Cymbals for Country Music?

Old Drummer

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The other night I was playing in my regular blues-oriented jam session with an Agop on my right and a Kerope on my left when a traditional 2-step country song was called. I was pleased because I love country music and never get to play it, but was mortified to discover that neither cymbal I had worked for the song. The Agop was tolerable, but the Kerope was totally wrong--neither a suitable crash nor ride. I mostly stuck to the hats to get through the song.

This made me wonder what those of you who play country use. I found myself missing my old Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride and wanting a brighter crash of some sort on my left. Is this about the configuration country drummers use?
 

felis

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Zildjian K Country Pack?

 

blueshadow

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Like everything else it's somewhat personal taste and what you get used to using. I like the K's from the 90's IAK's if you want to call them that. Starting to be less common to find but are usually at a decent price still. They are dark but not too dark...almost like a dirty A ;) The Modern K customs would all work as would the older A's 60's like someone suggested or the modern A's post 2013 when they went thinner.

Mainly what you want is medium thin crash and rides and a crisp hat...at least that's what works for me.
 

CC Cirillo

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Despite my suggestion of a Sabian, I do have to second this suggestion.
Old/used A. Zildjians are plentiful and inexpensive. That’s the sound you want. New Ks sound like what A’s used to sound like, so they may work. But I’d go for old A’s with nice patina and mojo.
Despite my earlier suggestion of a Sabian, I do think this is an excellent suggestion. If I may, I’d add that with country it helps if the drummer himself also has some nice patina and mojo.
 

Old Drummer

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Zildjian K Country Pack?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Yes, a country drummer could play these cymbals, but they wouldn't be my first choice. Then the guy playing the demo for the Memphis Drum Shop plays a rock-ish beat instead of a typical country beat. Boy does country ever get no respect.
 

Old Drummer

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Like everything else it's somewhat personal taste and what you get used to using. I like the K's from the 90's IAK's if you want to call them that. Starting to be less common to find but are usually at a decent price still. They are dark but not too dark...almost like a dirty A ;) The Modern K customs would all work as would the older A's 60's like someone suggested or the modern A's post 2013 when they went thinner.

Mainly what you want is medium thin crash and rides and a crisp hat...at least that's what works for me.
I'm guessing that in county as in other genres the fashions have changed over the years.

Of course older A's will work, since they were probably played by most drummers now associated with "traditional" country music, and in fact that's what I used back when I played country. However, to my ears they're a bit too loud and ringy.

On the assumption that Sabian's Larrie Londin ride was faithful to his tastes, which I suspect it was, we're looking at a fairly heavy, bright, high-pitched ride without a lot of wash. Something like this is what my ears tell me is required, though I wonder if this might be an 80s' country ride sound and the fashions have moved away from that sound. I recall skimming a discussion about how country drummers had moved to thinner. darker, and washier rides, although I don't remember the discussion well.

My overall sense is that country is a genre that calls for the quintessential middle-of-the-road cymbals, though personal tastes, sub-genres, and fashions probably justify partial departures from this one way or the other. My ears tell me to veer brighter rather than darker and pingier rather than washier for rides, but I may be stuck in the 80s and am interested in others' opinions.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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From my experience working in a very good country cover band for a few years (two country bands, now that I think about it), I used a Sabian 20" HH Medium Ride with rivets, Zildjian 14" K Mastersound hihats, and Zildjian (1980s) A 16, 17, 18" crashes. This combo worked just fine for me, with many, many positive comments on the ride cymbal - all coming from non-drummers. That was a total surprise, as previously I'd never hand any cymbal comments one way or the other. I love the cymbal, but I've no idea why that particular one elicited comments.

Since then I've acquired a prime (used) 21" Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride that really impresses me. I haven't gigged in quite some time now due to health issues, but I'm very curious how this ride would sound compared to the 20" HH Medium ride. Hope I get the opportunity to hear it at a gig in the future.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Old Drummer

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From my experience working in a very good country cover band for a few years (two country bands, now that I think about it), I used a Sabian 20" HH Medium Ride with rivets, Zildjian 14" K Mastersound hihats, and Zildjian (1980s) A 16, 17, 18" crashes. This combo worked just fine for me, with many, many positive comments on the ride cymbal - all coming from non-drummers. That was a total surprise, as previously I'd never hand any cymbal comments one way or the other. I love the cymbal, but I've no idea why that particular one elicited comments.

Since then I've acquired a prime (used) 21" Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride that really impresses me. I haven't gigged in quite some time now due to health issues, but I'm very curious how this ride would sound compared to the 20" HH Medium ride. Hope I get the opportunity to hear it at a gig in the future.

GeeDeeEmm
This is my sense of it too (well, minus the rivets). I'm not familiar with the Sabian HH Medium Ride, but as mentioned, the HH Raw Bell Dry Ride immediately came to mind as a good choice for country. How do these two rides compare, in your opinion?
 

GeeDeeEmm

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This is my sense of it too (well, minus the rivets). I'm not familiar with the Sabian HH Medium Ride, but as mentioned, the HH Raw Bell Dry Ride immediately came to mind as a good choice for country. How do these two rides compare, in your opinion?
Well, the HH Medium Ride is a close as one can get for a general purpose cymbal, and especially with rivets. It's not soft and "buttery" like one would find in a strictly "jazz" cymbal, but I suspect it could easily be used as a jazzer. It has a very pleasing ping that is well supported by a background wash that is absolutely free of dominant frequencies. In other words, you wouldn't be able to pick out a particular frequency (ie, "note") that rings loudly in the wash, and the ping sound rides just above the wash. That's exactly how I like it, and that is a quality that allows this cymbal to be used as a crash. I love to end a ballad using the HH Medium as the final soft crash because the note sustains and keeps the rivets buzzing for a long time.

The HH RBDR, on the other hand, has a very pronounced ping with a similarly equalized wash riding a considerable distance below the ping. I'd be hard-pressed to ride this cymbal in a way that would make the wash overcome that beautiful ping. Probably the only way to achieve that would be to ride the cymbal hard using the shank of the stick. Unlike the HH Medium Ride, this cymbal would not present well as a crash.

GeeDeeEmm
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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Agree on the old As. The downside is that you may need to spend time buying and selling until you arrive at the right ones for you (not a big issue with me).

Many of the new Ks will work well. Sounds like you’re looking for some definition in your ride cymbal. A few things to check out...K Dark Medium ride or the standard K ride, or a K Heavy ride. Those would be great choices IMO. Another sleeper is an Avedis Orchestral med thin. Zildjian has tons of great sounding crashes made currently, so I think that is the easy part.
 

Old Drummer

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Well, the HH Medium Ride is a close as one can get for a general purpose cymbal, and especially with rivets. It's not soft and "buttery" like one would find in a strictly "jazz" cymbal, but I suspect it could easily be used as a jazzer. It has a very pleasing ping that is well supported by a background wash that is absolutely free of dominant frequencies. In other words, you wouldn't be able to pick out a particular frequency (ie, "note") that rings loudly in the wash, and the ping sound rides just above the wash. That's exactly how I like it, and that is a quality that allows this cymbal to be used as a crash. I love to end a ballad using the HH Medium as the final soft crash because the note sustains and keeps the rivets buzzing for a long time.

The HH RBDR, on the other hand, has a very pronounced ping with a similarly equalized wash riding a considerable distance below the ping. I'd be hard-pressed to ride this cymbal in a way that would make the wash overcome that beautiful ping. Probably the only way to achieve that would be to ride the cymbal hard using the shank of the stick. Unlike the HH Medium Ride, this cymbal would not present well as a crash.

GeeDeeEmm
Thanks!
 

Johnny D

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When I was in a country band I used Paiste 2002's. I never had a need for dark tones playing that genre.
I agree. That’s why I suggested vintage/used A Zildjians or modern Ks, neither of which are truly dark sounding cymbals. Modern Ks are basically what A’s used to sound like, when A’s had more hammering, lathing etc. Which is why so many Rock drummers gravitated to regular Ks in the 90s. They were hearing what was traditionally the A Zildjian sound, in Ks.
 


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