the best cymbals for jazz.often the most-used part of the drum kit, a drummers’ choice of cymbals for jazz can make a massive impact on their sound and performance.
in this article we’ve pulled together the key considerations when buying jazz cymbals, and reviewed five of our favourites.
jazz is a genre of music characterised by the expression of the individual.
everyone has a unique musical approach and sound, and this extends to a person’s choice of equipment. this especially applies to a drummer’s cymbals.
not only are they are often the most used part of the drum kit, they’re also highest sound in the ensemble, and the primary methods of playing time – arguably a drummer’s principle role!
so when it comes to picking jazz cymbals, how should you go about it?
how do you know what the cymbal will sound like in
varyent playing contexts and acoustics, when you’ve only heard it in the back of a shop?
You are watching: The 5 Best Cymbals for Jazz (A Drummers Guide 2021)
in this article we’re going to look at the key considerations when buying cymbals for jazz,
under the name of well
under the name of reviewing five of our favourites covering the jazz ride cymbal, hi-hat and china.
- considerations when choosing cymbals for jazz
- 5 best cymbals for jazz drums
considerations when choosing cymbals for jazz
when it comes to
studying and buying new jazz cymbals, there are plenty of choices to be made!
we’ve outlined some of the many things to consider;
under the name ofking yourself these questions early n in the process will help you focus in on the right piece of equipment for you.
- can you get a wide dynamic
variety from each part of the cymbal from bell to edge?
- will it respond equally well to
varyent types of beaters, such as sticks (with
varyently sized and shaped tips), brushes and mallets?
- does it come with holes for rivets, which you can put in for a different timbre and more sustain?
the effect of size, weight and shape on a jazz cymbal
- larger cymbals tend to be louder and resonate for longer.
- heavy cymbals tend to have more stick articulation and ‘cut’ by means of a band more easily.
- lighter cymbals will provide more of a spread of overtones.
- the more the cymbal is bowed, the higher the overtones and thus the higher the pitch.
what’s the purpose of this particular cymbal?
- has it been made for playing time on (ride cymbals, hi-hats)
- will it be used to punctuate the music (crashes)
- are you looking for an idiosyncratic effect (splashes, china cymbals),
- …or a mixture?
how beneficial will this cymbal be for you right now?
- how will the cymbal fit with the instruments you already have?
- will it complement or contrast against your drums and cymbals?
- will it fit with the music you play at the moment?
is this a high pedigree jazz cymbal?
- does the cymbal come from a reputable and established company (such
under the name of zildjian, sabian, paiste or istanbul) or is it a budget-line product?
- is it endorsed by our heroes, or made in a similar way to those
usaged by heroes of old?
final decisions for buying a new jazz cymbal
of course, if you’re attracted to a sound of a certain cymbal, it may be best to go
through your gut-reaction.
you shouldn’t buy a piece of gear purely on the grounds that someone you respect has it, because what suits them might not be the best fit for you.
Read on about: The 7 Best Trumpet Cases in 2021: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
that being said, you should be aware of the options and use all the information you can find to avoid a costly addition to the dusty part of your cymbal bag!
read on for our list of five cymbals suited to jazz
under the name of a starting point…
5 best cymbals for jazz drums
zildjian k constantinople
two0”/22” renaissance ride
through adam nussbaum
cymbals played by modern western musicians are predominantly of turkish origin.
the most famous cymbal company – and the oldest instrument manufacturer – in the
universe was founded in constantinople in the early seventeenth century by avedis zildjian, and his descendants in the twentieth century were responsible for furnishing some of the most famous names in jazz with cymbals.
today, the surviving cymbals of that era are rare and often sold for four-figure sums, rendering them out of reach for most of us.
fortunately, zildjian has attempted to recreate these cymbals in their constantinople series.
adam nussbaum has been involved in giving a musician’s perspective to the process, and these cymbals have a great stick response and wide dynamic selection.
if you want something which looks, feels and (almost) sounds like the instruments of the past, these are easily available and work well in many jazz contexts.
two0″ k constantinople renaissance ride
- versatile in small-to-medium sized…
- slightly less volume output than the
- Hammering in three rows and four…
- smooth lathing on both sides for extra…
- very articulate and easy to control
sabian crescent 20”/22” hammertone ride
developed via jeff hamilton
crescent cymbals was originally an independent cymbal company set up by drummers, one of which was the great jeff hamilton.
it has since been acquired by sabian, and thankfully hamilton is still at the heart of the brand.
his own hammertone series aims to give equal importance to stick definition and overtones, with a decay that lasts just long enough before disappearing gradually to blend with the band.
the cymbals also aspire to give you
varyent pitches depending on how far from the bell you play in order to complement the instrument you’re accompanying, and the bell is hammered more heavily than most cymbals to be warm and bell-like without being too piercing.
original design from louis bellsonzildjian avedis 13”/14” new beat hi-hats
a jazz hi-hat needs to be equally adept at being played with the stick and with the foot. the warm ‘swoosh’ of an open hi-hat is often made brittle in favour of a well-defined ‘chick’ sound for the 2s and 4s.
Read on about: 7 Best Acoustic Foam Panels in 2021 Reviews
these new beat hi-hats won’t win any awards for a silky-smooth papa jo jones swing pattern, but they are very versatile and will be appropriate for everything from big bands to small
limited edition 18” chick corea royalty ride
copied from roy haynes’ paiste 602 flat ride (pre-serial) as played on ‘now he sings, now he sobs’ (1967)sabian
chick corea was gifted a flat ride cymbal by roy haynes in the late ’60s which he owns to this day.
corea apparently liked the way it complemented the piano so much
who it appeared on many of his subsequent albums with other drummers, including return to forever (1972) with airto moreira.
the replica is not an exact copy of the cymbal today, but an approximation of how it would have sounded at the time that roy haynes was playing it.
unfortunately this is a limited run and so may be hard to come by; therefore, we recommend a paiste formula 602 medium flatride (20”) if they are unavailable at the time of reading this article.
based on mel lewis’ china cymbal
mel lewis was
ushered in to swish cymbals by dizzy gillespie, who owned one and required his drummers to play it behind his solos.
a swish cymbal (often categorised as a chinese cymbal on account of its curved edge) was originally
usaged as an effect cymbal in the swing era, and was later made famous by lewis in his big band work.
played as a ride, this huge cymbal needs to be played with a light touch or it will overpower the band – its size makes it difficult to control, and the rivets add to the all-encompassing nature of its sound.
traditionally used behind the strongest soloist in the band, it can provide a comfortable automobilepet for the group to play on which a drier cymbal would not be able to achieve.
thanks for checking out this guide to five of the best cymbals for playing jazz. hopefully it’s flagged up some key considerations and given you some ideas on what might be most appropriate for you right now.
as we mentioned, a great way to research further is to find out what set up your favourite drummers played!
who, you might be interested to check this guide to some of the most legendary jazz drummers of all time, or this round up of ten modern jazz drum greats.