What ride for big band?

What ride for big band?


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Old Drummer

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Opinions vary, but when I think big band, I think big cymbals. This was apparently Stan Kenton's opinion too, since he had his drummers play huge rides (like 26"), and he may have been the last of the great big band leaders. However, I suppose if we go back further historically we'd find big bands with little cymbals, even puny 13". In between, well, I'm sure opinions vary.

But I'd personally skip the 20" rides and go with a 22"--or maybe a 24" if I was feeling bold--and look at the old A's and K's in medium weights. That is, I'd want a cymbal that could make some noise, which paradoxically may also be important for brush work on the quieter tunes. But I don't think you'd get "clear definition" this way. However, I wouldn't prioritize "clear definition." I'd go for tone and volume.

As it happens, I have what for me seems the perfect big band cymbal, or at least that was my immediate reaction when I played it. It's a medium weight 22" 60s' A that was re-lathed and hammered by the cymbal smith, Jesse Simpson. It comes in now almost between an A and a K, still an A but more complex. It's not a cymbal suited for a quiet jazz trio, unless it's played with brushes, because it makes too much blasted noise, but it would be great for a big band. In my opinion.
 

Elvis

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Need a go-to ride for big band. Clear definition for horns and reeds to hear, enough wash to give the band a cushion to sit upon, pleasant sound for audience. Crashability not really a factor. I have all of these, but keep going back and forth. Help me! Comments & rational welcomed. Thank you!
22" Paiste Signature Full Ride

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...don't tell anyone you've ordered it....don't tell anyone you're bringing it out....just put it up on the kit and watch the horn section freak.
Has a lot of the same qualities a 20" Sig. Mellow ride does, but with a little stronger ping.
It'll do everything you're looking for in a cymbal for that occasion.
Not cheap, but worth it.


Elvis
 
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NobleCooleyNut

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The never ending search for THE Big Band ride . JDA knows this has been my white whale for years . I have used dozens of cymbals over the years from so many different cymbal companies . I have done the bright ok by thing to the dark washy thing to the dry dark things and my search still continues . The Big Band I play with plays the traditional swing to new as well as modern pop song charts , so versatility is paramount for me .
I currently go between a couple rides for Big Band gigs and it depends on the set list . They are :
20” Sabian Artisan Light ride that is on the drier side , it is crashable as well and has a nice understated warm wash and good bell.I would not use this for Rock/Pop charts the band does occasionally .
20” Paiste 602 Medium ride - excellent stick definition , crashable , superb bell . Very bright and clean sounding but has a beautiful lush wash .

The 22” Istanbul Agop Traditional Heavy ride really intrigued me for Big Band use . It sounds fantastic in the YouTube videos I have heard . Have not had the opportunity to play one in person yet .

The ride cymbal I should have kept was a 20” Paiste Traditional Medium Heavy ride - that was one incredibly versatile ride that recorded really well . Cannot for the life of me recall why I sold it . They are sadly discontinued .

Another Paiste ride I think would be a winner is the 20” Paiste Signature Mellow ride - such a pretty sweet ping and very nice stick definition and not too bright .
 

Seb77

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I saw Buddy in 1982 he used a Zildjian 21 rock ride.
It fit some of the arrangements at that time:
That kind of low-pitched ping might be totally out of fashion, but if it's played by Buddy, I could listen to it all day. Toward the end of the song it even sounds like he had some roto-toms on his set. Slap-Bass and synth to boot!

It just occurred to me the thread question is as vague as asking "what ride for small band". Such a vast field of styles.
 
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hardbat

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I vassilate between my 22" Canadian Zilco and my 20" old stamp K (not thin). For big band, I like something with some meat, but low pitched. Oh, I used to have a 20" Canadian K that was perfect. Must be something about Canada and big bands.
 

Elvis

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The never ending search for THE Big Band ride . JDA knows this has been my white whale for years . I have used dozens of cymbals over the years from so many different cymbal companies . I have done the bright ok by thing to the dark washy thing to the dry dark things and my search still continues . The Big Band I play with plays the traditional swing to new as well as modern pop song charts , so versatility is paramount for me .
I currently go between a couple rides for Big Band gigs and it depends on the set list . They are :
20” Sabian Artisan Light ride that is on the drier side , it is crashable as well and has a nice understated warm wash and good bell.I would not use this for Rock/Pop charts the band does occasionally .
20” Paiste 602 Medium ride - excellent stick definition , crashable , superb bell . Very bright and clean sounding but has a beautiful lush wash .

The 22” Istanbul Agop Traditional Heavy ride really intrigued me for Big Band use . It sounds fantastic in the YouTube videos I have heard . Have not had the opportunity to play one in person yet .

The ride cymbal I should have kept was a 20” Paiste Traditional Medium Heavy ride - that was one incredibly versatile ride that recorded really well . Cannot for the life of me recall why I sold it . They are sadly discontinued .

Another Paiste ride I think would be a winner is the 20” Paiste Signature Mellow ride - such a pretty sweet ping and very nice stick definition and not too bright .
I had one of the last of the original run of Signature Mellow Ride's made.
NCNut is absolutely correct on his descriptive of that cymbal. It even crashed nicely. I used to describe the sound as "searing"...you had to hear it to get it...but you had to give it a good whack to get it there.

...also, looks like Memphis Drum Shop has a 20" Traditional Medium Heavy Ride, if you're still interested.....

 

D. B. Cooper

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I played the 20” Zildjian & Cie Vintage (1787 gm) at an outdoor unmic’d rehearsal of the big band last night. The tone was good for riding, but the wash overtook the stick sound. Crashing was good. The bell sounded nice and delicate on a mambo. I think I need a little more definition and less wash.

I took the 20” Ping as well, but after a few exploratory pings, it went back in the bag. Too cold and icy a ping, too gongy a crash. Might have to sell this almost unused.

Next week, I’ll try a different one. There’s an un-stamped 21” Agop Om prototype that I might try.
Oooooh. That sounds like a good idea. If you don't jump on that, link me.
What are the weights like on Oms usually? Aren't they a lil to thin for that much sound?
 

Morello Man

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From the (‘58?) “Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Set-Ups Of Famous Drummers”
Rich-19 med
Bellson-20 med
Lamond-20 med
Woodyard-18 med sizzle
Lewis-20 med hvy
Sperling-22 med hvy
Payne-20 med
Shaughnessy-22 med
Igoe-20 med
McKinley-20 med
Stoller-17 med hvy
Gus Johnson-20 med
Osie Johnson-20 med
Players associated with small groups at that time:
Krupa-24 med hvy
Deems-24 med
Mousie Alexander-26 med
Shelly-22 med
Blakey-20 med sizzle
Levey-22 med hvy
Clarke-18 med
Thigpen-22 med
Cole-22 med thin
Haynes-20 med
Max-20 med
Morello-21 med
Philly-20 med hvy
 

Old Drummer

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From the (‘58?) “Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Set-Ups Of Famous Drummers”
Rich-19 med
Bellson-20 med
Lamond-20 med
Woodyard-18 med sizzle
Lewis-20 med hvy
Sperling-22 med hvy
Payne-20 med
Shaughnessy-22 med
Igoe-20 med
McKinley-20 med
Stoller-17 med hvy
Gus Johnson-20 med
Osie Johnson-20 med
Players associated with small groups at that time:
Krupa-24 med hvy
Deems-24 med
Mousie Alexander-26 med
Shelly-22 med
Blakey-20 med sizzle
Levey-22 med hvy
Clarke-18 med
Thigpen-22 med
Cole-22 med thin
Haynes-20 med
Max-20 med
Morello-21 med
Philly-20 med hvy
Fascinating. Not only were the small group drummers generally playing larger diameter rides, but NOBODY was playing a light cymbal, despite their being fashionable now. I see one "med thin" compared to six "med hvy." Maybe the average weights were different back then, but absence of thins stands out. Besides this, my takeaway is that size probably doesn't matter.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Fascinating. Not only were the small group drummers generally playing larger diameter rides, but NOBODY was playing a light cymbal, despite their being fashionable now. I see one "med thin" compared to six "med hvy." Maybe the average weights were different back then, but absence of thins stands out. Besides this, my takeaway is that size probably doesn't matter.

Zildjian was making cymbals far thinner in those days, a medium in 1958 would be like a thin now.
 

Elvis

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...also, during the late 40's and into the 50's, very large cymbals were the rage.
Mousey Alexander and Gene Krupa were both playing rides over 30" at that time.

Elvis
 

Matched Gripper

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Its because it will be bright and some drummers "hear/see" buddy rich when they think big band. Nothing wrong with that.

I know a few drummers that are NOT into any of the bebop and postbop music or drummers. They probably listen to Big Swing Face every morning with breakfast and watch Buddy videos all day.(exaggerating to make a point)

Absolutely fine and cool. Im not judging.

When Im in the mood for big band I pull out Thad Jones/Mel Lewis at the VV, or my various Toshiko Akioshi big band or late 70s early 80s Woody Herman out.

Different "strokes" for different folks.

Dark, sizzle, wet ride..playing like hes in a quartet. It fits the arrangement

Vs.
I mean this bell is really cutting and high pitched. Sounds like a thinnis, bright 20" A to me


Sounds like WH was a studio recording and LB was live. They both sound appropriate, but, I think that the venue can make a difference in cymbal choice.
 
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Matched Gripper

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I vassilate between my 22" Canadian Zilco and my 20" old stamp K (not thin). For big band, I like something with some meat, but low pitched. Oh, I used to have a 20" Canadian K that was perfect. Must be something about Canada and big bands.
Rob McConnell agrees!
 

JDA

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Big Band want's "a drummer" they're not looking for "a cymbal" they want a total package Give it to them.
 

Elvis

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I vassilate between my 22" Canadian Zilco and my 20" old stamp K (not thin). For big band, I like something with some meat, but low pitched. Oh, I used to have a 20" Canadian K that was perfect. Must be something about Canada and big bands.
It's the Guy Lombardo Factor. ;)
 

tkillian

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Sounds like WH was a studio recording and LB was live. They both sound appropriate, but, I think that the venue can make a difference in cymbal choice.
Im going to make a wild guess and say Mel Lewis only had one set of cymbals and used them for all his gigs both live and recorded. Same with Bellson and ...well...most big band drummers...one set...they didn't change them according to the room
 

Matched Gripper

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Im going to make a wild guess and say Mel Lewis only had one set of cymbals and used them for all his gigs both live and recorded. Same with Bellson and ...well...most big band drummers...one set...they didn't change them according to the room
Probably so. But, in my limited experience, dark, thin, washy cymbals that sound great in small combos don’t sound so great in a traditional big band setting. And, the roar that can arise from a heavier, pingier cymbal definitely does not sound good in a small combo.
 
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Elvis

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JMHO, but...I think what the old timers figured out was, if you hit the cymbal differently, it will make a different sound, thus, one cymbal works for all occasions, because they learned how to play it, and thus, found out how to make it work, depending on the gig.

Elvis
 

Targalx

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I've used everything from an 18" Zildjian A Medium Ride (university) to a 22" Paiste 505 green label Heavy Ride (high school) in big bands, and they worked well. Just gotta keep experimenting until you land the right one that doesn't make the trumpet section throw their mutes at you.
 


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