Which cymbals do I need?

How Should You Choose Which Cymbals You Need?

How should you choose which cymbals you need? – Choosing the right cymbals for your drum kit depends on several factors including your musical style, personal preferences, budget, and the specific sound you’re aiming for. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right cymbals:

Identify your musical style:

Different genres of music often require different types of cymbals. For example, jazz drummers typically prefer thinner, darker cymbals with a more subtle sound (e.g., Zildjian’s Constantinople range on Amazon), while rock drummers might prefer thicker, louder cymbals with more sustain (e.g., Zildjian’s A Custom series, also on Amazon). 

Consider your playing environment:

Think about where you’ll be playing most often. If you’ll mainly be playing in small clubs or recording studios, you might want to choose cymbals that sound good at lower volumes. If you’ll be playing in larger venues or outdoor settings, you might need cymbals that can cut through the mix and project sound more effectively.


Cymbals can vary widely in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when making your selection. While higher-end cymbals often have better sound quality and durability, there are also plenty of more affordable options available that still sound great. Try out the Zildjian I Family series on Amazon.

Start with the essentials:

At a minimum, you’ll need a hi-hat, a ride cymbal, and at least one crash cymbal. These are the basic cymbals that every drummer should have in their kit. Once you have these essentials, you can consider adding additional cymbals like splashes, china cymbals, or effects cymbals to expand your sound palette.

Listen and compare:

Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to listen to different cymbals in person if possible. Visit a music store and try out different cymbals to see which ones you like the sound of best. Pay attention to factors like brightness, sustain, and volume.

Consider cymbal material and construction:

Cymbals are typically made from bronze, with different alloys and manufacturing processes producing different sounds. B20 bronze is considered the standard for high-quality cymbals, but there are also other alloys like B8 and B10 that are used in more affordable cymbals. Additionally, cymbals can be hand-hammered or machine-made, with hand-hammered cymbals often having a more complex and nuanced sound.

B20 bronze is a specific alloy commonly used in the manufacturing of high-quality cymbals. It is composed of approximately 80% copper and 20% tin, with trace amounts of other metals such as silver. This particular alloy is highly regarded in the world of cymbal making for its tonal qualities and durability.

Think about versatility:

Ideally, you want cymbals that can handle a variety of playing styles and musical situations. Look for cymbals that have a balanced sound and good versatility, so you can use them in a wide range of musical contexts.

Experiment and personalise:

Ultimately, the best way to choose cymbals is to experiment and find what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different cymbals from different manufacturers to create your own unique sound. And remember, your preferences may change over time, so don’t be afraid to continue experimenting and evolving your cymbal setup.

And Finally...

It’s always great to hear your feedback. If you found this information helpful, please leave a comment below. Visit the Leicester Drum School Shop for all your drum related t-shirt and mug needs!

Online lessons available from: training.leicesterdrumschool.co.uk

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