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How many cymbals do you really need?

underratedcowbell

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When I started drumming, about 25 years ago, my goal was to have as many cymbals I could gey my hands on. I once gigged about a year or so with 10 cymbals and hi-hat in my cymbal bag, so imagine the weight I was carrying around! The years went by and I started downsizing my cymbal collection considerably because my influences in music changed, I got fed up of carrying all that crap and I came to the conclusion that I was either hiting a certain cymbal no more than a few times during gigs or on the contrary I was hitting to much cymbals, many more than the songs asked for just to justify myself the huge investment. Nowadays I carry a pair of hi-hats, a crash and a ride, or if I am in a down to earth kind of day I only carry a pair of hi-hats and a crashable ride. I have never been happy in my life! So where’s the question: in reality how many cymbals do you really need to satisfy your needs in the studio or gig situations?
 

dirtysicks

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I have 2 rides, about 5-6 various crashes, a few effects crashes, a few sets of hats and I am good. That covers all of my bases.
 

lossforgain

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There are really two questions here:
How many cymbals do you need to play what you want to play on a set?
AND
How many cymbals do you need to own?

The answer to the first question varies as much as setups vary from person to person. For me, I’m almost always a hats/ride/2 crashes guy these days.

For the second, it’s always “n+1.”
 

Seb77

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I have quite a few cymbals at home, but on a gig, I rarely use more than two or three plus hi-hats. Maybe for a fusion-type gig, which I never have, I might bring china, splash, bell cymbals, as well as a small crash, but mostly it's jazz with a house kit, so the classic two-crash-rides set-up, maybe plus a flat ride, works best.
 

Fat Drummer

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" in reality how many cymbals do you really need to satisfy your needs in the studio or gig situations "... like others have stated, that is 100% dictated by the music and need at hand. I own a lot, but I take what I feel is required for the moment at hand. I've always said I can get by with less drums than cymbals so I am already aware that I have a problem... but I like it!

As you said, a good crashable ride is a very versatile tool (every ride I own is crashable) I will often play with as few as two cymbals and hats, but really prefer 3 cymbals and 1 set of hats and every rig I own is built around this core set up (crash, crash ride and crashable ride with a nice matching set of hats). When I go "big" I still max out at 5 and hats. Though the temptation is always there to add another 7 or 8 for fun!!!
 

daveplaydrum

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What I’ve been using for a while is one pair of hi hats, two crashes, and two rides. One ride thin and washy and the other ride heavy and pingy.
 

GretschMan61

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Atypically for a Rock gig I use a ride , two crashes and Hihats .

For small rooms I may just take
A Crashable Ride cymbal (20” 602 Medium ride ) and 18” thin crash and hihats .

For Big Band gigs I like having less crashes and more rides . Ideally I like
a 22” ride , 20” Crash ride , a 20” swish and hihats .

Three cymbals and hihats is my main setup though .
 

mattmalloy66

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I have an A Zildjian 18" crash/ride that can cover both bases pretty well, but not ideal. For me, a 20" ride, an 18" thin crash, and some 14" hi hats are what I want. I could certainly make do with just the 18" crash/ride and the hats.
 


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