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Different Ways to Stack Your Cymbals

The way you stack your cymbals has a great effect on the quality of sound you get. This process requires knowledge of the diameter, thickness, and quality of cymbals when doing the adjustments. Below is a summary of how you can achieve quality sound from your cymbal set. 

Cymbal Sets 

The sound from the cymbals is very exciting; perhaps the most impressive from an entire set of drums. Hearing the crash of the cymbals catches the attention of everyone listening. This is why drummers are keen on the quality of sound coming from the cymbals. 

The crash of the cymbals is often used to mark the transition into a new part of a song. They can also be used to mark a musical passage or a dance number. The crash also accentuates the climax of a song. 

Stacking up cymbals can open up endless possibilities with the sound that is produced. For instance, adding a smaller cymbal to the top of a bigger one, while keeping the wingnut loose, produces a loud and trashy noise. Having hi hat cymbals produces a washy and lower-pitched sound.

  • High Hat Cymbals 

High hat cymbals usually sit on your left side. The two cymbals face each other and are attached to the stand that you play with a foot pedal. 

There are several factors you need to consider when you are stacking up high hats. 

  • The Diameter 

There are four sizes that are mainly available. This includes the 12, 13, 14, and 15 inches. The difference in sizes requires different playing techniques. The smaller sizes are brighter and generally more responsive to faster hits and are used for trickier rhythms. They need fancy footwork. The larger cymbals produce louder sounds that are washy. They work best when played in the semi-open and especially for rock music. 

  • Thickness 

More thickness results in a higher pitch, greater volume, and more vibrations. However, thicker cymbals have a slower build-up of overtones. Thinner top hats are convenient for semi-open locations. They produce a subtle “sizzle” sound compared to the unpleasant “clangy” sound produced by the thicker ones. In closed places, however, the thicker high hats produce an articulate sound. 

With the information above, you can stack up hi hats with a thicker bottom to a thinner top. This is the most common category. Another popular design is when high hats have ripped edges. The edges prevent airlock caused by opening and closing the cymbals with the foot pedal. 

Main Crash Cymbals 

When arranging your drum sets, the main crash cymbals should be arranged after the toms. This order will help you see where your sticks will be swinging when you are playing your toms. Once you find this position, try to position the first crash close enough, where it is easy to reach. The main crash should be slightly angled, at a height that you can easily reach. Proximity will make it easier to crash when you are playing a groove. 

The second crash can be quite tricky to set up. For this reason, it is advisable to invest in a boom cymbal stand, which will allow you to fine-tune your second crash according to your needs. Having the cymbal at the correct height will give your ease of motion, easy accessibility, and will reduce stress as you play. 

It’s advisable to mount the cymbals slightly inclined downwards to give you an excellent striking technique and promote resonance. Be careful not to put the cymbals too tight on the stand because it can choke the sound that is produced. Additionally, it can break the cymbals. The main crash should be allowed to have a full range of motion. 

Ride 

Rides are meant to play steady rhythmic patterns. They are most convenient for playing swing notes for jazz and blue or the 8th notes for rock and pop. Rides are mostly 20-22 inches in diameter. Their thickness is consistent between the taper and the bow. This design results in a “pingy” sound with a delicate wash and a strong attack. 

The ride should be mounted loosely to encourage full range motion, bringing out more resonance and character from the sound of the rides. A free ride also has an extended life span. Be careful not to tilt the cymbal too much as it will result in an extreme impact with the sticks. 

Splash and China 

While the splash and china are not a necessary part of your drum kit, you can use them to add a distinct signature sound to your playing.

Splash cymbals are quite small, 8- 12 inches, and their size result in a faster build-up and a quicker decay. Often, splash cymbals have no taper, which gives them strength. This also results in a high-frequency sound with little complexity. 

China cymbals, like the splash cymbals, have no taper. However, they produce an incredibly complex sound because they have upturned edges. They are available in a wide range of sizes, mostly about 18 inches. 

Stacking Up Several Cymbals 

To add flavor to your playing, you can take a China and add a small diameter with an inverted crash on top of it. Another arrangement would be to use crash cymbals as high hats. For this, you can use a bigger crash cymbal, about 18 inches. This will produce a sound that is different from your regular high hats. The sound will be great, high-pitched, and washy. These combinations can give a great identity to your play.  

Bottom Line 

In the end, all that matters is producing good music and enjoying yourself. You should, however, take caution to avoid injuries. Your drum set is going to change as you add or take away new gear. You should not worry about one specific arrangement. Experiment and try out various arrangements until you get the sound you are seeking. The arrangements above are just suggestions to help you improve your drumming through ergonomics. Have fun and continue playing well.