Types Of Drum Cymbals: Know Them Well

A drum set without cymbals will be like a body without a soul. You have to use good quality cymbals to ensure that your music sounds amazing to the listeners. You cannot directly look at a certain cymbal and decide whether you want it or not. The type of music you play should be the deciding factor. A drummer who plays rock music will need a different array of cymbals as compared to the jazz drummers. For beginners, it is really difficult to decide which cymbals are best. It is important to know about the different types of cymbals and get familiar with their finer details. With the best drum kits your cymbals will raise the bar of your performance.

drum cymbal types

Hi-Hat Cymbals

The hi-hat cymbals consist of two cymbals. They are mounted together and the drummer controls the pair using the pedal. The sound is mainly produced when the two cymbals collide. They are available in variable size from 12 inches to 15 inches. The size of the hi-hat cymbals doesn’t matter. Drummers choose cymbal size based on their preference. There are different patterns that can be used with the hi-hats. Some drummers play shuffle beat using the hi-hat cymbal. It involves two succession hits on the cymbal top. One hit is done while the hi-hat cymbals are closed and the other one while they are open.

Hi-hat cymbal

Ride Cymbals

The ride cymbal is one of the standard cymbals that are found in the drum kits. Due to the steady overriding pattern, the ride cymbals are named so. Normally, you will find these cymbals placed on the extreme right in the drum set. You will be surprised to know that the ride cymbals produce a sound similar to the hi-hat. The only exception lies in the open and close sound that only hi-hats can produce. Also, the ride cymbal is one of the biggest cymbals in the drum set. The meaning of the term ride is to ride with music. Although the cymbals are produced to serve a specific purpose. The drummers use other cymbals like china cymbal to add specialized tone to the ride cymbal sound.

Ride Cymbal

Crash Cymbals

For the drummers who love to produce loud or sharp sound, the crash cymbal is best. You can either use drumsticks to play the cymbals or use your hands. In a drum set, generally, one or two crash cymbals are used. The size of the crash cymbals mainly ranges between 8 and 24 inches. You can also use customized crash cymbals with up to 28 inches of diameter. If the crash cymbal you are using is clean then the sound will be crisper otherwise it will sound dull. Now, the ride cymbal takes up the right side so the crash cymbals are placed on the left.

crash cymbal

Splash Cymbals

Splash cymbals are the smallest cymbals found in the drum sets. Gene Krupa was the one who invented and named these cymbals in collaboration with the Avedis Zildjian Company. Earlier in the 1920s and 30s jazz drummers used to love playing it but eventually it lost its charm. It was only after the Stewart Copeland played these cymbals in The Police that these came back into action. Along with splash cymbals, the china cymbals are used as effects cymbals. The size range of splash cymbals is from 6 inches to 13 inches. With the growing popularity of the splash cymbals, there has been an introduction of a variety of them. You can choose from traditional splash to salsa splash.

splash cymbal

Sizzle Cymbals

A sizzle cymbal is the one that has rivets, chains, and other things added to modify the sound. There are holes bored in the cymbals so that these attachments can be added. The first effect that the sizzle cymbal has on the sound is it is sound becomes loud. In a way, the sound is dominated by the attachments. It loses the dynamic range. So we would recommend you to buy high-quality sizzle cymbals so that these disadvantages can be overcome. If we talk about the most common form of these cymbals then they are ones with rivets attached loosely. It depends on the type of sound that you want to produce how tightly the attachments will be fixed onto the ride cymbal.

sizzle cymbals

Drum Cymbals Manufacturing

For manufacturing the cymbals, molds are used. Once the raw metal is melted, it is poured into the circular molds. Castings go through the process of rolling, shaping, and hammering. All these steps are taken to build the readymade cymbals you get online.

There are two different methods that are commonly used to manufacture the cymbals. One is a cheaper one while the other one is expensive. The cheaper ones are cut from large metal sheets and do not sound as good as the expensive one. The expensive one has usually cast cymbals that sound more complex and improve with age.

Again, these cymbals can also be differentiated on the basis of hammering. The hammering could be done through hands or machine. The hand-hammered cymbals involve a craftsman who is skilled at hammering the cymbals. These sound darker, richer, and their sound varies from one cymbal to another. Alternatively, the machine hammered are brighter in tone and more or less sound similar.


We have shared the major types of cymbals available in the market. There are other forms too like finger and hand cymbals or china cymbals. You will need mainly the hi-hats and ride/crash ones in the beginning. Once you gain experience and knowledge about the drumming techniques and raise your creativity level it will be easy to make a choice. We have added a piece of additional information about the manufacturing of the cymbals. The drummer should be aware of each and every aspect of the drum set that’s why this section is added. The types of cymbals and their names given in the article might have cleared your doubt on which cymbals to choose. We hope you liked the information we have shared. In case, you have more information about the types of cymbals then feel free to write to us through comments.

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