How do you put together your cymbal setup?

Austin__Taylor

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For me, I like to have diversity in a setup--many unique sounds that play well together in a four-cymbal setup.

That was what I was thinking when I put together my "rock" cymbal setup:
-15" 1950s Avedis Zildjian hats (bright enough for loud music, but still mellow to fit with Ks)
-20" K Constantinople Bounce ride (bright, washy, a little trashy, quick)
-23" K Sweet ride (defined, crashable, "ping" but still mellow)
-22" K Custom Special Dry crash (dark, very trashy, explosive, quick)
 

bassanddrum84

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That’s a tough one for me I take a lot of cymbals to shows and switch them between sets or sometimes songs. See what works together. What sounds good with the band. Right now I’m currently playing 14” hats 16” zildjian a crash 18” a medium crash and 18” a medium thin crash. 21” sweet ride.
 

richiegarcia4

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That’s a tough one for me I take a lot of cymbals to shows and switch them between sets or sometimes songs. See what works together. What sounds good with the band. Right now I’m currently playing 14” hats 16” zildjian a crash 18” a medium crash and 18” a medium thin crash. 21” sweet ride.
That's a great approach. I should do that more often.
 

TPC

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Hats. Main ride cymbal. Alternate riveted ride. Crash. Sometimes an effects cymbal.

For the last year or so I’ve settled on my Matt Nolan set (22” medium-thin ride, 20” thin ride with rivets, 19” paperthin trash-crash, sometimes adding a 22” paperthin Agop china.)

Prior to settling on this set, though, the formula still applied (Paistes: 22” Masters Medium Ride, 20” riveted T20 prototype, 19” DE Crash, 18” DE Crash with massive cutouts as an effect cymbal. Etc., etc.)
 
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Demonslayer

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This is a good post, since I'm currently in the middle of figuring out what to use in my current gig.

I do my mixing and matching during rehearsal. The "trial-and-error-during-the-show" approach sounds awesome, but I'm not nearly fast enough to pull that off without holding the set back. Also, I just like to have that figured out as soon as possible.

The band's name is "Bella Stella", and it's a pretty high-energy rock outfit. I use bigger cymbals:
  • 18 crashes (2; started with just one, but I've been using two for way too long)
  • 15 hi-hats
  • 22 crash/ride
  • 18" china pang
  • 17" hole crash
I started using just HH, 1 crash, 1 fx and the crash ride, but there's a lot of crashing and banging, so having more cymbals makes it more comfortable for me.

There's people who can get away with it with just the 4-piece and the HH, CR, RD. I envy them.
 

hsosdrum

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My setup includes two rides, two chinas, five crashes, a splash stack and hi-hats (all Zildjian).

Rides: 22" K-Con Bounce (always in setup); 22" K Ride or 22" K Heavy Ride (depends on song)
Chinas: 22" A Swish Knocker; 17" K China Boy (6 rivets added)
Crashes: 18" A Med-Thin; 18" A Avedis Thin; 17" A Thin; 16" A Thin; 15" A Paper-Thin (may swap-in 17" K Thin or 17" K Med-Thin, depending on song)
Splash stack: 6" A Splash on top of 8" A Splash
Hi-hats: 15" K Sweets or 14" A New-Beats, depending on song

I use two rides because the range of ride sounds in my head is far wider than can be covered by any one cymbal. I have so many crashes because I want different amounts of attack/decay and different pitches. Plus, I play a 2-up/2-down setup and like to have a crash over each tom so I can punctuate fills without having to flail all over the kit.

I should probably add that I play prog/experimental/fusion music, so my goal is to create my own sonic palette as opposed to recreating the sounds of other drummers.
 
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kevinyarger

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I've been giving this a lot of thought during lockdown because I haven't been as inspired by my cymbal set up. I prefer to have a set of hi hats that give me a good chick but don't give off too many high frequencies. When it comes to other cymbals, I prefer to have three but sometimes space is an issue and I'm just hoping to fit two. I want my "ride" cymbal to be the lowest of the mix, then my left crash is slightly higher in pitch compared to my ride, followed up by my right side crash being higher pitched than the left side. My goal is to have it as though I am playing a "chord" progression of some sort if I was to hit them from Ride, Left crash, right crash. Not only do I want that in crash sound, I would really like the cups of those above mentioned cymbals to follow that pattern.

I've been a life long Zildjian guy but I've been struggling to get the parameters that I've set in my head to actually happen with any combo of cymbal I have tried. I run into an issue where the cup of the ride is smaller than the cup on my crashes which my ears hear an imbalance when I play my cymbals in that chord I described. My current set up has been a 21" K Sweet, 20" K Cluster and a 19" K Hybrid. It gets close to what I want but I feel like I'm sacrificing some stick sound on the Sweet ride.
Long story short, after hours of sound files on youtube, I decided to give Paiste a try. My Modern Essentials ride arrives on Tuesday and I'm looking forward to seeing where that takes me.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I open the bags, set up the stands, and put the cymbals on them!

Seriously, depends on the gig, venue, and what I'm doing. My practice Jazz kit in my home office has just hats and one ride. Currently 13" IAK hats and 22" Agop SE Jazz.

My upstairs Studio drum set setup is more for rock/blues with hats and two cymbals, usually both rides. 20/22 or 22/22. Currently, 15" Keropes, 20" Bosphorus Masters ride and 22" K custom high definition ride.

I change out cymbals all the time at home depending on mood and inventory. However, my gig setup hasn't changed for about 3 years. 14" vintage A hats, 19" Soultone old school crash left, Bosphorus 20" traditional ride main, and Dream 18" vintage Bliss crash ride right. Once in a while, in a smaller room, I'll swap out for a 20" K Con medium or light ride.
 

CC Cirillo

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Driven by band and venue.

Originals Rock, (mic’d up in larger clubs with big PAs): 15” K Light hats, 20” old Avedis crash/ride, 20 K “Ride”.

Cover Band: (noisy bars): 14” K Custom Dark hats, 18” K Custom Dark Crash, 21” HH Raw Bell Dry Ride.

Country and Rock trio, potentially morphing into a Neil Young tribute (Pubs): 15” K Light hats , 20” old Avedis crash/ride, K Custom Dark ride.

Low volume rehearsals for any above band, using a bikini kit: 14” old Avedis hats (700g. over 800g.) 20” K flat ride or 19 A Uptown ride.

Post pandemic I’m integrating a second ride/crash just above and overlapping my low slung ride that sits over the bass drum: either a 20” 60’s A with six rivets or a 20” Constantinople medium.

I’m hoping to start a soul mashup band post pandemic and that cymbal set up will be the Custom Dark hats, an 18” Kerope crash, K Custom Dark Ride and Uptown Ride.
 

Deafmoon

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A timely topic for me. I usually build my cymbals in brand series sets. I was spending time this morning on Meinls site going through Byzance cymbals. I like their crashes but I cannot find a ride cymbal that I really liked. Now that I am reading this thread, I’m thinking differently.
 

Heartbeat

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When I'm putting together a cymbal setup for a new project, I tend to separate the hats and ride from the crashes. So I may use 2002s for the hats and ride, and Giant Beats for the crashes. Or Giant Beats for the hats and ride, and 602s for the crashes. Sometimes they're all 2002s, but it depends on the band and venues we'd be playing.

This isn't to say I never mix my hats and rides. I certainly have, but in general, I like them to blend well with each other. To me, the hats/ride are the meat and potatoes. So I usually start with those first, then decide on crashes.
 

Demonslayer

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When I'm putting together a cymbal setup for a new project, I tend to separate the hats and ride from the crashes. So I may use 2002s for the hats and ride, and Giant Beats for the crashes. Or Giant Beats for the hats and ride, and 602s for the crashes. Sometimes they're all 2002s, but it depends on the band and venues we'd be playing.

This isn't to say I never mix my hats and rides. I certainly have, but in general, I like them to blend well with each other. To me, the hats/ride are the meat and potatoes. So I usually start with those first, then decide on crashes.
Curiously enough, I might end up doing this for my current project. It would be a first.

Glad to hear this is someone else's default and to her a rationale behind it.
 

Demonslayer

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A timely topic for me. I usually build my cymbals in brand series sets. I was spending time this morning on Meinls site going through Byzance cymbals. I like their crashes but I cannot find a ride cymbal that I really liked. Now that I am reading this thread, I’m thinking differently.
I've been thinking of building a dark/dry set. Meinl does that extremely well, but I too usually start with the ride and I have yet to find one of theirs that really grabs me.
 

Seb77

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Pitch and performance (crash/wash/ping). At the moment, I am happy with two cymbals, one crash (rideable at low volume) and a ride (crashable at higher volume). They should differ in pitch though, you should be able to tell them apart.
 

ThomasL

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I spent 18 years buying and selling more than 250 cymbals (hihats pairs count as one), keeping the ones that speak to me, selling the ones I don't like or don't get used. What I have is 20+ cymbals of 16 different brands, so I don't believe in putting together sets of a particular brand/series ;-)
 

mc437

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I don't like to mix brands and alloys. That's not because I don't think they can work together, but because I'm OCD and have to have uniformity. So, I have an all-A Zildjian setup, and all-Paiste 602 setup, and an all-Zanchi Vibra setup. The cymbals in each setup all go well together, and it works for my OCD.
 

mebeatee

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I touched on this in this thread (below) a while ago....as it is a good dilemma to have or be in.....ie different cymbal set ups with different drum setups for different musics and sometimes combos may or may not work out. No biggie...just means the acquisition of more tools for the job(s) at hand....:)


I generally keep these cymbal sets paired with whatever drums for live settings according to what music is being played, but for recording I’ll take a collection of sorts as you never know what may work and what won’t.
I have also had folks ask me to bring or not to bring certain cymbals/sounds and one person is very specific about what she wants which makes my job and gear choice easy.
I keep the touring basics in the city....cymbals,snare,bd/hat pedals...as with that band I use supplied drums so they are what they are and those cymbals and snare match the bands music. The only time it will change is when a cymbal finds me on tour as there are a couple of stores where I usually come across something of interest! I of course will have to try it out that particular evening or sound check at least even if it doesn’t quite fit that music...lol
bt
 

Brainofj

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All relative but personally I want brighter, warmer sounds on the “inside” (splashes, hats, ride) and darker trasher on the “outside”(crashes and China).

For me that’s been combining various AAX, HH, HHX. 3 crashes up top, 1 at the end.
 


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