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Cymbal Buying Tips!

Ok so you finally saved up some dough working your 9-5 to blow on some drum gear, preferably cymbals. Here are some things you want to take to mind when going out there. Be careful It’s dangerous!

1) Bring Your Own Sticks!

- When you go to your local store bring your own sticks to use when you get there. You will be more comfortable with your own stick and the feel of the cymbal will be the same opposed to using different sticks and getting a misleading feel. Another reason to bring your own sticks is simple, cymbals sound different with different sticks! Especially Ride/Hi-Hats, where you strike the cymbal mainly with the head of the stick. Depending on what your stick is made of and what type of head it has (wood/nylon/rubber/ect) the cymbal will have different characteristics. Keep in mind that every cymbal is different!


- Much like swimming in a lake by yourself it is not a great idea to go out cymbal shopping solo. Take a friend. You need to be able to hear what your cymbal sounds like from a distance. Your cymbal you like might sound good right next to your face but 20-30 ft away it might sound horrible. When your done hitting the cymbal in a close proximity stand back a ways and have your friend hammer on it. Another perk is when your ears finally blow out from hitting all those cymbals you can borrow your friends. Just kidding.

3) Find What YOU LIKE!

-When you go out to buy cymbals make sure to ignore those annoying “commission” driven sales people, and find what you like even if its a cheaper cymbal than what is being fed down your throat, by the guy behind the counter.

4) Play every brand!

Every major name cymbal manufacturer (Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste ect) makes the same sort of cymbals. When you get there expect to spend some time playing around with each brands types. For instance, if your going to buy an 18 inch crash cymbal, check out each brand and listen to what you like. Not only will you find just a normal 18 inch crash but you will find variants on it. For example, the cymbal could be in a “brilliant finish” (zildjian A or it might be of a series that makes more dry crashes (zildjian K’s)

5) Bring Some of YOUR Brass!

If you already have cymbals bring a few to the store with you to compare them to what you might be buying. This is a great thing to do especially when upgrading, your ears will start to hear the better tonalities of newer cymbals (or older if your buying vintage!) compared to what you already own!


Again, buy what you Like. Develop your own style and sound. Don’t buy cymbals just because your friend/bandmate/sales person wants you too. Don’t stoop down to there level!!

7) Have FUN!

You’re buying some sweet new brass, have some fun with it! Beat them loud, Beat them soft! Have fun! And try not to spend to much in the process! All those shiny A Customs start to add up quickly ;)

About zildjianmatt

An avid drummer, educator and author on all things drums!

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