/ / 27 Best Cymbals 2021 For Rock, Worship, Recording & More (Heavy Hitters Considered)

27 Best Cymbals 2021 For Rock, Worship, Recording & More (Heavy Hitters Considered)

Best Cymbals For Rock And Metal Music

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With so many options out there, how exactly do you choose the right cymbals?

One thing we know for sure is that drummers need cymbals, and some are even in search of the “ultimate” cymbals that offer the rich, warm and cutting tone they desire.

Here’s the good news – in this guide, we’ve slotted the best cymbals under different categories so you can find what you’re looking for fast.

So, let’s look at the best cymbals for rock, worship, recording and more.

Simply open the contents table below to be taken to the type of cymbals you want to compare.

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Best Cymbal Packs/Set

As you develop a taste for the cymbals you like, you’ll probably end up mixing and matching to flesh out your kit.

Until then, one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get started is with a cymbal pack or cymbal set.

When you buy a cymbal pack, you get a combination of the most common cymbals (usually four to five total) in one convenient bundle.

Whether it’s Sabian, Zildjian, Paiste or otherwise, the most reputable brands in drum cymbals offer cymbal packs, making it easy for you to get started.

So, here are some of the best cymbal sets on the market.

Sabian Cymbal Variety Package (SBR5003G)

Sabian Cymbal Variety Package (SBR5003G)

Sabian is on the of the most recognized brands when it comes to drum cymbals, and to that extent, it’s fair to say they offer great products.

The Sabian cymbal variety package comes with SBr 14” hi-hats, 16” crash, 20” ride and a 10” splash.

These cymbals feature a hand-guided hammering system and offer a unique sound and character.

Per Sabian, these cymbals are well suited to the basic needs of beginners, and the SBr series is a significant upgrade over the OEM cymbals that typically ship with starter kits.

With large-peen hammering and pinpoint lathing – the same processes Sabian applies to their more expensive bronze cymbals – these are sure to look and feel the part of a pricier set.

Positive reviewers love the bright, quality sound of these cymbals. There isn’t much by way of complaints with much substance.

The Sabian kit is quality.

Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Pack With Hihats, Ride, Crashes, China And Splash (HCS-SCS)

Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Pack With Hihats, Ride, Crashes, China And Splash (HCS-SCS)

The Meinl HCS Super Set comes with a 14” hi hat pair, 20” ride, 16” crash, 18” crash, 16” china and a 10” crash.

So, with this set, you get all the basics you need to get up and running.

The German-made cymbals are composed of durable brass alloy and were crafted in Germany. The HCS line offers a responsive touch and a bright, quality sound. These cymbals are also sufficiently durable.

This pack makes it easy for you to try out different cymbal positions until you work out what’s most comfortable for you.

It also comes with a two-year Meinl manufacturer’s warranty.

Positive reviewers liked the tone of these cymbals, even if they were experienced players. Some users didn’t like the sound quality though, so there's no consensus on this.

We still think the Meinl pack is worth a look.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 13/14/18 Cymbal Set

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 13/14/18 Cymbal Set

For those in need of quieter than normal cymbals, we have the Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbal set.

Per Zildjian, these cymbals are 70 to 80% quieter than traditional cymbals. If you want to keep the volume down at your rehearsals, late-night practices, low volume gigs, lesson rooms or maybe even for church services, you could have a look at these.

The cymbals can be played with sticks, mallets or brushes and feature a proprietary manufacturing and specialized alloy.

Zildjian also offers a two-year warranty against manufacturing flaws and the cymbals are cost-efficient besides.

There are plenty of positive reviews for the L80 set, and reportedly their promise of being low volume holds true. Some critical reviewers noted they were too quiet though.

Zildjian is another noteworthy cymbal brand, so even if these cymbals aren’t to your liking, you’re sure to find others on this list that might be.

Paiste PST8 Reflector Rock Set

Paiste PST8 Reflector Rock Set

The Paiste PST8 Reflector Rock set comes with a 14” rock hi-hat, 18” rock crash, 20” rock ride and a free 16” rock crash.

These cymbals feature Paiste’s proprietary Reflector finish and sound good, all at a reasonable price point.

Buyers loved the Paiste cymbals and even noted they are a great choice for beginners.

Best Cymbals For Recording

The best cymbals for recording are generally those that offer the best tone overall.

And, usually, the cymbals that offer the best tones are those that cost more.

This isn’t always the case, of course, and sometimes cheaper cymbals do the trick. It depends a lot on the drummer too, because an awesome drummer can make a cheaper kit sound awesome.

Plus, preferences can vary a lot from drummer to drummer.

To that end, you could explore other cymbals on this list and choose what you would feel most comfortable and confident recording with.

So, while there isn’t one “right” answer here, let’s look at several quality cymbals that might be just what you’re looking for.

Meinl Cymbals 17”/18” Double Down Stack, Matt Halpern Byzance Signature – Artist Concept Series

Meinl Cymbals 17”/18” Double Down Stack, Matt Halpern Byzance Signature – Artist Concept Series

Though expensive, you’d be hard pressed to do much better than a signature series cymbal in the studio.

The Meinl Cymbals Matt Halpern Byzance Signature double down stack was hand hammered by artisans in Turkey from B20 Bronze Alloy.

The cymbals, not surprisingly, were developed in collaboration with Periphery’s Matt Halpern.

This stack is comprised of a 17” crash and 18” china, both with a dark hammered side and a bright lathed side.

You can try stacking them in a variety of configurations to achieve your preferred outcome.

The cymbals' biting attack make them perfect for syncopated grooves and assertive accents.

Buyers loved that the cymbal was just as advertised but beware – if you’re not a huge fan of Halpern’s sound, you may want to look elsewhere. Always worth checking the video demos just to be sure.

Paiste Signature Cymbal Blue Bell Ride 22”

Paiste Signature Cymbal Blue Bell Ride 22”

The cool-looking Paiste signature blue bell ride cymbal is made from proprietary signature bronze and was handcrafted by highly skilled Swiss sound concepts.

Quieter than some cymbals, this ride offers soft to medium loud settings for both on stage use and in the studio.

Manufacturer claims it’s ideal for jazz, blues, swing, big band, country, funk, reggae, R&B, soul, pop, modern rock, classic or modern. So, basically everything (you be the judge).

Buyers loved the cymbal and noted that it offered a dry and pingy tone.

Meinl Cymbals B14EQH 14” Equilibrium Hi Hat, Matt Garstka Signature – Byzance Vintage

Meinl Cymbals B14EQH 14” Equilibrium Hi Hat, Matt Garstka Signature – Byzance Vintage

The impressive looking Meinl Cymbals B14EQH was hand hammered into shape in Turkey from B20 bronze alloy.

This Matt Garstka (of Animals as Leaders) signature series hi hat was developed in collaboration with Matt Garstka himself.

It features a multiple surface methodical finish, which gives it a bright attack and dry wash. This balanced sound, as Meinl offers, is what “Equilibrium” refers to.

Most drummers love the Equilibrium hi hat, which gives it a distinctive, professional sound.

Paiste Signature Series Dark Energy MKI Hi-Hat Cymbal Pair 14”

Paiste Signature Series Dark Energy MKI Hi-Hat Cymbal Pair 14”

The Paiste Dark Energy MKI hi-hat pair features a medium-thin top and extra-heavy bottom with full, rich, energetic and dark tones (as the name would suggest).

It offers a balanced, responsive feel with a pronounced and crisp stick response. It’s both lively and crisp.

This versatile hi hat is a favorite among drummers who aren’t afraid to spend a little more. Some even say this pair is great for just about any application.

Sounds like a winning choice for the studio to me!

Best Cymbals For Rock

To get an idea of what kind of cymbals work well for rock, all you need to do is listen to popular rock music.

Listen widely, because you will probably hear different things.

Here’s a quick analysis of the Foo Fighters’ sound (though you may not entirely agree with my analysis) – warm and full-bodied hi-hat, bell-like ride, warm and mellow crash and splash.

Here’s a quick analysis of the King’s X sound – thin and bright hi-hat, bright crash and splash.

This is going to depend a lot on the mix you're listening to, obviously, as you can do a lot with tone in post-production.

But the idea is to move in a direction that feels good to you. Whether on stage or in the studio, it's much easier to start with a cymbal that closely matches the result you want instead of trying to get the engineer to dial in the tone you want later.

In general, as a rocker, I would look for cymbals with some cut, to ensure they can be heard.

In a smaller band (like a power trio), however, no one’s competing for the same frequency range with your cymbals, so you don’t have too much to worry about.

Here are some great cymbals for rock music.

Zildjian 16” S Rock Crash Cymbal

Zildjian 16” S Rock Crash Cymbal

The Zildjian 16” rock crash is a good solution for the semi-pro/pro musician.

This crash was made with B12 Alloy (88% Copper, 12% Tin) for balanced frequencies. It comes with top-bottom lathing, extensive hammering for dialed-in sonic response at any dynamic range and a brilliant finish that gives it a bright, shimmery tone.

Most buyers found the Zildjian to be versatile and worth the money. Negative reviews are basically negligible.

Zildjian 22” S Rock Ride Cymbal

Zildjian 22” S Rock Ride Cymbal

The Zildjian 22” S rock ride cymbal was made with B12 Alloy (88% Coper, 12% Tin) for a balanced tone.

If features top-bottom lathing for weight, feel and sound. Extensive hammering gives it the dialed-in sonic response through all frequency ranges. Of course, it features a brilliant finish too.

Many reviewers loved the sound of this cymbal. And, there aren’t any major downsides to speak of.

Sabian AA 14” Rock Hi-Hat Cymbals, Brilliant Finish

Sabian AA 14” Rock Hi-Hat Cymbals, Brilliant Finish

The Sabian AA 14” rock hi-hat offers both power and penetration for louder musical genres. The rugged build can handle heavy sticking.

Tone wise, you’ll get bright sounds for hard rock and other louder musical styles.

And, it’s protected by Sabian’s two-year warranty.

Buyers loved the clean sound of this Sabian cymbal pair.

Best Cymbals For Metal

Just so you know, rock cymbals can also work great for metal.

But in addition to cymbals that cut through the mix (you might even want to look for cymbals with added high end), many metal players like to outfit their kits with trashy cymbals.

This can give you that extra edge you need for heavy choruses and over the top breakdowns.

So, here are some of our top picks for metal drummers, as recommended by real metal drummers.

Zildjian 18” Oriental China Trash

Zildjian 18” Oriental China Trash

The Zildjian 18” Oriental china trash offers an authentic trashy Chinese sound with a fast, explosive response and quick decay.

Its construction features a Copper Tin ratio of 80/20 and a brilliant finish.

For those times when you need a trashy breakdown, this might be a good cymbal to pick up.

Most buyers loved that this cymbal was just as advertised and negative reviews are few and far between.

Paiste 2002 Classic Cymbal Sound Edge Pair Hi-Hat 14-inch

Paiste 2002 Classic Cymbal Sound Edge Pair Hi-Hat 14-inch

The Paiste 2002 classic cymbal Sound Edge 14” hi-hat pair is made of CuSn8 Bronze (2002 Bronze).

This hi-hat would work well for medium soft to loud settings both live and in the studio. Paiste claims it works well for most genres, including classic rock, blues, punk, hard rock, metal, country rock, ska, rockabilly, funk, R&B, soul and gospel.

Overall, it offers powerful projection with brilliant, clear and warm tones.

This certainly isn’t a cheap cymbal pair, but there are no negative reviews for it. Buyers loved the power, response, sustain and versatility. Some even said these are the best hi-hats ever.

Metal or otherwise, you probably can’t go wrong with the Paiste hi-hat.

Zildjian K Custom 20” Dark Ride Cymbal

Zildjian K Custom 20” Dark Ride Cymbal

The Zildjian K Custom 20” dark ride cymbal comes with excellent stick definition, a dry, full-bodied stick sound, dark and warm undertones, trashy crash and traditional 80/20 Copper-Tin ratio.

This is basically a crash-ride hybrid cymbal.

Some customers called the K Custom the best ride ever. Others said it was good for jazz and funk.

Some reviewers didn’t like its tone, but they seem to be in the minority.

For many metal drummers, the Zildjian K Custom and A Custom cymbals are old standbys.

Speaking of which…

Zildjian A Custom 16” Crash Cymbal

Zildjian A Custom 16” Crash Cymbal

The Zildjian A Custom 16” crash cymbal offers a natural and bright middle of the road tone. It comes with warm undertones and speaks easily. Of course, it features a Copper Tin ratio of 80/20.

The A Custom crash comes in 14”, 15”, 16”, 17”, 18”, 19” and 20” depending on what you’re looking for. Nice to know for drummers who like to pick and choose their ideal setup.

The cymbal features modern rotary hammering, fine pattern of narrow symmetrical groove lathing and an all brilliant finish.

Many buyers liked the sound of this cymbal and some even said it was their favorite cymbal overall.

There’s nothing notable in terms of negative reviews, making the Zildjian A Custom a must-see.

Best Cymbals For Worship/Church

Playing in a church environment can be a little different from playing a bar gig.

Drummers are sometimes placed behind plexiglass cages or relegated to electronic kits so the volume can be controlled.

This isn’t to say there aren’t also worship events where drummers play all out on what one would likely consider a rock kit.

Still, there can be some special considerations in a church environment, whether it’s volume, tone, versatility or otherwise.

A lot of drummers that play in church environments like using thin cymbals, and the products that follow reflect this.

Zildjian 16” S Thin Crash Cymbal

Zildjian 16” S Thin Crash Cymbal

The Zildjian S Thin crash cymbal is available in 14”, 15”, 16”, 17”, 18” and 20” configurations.

This is good news, since you can go smaller if you want less volume. The fact that it’s thin will already help with this though.

This crash cymbal was designed for semi-professional/professional use.

It’s made up of B12 Alloy (88% Copper, 12% Tin) for balanced frequencies.

It also comes with top-bottom lathing crafted for weight, feel and sound, extensive hammering for dialed-in sonic response and a brilliant finish for a bright, shimmery tone.

Sabian 16” Quiet Tone Crash

Sabian 16” Quiet Tone Crash

The Sabian 16” Quiet Tone crash was designed with practice in mind. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t work for quieter worship scenarios too, though.

The solid bell sounds pronounced and true to life. The bow/edge are responsive and it gives this crash a traditional cymbal feel.

The cymbal itself is made of tough, durable metal alloy.

Buyers loved the Sabian product, so it’s worth a look.

Agean Cymbals Silent R-Series Low Volume Cymbal Pack Box Set

Agean Cymbals Silent R-Series Low Volume Cymbal Pack Box Set

The Agean low volume cymbal pack might not be cheap, but for low volume scenarios, it would give you everything you need in one convenient package.

The set includes the 14” hi-hat, 16” crash, 18” crash, 20” ride and a cymbal bag.

These R series cymbals were handmade with B20 in Istanbul, Turkey. The holes in the cymbals are meticulously hand drilled one at a time for rich and clear tones, even at lower volume levels.

In addition to practice, you can use these cymbals for smaller gigs.

You won’t find any complaints for this AGEAN cymbal pack. Reportedly, they have a trashy, china cymbal type tone.

Best Cymbals For Beginners

What constitutes a good beginner cymbal?

Generally, one that doesn’t cost too much and gives you a bit of instant gratification.

This isn’t to say that cheap cymbals are always best for beginners – far from it.

The reason cheap anything is good for anyone is because it gives you a chance to try things out before you’re heavily invested into your hobby or would-be career (you might have a long journey ahead of you if you want to become a pro).

So, here are some great beginner cymbals to check out.

Meinl 16” Trash Crash Cymbal With Holes – HCS Traditional Finish Brass For Drum Set (HCS16TRC)

Meinl 16” Trash Crash Cymbal With Holes – HCS Traditional Finish Brass For Drum Set (HCS16TRC)

The German-made Meinl 16” Trash Crash cymbal offers a dry tone thanks to the specialty cut holes. This gives the cymbal a trashy quality and a shorter sustain, making it ideal for crash riding and accenting fills.

The HCS cymbals are designed with beginners and students in mind and are made with a durable brass alloy. So, it should hold up to some abuse.

Meinl suggests you can use this crash for any style of playing and you can even stack it on top of another cymbal for unique tonal combinations.

You also get an official two-year Meinl warranty.

Most reviewers loved the crash and some even said they were blown away with the results.

Some users said it was “just okay” but at this price point, you certainly can’t expect the cymbal to sound like a million bucks.

Zildjian Planet Z 16” Crash Cymbal

Zildjian Planet Z 16” Crash Cymbal

One thing’s for sure – the Zildjian Planet Z 16” crash cymbal is affordable. It’s available in 10”, 16”, 18” and 20” configurations. It laso comes with clean stick definition on top for focused underlying tones.

The bell can be used for accents and patterns. The outer edge can give you a more washy, high-volume sound. This makes the cymbal kind of versatile. Overall, it will give you bright, responsive sounds.

Positive reviewers found this cymbal to be highly usable across a variety of genres. Plus, it can take a beating.

Some reviewers didn’t find it to be as durable as advertised and others weren’t crazy about the sound.

Again, it probably depends on what your expectations are at this price point.

WUHAN WU457 Hi-Hat Cymbals Pack

WUHAN WU457 Hi-Hat Cymbals Pack

The WUHAN cymbals pack comes at a more than reasonable price point and comes with the hand hammered, matched 14” hi hats, 16” crash and 20” ride.

These 457 series Wuhan cymbals were designed with looks, price, sound quality and durability in mind. It sounds like they were looking to best their competitors in the beginner cymbal arena.

These cymbals are comprised of 92% copper and 8% tin and a brilliant finish.

Many buyers were impressed with the quality of the Wuhan cymbals. Some buyers said they are only good for beginners, but that seems implicit.

Best Cymbals For Heavy Hitters

Some drummers just like to hit hard.

Some drummers naturally hit hard.

This isn’t right or wrong.

As ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl himself has said, in his early days, he was just focused on “beating the crap” out of his drumkit (which isn’t to say he doesn’t still do that when he plays drums).

Of course, if you’re a heavy hitter (and/or you’re using sticks made of sturdier materials), it’s worth putting some money towards cymbals that can hold up to the abuse.

It might sound crazy, but cymbals truly can break, and I’ve even seen it with my own eyes.

So, if you’re a heavy hitter, you should consider investing in the cymbals that follow (and others matched to your needs).

Meinl CC19EMC-B 19” Crash Cymbal – Classics Custom Extreme Metal

Meinl CC19EMC-B 19” Crash Cymbal – Classics Custom Extreme Metal

The Meinl CC19EMC-B crash offers crystal clear projection, cutting attack, explosive sound and emphatic accents.

This precise and powerful cymbal was built with aggressive music in mind, giving you explosive headroom.

It comes with a brilliant finish, B10 alloy, heavily hammered and lathed.

Meinl offers a two-year warranty, so you know they stand behind the quality of their products.

Users seem a little split on the cymbal’s sound, but most still ended up liking it. Some said it wasn’t what they were expecting, so it’s worth checking out some video demos before committing.

Meinl CC18EMCH-B 18” China Cymbal – Classics Custom Extreme Metal

Meinl CC18EMCH-B 18” China Cymbal – Classics Custom Extreme Metal

The Meinl CC18EMCH-B china is obviously another heavy hitting cymbal in the Classics Custom Extreme Metal series of cymbals.

It comes with many of the same features the crash offers, but here’s the lowdown anyway:

You get an aggressive sound with a quick, biting attack. That makes it great for crash riding.

It was made specifically for aggressive styles of music and was made with B10 alloy, heavily hammered and lathed with a brilliant finish. That gives you a bright and fierce tone and gritty attack.

Of course, the Meinl two-year warranty is a given.

Buyers loved the deep, loud and trashy cymbal overall. Negative users didn’t like its sound.

Make sure you know what you’re buying. This isn’t your average china. It was designed for heavy music, which is generally going to make its tone brash, bright and cutting.

Stagg BM-HR10 10” Black Metal Rock Hi-Hat Cymbals

Stagg BM-HR10 10” Black Metal Rock Hi-Hat Cymbals

If you’re looking for something small and sturdy with a unique, versatile and thick sound, then you’ll love the Stagg BM-HR10 hi-hats.

These heavy cymbals were made with B20 Alloy and measure 10” in diameter.

Customers loved these Stagg hi-hats for reasons already noted – they’re rugged, they have a heavy tone, they look cool and they’re affordably priced besides.

There aren’t any negative reviews for these to speak of, so you probably can’t go wrong with the Stagg pair.

Best Cymbals For The Money

For those who want something quality but can’t afford to spend an arm and a leg, we have budget cymbals.

Budget cymbals are affordable by design. And, you can get decent cymbals at this price point.

Just don't expect too much. You're not going to get a stellar cymbal for less than average.

Either way, in this category, you will find several cymbals that we think are good for the money.

Stagg SH-SM8R 8-Inch SH Medium Splash Cymbal

Stagg SH-SM8R 8-Inch SH Medium Splash Cymbal

The Stagg SH-SM8R 8” medium splash cymbal certainly is affordable. It features a B20 Alloy construction and weights a little under two pounds.

Most buyers found this cymbal to be highly accessible and great value for the money.

Foraineam 8” Splash Cymbal

Foraineam 8” Splash Cymbal

You certainly can’t argue with the price of the Foraineam 8” thin splash cymbal, which offers a bright and cutting response for crisp, quick and punchy accents.

The cymbal has been crafted from durable brass alloy. This cymbal is a great choice for children, students and beginners and it can be used for any style of music.

The cymbal can be placed anywhere on your kit depending on your preferences and needs.

Reviewers found the Foraineam perfect for kids, and noted it has decent sound for the price.

The cymbal does have mixed reviews, of course, with some saying it was thicker than expected. Some didn’t like the tone either.

You certainly get what you pay for, and to that extent, this cymbal is not half bad.

Kuyal 16” Crash Cymbal

Kuyal 16” Crash Cymbal

The Kuyal 16” crash cymbal offers a bright crash sound. It’s made of high-quality copper alloy and has been designed with beginners and student in mind.

Buyers thought the Kuyal cymbal was “decent” and even clean. Overall, there’s not much by way of constructive negative reviews.

What Should I Look For In Cymbals?

Best Cymbals For Your Drum Kit

The best drummers in the world will make even the cheapest sounding kit and cymbals sound like a dream.

With that in mind, the better you get as a drummer, the more you’ll begin to see what a difference the right gear can make.

As a beginner, you might not notice much of a difference between different cymbals, but as you gain more experience, you will start to hear the difference.

But in this guide, I know I’m talking to a broad range of buyers, so I’ll do my best to offer helpful suggestions for absolute beginners as well as more advanced players.

Here are the main criteria we should all consider when shopping for cymbals:

  • Tone
  • Durability/reliability
  • Versatility
  • Cost-efficiency

We’ll be looking at each of these factors below, so read on for additional insight.

Awesome Tone – Cymbals You Enjoy & Have Fun Playing With

If you haven’t already discovered this, you soon will – cymbals sound different depending on their construction, build materials, weight and more.

I know, it’s mind-blowing, right?

But there’s a reason some cymbals cost more than others. It’s because they offer more in terms of quality overall, whether it’s sound quality, tone, versatility or otherwise.

And, while spending more is generally a better strategy for getting a sound you like, it isn’t all about price. Skill certainly plays a part.

Further, different brands offer different models that are constructed differently with different methods and may even be priced differently depending on the brand’s strategy.

So, it’s okay to take your time looking for your ideal cymbal combination. Most of the time, it only comes together through much trial and error experience.

If you don’t know what you’re doing yet, then it’s probably best to start with a catch-all beginner cymbal pack, which you can find towards the beginning of this guide.

Cymbal packs are generally good quality and come with everything you need to get started. If you’ve got four to five cymbals, you’re ready to go. For some drummers, one or two is enough.

So, if you’re not in a hurry, ask around. Go to the instrument store and try out a few cymbals. Watch online reviews. You’ll thank me for it later.

Durability – Cymbals That Hold Up To Many Uses

In this guide, we’ve attempted to include some “heavy hitter” cymbals. So, if you tend to hit your cymbals with everything you’ve got, these should hold up to some abuse.

This is not a guarantee, however, and it depends entirely on how hard you hit.

Additionally, while you may not be sore when your $40 crash bites the dust, you might be upset when your $300 hi-hat pair breaks on you in the middle of a rehearsal or a show. That’s understandable.

If you find you’re constantly breaking cymbals no matter what you use, then you might want to consider changing your technique a little.

Drums are naturally loud, even when there aren’t any mics on them. Likewise, your cymbals probably offer plenty of volume, unless you’ve gone with the low volume ones (and, you would only do that for specific uses).

I’m a guitarist myself (though I'll hop on the kit from time to time), and I’ve played next to drummers with irritatingly piercing cymbals. It was the worst experience ever.

I generally play with earplugs live, but if I happened to forget my ear plugs on a gig night, I was hooped. I hated that.

All this to say your band members are going to need to invest in gear to keep up with the volume of your drumkit to begin with. Your bass player and guitarist are going to need amps that are loud enough to compete.

So, is “heavy hitting” necessary? It’s a question worth asking.

Either way, we know you don’t want to spend $500 on a ride that breaks on you after a couple of uses. We hope we’ve been able to point you in the right direction (see the heavy hitters section above), but if in doubt, we’d suggest doing some additional research online.

Versatility – Cymbals That Give You Multiple Tones When You Need Them

Some cymbals are more versatile than others, giving you the ability to draw different tones out of them depending on where you hit them and how hard.

Not all drummers require versatile cymbals. Some hit just as softly or just as hard no matter what genre they’re playing. Arguably, this is just bad technique.

I think all drummers should learn how to drum dynamically, as it’s only going to add to the music in the bands they’re playing with.

Anyway, if you’re counting on a specific cymbal to sound a certain way when you hit it, it’s probably best to move away from versatile kit and towards something that does one thing well.

If you play genres with more sophistication and technical complexity like jazz, funk or reggae, then you will likely appreciate the finer nuances of a cymbal that can deliver multiple tones depending on what you need.

Cost-Efficiency – Cymbals That Give You What You Need For The Money

The main thing we want you to avoid here is spending money you don’t have or going into debt just to buy a cymbal.

We’d recommend settling for something you can afford for now or saving up for better kit if that’s what you prefer.

Cymbals can vary quite a bit in terms of cost, with products on this list ranging from about $8 to $500.

Interestingly, the cost of a single cymbal pack can cost just as much as a premium standalone cymbal.

But that also means if you bought five high quality cymbals, you could be spending as much as $2,500 or more.

So, please spend responsibly.

How Many Cymbals Do I Need For My Drum Set?

Honestly, there isn’t a required minimum or maximum.

Depending on the gig, your drumming style and skill level, you can get away with one or two cymbals – a crash-ride, or a crash-ride and hi hats.

So, if we were to set a minimum, it would be one or two.

Meanwhile, some drummers have experimented with 10, 20 or more cymbals on their kits. You can have as many as you want, but naturally, it’s impractical after a point.

The advantage of having many cymbals set up, of course, is that you can have all your favorite cymbals in one place, ready to use at your command.

But you can certainly reach a point of “enough already.”

And, it’s not exactly practical for regular gigging because of the sheer size and weight of gear you’d need to carry around. If you were planning to keep the kit set up at home or in a studio, that might be a different matter.

Smaller kits have grown in popularity for this very reason. They are much easier to carry from gig to gig, especially on tour. It makes setup and teardown so much easier and faster.

The bottom line is that skilled drummers can get a lot of leverage out of one or two cymbals, but for variety and flexibility, it’s nice to have four to five or more cymbals, whether you’re jamming, performing or recording.

Best Cymbals, Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, cymbals are highly individual.

What one player likes won’t necessarily be liked by another.

Even though cymbals kind of all look the same, they all offer a different tone.

And, each type of cymbal has its own purpose and role on a drumkit too.

So, take your time and experiment plenty.

If you can, rent a few cymbals from a music store and try them out.

As you begin to play more and more, you’ll start to find your perfect cymbal setup.

Happy shopping!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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