Curious--What Makes for a Good Worship Cymbal?

Old Drummer

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My local Diril dealer posted a set of "worship cymbals" (they even have "worship" stamped on them) for sale, and I was confused. Are manufacturers now making and marketing different cymbals for church playing? I googled the topic and discovered that, sure enough, other companies are marketing cymbals for church drummers too (although drummers seem to use any darn cymbals for church playing). Huh, what's a worship cymbal?

I listened to a sound clip of Diril's worship series and liked them. I didn't like the hats especially, but the rides and crashes appealed to me. I then listened to Sabian's worship cymbals but didn't like them as much. As best as I can tell, worship cymbals are brighter and thinner than others, but I'm not sure. What's a good worship cymbal, and why?
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Having bought plenty of "Jazz" cymbals, I've realized that some just sound AWFUL for jazz, so don't rely on the label.
Pretty much any brilliant cymbal with a quick decay will work for worship style music. Not too washy, not too loud, and not overpowering.

I would go A customs. A's would work, too, but it depends on the sound & group dynamic. When I auditioned last year for a church group, I believe they had a new K con ride - I didn't think it sounded good - and some new Special Dry hats & crashes - they were okay but purchased by a non-drummer (the musical director had a nice budget but was not a drummer, and the cymbals didn't sound good together).

I think I'd have a few crashes (maybe 16 & 18) and a 20" ride. I learned it wasn't a lot about the music, but the message, so the actual playing wasn't highly technical or required a lot of sounds (ie: not a Neil Peart!)....plus, they had a fully miked (and nice) sound system & dedicated sound guy with the ipad controller. When I sat in listening, though, the mix was bass heavy, vocal heavy, and the drums were too loud, so it also depends on the sound setup & system.

Then again, if you're an Aaron Spears or Chris Coleman, you can pretty much rock out on trash can lids & sound great!
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I’ve played at churches plenty. It’s no different than selecting gear for anything else. I’ve used a variety of Zildjians with success, so I wouldn’t say there is one type of cymbal that makes it a good worship cymbal.

So here is what I do. I take into account the room size, the instrumentation (is it a full choir, or is it two singers and a rhythm section?), the players that I’m playing with, and the songs. Then I select what I feel to be the best stuff that I own for that particular setting. I might need a pingy ride. I might need a washy ride. I might want to add a swish just because I can. I might use vintage cymbals just because I’m in the mood. I’ve used old Ks, old As, and a bunch of new AK Zildjians. Mostly AK’s though. So yea, whatever works.

Branding cymbals as such is a little silly in my book.

So you use what you have, and if you have options, then you make the call. Some places will have a house kit with cymbals, but I always bring my own.

If I were to tell someone what to get. I’ll tell them Zildjians. 20-22 medium weight ride. 18 and 20 crashes. 14/15 hi hats at a minimum. I’d probably stick mostly to K series.
 
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Neal Pert

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It's marketing. The thing is, sometimes box sets are a great buy! Cymbal makers market the boxes as a way of getting cymbals at a discount by including cymbals that a lot of drummers in a particular genre like to play. They sell a lot of cymbals, and you get a discount. I've bought two box sets of cymbals in my life and the reason both times was that (a) I already loved the cymbal models and (b) the box price was hundreds of dollars lower than buying the cymbals individually.

A good cymbal is one that works for the context and the music. If it's a small, old, boomy-sounding church built for choral singing and there's no PA, small K Cons or old As could be your best bet. In a hockey rink church with a huge, close-mic'ed band, choir, and professional PA people, you may have more options.
 

Jordan Blue

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If cymbals are being sold by music genre, wouldn't that make the Soultone "Gospel" the perfect "worship" cymbal? What about all the "Rock" cymbals? Are they perfect for "Rock"? Who gets paid to think this crap up anyway?
 

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If you are asking if "they" do sell them, then yes, they do. Probably to help th non-drummer "Worshp Leader" pick out cymbals when the make decisions without inout from drummers. Having said that, in the right *context* that cymbal pack may work fine. But in the wrong context it would be totally out of place.

Just like AtlantaDrumGuy pointed out-where exactly and with whom do you intend to play these "worship cymbals"? That is where your\our experience at drummers takes over and we bring what we inow works best in *context*.

You're not going to show up at a Gospel Church with a set of Keropes or 602s, your probably going to bring your A\ACustoms, AA Sabian, or 2002s (bright, loud, cutting). Same reason you wouldn't bring those cymbals to play with an acoustic piano and guitar gig at a small church.

Context is king....

I play contemporary stuff in the open (no cage or shields) and find my K darks or Istanbul Mehmet Nostalgia 50s work great. I have a full set of redesign As but found them to be just a little too much brightness and volume-wise in our small auditorium. In other places those As are perfect.

(Last time I promise...lol) Context...
 

JazzDrumGuy

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The K light pack is a sweet setup - 15 hats, 17 & 19 crashes & 22 ride, with a bag, for like $950......I've seen it at Bentleys.......not a bad place to start.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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If you are asking if "they" do sell them, then yes, they do. Probably to help th non-drummer "Worshp Leader" pick out cymbals when the make decisions without inout from drummers. Having said that, in the right *context* that cymbal pack may work fine. But in the wrong context it would be totally out of place.

Just like AtlantaDrumGuy pointed out-where exactly and with whom do you intend to play these "worship cymbals"? That is where your\our experience at drummers takes over and we bring what we inow works best in *context*.

You're not going to show up at a Gospel Church with a set of Keropes or 602s, your probably going to bring your A\ACustoms, AA Sabian, or 2002s (bright, loud, cutting). Same reason you wouldn't bring those cymbals to play with an acoustic piano and guitar gig at a small church.

Context is king....

I play contemporary stuff in the open (no cage or shields) and find my K darks or Istanbul Mehmet Nostalgia 50s work great. I have a full set of redesign As but found them to be just a little too much brightness and volume-wise in our small auditorium. In other places those As are perfect.

(Last time I promise...lol) Context...
I played some of the redesign As in those settings. My experience was that the med-thin 18” was too high pitched. The med 20 ride sounded good overall, but it became a problem as soon as I began wash riding it. The sound man had a fit and basically said it was too much. Many other times I did the same thing with Ks and didn’t get that feedback. So at least for that situation, the redesigns didn’t work well for me. Hats are always fine. Have used new beats (old and new) a gazillion times with no complaints.
 

Old Drummer

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I couldn't post the Diril video last night because my internet connection was acting up, but for anyone interested, here it is:


The weird thing to me, again, is that "worship" is even stamped on the cymbals. I would guess that Diril sells the same cymbals without the stamp, but for a guy like me who doesn't play in churches and likes the cymbals anyway, the stamp is almost off-putting. It seems a risky marketing move to stamp cymbals "worship."

Besides this, the answers so far are about what I guessed, namely that there ain't no worship cymbal. Probably the main criterion is low-volume with fast decay, since drummers can often (but not always) be too loud for churches. I'm also guessing that churches might have assistant ministers who may not know much about cymbals buying them for various kids who may not know much either to play. Cymbal companies might therefore be trying to steer these assistant ministers in roughly the right direction.

I also can't escape the irony that workers making these cymbals are likely Muslims while the buyers are likely Christians. Of course, for all I know mosques have drummers now too, so maybe "worship" is generic enough to cover all bases. Then too, lots of popular Christmas songs were written by Jews, so cymbals are hardly unique. All faiths seem united in the profit motive.
 

JDA

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Think you're over-thinking the whole God-dern thing... Just buy what suits- your needs.
You make a couple good points:
"low-volume with fast decay, since drummers can often (but not always) be too loud for churches. I'm also guessing that churches might .... Cymbal companies might therefore be trying to steer these assistant ministers in roughly the right direction."

if any of that is accurate; No crime there.
Tell ya what; that cymbal demonstration is so slow to take off I almost had to leave church early.
If you can get thru that you may be owed back some penance.
 
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Joe A

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The video confirms what I was going to say when I read the initial post: any cymbal or cymbals that are in the manner of those used by Hillsong, Elevation, or the other hit-making church groups out there. Dark, complex, large as humanly possible (ba-dum) and with cost often being little object generally fits the bill, for reasons over which I'm immediately unclear (besides the stylistic preferences of the MDs/drummers in said groups). My experience with these drummers and actually doing it for a goodly number of years indicates that it's a matter of fashion, of copying success.

As demonstrated, the cymbals accompany drums that are usually tuned finger tight and dampened with any of the beard-and-flannel muffling and dampening devices out there or generous strips of gaffer tape, again for reasons that vex me. Could be volume, but that bird has flown in many venues, with earplugs being handed out at the door in some places.
 
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Mongrel

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The video confirms what I was going to say when I read the initial post: any cymbal or cymbals that are in the manner of those used by Hillsong, Elevation, or the other hit-making church groups out there. Dark, complex, large as humanly possible (ba-dum) and with cost often being little object generally fits the bill, for reasons over which I'm immediately unclear (besides the stylistic preferences of the MDs/drummers in said groups). My experience with these drummers and actually doing it for a goodly number of years indicates that it's a matter of fashion, of copying success.

As demonstrated, the cymbals accompany drums that are usually tuned finger tight and dampened with any of the beard-and-flannel muffling and dampening devices out there or generous strips of gaffer tape, again for reasons that vex me. Could be volume, but that bird has flown in many venues, with earplugs being handed out at the door in some places.
"AMEN!"

Lol...
 

Johnny D

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I couldn't post the Diril video last night because my internet connection was acting up, but for anyone interested, here it is:


The weird thing to me, again, is that "worship" is even stamped on the cymbals. I would guess that Diril sells the same cymbals without the stamp, but for a guy like me who doesn't play in churches and likes the cymbals anyway, the stamp is almost off-putting. It seems a risky marketing move to stamp cymbals "worship."

Besides this, the answers so far are about what I guessed, namely that there ain't no worship cymbal. Probably the main criterion is low-volume with fast decay, since drummers can often (but not always) be too loud for churches. I'm also guessing that churches might have assistant ministers who may not know much about cymbals buying them for various kids who may not know much either to play. Cymbal companies might therefore be trying to steer these assistant ministers in roughly the right direction.

I also can't escape the irony that workers making these cymbals are likely Muslims while the buyers are likely Christians. Of course, for all I know mosques have drummers now too, so maybe "worship" is generic enough to cover all bases. Then too, lots of popular Christmas songs were written by Jews, so cymbals are hardly unique. All faiths seem united in the profit motive.
Just want to weigh-in on this... As someone who worked for a cymbal maker for many moons, I always found the concept of "Worship" cymbals strange and almost troubling. Not trying to be cute, but to me, "separation of church and state" applies here. For as many people that like the idea of "Worship" cymbals, there are as many that are put off by it.

Sure, it's marketing and the desire to sell product. But in some cases, it's people/customers pushing these ideas thinking they have an opportunity to tap into a segment of the market. Boy, I sure don't miss it :)
 

Mongrel

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Just want to weigh-in on this... As someone who worked for a cymbal maker for many moons, I always found the concept of "Worship" cymbals strange and almost troubling. Not trying to be cute, but to me, "separation of church and state" applies here. For as many people that like the idea of "Worship" cymbals, there are as many that are put off by it.

Sure, it's marketing and the desire to sell product. But in some cases, it's people/customers pushing these ideas thinking they have an opportunity to tap into a segment of the market. Boy, I sure don't miss it :)
I had no idea cymbal makers were running the nation and establishing religions!

Learn somethng new everyday....

Lol.
 

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