Hats and ride for a banjo-rock, grass-rock band?

Heartbeat

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I've started playing with an all-female "banjo-rock/grass-rock" band (which is how our singer is describing it, LOL). We have one player who either plays banjo, mandolin, or acoustic guitar, depending on the song; one player on keys; 3-part vocal harmonies, and we're adding a bassist soon. Not sure if the bassist will be electric or upright at this point, but there's no electric guitars. So I'm thinking about which cymbals I want to use, particularly hi-hats and ride.

Normally, I'm a Paiste 2002/Giant Beat player, but I want to go more mellow/darker for this, so likely my 602 crashes. I'm leaning toward 15" 602 Modern Essentials hats and 22" ME ride, but I'd love to get some other ideas (I've watched so many Youtube videos, everything starts to sound good). And it doesn't have to be Paiste. For instance, I like the 15" Meinl Big Apple dark hats, but they might be too soft volume-wise?? When things open back up, our goal is to play theaters, festivals, and corporate events. And I'd also like to record with these.
 

Old Drummer

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The ride that comes to my mind from those I have owned lately is a 20" HH Sabian (pretty much the same as a plain K). I wouldn't call it dark. It's more middle of the road, but it's cleaner for country-folk-ish playing, which the instrumentation you're talking about seems to be, and not overpowering. I'd be hesitant to go too dark or 22" for the ensemble you're describing. I suspect some of the tunes will be chipper and the volume not high, so a middle of the road 20" seems best.

Same with the hats. I'd look for 13" or 14" crisp hats and not right away go with 15". You don't want to be too loud or mushy, I don't believe. However, hats aren't as important as the ride.

Just my opinions from a distance . . . though it sounds like a great band!
 

varatrodder

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I play a lot of roots and Americana music, and I find it's best to have drum and cymbal sounds that sit in the music, as opposed to cutting through the music. The way I describe the cymbal sound I go for in these types of situations is "reedy" and "fizzy" as opposed to "chimey". You want definition, but you also want to compliment the twang.

At this point I mostly play vintage A and K Zildjians along with a hand hammered Bettis mod. But one of the best combinations I had playing with a traditional country band - lots of Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, George Jones, and all the Hanks (Thompson, Snow, Penny and Williams) - was a 22" medium thin Bosphorus Turk ride and 16" Istanbul Traditional hats.

I saw on your website that you're a Paiste player, so I would look at the Masters series.

As an example of what doesn't work, I used to have some Paiste 2002's in my collection, but everyone complained about how bright and harsh they were.
 
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CC Cirillo

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I’m vicariously excited just hearing about this project.

I think one of the most crucial choices in this type o’ situation is the hats. They must play well with others. Banjo can be as cutting as hats, even more, so perhaps bring something lower and mellow in tone(?)

I have some 15 Zildjian K Lights that I’ve used in bright acoustic guitar driven scenarios. Also, for a steal you could get some pre-New Beat thin hats (I refer to these as Old Beats.) These behave well and taught me hi hat etiquette with acoustic instruments. A few decades of patina can’t hurt. (But the Ks are probably more versatile if one is going from a whisper to a howl.)

I realize you’re a Paiste Person, but maybe some American cymbals for Americana....

Also this looks to be a real good excuse to get an old Ludwig Pioneer, if you don’t already have one.
Mmmmmm. Mahogany.
 

Deafmoon

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I played in a Blue Grass Band for a few years and I left the Paiste set at home. These were the Innovations line at the time. I just heard to much 'high end' with them. I ended up using A. Zildjian 13" Mastersound Hats, a K Custom 20" Heavy Ride and a 15" K and/or 17" K Custom Thin Crashes. Most of my stick choices for that band were Promark Thin Rods and Firth Jazz and Rock Rakes. I played snares on and off for a lot of the grooves and really focussed on supporting the Bass Player to pulse the rhythm. I'm a fairly melodic player at heart, but used that side of me alot less in that band. I even think at one point I may have switched to a wool fluffy BD beater. It's really about pulse more than anything else, because pickin', fiddlin' and multi-part harmonies need to be upfront and their notes cannot get drowned out. Now all of that is for inside club work. If you play an outdoor gig and you are not mic'd, then you have to change B.D. beater & sticks to kick it up a notch. Did an outdoor Auto Show with that band and I don't even remember being mic'd. I had to play it heavier, like I was playing with Charlie Daniels Band. Other outdoor gigs where I was mic'd, I adjusted my playing dynamics down a bit. You learn by doing.
 

Heartbeat

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Thank you for all your input! I'm considering everything you've mentioned. Yes, this is a very different project that's a lot of fun. @CC Cirillo - good idea about the Pioneer, thanks!
 

Drumbumcrumb

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I thought about it first, (after reading the title) before I opened the thread. I was thinking darkish and smooth 15” hats and 22” ride! And you’ve already got them in mind as well. Your initial idea is definitely a solid one, sounds like a terrific combination.

If you REALLY wanted to get away from Paiste for some reason, or just want to scratch the GAS itch - Byzance would be a good choice too. Maybe those 15” hats with a Sand ride? Great sounding cymbals.

I could see some Istanbuls being a really good match for this too - 15” Signature hats and a 22” Sig Medium Original ride (cymbalsonly has a beauty @ 2576g) or the 22.5” Lenny White Epoch. They have a certain primitive something that would complement the genre, seems like a natural fit.
 

jtpaistegeist

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The 15" 602ME Hats go great with the 22" dark Energy MKII. The slightly more mellow DE may work better in a setting such as yours.
 

rculberson

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Was in a band very similar to what you describe, and I had great success using the nastiest patina’d ‘50’s A Z’s I could find. Also threw a Levon/Fred Young style set for the project.

C6678510-A788-4D0E-ABB8-C74CF4FC6C30.jpeg


Edit: The hats in this pic were a 602 over a Sabian Rock hat, but I later found some nasty old A’s that matched the other cymbals perfectly.
 

mlayton

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I agree with Ryan completely Amy. I think 50's Avedis would be my choice with this. Can certainly be found without breaking the bank as well. I think Pioneer or a 6.5 depth 6 or 8 lug snare would be a great addition here. I would lean towards a wooden 6.5 depth actually. You'll get it figured out. Good luck with your new project. How many bands are you playing with these days?

Mike
 

Heartbeat

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I agree with Ryan completely Amy. I think 50's Avedis would be my choice with this. Can certainly be found without breaking the bank as well. I think Pioneer or a 6.5 depth 6 or 8 lug snare would be a great addition here. I would lean towards a wooden 6.5 depth actually. You'll get it figured out. Good luck with your new project. How many bands are you playing with these days?

Mike
Thanks Mike! Four bands right now. Ha! Just hoping gigs come back soon with the warmer weather.
 

Jonnymac

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Know I’m kinda late on this but I played in a(an-almost-all-girl!) band where the instrumentation was acoustic guitar, cello, and violin. And drums. I always played a 20 Zildjian medium Constantinople and it was perfect, always.
 

tim

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I'd say if you were sticking to Paiste keep them small and thin. Brushes/rods on snare with no cymbal keeping time will become a secret weapon.
I use a 19" Sig full crash as a crash ride for small Americana/Country gigs and along with a set of thin hats that's my cymbal setup. I never find myself reaching for anything else while playing and the small setup keeps me focused on supporting the music.
Enjoy the new band!
 

RIDDIM

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If I had such a call, I'd probably bring a flat to rehearsal and see how that worked out. I'm thinking maybe an 18" 602 or a Sabian DeJohnette series 2 20". Both will blend well, be sufficiently articulate and not readily overpower.
 

Cauldronics

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I realize you’re a Paiste Person, but maybe some American cymbals for Americana....
In reading this statement, I tried to think of an American cymbal company, but came the conclusion that at least among the major 3-5 known brands, I can’t think of one that’s American.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’m wondering what cymbal brand is American or could be thought of as such.
 


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