cymbals can affect its sound qualities.

Lathing on top or on the under-surface can, however, make the cymbal more expensive compared to cast cymbals. Lathing has the effect of creating a brilliant finish after a bit of high speed buffing. However, the buffing can make the sounds dull.  A good lathe can actually prevent tarnishing.


Different Kinds of Cymbals

Hi-hats: Hi-hats consist of two cymbals mounted together and operated by a pedal. Hi-hats pair best with bass and snare drums. The high hat’s chick sound emerges when struck with a drumstick or clashed with the pedal. To control the sound produced, foot pressure is adjusted.

Crash Cymbals: Crash cymbals create loud sounds but lacks a steady rhythm. They can be played with a stick or even with hands like John Henry Bonham’s Moby Dick.  Rock drum sets usually have two crash cymbals to create a powerful crashing sound.

Splash Cymbals: These are small cymbals popular in the early part of the 20th century, sizing between 6” to 13”, then they became less popular until the Police revived it. Splash cymbals with 14” diameter are sometimes called China Splashes. China’s are sized on a range of 12” to 26” in diameter. The China cymbal looks like a Chinese gong that is cone shaped which Bell Splashes on the other hand create bell-like sound.


Other Cymbals

The Ride Cymbal creates an overriding pattern that binds the pattern on a steady groove. Brilliance China creates a strange but self-assertive sound that is welcome to players who want to create of colors as they perform. Rhythm is not considered – instead it offers pangs and swishes, buzzing and twangs in a non-rhythmic way.


Purchasing a Cymbal

A lot of things are considered when buying a new set of cymbals. Budget of course, your musical genre and tastes, the brand, and of course how it sounds to you. The first step is to watch your favorite drummer at YouTube and Google out his cymbals. That could provide you clues that will guide you when choosing your set. Of course popular jazz or rock groups will probably have high-end sets, but you can probably get more economical alternatives.

The most expensive cymbals are hand-made. Prices range from $50 to $500 depending on make and the kind of cymbal you want to purchase. Affordable cymbals may also sound good. Often a cymbal is bundled with a drum set. These cymbals match the other components of the pack sonically. Thus, it could be advantageous to buy a pack.

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