Best Jazz Ride Cymbal, According to Experts

Can’t stop Googling the best jazz ride cymbal that’s among the genre-friendliest out there? Take a closer look at the Meinl 21″ Byzance Transition Ride Cymbal – or better, run it through its paces as soon as you get the possibility to do it.

This honey is perfect both in terms of its feel and quality of sound. And it looks fantastic! Read on for a more comprehensive review of this beautiful piece of equipment.

Top Pick
Product
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 21" Extra Dry Transition Ride, Mike Johnston Signature — MADE IN TURKEY —...
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Prime
Pros
Super versatile and responsive
My preview
Runner-Up
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Zildjian 20" K Custom Dark Ride
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Prime
Pros
Dark, warm undertones
My preview
Premium Pick
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Zildjian 20" Kerope
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Prime
Pros
Looks beautiful and elegant
My preview
Great value
Product
Meinl 20" Ride Cymbal - HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set, Made in Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY...
Rating
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Prime
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Pros
Manufactured in Germany
My preview

Often the most frequently-used part of the drum kit, a drummer’s choice of jazz cymbals can really make a difference in terms of the band’s sound and performance. If picking the right jazz ride cymbal feels somewhat challenging,

I’m going to lend you a helping hand here. In this post, I will review some of the best jazz ride cymbals on the scene and answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the topic.

7 Best Cymbals for Jazz: Reviews & Tips

  1. Meinl Cymbals Byzance 21-Inch Extra Dry Transition Ride, Mike Johnston Signature
  2. Zildjian 20" K Custom Dark Ride
  3. Zildjian 20" Kerope
  4. Meinl 20-Inch Ride Cymbal - HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set
  5. Zildjian 20" L80 Low Volume Ride
  6. Sabian 20" SBr Ride Cymbal (SBR2012)
  7. Zildjian 19" A Armand Beautiful Baby Ride

Whether you’re rummaging the net for the biggest ride cymbal that will work like a charm in any drum setup or need a solid yet inexpensive cymbal for practice, I’ve got you covered. Find my comprehensive reviews below and enjoy discovering that beautiful connection between jazz musicians and brain creativity.

1. Meinl Byzance Mike Johnston Signature Transition Ride 21″: My Top Pick

If you were to purchase just one piece of equipment from Meinl, this honey would be right up your street. Yes, this awesome signature cymbal from Mike Johnson was made to be flexible. And it truly is. It flaunts great wash when played near the edge. With this honey, you can easily switch from creating vivid jazz patterns to pillaging some hard rock beats.

You’ll love both the feel and the sound of this baby. It boasts an articulate stick sound that gives you the possibility to play nearly all kinds of genres.

On an additional plus side, this tool is truly a thing of beauty. And it’s thin, so it’s a pleasure to make use of. You’ll love how you can crash on it, and once you’re done, the sound doesn’t linger.

You can ride it like usual or crash ride it – and it will please you with a nice wash without overpowering everything else. Immediate transitioning from crashing it to a ride pattern is seamless and as easy as ABC.
The bell is not ear-piercing like other rides you may have played. On the contrary, it’s beautifully nice and warm. And you never lose stick definition irrespective of how loud you ride it. So, if you’re hunting for the most versatile ride cymbal, this might be it.

Meinl Cymbals Byzance 21" Extra Dry Transition Ride, Mike Johnston Signature — MADE IN TURKEY —...
  • Hand hammered in Turkey from cast B20 Bronze Alloy — with its abilities as a ride matched by its capacity as a crash, the Transition Ride is made for crash-riding with its articulate, dry definition and controlled, yet filling and smooth wash
  • Mike Johnston signature ride — The Transition Ride was developed with renowned drummer and instructor, Mike Johnston, who was looking for a ride with a seamless transition from articulate stick definition to a wide-open crash

PROS:
  • A thing of beauty;
  • Super versatile and responsive;
  • Amazing, bright-sounding tool;
  • A breeze to control;
  • Excellent for most applications.
CONS:
  • Not the cheapest option out there and not the most suitable one for beginners.

2. Zildjian 20″ K Custom Dark Ride: Among the Best Cymbals for Jazz

This manufacturer has long cemented itself as the platinum standard in cymbal making. It’s been a solid cymbal choice for jazz drummers for years – and their possibility to show their audience what jazz is (and how fantastic it can be).

Zildjian offers some of the most sophisticated, profuse, and responsive cymbals on the scene. This particular piece of equipment is living proof of that.

In fact, the K Custom cymbals are expressly crafted to deliver more volume and cut with a quicker attack and decay, compared to the typical K Zildjians. They have a super pleasing articulate yet warm stick sound, ideal for jazz-playing enthusiasts. At the end of the day, with this fantastic brand, you’re getting excellent quality.

This baby is ideal for both studio recording sessions and live gigs. Chances are, it’s going to become your favorite ride cymbal.

So, if you’re on the prowl for a cymbal that’s going to take your experience to a whole new sonic level, then this excellent baby might be your best bet. Definitely worth checking out.

Zildjian 20" K Custom Dark Ride
  • Excellent stick definition
  • Dry, full-bodied stick sound

PROS:
  • Full, dry stick sound;
  • Dark, warm undertones;
  • Doesn’t overpower, and the tone is beautifully classy;
  • Impressive versatility;
  • Great for both amateur players and experts.
CONS:
  • A bit on the costly side, but totally worth every dollar.

3. Zildjian 20″ Kerope: Premium Pick

Playing classic rock, jazz, or country and searching for some awesome vintage cymbals with a luscious sound? The Kerope might be exactly what you need.

This is an outstanding brand new cymbal that has that deliciously vintage look and feels to it. Yep, it really looks as if it’s from the 50s and 60s era.

This cymbal boasts a fantastic, dark, and velvety tone, as well as a complex fade, and a medium wash. Little to no bell ring, so you’re going to have to opt for another cymbal for that. The 20″ is also fine, but I really think the complex tone of the 22″ is just the ticket.

All in all, if you’re just starting out on drums, then you’re going to need to get to grips with this cymbal and engage in extensive experimenting prior to getting to enjoy its full range.

Moreover, even if you’re an experienced player, this instrument will take some getting used to. But the result is definitely worth the effort.

Zildjian 20" Kerope
  • Visually and sonically reminscient of cymbals from the '50s and '60s
  • Patina finish from accelerated aging process gives vintage look

PROS:
  • Luscious, buttery sound;
  • Looks beautiful and elegant;
  • The manufacturer boasts 400 years of rock-solid experience;
  • The closest to vintage cymbals you’ve seen;
  • This tool is very genre-friendly, too.
CONS:
  • A bit on the expensive side, especially for beginners.

4. Meinl 20″ Ride Cymbal: Great Value for Your Money

This well-crafted tool is capable of delivering a broad range of sound. It’s ideal for beginner drummers and overall very useful in concert/performance settings.

You’re going to learn to find the sweet spots on this ride and figure out how to enjoy them. It’s not all about perfection (what is?). But it’s pretty darn close, I must say.

This solid-quality cymbal looks good and excels in delivering the amazing loud and crisp sound. And the price is super affordable. The cymbal is great for beginners but is widely used among experienced musicians, as well. If you’re a weekend warrior or just play for fun, this baby is definitely worth purchasing.

To cut a long story short, a lot of people will say that this is the best jazz ride cymbal for the money. And they’ll be absolutely right. It’s going to exceed all your expectations and become the best addition to your go-to practice kit. So, if you’re seeking a reasonably-priced crash-ride with a solid sound and impressive durability, this baby might be your best choice.

Meinl 20" Ride Cymbal - HCS Traditional Finish Brass for Drum Set, Made in Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY...
  • Traditional ride sounds with plenty of ”ping" — the HCS 20" ride creates a defined "ping" with a cutting bell for a bright overall sound that is useful for any style from rock to jazz — the size is an industry standard and will fit with any drum set up
  • Designed for beginners and students — Meinl HCS cymbals are designed for beginner and student musicians using a durable brass alloy that maintains its tone while holding up to the brunt of drum sticks — these cymbals are ideal for any style of music

PROS:
  • Great-sounding equipment;
  • Surprisingly resilient;
  • Perfect for amateur players;
  • Manufactured in Germany;
  • Reasonable price.
CONS:
  • Still not the best choice for a performing professional.

5. Zildjian 20″ L80 Ride: Pro-Grade Low-Volume Practice Cymbals

You play jazz and need some solid cymbals for your drumming practice? Or, perhaps, you’re looking for a solid low-volume cymbal for your son’s apartment drumming sessions? This fairly quiet Zildjian baby might be your best choice. Yes, you read the implication right. No more complaints from your neighbors!
Being the leading cymbal manufacturer, Zildjian is constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to take their consumers’ musical experience to higher levels.

One particular demand from the drumming community was lowering cymbal volume for apartment practice sessions, teaching, or small live shows. Zildjian managed to satisfy this demand.

You’re probably aware that effective practice requires you to play like you usually do (without easing up to reduce volume). Zildjian has created the perfect solution for that – their Low Volume Family of cymbals. This particular model is sure to please you with both musicality and lower volume. Give it a go and enjoy hours of top-notch practice!

Zildjian 20" L80 Low Volume Ride
  • 80% quieter than traditional cymbals
  • Play at low volume on an acoustic cymbal

PROS:
  • Awesome for practice, tuition, or a quiet live performance;
  • Sturdy and reliable;
  • Allows you to play with versatility;
  • No more ear fatigue;
  • Your neighbors will be happy.
CONS:
  • Perhaps, a bit on the quiet side for gigging.

6. Sabian 20″ SBr Ride Cymbal: Excellent Price-Quality Ratio

This drum ride cymbal is among the most reasonably priced yet high-quality on the scene. For a very appealing price, you can get yourself a sturdy, long-lasting brass cymbal that beautifully defines the fundamentals of what a solid jazz ride cymbal sound should be.

This is the wisest choice if you enjoy playing high-pitched patterns and, i.e., need a truly bright sound. However, the cymbal will get the job done like a pro if you play other genres, too.

You can actually count on this nicely-crafted baby when it comes to producing an immediate crisp sound that adds some really exquisite elegance to your unique playing style.

Just keep in mind that despite its solid build and rich tone, there are certain restrictions in terms of what you can do with this baby. For instance, you’ll hardly ever discover any sizzle or out-of-this-world sounds coming from this tool.

To sum up, whenever you need an inexpensive yet solid cymbal for rehearsals, this Sabian honey might be just the ticket. Of course, it’s not something you want for live performances, but it’s an outstanding workhorse for when you, say, loan your drum kit to other bands (or when you don’t want to bring your finest instruments to a rehearsal). Also, if you’re just setting up a kit (and a bit short on money), this equipment is totally worth considering.

Sabian 20" SBr Ride Cymbal (SBR2012)
  • A versatile model for beginners
  • Smartly priced, SBr Brass is in a class of its own

PROS:
  • A great model for beginners;
  • Made with top-notch brass;
  • Looks good, sounds fantastic;
  • Flexible, great for all genres;
  • Very affordable.
CONS:
  • Not the most suitable option for live gigs.

7. Zildjian 19″ A Armand Beautiful Baby Ride: Perfect Sizzle Cymbal

Zildjian 19 A Armand Beautiful Baby Ride

Can’t stop bombarding your search engine with queries like ‘best gift for a drummer’, ‘drummer birthday gifts’, and the like? This classic-that-never-ages honey might suit you like a glove. A plate of endless, brilliantly nuanced, creamy, rich sounds, this cymbal will exceed your expectations when you lay your sticks on it.

So, if you’re on the lookout for a vintage sizzle sound, this beautiful baby might be your best bet. You will most likely have to play this wonderful cymbal into that awesome retro mellowed-out smooth sound, but you will surely have a blast getting there. All in all, this cymbal has a great personality and a good feel under the stick.

Zildjian 19" A Armand Beautiful Baby Ride
  • Made to commemorate the cymbal-making legacy of Armand Zildjian
  • Features three-rivet cluster for cool, dynamic sizzle

PROS:
  • Very well-made and durable;
  • Perfect if you need a vintage sizzle sound;
  • Perfect crash, very solid bell sound;
  • Everybody loves the way it sounds;
  • Solid value for the money.
CONS:
  • Not the most genre-friendly tool out there.

Answering Your FAQ

Meinl 18inch Crash and Ride Cymbal

Have questions left on the topic? Look through my answers to some of my readers’ most frequently asked questions below. Perhaps, you’ll find the details you’re currently interested in there. If you don’t, feel free to ask your burning questions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

What is the best Zildjian ride cymbal?

K Custom Dark Ride is among the best ride cymbals of this brand. It delivers more volume and comes with a satisfying sound, perfect for jazz-playing enthusiasts.

Overall, this high-quality cymbal is a great choice for most types of environments. It can easily become your all-time-favorite jazz ride cymbal. And it suits both amateur players and professionals.

What are the best cymbals for the church?

Church music differs from regular gigs and performances. It requires a subtler approach, more or less like jazz. Always remember that the purpose of drumming in a church is to create moments to reflect. Therefore, opting for the right dry ride cymbals for the church is paramount.

First and foremost, you need something that won’t overpower other instruments. Second, you need cymbals that are capable of fitting the style of church music you’re playing.

A top-notch cymbal will make you smile when you hit it, and it should feel right and buttery smooth as you use it. My top pick might be your best bet here.

Are Meinl cymbals any good?

Yes, they’re great, especially the ones I’ve reviewed in this post. One of them is perfect all-around, while the other one is great if you’re searching for a well-constructed and money-saving cymbal for a weekend warrior.

This equipment is manufactured in Germany and is frequently used among pro jazz players. Exceptionally reliable and long-lasting.

What size ride cymbal should I get?

Ride cymbals are usually larger than crash cymbals ranging from 18″ to 26″. You should focus on a 20″ or 22″ when on the hunt for your first ride cymbal. That’s always a good starting point for amateur players.

Final Word: Choose Wisely

Now that you know a thing or two about some of the best jazz ride cymbals out there, you’re a few steps away from making the right choice. Whether you’re a pro player who knows all about jazz origins (and know how to play jazz history, too), or a weekend warrior who plays for fun, you’ll definitely find something that suits your needs in my selection published above.

So, what about you? What’s your favorite jazz ride cymbal? Ever tried a ride cymbal with a stand? Speak up in the comment box below. Your two cents are highly appreciated.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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