Why do people play such bad Cymbals?

bassanddrum84

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A lot of parents aren’t gonna buy there kid a good quality drum set and cymbals just on a win to want to play when half the time they end up on Craigslist trying to get what they paid for them. I see it all the time at garage sales and Craigslist. Enforcer kits with zbt or b8 cymbals beat to death heads and they think they’re worth 5-600$ that they paid. Then people like me half to tell them when I offer 100$ Or less. The cymbals aren’t worth nothing and just to rehear the whole kit top and bottom is more then what they’re worth. A lot of the time they take my offer as they do the research after I inform them. Most try and tell me I’m full of it. Either way parents aren’t buying there kid a good kit and cymbals just to play for a month and resell.
 

chrisr777

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My cymbals were stolen. I could not afford to replace them with the Zildjians I had, but I could not afford not to replace them. Now, my drums are pretty good (I've posted pictures), but my cymbals are ZBT. It is what it is. I really like a couple of them, the others not so much.
 

Old Drummer

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I've noticed that when aspiring or amateur drummers think of gear, they almost always think of drums. Cymbals are an afterthought. I suppose this makes sense. Drums are after all what drummers play. It's also the way I thought starting out. I really, really wanted a Ludwig set, and didn't give much thought to the Krut cymbal that came with it. Within 6 months, though, I was saving my money for a Zildjian.

This said, I am very suspicious of all these "levels" invented by the marketers in recent decades. What the heck is a mid-level cymbal? And that's to keep it simpler than the marketers have made it. I intentionally don't follow the gradations, but I believe that some of the manufacturers are marketing up to a half dozen "levels" of cymbals. Oh baloney. It's just a ruse to get repeat sales out of the same buyers. Cymbal life is nowhere near this precise.

The most astonishing think about all these "levels" of cymbals is not how good some supposedly low end cymbals sound, but how lousy some supposedly high end cymbals sound, at least to my ears. I once played in a jam session on a kit with Meinl cymbals that were so horrible to my ears that I vowed never again to play that guy's kit. That drummer considers himself a pro and is even a Meinl endorser, but I found his cymbals wretched.

As far as low end cymbals being decent, I myself kept a Sabian B8 crash for years that wasn't too bad. If I listened to it carefully, I could hear that it wasn't the best, but who really listens that carefully to crash cymbals? Certainly nobody in the audience does. I'm also such a tightwad that I still can't bring myself to spend a lot of money on a cymbal I'm only going to crash. My Sabian B8 crash wasn't replaced until I acquired a cracked K. Zildjian in a trade that I managed to repair.

Today, let's see, I have $530 into my drums and $780 into my go-to cymbal setup, everything bought used. But that's not how I started out. I started out with expensive Ludwig drums and a lousy Krut cymbal.
 

Tom Holder

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The first cymbals I had were called "Super", made in Switzerland. They were half the price of Zildjians, and all I could afford at the time (1970). They weren't too bad, really. I had an 18" ride and a pair of 14" high-hats. I have often wondered if these cymbals were made by Paiste. Anybody know?
 

michaelocalypse

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I usually don't sell kits with cymbals. The couple times that I did, it was whatever odd mash of cymbals that I wasn't using anymore, with whatever I could find cheap to fill in the necessary gaps.

Drums tend to be a bit more versatile than cymbals for styles of music, although I use "jazz cymbals" for hardcore and metal. Either way, someone playing country probably wouldn't want them, or at least not for the price I'd need to get out of them.
 

cribbon

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Looking at this over the last 50 years, my guess is because the contemporary rock drummer has largely moved away from using the ride cymbal to carry the rhythm--Max Roach and Kenny Clarke's innovation in the '40s/'50s, which freed up spaced for soloists to innovate--putting the beat back on the (heavy-footed) bass drum. Cymbals seem to have become an accessory rather than a central component of the rhythm, with most cymbal use emphasizing the hi-hat. They use cheap cymbals because cymbals don't matter that much to the way they play. I use a circa 1948 16" A. Zildjian ride. It's wonderfully smokey sounding and I love it. (Better than my K. Zildjians actually). But I pay a lot of attention to the sound of cymbals, and I wish more drummers did too.
I suspect this is generally true. Two most extreme examples of this may be Keith Moon, who played most of his career without a hi-hat (and when he did use one, it was usually set either closed or half-closed, his arguably only significant use of it coming in Who Are You at the very end of his career) and Lars Ulrich, who doesn't even use a ride on his kit.

Moon0520.jpg

Lars.jpg


I am lucky enough at this stage of the game to have a fairly wide selection of different cymbals from which to pick and choose. Most of them can be divided into two broad categories: tuff stuff for loud bashing and other more subtle ones for more musical situations. With bar bands, I go with the heavier, cruder stuff that can survive the punishment required to operate in high-volume environments. On lower volume jazz gigs where most of the time is carried on the ride cymbal and the musical quality of sound is paramount, I use more subtle cymbals: two rides, one with rivets (to provide a smooth legato feel under the ride's clearly defined ping) and a flat ride, along with smallish hats and a crash.

Cymbals are a very personal thing, and as already mentioned in this thread, what may sound good to one person may not to another - it's all a question of taste and how appropriate a sound is to its musical environment. Anybody remember the bent cheap-o Bill found in a trash can and the song he used it in?

Bruford186.jpg

 


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