Pairing cymbals

dingaling

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I don’t have a lot of cymbals compared to some. Maybe 8 rides (20-24”), 3 flats, 4 crashes, 3 pairs of hats.

I’ve been down a rabbit hole of pairing the cymbals together. I mostly play jazz and usually use 2 rides (right/left side) and a flat or crash on the side. Some cymbals don’t compliment each other and some do.

It’s hard to figure out because cymbals sound so different in each room and with/without music.

I just paired up a 22” ottavianao with a 20” spizz (I got from Roberto in 2002) and they are really doing it for me. They are on the drier side (in a good way), perfect for the jazz guitar trio I’m currently in.

Also paired up a thin 24” Funch with a 21” Tim Roberts with rivets and they are really complimentary to each other. These are on the resonance side.

Lastly I paired up a 21” paiste dry ride with a zildjian 17” dark crash w 1 rivet (which I’ve had since 1995 and works as a ride too) and that would be a perfect big band or Latin band set up although I don’t see myself in those situations since I’m not in music school.

What’s your go to pairing?
 

marc3k

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I would be glad if I managed to actually stick to a pair - but I'm always changing - it's been a rabbit hole for me as well.

Currently I pair an Agop Matt Chamberlain with an Agop Epoch Ride with 2 rivets.
My main issue is that I would like to have a higher pitched cymbal on the left. But I have many "main" rides with a high profile, so most of my options lead to a lower pitched left-hand cymbal...

See also this thread:

https://www.drumforum.org/threads/your-current-left-side-right-side-ride-combinations.189484/
 

dingaling

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20" Bettis Custom (three rivets)
22" 1960s A Zildjian
20" 1970s ('80s?) A Zildjian pang (six rivets)

My 14" '70s New Beats round out this setup.

I have a 60’s 24” A, very thin. It sounds good but I’ve been thinking about having a cymbalsmith hammer it to get rid of some of the overtones. The overtones sounds very “metallic”. I’ll put a video below but you can’t hear all of the overtones in the video.

 

Seb77

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I think you only really need to pair cymbals that get played at the same time - hi-hats and orchestral/marching pairs.

With cymbal sets, I'd think more about the band context, what sounds you would like to hear behind which instrument.
There is talk about the drumset being one instrument, but from this perspectives, it is not, it's a collection of sounds you use to orchestrate the music.
Thinking of it that way, a cymbal is not a "main ride" or "left-side cymbal". If a job requires different shades of dark, you might end up using two large "main rides"; another gig might call for two pitches of bright, washy crash-rides, then you might be using two of what you used to think of your "left side cymbals".
 

Pibroch

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I think you only really need to pair cymbals that get played at the same time - hi-hats and orchestral/marching pairs.

With cymbal sets, I'd think more about the band context, what sounds you would like to hear behind which instrument.
There is talk about the drumset being one instrument, but from this perspectives, it is not, it's a collection of sounds you use to orchestrate the music.
Thinking of it that way, a cymbal is not a "main ride" or "left-side cymbal". If a job requires different shades of dark, you might end up using two large "main rides"; another gig might call for two pitches of bright, washy crash-rides, then you might be using two of what you used to think of your "left side cymbals".
I agree with the argument you are making about context, but disagree with your statement that you only need to pair cymbals that get played at the same time!

When I'm in the audience I often focus on individual instrumentalists. When I'm digging an artistic drum kit player I delight in how the kit does sound like one instrument, with the different well chosen parts working together with a stylistic coherence allowing the artist to better express themself. I suspect that is what most people mean by the phrase in question.
 
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dtk

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I have too many cymbals but here we go with a few...

16 AAX Dark/20 Omni/17 Almedia Turk with HHX 14 over Paiste w/sound edge
A set of Smyrnah Hand Hammereds 14/16/18/20
I recently recorded with 15 new beat over Sabian B8 w/vent holes (home made holes)/16/17 HH crashes and 19 Soultone Custom Series Flat.
 

Seb77

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When I'm in the audience I often focus on individual instrumentalists. When I'm digging an artistic drum kit player I delight in how the kit does sound like one instrument, with the different well chosen parts working together with a stylistic coherence allowing the artist to better express themself. I suspect that is what most people mean by the phrase in question.
I too agree about hearing a nice set of cymbals, how they work with the drum sound etc.
If you like to ride all your cymbals, then each cymbal, one at a time, should work well in that context, and these will end up as your "set". Don't think of a certain notion of a what a "cymbal pairing" should consist of, let the music guide you when choosing each single one.

I used to think in terms of "main ride and left-side crash ride", sort of a Mel Lewis or Tony Williams template. I remember bringing two different "main rides" to choose from to a new project rehearsal. Suddenly it dawned on me that the music actually would benefit from using both of them, and that the higher-pitched crash ride that I also brought didn't fit. Ok, now one of them had to go on the left, but that setup wouldn't have occurred to me had I brought a "set" along the lines mentioned above. For the next project, the music might have asked for a flat ride and a small crash - endless combinations.
 

Pibroch

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I too agree about hearing a nice set of cymbals, how they work with the drum sound etc.
If you like to ride all your cymbals, then each cymbal, one at a time, should work well in that context, and these will end up as your "set". Don't think of a certain notion of a what a "cymbal pairing" should consist of, let the music guide you when choosing each single one.

I used to think in terms of "main ride and left-side crash ride", sort of a Mel Lewis or Tony Williams template. I remember bringing two different "main rides" to choose from to a new project rehearsal. Suddenly it dawned on me that the music actually would benefit from using both of them, and that the higher-pitched crash ride that I also brought didn't fit. Ok, now one of them had to go on the left, but that setup wouldn't have occurred to me had I brought a "set" along the lines mentioned above. For the next project, the music might have asked for a flat ride and a small crash - endless combinations.
Yeah, at times I change hats (trap table) or swap a ride cymbal, (also without getting off throne - leaning cymbals against rear side of stage) mid set to suit a particular song - easy to do either swap in less than 10 seconds.

However I do draw the line at trying to mount a ride cymbal mid song while still playing - per an hilarious video documenting an extremely famous drummer!
 
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bergheimer

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I was on the hunt for the "perfect match" for many years, buying, selling and so on.
Finally I found 2 set-ups I am really happy with:

1. 22" Agop Signature medium (2580g) with two rivets (main) + 20" Agop 30th (1760g) (LSR)

2. 22" Agop 30th (2370g) (main) + 21" Agop Signature (1950g) with 3 rivets (LSR)

On my far right I play either a 18" Agop 30th or a 20" Agop Signature China with 3 rivets. My go-to-hats are 15" Agop OM's. I also have a 21" Mel Lewis with rivets that I play from time to time as a LSR.

Quite happy with that!
 

1988fxlr

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I feel your pain on trying to find setups that work together well. I have one 60’s 18” A zildjian crash that sounds awesomely brilliant and bright while being thin, but I can never find a second crash that it plays well with. Other vintage crashes are two dark with it and more modern ones too heavy/slow
 
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JDA

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Wet/ right
Dry/ left
then adjust from there
Wet diameter slightly larger than the Dry
could be various Wet ones
can be various Dry ones
the distinction separation R/L stays in same wet/dry theme

3rd add (far left high up or far right lower down) could be/crash/ flat or swish
when you can feel like taking a 3rd

all-in, for the sake of ending, cymbalholism
a terrible internet disease beginning around 1998

Works easy with Modern cymbals where you can have a fully lathed (wet) right
and a semi- or fully unlathed (dry) left

Vintage cymbals where there was only fully-lathed a little tougher but wet/dry can be achieved
just have to use more ear not simply eye in making purchases
 
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