#1
Hey all you out there in drumland!

I'm a guitarist, but I still need drum tracks for my solo projects. Since I am sadly without a drummer to play and record with, I end up programming my own. I've been using Addictive Drums, and with the extra AdPaks I have a lot of good options to put together a pretty realistic sounding kit. But what I'm still a little lost about is choosing which cymbals to use. I can pick ones that sound individually good, but what I'd like to find out is how you choose cymbals in relation to the rest of the kit? Obviously you can't tune cymbals like drums, so do you choose them based on any kind of interval relationships between them and other elements of the kit? Once chosen, how do you arrange them left to right?
Gear
  • 2004 Am. Strat
  • 2004 Mex. Tele
  • 2005 Esteve Classical

  • Vox Valvetronix AD15VT w/ foot switch

  • Vox 847
  • EH Stereo Polychorus
  • Ibanez TS-808
  • EH Big Muff Germanium 4
  • EH Small Clone
  • EH Small Stone (USA Ver 2)
  • EH LPB-1
  • PlusEBow
#2
for picking them, we usually just go with what we like the sound of
for placement, i put my highhat by my sanre, my crash between my high tom, my splash symbol between the two and my ride between my med tom and low tom.
#3
Much like guitars, cymbals have their own unique character and sound. I prefer thick, bright, modern sounding cymbals, so I play Sabian AA or AAX for the most part. I also like Paiste Signatures and Meinls have several lines that I like. I also like big rides with pronounced bells. If I had the money I would play a Stewart Copeland Blue Bell Paiste.

Most drummers I know prefer darker, more traditional cymbals like the Zildjian "K" lines. There are also a ton of newer companies coming out with traditional hammering techniques leading to darker sounding cymbals.

It all depends on what you like. The only way to know is to play them and listen to figure out what you are looking for.
#4
I dunno, it's not really too difficult. I would say the crashes should both be the same kind with differing sizes (or at least just sound close enough). Overall I would think the ride and hi-hat are fairly separate, as are chinas (which I generally use for accents) because the sounds are more distinctive. Individual cymbals of a certain type (crashes or splashes especially) should go together based on how they sound played in certain sequences and if that is pleasing to the ear or not, in my mind.
#5
Thanks for the replies. One more question, should the cymbals be "in tune" with the rest of the kit, i.e., when the heads are properly tuned (4ths/5ths between toms, etc) should the cymbals also share a similar relation? When using multiple crashes, should they sound at a particular interval apart?
Gear
  • 2004 Am. Strat
  • 2004 Mex. Tele
  • 2005 Esteve Classical

  • Vox Valvetronix AD15VT w/ foot switch

  • Vox 847
  • EH Stereo Polychorus
  • Ibanez TS-808
  • EH Big Muff Germanium 4
  • EH Small Clone
  • EH Small Stone (USA Ver 2)
  • EH LPB-1
  • PlusEBow
#6
It's very rare for people to tune their toms in actual intervals unless it's with a custom kit or something where it's tuned purposely to be able to play a scale on or melodically tuned to reflect an octave, an example being something like octobans or the toms on kits played by Mangini or Bozzio.

When I tune I NEVER worry about finding the actual intervals between the notes, I just go by ear. Probably like 98% of other drummers do that, too.

I don't even really know if cymbals actual note values and even if they did it's better to just go by ear, I think you're analyzing this too much, dude
#7
Cymbals are typically entirely up to the descretion of the drummer, and what he likes. Sometimes he will pick certain cymbals that he may not like the most for certain jobs, like playing live where projection is the most important aspect.

I personally play thin cymbals. All of my crashes are near the same size (diameter) and vary greatly between series. I like the contrast between bright and dark crashes (both being thin).

Cymbals are almost never picked because of their note. It is likely for a drummer to bring in his cymbals to a drum store and play his crash with other crashes to see which "blend." It is whatever sounds good.

Toms, in a computer program, are very easily and should be tuned to note values. I would go for 3rds or 4ths; however, in real life, it is very hard to do this and we drummers typically just tune to what sounds good for us - much like cymbal selection. Also, the room has a great effect on how drums sound.

For placement of the cymbals it depends how large the drum set is and how many cymbals you have.
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#8
Yeah, I've been taught to tune to the room when setting up drums to record. I found this to be a very helpful article:

http://www.sonicscoop.com/2011/07/28/studio-skillset-drum-tuning-essentials/#.TjrPCSvXk6M.twitter
Gear
  • 2004 Am. Strat
  • 2004 Mex. Tele
  • 2005 Esteve Classical

  • Vox Valvetronix AD15VT w/ foot switch

  • Vox 847
  • EH Stereo Polychorus
  • Ibanez TS-808
  • EH Big Muff Germanium 4
  • EH Small Clone
  • EH Small Stone (USA Ver 2)
  • EH LPB-1
  • PlusEBow
#9
I like a wide variety of sounds. I tend to gravitate toward brighter cymbals, but I also find a lot of cymbals are too bright, and I end up completely hating them, particularly in china cymbals. I have literally gone through at least 15 different large chinas before I settled on my Sabian HHX.

I really like the more complex sounds of the darker cymbal lines (in general: Zildjian K, Sabian H, Meinl Byzance, Bosphorus, etc.), however, I find they don't tend to sit in a mix as well as I like in the music I play, nor are they loud enough. I try to keep my cymbals as dark as possible to give them a complex and more "trashy" sound, while at the same time, being bright enough to cut through a mix. I absolutely LOVE my hi-hats, because they have the perfect amount of sizzle, while not being overly brash and clangy like the A Customs I had before, yet aren't so loud that they can drown everything else out on recordings. All my cymbals seem to complement eachother well in one way or another, and aside from my chinas, are all very well balanced in volume.

From left to right on my kit, I have:

13.25" Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Hats
17" Zildjian A Custom Crash
10" Saluda Mist Splash
15" Sabian HHX-Treme Crash
18" Sabian HHX China
20" Meinl Byzance Traditional Heavy Ride
16" Zildjian A Custom Crash
14" Sabian AAX China
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