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Old 04-12-2012, 12:55 AM   #1
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Cymbal Setup, Suggestions?

I've been getting more advanced with my drumming and I want to up my game with my cymbals. I have a few that I want to replace but the ones I want to keep are my Sabian 17" AAXplosion China and Crash. I want new hi-hats, 20" crash and a 22" thin crash/ride. Anybody know of a good cymbal setup that would complement the ones I want to keep? I've researched but I don't have the experience to know which ones to get.

btw, I play a lot of prog-metal and jazz.

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Old 04-13-2012, 06:55 PM   #2
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Generally speaking, a "standard" cymbal set-up would be 14" hi-hats, a 16" crash, and a 21" ride.

There's been a trend over the last 10 years to play with thinner and smaller cymbals. I just can't get with that trend. I like big ass, loud, bombastic noise.

My standard cymbal set-up is medium gauge 14" hi-hats, a thick ass 17" crash, thick ass 18" crash, thick ass 19" crash, and a thick ass 21" ride. For me, 22" is too big and when hit hard, too prone to cracking. I've had that happen to me before.

For your set-up, I'd go with medium gauge 14" hi-hats to start. If you're really into the thin sound, try to keep the cymbals smaller. Large, thin cymbals tend to crack easier. For thin, I'd go with a 16" crash and 20" ride. A 21" or 22" thin ride is too big for a thin cymbal, based on my experiences.

Of course, it all depends on what style of music you're playing. If it's jazz, then, the thin cymbals are okay. You still need to keep them smaller, but thin is a good sound. If you're playing heavy metal, which I suspect you are, I just don't know if thin is what you really want. Moreover, like I said before, hit a thin cymbal hard enough repeatedly, and you'll need to buy new cymbals often.

If you want to go thicker, I'd still go with medium gauge 14" hi-hats but heavy gauge for all the rest. The 17" cymbals you have already are a really great sound. They're a medium thickness, which produce a generally versatile sound. Stick with those. I'd probably throw in an heavy gauge 18" crash, as well. Lastly, I'd get a heavy gauge 21" ride.

For my preferences, I prefer a 19" China, so maybe that's something else you could consider, in addition to the 17" you already have.

As far as brand goes, Sabian isn't half-bad, nor is Paiste. Personally, once I had money, I started buying hand-hammered Zildjians. You have to play more gently with hand-hammered, but the increase in sound quality is worth it, in my opinion. If you just like to beat the hell out of your cymbals, like I do often times, then machine-hammered are the way to go. I am highly partial to Zildjian for various reasons, but I've owned plenty of Sabian and Paiste cymbals, as well. None of them are half-bad.


Stupid me just read that you play lots of progressive metal and jazz. Obviously, I'm not paying attention very well today. LOL.

Nonetheless, don't buy thick cymbals like I suggested. Buy medium to thin. For jazz, Zildjian just can't be beat. Metal... it's debatable. For jazz, Zildian all the way, baby.

If you play mostly jazz:
I would buy 14" medium gauge hi-hats, a 16" thin or medium crash, and a 20" thin ride. Spend LOTS and LOTS of time in stores trying out the ride and hi-hats, but most especially the ride. These make or break a jazz drum sound. If you are willing to wait and save up the money, I'd go hand-hammered Zildjians all the way on everything I listed above.

If you play mostly prog-metal or an even mix of both:
I would buy 14" medium gauge hi-hats, a 16" medium crash, an 18" medium crash, and a 21" medium ride. Brand doesn't matter, but I might lean more towards Sabian or Paiste in this instance.

My background: I've played gigs in many different bands ranging a very wide variety of styles over the last 20 years. Mostly, however, I've played in jazz and country bands in front of some rather large crowds (1,000+). I've played in a few rock bands, but those don't generally pay (lol). My experiences are all based on playing live, rather than practicing in a bed room or playing in studio.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:06 AM   #3
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I had a set of 15" APX Solid Hats and a 22" APX Solid Ride and they are the .... for the price. Never can go wrong with AAXplosion China's either as well as HHX Evolution if you can bring yourself to drop the coin. Otherwise, a Zildjian K/Z Hat setup and a 21" Sweet Ride would treat you well, or some of the stuff from the Armand series. I had a retarded cymbal fetish, glad I got out of that one... $$$ :/

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Old 04-15-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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I would also recommend the Sabian HHX Evolution crashes. They are the best sounding crashes IMO. You can't go wrong with 14 inch AAX Stage hats, or the HHZ Stage hats.

My setup involves 13 inch HHX Evo hihats (primary), 14 inch AAX Stage hi-hat (secondary), 16 & 18 HHX evo crash, 2o inch zildian ride (to be upgraded) and a splash and max stax.

I recommend going to your local store and playing all the cymbals though, because everyone has their own tastes and see what you like (varies a lot between playing styles and genres).
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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on the sabian site, they have sound samples of all of their cymbals you could listen to. now i havent had to buy any cymbals for a few years now (knock on ....ing wood!!!) so im not sure of the new stuff thats out there. but i always liked most everything from the AAX series. they sound less like the B8 .... than most of the AAs but arent as pricey as the HH/HHX. for crashes you could look at the Fast crashes or the Stage crashes. i have a 16" Stage crash and it compliments my 17 aaxplosion cr pretty well. I imagine a 20" Stage would be pretty deep. the Studio and Dark crashes are also nice but are a bit on the thin side.

as for hats and ride, i really dont have a lot of suggestions. i have 14" HHX stage hats that are on the darker, drier side, and arent super tight. i like them for classic rock type stuff. i also have a 20" zildjian k custom dry ride and i love it. i think it would be great for jazz. i have to use my ping ride with my rock band since the dry ride gets easily lost in the mix, but for lower volume stuff, the definition of that dry ride can't be beat!

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Old 04-17-2012, 09:56 AM   #6
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do you have a budget concern?

I like my guitar tone like I like my women, perfect rounded bottom end, cut in the mid section, heavy on the top end, and super tight.

Omnium - Atmospheric/Trance/Ambient
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:14 AM   #7
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Don't know if they're available in the US, but check out Zultan. Their F5 series looks pants-creamingly awesome and sounds very nice, both for Metal and Jazz. And, they're relatively cheap!

I really dig this ride:

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