Splash cymbals...how critical are they?

Tom Holder

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I had a 10" Avedis in the 70's that I used to emulate a sound I'd heard on Commander Cody and Asleep at the Wheel records. It cracked one night and I replaced it with a Paiste Signature, which I think sounds better. It is in no way a substitute for a crash, but it makes a distinctive accent at the end of a song especially when choked. "Shave-and-a-haircut, two-bits (TSSSST!)"
 

Fibes

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I use an 8" or 10" from time to time. Both very early Masterwork, very light, used sparingly fit in any situation. I think I still have an Istanbul pre-split that is a dead ringer for that Stewart Copeland signature sound. Sometimes I've used them upside down over a crash with a felt in between the bells. Very subtle way of getting a little more richness out of your crashes. But it's realllly subtle - so much so that I'd only do that in a recording nowadays. I've had these two for about 15 years and would never sell them, even if they don't see action for long periods.



Do you spend a lot of time trying different brands, sizes, weights, etc? I mean, what do they do, and what difference does it make as long as they..well..just splash?
I can see where one might come in handy now and then, but as far as you're concerned..how critical are they?
 

Seb77

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In the right spot, though, they can be extremely effective - my favorite example is how Phil Collins uses two of them at the end of the instrumental in Hold On My Heart (3:03-3:11). Not sure if they're acoustic or electronic samples, but they're absolutely beautiful and enhance the musical mood perfectly.

That's interesting. The moody aspect of little cymbals has often been overlooked I think, you normally think larger cymbals are more atmospheric.
Here's a unique use of a splash, a very midrangey/trashy one, used for a groove. It somehow harkens back to the 20s, when splash cymbals were often used for time playing, but combined with chorus guitar and electric bass.
 
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David M Scott

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Critical is maybe not the right word to use when talking about splashes. I mean, if you showed up to a gig, even a really big gig, and you forgot your splash, you could still play the gig without any issues. Ive been playing professionally since 1990, used one through out the 90's and haven't used one but a handful of times since. That said, I'd say if you keep hearing the splash sound in your head while your playing without one, then maybe you should get one so you have the fulfillment of playing what your hearing in your head. that's nice, and important.
Good post.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “in your head“ ! When I was playing predominately Country and Soft Rock I used a 10in Dream splash all the time. The last two years I moved to a different part of the country and I’ve been getting back to my Jazz roots as there are some very accomplished players here. At first I was so used to my Splash that I “had to have and hear it”. So I would mount it on my Ride using a stacker. I soon found out it really wasn’t all that great for Jazz and so now it languishes in my bag. I did find a good use for it however. I have a Pearl Compact Traveller kit which is just a single head “frame“ type kit. I used to take it too Jams as it‘s light and packs all in one bag. I found that I wanted to downsize everything so I bought a cheap 10 splash and use the two of them on my Hat.. good on top and cheapie on bottom. I’m actually impressed with sound and action. But If forced too I could live without a Splash.
 

michaelocalypse

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I've got a handful of splashes. The only time they leave the case is so that I can get to the cymbals I actually use below them. I might use them on the joke mini kit I'm assembling.
 

bpaluzzi

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I find a lot of people try to use splashes for low-volume gigs, as a replacement for crash cymbals. This (to me), is a fool's errand, and the cause for a lot of the frustration around splashes. They won't sound like a low-volume crash, and playing them in such an exposed setting only heightens the "roaring 20's period piece" feel of splashes.

For me, the only time I use splashes is in the context of much louder music, and in 8" and below sizes. They can serve as punctuation inside of phrases, not the beginning / end roadsigns that crashes are. Think Manu Katche, Carter Beauford, Stewart Copeland, Dave Abbruzzese, etc.
 

WLVN

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I bought a 10" Paiste 2002 splash many years ago and I've actually hit it about a hundred times and some of those times I don't know why. I think I got it because Neil Peart hits one a couple times in "Limelight". Also, my first drummer idol Ginger Baker had an 8" what he once called a "joke effect" splash.
 

FormerPNV

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I heard a "splash shootout" on YT and I have to say that the Istanbul Agop 10" Xist Ion splash made me want to buy one.
 

coyote

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Splash cymbals are like icing on a cake. Not needed if the cake is great, but if the icing is also great then never a bad addition.

As it happens, the Agazarian splash cymbals are comparatively inexpensive (often given away! by stores in the past) and sound better than a whole lot of very expensive splash cymbals. They cut in and cut out, while adding a higher pitch but not abrasive sound. Given that splashes take lots abuse and therefore tend to break fairly quickly compared to other cymbals, to have inexpensive ones that sound good is an awesome thing.

The Agazarians seem to be a B20 formulation.
 

Mcjnic

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As it happens, the Agazarian splash cymbals are comparatively inexpensive (often given away! by stores in the past) and sound better than a whole lot of very expensive splash cymbals. They cut in and cut out, while adding a higher pitch but not abrasive sound. Given that splashes take lots abuse and therefore tend to break fairly quickly compared to other cymbals, to have inexpensive ones that sound good is an awesome thing.

The Agazarians seem to be a B20 formulation.

I have a few of those. Man, I love the sounds they put out.
I've also got some old Stagg 14's that were actually ridiculously thin hi-hat cymbals. 619g thin.
They make GREAT splashes.
I love these toss away splashes.
 

1988fxlr

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The first new cymbal I ever got was a 12” a splash and I quickly learned that even in super tight bar set ups a splash didn’t make a very good substitute crash. I don’t think I ever bothered packing one for a gig after the first few attempts. That said I love them to add colors and texture to patterns while just playing alone. I have a 12” wuhan I think I bought because it was cheaper to buy it with a cymbal arm at the time than to buy the cymbal arm alone and it was my favorite for years. The new favorite is a 13” zanchi I found in a pawn shop. Despite preferring clean bright sounding cymbals in general (mostly old a’s) I like a splash with a bit of dirt to it
 

Thebstar

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I don’t use them, but with any cymbal I listen with my ears, not me eyes. I have a mix of brands and ages right now. As long as they blend I dont care.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I bought a 10" Paiste 2002 splash many years ago and I've actually hit it about a hundred times and some of those times I don't know why. I think I got it because Neil Peart hits one a couple times in "Limelight". Also, my first drummer idol Ginger Baker had an 8" what he once called a "joke effect" splash.
Is that the splash in this song?
 

David M Scott

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Splash cymbals are like icing on a cake. Not needed if the cake is great, but if the icing is also great then never a bad addition.

As it happens, the Agazarian splash cymbals are comparatively inexpensive (often given away! by stores in the past) and sound better than a whole lot of very expensive splash cymbals. They cut in and cut out, while adding a higher pitch but not abrasive sound. Given that splashes take lots abuse and therefore tend to break fairly quickly compared to other cymbals, to have inexpensive ones that sound good is an awesome thing.

The Agazarians seem to be a B20 formulation.
I bought a 10 Dream Bliss splash a few years back and it sounds fine.
I bought it for accents for Rock and Country but last few years I've been playing Jazz so it stays pretty much in the bag. It does however make a great top hi hat cymbal when combined with a cheapie 10in Zil ZRT which I use for street gigs along with my Pearl Compact Traveller 3 piece frame type drum kit. And it was only $50 when other 10in splash from the Big Guys were over $100.
 

Tommy D

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I would say choosing one I as critical as choosing any other cymbal. Considering their sizes range from 6-12 inches, splashes can be traditional (clean), trashy, glassy, ultra fast, mimic a small crash or any combination of them all. It depends on what you want them to sound like and how you plan to use them.

I own a lot of splashes. Something like 10 of them. They range from 8-12 inches and have different sounds that range from nice little accents to trashy/complex interjection to melodic, musical little bell sounds.
 

bassanddrum84

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I’ll put one or two up here and there or a splash and maybe a stack but they never last long. I always end up realizing I do t use them enough. Same with chinas. I’m always back to two crashes and a ride and hats.
 

coyote

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I bought a 10 Dream Bliss splash a few years back and it sounds fine.
I bought it for accents for Rock and Country but last few years I've been playing Jazz so it stays pretty much in the bag.
Interesting. Buddy Rich had a splash in his setup, and the splash was really the sound of Dixieland in a lot of ways. Papa Jo Jones did too; so did Philly Jo Jones. So the splash is not unknown in jazz. Mine are on cymbal extenders, so I don’t have to pack a separate stand or even a separate cymbal arm. Gives a sonic versatility without increasing stage footprint
 

Roch

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Not worth lugging around a stand for...I had some but rarely used them for the type of music I play...
 

David M Scott

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I would say choosing one I as critical as choosing any other cymbal. Considering their sizes range from 6-12 inches, splashes can be traditional (clean), trashy, glassy, ultra fast, mimic a small crash or any combination of them all. It depends on what you want them to sound like and how you plan to use them.

I own a lot of splashes. Something like 10 of them. They range from 8-12 inches and have different sounds that range from nice little accents to trashy/complex interjection to melodic, musical little bell sounds.
I always wanted one the sounds like glass breaking like I've heard on recordings. Never able to find one ?
 


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