To Crash-Ride Or Not to Crash-Ride

by Omar on February 10, 2009

in Education, Product Review

I’m starting to evaluate my cymbals to see which direction I want to go.  Currently, my cymbals consist of the Sabian B8 series, except for my splash, which is an Xs20.  I have the following:

  • 10” splash
  • 14” hi-hats
  • 15” crash
  • 18” crash/ride

What do I think of them?  Well, I got the whole set for a great price (to be revealed, but not today!).  It was to build my initial kit, and I was mainly looking for a brand I recognized and trusted, at a bargain price.  All of the cymbals listed above were included.  Here’s what I think of them:

  • 10” splash (Xs20) – I really like this cymbal.  I was looking to get a splash, but not initially.  So this cymbal was a bonus, and an Xs20 to boot!  My preference would be an 8”, because they are higher pitched and tend to decay more quickly, which are qualities that I like in a splash; but this cymbal is more than adequate.  The 8” is a comin’!
  • 14” hi-hats – They are ok, but they sound like what they are:  entry-level hi-hat cymbals.  I think I would lean towards 13” hats because of better articulation and definition.  These sound somewhat ‘noisy’ and a little out of control, but the latter may be due to the player, and not the cymbals!
  • 15” crash – This is my least favorite cymbal of the bunch.  To me, it sounds cheap.  Yes, it is an entry-level cymbal, but it’s a Sabian!  It’s almost like this cymbal wants to resist crashing – I have to hit it really hard for it to truly crash.  I’ve heard many cymbals this size that sound much better.

And now to the crux of the matter, the 18” crash/ride.

B8 Crash Ride 18”

Initially, I was very happy to have purchased this cymbal.  I was trying to save some money at the beginning, so I figured I had my other crash and my ride all set.  It wasn’t that simple, at least for me.

For me it’s difficult to play the cymbal as a dual personality cymbal.  I may be playing a song where the drummer plays the ride and china or the ride and crash alternately, and I have to play this on the same cymbal.  With the cymbal flailing all over the place, it is a certainty that I’m gonna miss some notes.  So I decided that I need a dedicated ride.

I am of the feeling that there are certain parts of the drum kit that should be of the same brand or line.  Examples are, well, the drums for one!  I think the toms and bass should be the same, brand and kind of wood.  Notice I said should.  There are always exceptions to this.  Although I do think that the drums should be of the same wood (birch, maple, whatever), you could get away with having all different brands, if you’re really willing to listen and pick and choose the sounds to your liking.  It’s much less work to just pick, say, the DW Pacific FS Series birch (that’s my kit!)

Although the bass drum could be different, I think the major exception to the above is the snare drum.  The snare drum to me is the most personal and versatile of all the drums, and you could change much of the dynamics of your sound just by changing the snare drum.  Of course there are other factors that affect the sound, beyond the scope of this discussion, but the snare is king in my eyes (more on that in another article).

But I digress.  This is about cymbals!  I think it’s a good idea to stick to the same line in your cymbals as well, for a uniform sound in your setup throughout.  HOWEVER, you have your specialty cymbals that you pick just because you like their sound, and you want to incorporate them in your setup.  I feel that way about the china cymbal.  I am so not ready to pick a china cymbal.  They are so diverse in size, loudness, trashiness, etc., well, I need more time!

I feel that way about the ride cymbal too.  It can be any brand from any line, as long is it sounds right to you.  But for me, I’ll be satisfied in staying with Sabian.  They have some great sounding rides.  So I went down to the Atlanta Pro Percussion shop in Smyrna, GA to check out some rides.  I wasn’t there to purchase, just to make my decision more difficult for when I do!  After checking out a few (actually, many) of the rides, there were three that particularly caught my eye:

I like a ride to be very “ping-y”; you’d have to strike it really hard for it to have somewhat of a sustain.  The above rides are pingy, much to my liking.  The AAX is a good all-around cymbal that has good articulation, and strikes a nice balance with the sound of its bell and bow.

I really like the HH because the response of the stick is incredible, the bell sounds great, and the cymbal looks awesome.  I’d like to have all these nice, shiny cymbals, and hovering near my floor tom, the ominous HH Raw Bell Dry Ride.

And then there’s the Paragon.  Now really, you can’t really go wrong with any of the Paragon’s.  Maybe it’s because Mr. Peart is my reference drummer.  I’ve always loved all of his sounds.  They seem so deliberately selected, and this ride is no exception.  This cymbal can do it all, the bell and bow sound so good, it’s a versatile cymbal – I can’t say enough about it.  I trust this cymbal.

Well, the bottom line is, I’d be happy with any of these.  We’ll see what deal I can get when the time comes, and I’ll tell you all about it.

The B8 18” crash/ride?  Oh I’ll still have it.  Although my B8 hi-hats and 15” crash may eventually be replaced, I do like the 18” as a crash only cymbal.  There are some drummers who when they ride their cymbal it sounds very washy, almost crashy, such as Alan White or Alex Van Halen, for example.

For those cases, I can ride those songs with my crash/ride.  So I’ll probably keep it in the vicinity of the dedicated ride, whichever it ends up being.

But in the meantime, I’m rockin’ with my crash/ride, and the rest of my ensemble.  Hey, it still sounds pretty good!  So I play on.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Drum Kits June 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Very well written post however, I would recommend that you turn the No Follow off in your comment section.

Keep up the good work.


Ron K March 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm

good choices on the ride. 1 ride you may want to look at is a Zildjian 22″ Ping ride. As you may already know, Neil used that ride for many years. I too am looking for a new ride and hats. i have a 22″ sabian B8 pro rock ride and i hate it. Hit it once and it sustains FOREVER! My hats are 14″ B8 pros also….hate them too! I have narrowed my ride down to the Paragon or the Ping. As for hats 13″ Paragon or New Beats. Good luck on your search and please keep us updated on your purchase


Omar March 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Hi Ron K.

Thanks very much for the input. I will definitely let everyone know whenever I make any changes to my equipment. Also, let us know what you get!


0xRAIN March 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Hey, its 0xRAIN from FDL. this did help me out some with my ride cymbal problems, I like that dry ride you linked to. thanks.


Omar March 14, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Hi 0xRAIN.

You’re very welcome! If there’s anything else you’d like to see here, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Glad I could assist!


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