This is my drum set cymbal recommendations. It is a list of the cymbals that I am currently using for “general” or “multipurpose” drum set applications. All are Zildjian cymbals. I have nothing against other cymbal manufacturers. It’s just that the first cymbals I bought were Zildjian and usually keep going back to them. I frequently will change cymbal configurations (just like I do drum sets) for various gigs. These are my current “go-to” cymbals.
K Zildjian 20″ K Custom Dark Ride
This is currently my main ride. Nice dark tone with enough stick articulation and wash. The bell is bright and controllable. Went with 20″ rather than 22″. The 22″ had too much wash for my taste and applications. This ride just sounds the way I think a ride cymbal should sound.
A Zildjian 19″ Armand “Beautiful Baby” Ride with 3 Rivets
This is my “left side” ride. Higher contrasting tone than K’s and rivets give it a smooth vintage sound. Works both as a light ride and crash. Great Jazz cymbal. This one doesn’t always make the gig if the band has 2 electric guitar players.
K Zildjian 18″ K Dark Crash Medium-Thin
I liked the overtones of the medium-thin over the thin. Dark musical sound. I sometimes move this to the left side, delete the 19″ A Zildjian Armand Ride and then add the 16″ K Dark Crash Thin. It too can serve as a light ride along with a solid crash.
K Zildjian 14″ K Mastersound Hi-Hats
I love a bottom hi-hat cymbal with ridges (potato chips too). These cymbals have a very clean and controllable “chick” sound which I want. I swear I could hold a band together with just these hi-hat cymbals. They have a great closed, open and splash sound.
Drum Set Cymbal Recommendations – Frequent Additions or Substitutions:
K Zildjian 16″ K Dark Crash Thin
I frequently substitute this cymbal for the 18″ K Dark Crash Medium-Thin crash when I eliminate the A Zildjian 19″ Armand Ride. Same great K Dark sound.
A Zildjian 22″ Swish Knocker with 20 Rivets
Such a cool cymbal. A very unique vintage sound that works well in a Big Band. I will add this cymbal as the far right side ride when I want added color. Very “trashy” crash and ride sound. Based on Mel Lewis’ version from the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra.
K Zildjian 12″ Splash
I want a “splash” sound but also a fast crash. Didn’t like the smaller size splashes unless it was for a specific genre. This one has a dark tone and works well for my needs. A hybrid splash-crash.
Recommended Cymbal Accessories
Cympad Optimizer Cymbal Washers These cymbal washers are made from a premium-quality cellular foam material and are a major improvement over conventional felt washers. Consistent in size and density, Optimizers provide superior cymbal suspension plus isolation from stands and mounting hardware — offering modern drummers a better sound and a natural, more comfortable feel in every drumming situation. 40mm in diameter with 8, 12 and 15mm heights for individual cymbals and stacks, Optimizer models also include a 3-piece set for hi-hats and an 18mm version for ride and larger crashes. The started pack has enough for hi-hat and the bottom of ride, 2 crash and splash. I then ordered CYMPAD Chromatics – 40/15mm High-quality foam cymbal washers in a choice of attractive colors for the tops.
You may want to view this youtube video: Cympad: Russ Miller Review