Choosing A Crash CymbalFeb 20, 2023
Choosing a crash cymbal can be a challenging task as there are many factors to consider. The size of the cymbal, its pitch, brightness, and darkness, the manufacturing process, and the price point are all important factors to consider when selecting a crash cymbal.
Size of the cymbal
One of the primary factors to consider when choosing a crash cymbal is its size. Crash cymbals are typically available in sizes ranging from 14 inches to 22 inches in diameter. The larger the cymbal, the lower its pitch will be, and the more sustain it will have. Smaller cymbals, on the other hand, will have a higher pitch, explode (speak) faster, and have a shorter sustain.
When choosing a crash cymbal, it is important to consider the music genre you play, the type of sound you want to achieve, and the size of your drum kit. In rock music, for example, larger cymbals are often preferred for their volume and sustain, while in jazz, smaller cymbals are often favored for their quicker decay and personality.
Pitch of the cymbal
Another important factor to consider when choosing a crash cymbal is its pitch. The pitch of a cymbal is determined by its size, thickness, and shape. A larger, thicker cymbal will have a lower pitch than a smaller, thinner cymbal.
The pitch of a cymbal can affect its overall sound, as well as its ability to cut through a mix. Many rock drummers prefer bright cymbals that cut through, but thicker cymbals that are durable and won't break. Many jazz drummers prefer thinner cymbals that respond quicker, yet darker more complex sounds.
Brightness and Darkness
The brightness or darkness of a cymbal is another important consideration when choosing a crash cymbal. Bright cymbals have a more aggressive and cutting sound, while darker cymbals have a warmer and more complex sound.
The brightness or darkness of a cymbal is often determined by its alloy and manufacturing process. Hand-hammered cymbals tend to have a darker sound, while machine-cast cymbals tend to have a brighter sound. Additionally, the type of alloy used can affect the brightness or darkness of a cymbal. B20 alloy, which is made up of 80% copper and 20% tin, is a popular alloy for high-end cymbals and is known for its warm, dark sound.
Hand Hammering Techniques or Machine Casting
The manufacturing process can also play a significant role in the sound of a crash cymbal. Hand-hammered cymbals are created by skilled craftsmen who use hammers to shape and form the cymbal, while machine-cast cymbals are mass-produced using a machine.
Hand-hammered cymbals tend to have a more complex and nuanced sound, with more character and individuality. Machine-cast cymbals, on the other hand, tend to have a more consistent sound, with less variation between individual cymbals.
B20 Alloy vs B8
The type of alloy used to make a cymbal can also affect its sound. B20 alloy, which is made up of 80% copper and 20% tin, is a popular alloy for high-end cymbals. This alloy is known for its warmth, complexity, and dark sound. A cheaper option seen in many budget models is B8 which only uses 8% tin and 92% copper.
Price Points of Different Models
The price point of a crash cymbal is an important consideration for most drummers. Higher-end cymbals tend to be more expensive, but they also offer better sound quality and durability.
Here are the top 5 professional models of crash cymbals from each of Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl, and Paiste:
- Zildjian A Custom Crash
- Zildjian K Custom Dark Crash
- Zildjian K Dark Thin Crash
- Zildjian K Sweet Crash
- Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Crash
- Sabian AAX X-Plosion Crash
- Sabian HHX Evolution Crash
- Sabian HHX X-Treme Crash
- Sabian HHX Legacy Crash
- Sabian AAX Aero Crash
- Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Thin Crash
- Meinl Byzance Vintage Pure Crash
- Meinl Byzance Traditional Medium Crash
- Meinl Byzance Jazz Thin Crash
- Meinl Classics Custom Dark Crash
- Paiste 2002 Crash
- Paiste Signature Fast Crash
- Paiste Giant Beat Crash
- Paiste Masters Dark Crash
- Paiste 900 Series Crash
And here are the top 5 budget models of crash cymbals from each of Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl, and Paiste: