How to Play Cymbals? Techniques And Tricks

Many people underestimate the importance of drum kits with cymbals, but they are actually a very important part of the drum set. Cymbals provide a lot of the sound and texture that makes up the drums, and without good cymbals, the drums would sound very bland.

When choosing drums and cymbals, it’s important to consider the style of music you’ll be playing. Different genres require different types of cymbals. For example, jazz requires a softer sound, while metal requires a heavier sound.

Types of Cymbals

There are many different types of cymbals available on the market today:

Splash Cymbals

Splash cymbals are a type of cymbal that is designed to produce a very short, high-pitched sound. They are typically very thin and are often played by hitting them with a drumstick in a quick, abrupt motion.

Splash cymbals are typically used as accent cymbals, meaning that they are used to add a bit of extra color or excitement to a song. They can be used to punctuate a phrase or to add a bit of energy to a groove.

Guide

Step 1: Hold the cymbal with your hand at the edge and use your other hand to hit it with a drumstick. Make sure to hit the cymbal at the edge so that you get a sharp, crisp sound.

Step 2: Experiment with different techniques to create different sounds on the splash cymbal. You can hit the cymbal at different points to get different tones, or you can use a drumstick to create a “splash” sound.

Step 3: Try playing the splash cymbal along with other cymbals to create a unique soundscape.


Positives
  • Great for accents
  • Brings out the sound of the drums
  • Loud
Negatives
  • Can be overwhelming
  • Can be difficult to control

Splash cymbals on the drum set

Crash Cymbals

Crash cymbals are larger than splash cymbals and produce a louder, more dramatic sound. They are perfect for creating a sense of rhythm and can be used in all genres of music.

Guide

Step 1: Hold the cymbal with your left hand and hold the drumstick in your right hand.

Step 2: Strike the cymbal with the drumstick, and then quickly release the cymbal. This will create a loud, crashing sound.

Step 3: Repeat this motion to play the cymbal.


Positives
  • Can offer a lot of variation in sound
  • Can be played with other instruments
Negatives
  • Can be difficult to produce a consistent sound

Crash cymbal on the dark background

Ride Cymbals

Ride cymbals are larger than crash cymbals and have a very distinct sound. They are perfect for keeping a steady beat and are often used in jazz and blues music.

Guide

Step 1: Place the ride cymbal on the upper right-hand side of the drum kit, above the hi-hat cymbal.

Step 2: Rest the cymbal on your right shoulder, with the bell facing forward.

Step 3: Hold the cymbal with your left hand, just below the bell.

Step 4: Use your right hand to hit the cymbal at the point where the bell and the shaft meet.

Step 5: Keep your right hand close to the cymbal, and use your left hand to adjust the angle and position of the cymbal.

Step 6: Strike the cymbal with a downward motion, and release it after you hit it.


Positives
  • Can be played with a stick, hand, or foot
  • More versatile than other types of cymbals
  • Produces a more consistent sound
Negatives
  • More expensive than other types of cymbals

Ride cymbal

Hi-hat Cymbals

Hi-hat cymbals are a pair of cymbals that are played together. They produce a high-pitched sound and are often used in fast-paced music.

Guide

Step 1: Start by sitting in the middle of your drum kit, with your hi-hat cymbals in front of you.

Step 2: Hold the hi-hat cymbals together with your left hand, and use your right hand to hold the pedal down.

Step 3: Press down on the pedal with your right foot, and then lift your foot off the pedal to create a sound.

Step 4: Press down on the pedal again, and hold it down as you lift your left hand off the cymbals. This will create a sound the off-beat.

Step 5: To create a sound on the on-beat, press down on the pedal with your right foot, and then lift your foot off the pedal while you keep your left hand on the cymbals.


Positives
  • Easier to play than other cymbals
  • Can be used to create various sound effects
  • Versatile
Negatives
  • Can be overwhelming in a mix

2 Hi hat cymbals

China Cymbals

China cymbals produce a very unique sound that is perfect for adding accents and dramatics. They are often used in metal and rock music.

Guide

Step 1: Place the China cymbals on your drum kit, above the ride cymbal.

Step 2: Hold the China cymbals with your left hand, using your thumb and first two fingers.

Step 3: Strike the China cymbals with your right hand, using your index, middle, and ring fingers.

Step 4: Strike the China cymbals in the same spot, in an alternating pattern.


Positives
  • Affordable
  • Quality
  • Good warranty
Negatives
  • Can be difficult to produce a consistent sound

China cymbals on the woden stand

Swish Cymbals

Swish cymbals are a type of cymbal used in a variety of genres of music. They are also called sizzle cymbals and are used to create a sizzling sound effect. Moreover, swish cymbals are often used to add excitement to a song, or to create a dramatic effect.

Swish cymbals are made of metal, and have a raised, textured surface. They are usually played with a drumstick and are struck together to create a sizzling sound.

Guide

Step 1: Start by sitting in the middle of your drum kit, with your snare drum to your left and your hi-hat to your right.

Step 2: Place your left hand on the snare drum, and your right hand on the hi-hat.

Step 3: Strike the hi-hat with your right hand, and then quickly lift your hand off the hi-hat so that it makes a “swish” sound.

Step 4: Strike the snare drum with your left hand, and then quickly lift your hand off the snare so that it makes a “swish” sound.


Positives
  • Can produce a wide range of sounds
  • Versatile
  • Require less skill to play than other types of cymbals
Negatives
  • Can be difficult to control

Swish cymbal in the studio

Tips: How to Play Cymbals

  • Use a light touch.
  • Don’t hit the cymbals too hard.
  • Use a consistent stroke.
  • Experiment with different techniques.
  • Find the right balance between hardness and softness.

Frequently Asked Question

Is Сymbals Easy to Play?

No, cymbals are not easy to play. They are usually played with a drumstick on the edge of the cymbal.

What Is the Best Type of Cymbals?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on personal preferences. Some cymbal users prefer darker sounding cymbals, while others prefer brighter sounding cymbals. It is ultimately up to the individual cymbal user to find the cymbals that sound best to them.

How Many Cymbals Are in a Drum Set?

A drum set typically has four cymbals: a hi-hat, a crash cymbal, a ride cymbal, and a china cymbal.

What Is the Right Cymbal Placement?

It depends on the drummer’s personal preference and playing style. However, generally speaking, the right cymbal should be placed slightly higher than the left cymbal, and slightly to the right of the drummer’s right shoulder.

Cymbal stand

Conclusion

Cymbals are an important part of a drummer’s kit, and they can make a big difference in the sound of a drum kit. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, and each type of cymbal has a different sound. Different drum kits will often have different types of cymbal drums, so it’s important to choose the right cymbals for the sound you want to achieve. Cymbals are also an important part of a drummer’s setup, so it’s important to choose the right size and shape of the cymbal to fit your kit.

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