How many cymbals do you really need?

Deafmoon

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I'm gonna say it depends on what your sound needs are. If you are doing a tune that has a splash hit in it, you need to have it. If you are doing something requiring crashes or a china ride jam for volume, you need to have it. If that is slowly disappearing from your repertoire, then you change to what you require. I am hitting the point of going out with a flat ride and a lighter weight bell ride and hats.
 

Monday317

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You need as many cymbals, drums, and accessories as you think you need.

I've seen street guys in New Orleans with a small crash and snare. The you see Portnoy with a monster kit. Not good for the street, the street kit not good for wowing a stadium audience.

Personally, my kit is 10 & 13 x9, 16 x 16, 24 x 14 (with a 28 x 14 in the works). Cymbals are all Bosphorus Masters: 16” hats, 20” crash, 24” ride, 10” splash, and 16” China. I also have two blocks and cowbell. I don't play out often and don't always take everything when I do.

Works for me!
 

dbc254

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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?
I used to use two crashes, one ride and hats. Thinking about dropping the right hand crash and crashing my ride when needed as it's thin enough these days to do so. Not possible with the Paiste RUDE ride I used years ago...
 

Carlos McSnurf

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Generally HH, two crashes and ride is all I need for live gigs. Depending on music I expand the kit with some splashes and o zone or strip to HH and crash ride only.
 

michaelocalypse

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Depends what I'm playing. Some stuff a larger crash can replace a ride. Some stuff requires a china. Some stuff I like to have 3 crashes, but most people listening can't tell the difference.

I've seen a dude play with hats and two crashes. That's probably the fewest I'd go with.
 

Larry Copcar

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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?
" Need " is a weird word when it comes to drums. On one end there was Elvin Jones with John Coltrane. Ride crash and Hi-hats. And on the other end there was Neil Pert who set up every cymbal he ever owned. I always goofed on Neil's setup. But those guys who show up with a snare, bass, and one crash bug me too.
 

Seb77

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I think you "need" a cymbal, or drum, if you'd otherwise miss it on the gig. For a latin/fusion gig once I only added a 10" tom and a 16" crash to my regular jazz set, tuned it down a bit and it turned into a completely different set in my perception.
 

Neilrush88

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Never is enough!

I love cymbals:
- 1 main hi hat, 1 aux hi hat
- 5 crash
- 1 ride
- 2 splash
- 1 bell
- 4 china
 

Drm1979

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2 crashes, splash, ride and hats on a 4 piece do it for me. Any more then that and I start bashing at too much stuff and make more noise rather than music.
 

pedro navahas

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I saw Billy Martin with MMW, crash/ride and hats, changed the way I looked at cymbals!
 

DavedrumsTX

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"How many cymbals do you really need?"

I guess that I only "need" a ride, a set of hats and one crash, but I try to use whatever I feel fits the musical situation. I find that tends to vary.

I was in two bands for several years.

The busier of the two was a four piece (plus singer) rock and soul cover band. With them I used a six piece drumset with a ride, hi-hats, and a minimum of three crashes, and a maximum of five. Most of the rooms and stages were good sized. We had a mic on everything, and had elaborate lights and sound. A larger cymbal setup seemed to fit the music and the presentation.

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The less busy band was a three piece (plus singer) pop cover band. We covered pop tunes from 1955 until today, from Brenda Lee to Lady Gaga. The arrangements were striped down, as was our instrumentation. We played small rooms most of the time with a small PA. I used a four piece drumkit with ride, hi-hats and usually one crash. On the rare occasion that we played a room with an actual stage I might set up a second crash. (It didn't happen often.) A small, intimate setup made sense with that band. (I actually played a couple of gigs with just a cajon and other hand percussion.

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I'm with a new band playing mostly 1980s stadium rock style covers. Thanks to the pandemic we have yet to gig. My rehearsal setup is a six piece kit with a ride, hi-hats, and three crashes. I might add one or two crashes for gigs if the room allows, as it fits the music.

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Over the years I've owned a lot of cymbals from Zildjian, Paiste, Sabian and Bosphorus. I found myself using my Zildjians far more than anything else and eventually sold the others. I currently own around forty Zildjians the last time that I counted. I have something available for whatever comes up.

Clearly I don't need that many, but it can be fun.
A beautiful black chrome Slingerland set! A very hard wrap to find.
 


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