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Thread: Cymbal Pitch

  1. #1

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    Default Cymbal Pitch

    I'm going to throw this out there with my usual newbie disclaimer:

    Does anyone actually look for certain pitch(es) from their cymbals?
    And if so, is there any general way to tell how pitch will vary with size?

    I've been playing for less than 2 years but guitar for 20 and though I don't have perfect pitch, I hear the intervals between my cymbals. There is a fundamental and then there are distinct overtones (harmonics). The bell has its own pitch which contributes to the overtones even when you hit the bow...

    So I'm wondering in my newbish way if I should look for 2 crashes that are different enough in pitch (character and volume is another story) so that I get a major/minor third, 4th or whatever. Am I overthinking this? (...probably)

    Thanks for your input!
    Taye Tourperformer, PDP Hammered bronze snare, 15" Diril Primitive hats, 17" XPlosion, 10" duo splash, 15" Xtreme china, 22" HHX Omni, 7" cup chime, Yamaha 9415 w. Vickicks

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    This is something I really looked at when I was buying my crashes. I have 3 crashes and you can play Hot Cross Buns on them. I don’t know the exact notes but they’re at the right intervals. I don’t like my crashes to have too much of a pitch difference. For example, the difference between the 16”AAXplosion and the 18”AAXplosion is too great for me so I have an intermediate recording crash.
    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    There is intelligent life out there. The problem is that there isn't any here.

    -Mike

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    Thanks man, here's the background where I'm coming from:

    I want to replace my AAX Studio 15 & 18 only because they're not loud enough. I picked up a used 17" AAX-Plosion which is great but has a different signature obviously. Now I'm trying to find a matching cymbal, can't decide if I should go bigger/smaller and by how much? I'm probably going second-hand as new cymbals just cost too much here!
    Taye Tourperformer, PDP Hammered bronze snare, 15" Diril Primitive hats, 17" XPlosion, 10" duo splash, 15" Xtreme china, 22" HHX Omni, 7" cup chime, Yamaha 9415 w. Vickicks

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    Sure, diameter plays an obvious role.
    But so does weight (thickness).............also hammered or lathed ?

    I like my crashes to attack and decay quickly, but without sounding weak and tinny.
    Usually, this means I buy a thin (sometimes a medium-thin) crash of higher quality.
    I have always preferred the sound of crash cymbals in and around the 16-inch family.
    (A 16 classic "A" Zildjian crash sounds different from a same-sized "K" crash and an "A or K Custom" crash, etc.)
    I listen to 15-16-17 inch crashes of various weights to find what I like..........I don't look for a specific pitch.........and buying without hearing is not the best method.
    Last edited by Ricardo; 02-15-2018 at 12:06 PM.
    Gretsch USA & Zildjian
    (What Else Would I Ever Need ?)


  5. #5

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    I perceive cymbals as predominantly white noise. I guess you can sort of get a fundamental from the wash but that's masked while playing and I've never even thought about it. I choose my ride cymbals for the ping, stick definition/cut, over-all volume and quality of harmonious, or non-dissonant overtones. My crashes for quality of overall "bandwidth" and decay.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    This is why when I really like a cymbal I often try to keep the set the same series.
    I assume the company created the line with tone in mind to make them all cohesive.
    So for instance my Pork Pie kit uses the 14", 16", 18" XS Crash, and 16" o-xone and 18" China all in matching series
    And I feel the entire set flows very well together vs piecing a set together with mismatched cymbals and hoping they work together.

    The hi-hat and ride however are a little more personal touch. I like a drier ride than what the XS offers.
    Need something with more ping and bite to it.
    14pc Yamaha Maple Custom Vintage (24pc in total) | 12pc PDP X7 | 9pc Ludwig Jr. | 9pc Pork Pie ZebraWood | 7pc PDP Concept Maple Classic | 5pc Sonor International | 5pc Ddrum Dominion | 5pc Orbitone | 4pc Sonor Martini | 65 Snare drums and growing!

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    I'm on board with what Ricardo and Spaz said. I think there would be a definite and noticeable advantage to having your cymbals somewhat close to a pitch interval. There's so much involved with cymbal design that it would take some doing to piece it all together from different brands, styles, etc..
    I think if you stick with matched cymbal sets, or at least the same brand, series and weight so the only difference is diameter, they're gonna be about as close as you can get.
    My Wuhans are stupid cheap, but they're hand hammered B20. I have a 12",14",16" and 18"....all in medium weight (which is like thin crash compared to other brands). When I set them all up and play them in succession, they blend perfectly with each other. Same sound but different pitch. It's like playing the same guitar string and changing frets. If Wuhans are that way, then first-tier brands should be even better.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by SpazApproved View Post
    This is why when I really like a cymbal I often try to keep the set the same series.
    I assume the company created the line with tone in mind to make them all cohesive.
    So for instance my Pork Pie kit uses the 14", 16", 18" XS Crash, and 16" o-xone and 18" China all in matching series
    Need something with more ping and bite to it.
    Kinda disagree. I see cymbals as independant instruments. An awesome sounding cymbal is awesome regardless of size or the maker.

    To take your logical to it's natural conclusion...then to have a perfect sounding band, all the string instruments and amps should be one maker such as Gibson, Fender etc...

    After all, don't those companies design their instruments with a certain tone in mind?

    all the best...

    And I feel the entire set flows very well together vs piecing a set together with mismatched cymbals and hoping they work together.

    The hi-hat and ride however are a little more personal touch. I like a drier ride than what the XS offers.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by SpazApproved View Post
    This is why when I really like a cymbal I often try to keep the set the same series.
    I assume the company created the line with tone in mind to make them all cohesive.
    So for instance my Pork Pie kit uses the 14", 16", 18" XS Crash, and 16" o-xone and 18" China all in matching series
    Need something with more ping and bite to it.
    Kinda disagree. I see cymbals as independant instruments. An awesome sounding cymbal is awesome regardless of size or the maker.

    To take your logic to it's natural conclusion...then to have a perfect sounding band, all the string instruments and amps should be one maker such as Gibson, Fender etc...

    After all, don't those companies design their instruments with a certain tone in mind?

    all the best...

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    I'd expect nothing less from you Kay-Gee hahaha

    But I will say I have many times gone to the store and listened to cymbals and tested out everyone.
    Found the one I think sounds the best and fall in love.
    Then I get home and add it to my kit to find it just doesn't match the rest.
    That's happened a lot. Not to say that couldn't happen with a matching set though either.


    I was at a drum clinic with Todd Sucherman from Styx and he actually brought this up in his clinic.
    He chooses his cymbals and places them in order just like his toms. High to Low pitch
    He also says they all compliment each other and he played a song on them like FlyByNight said he did.
    14pc Yamaha Maple Custom Vintage (24pc in total) | 12pc PDP X7 | 9pc Ludwig Jr. | 9pc Pork Pie ZebraWood | 7pc PDP Concept Maple Classic | 5pc Sonor International | 5pc Ddrum Dominion | 5pc Orbitone | 4pc Sonor Martini | 65 Snare drums and growing!

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    I have a 17'' UFiP Bionic on my left over 14'' Bionic hats, a 19'' Zildjian Thrash Ride (used as a crash) on my right. On the far right there is an 18'' Bionic crash and a 21'' Zildjian Z Light Power Ride.

    This set up works and sounds pretty good for me.
    RED DIRT MOUNTAIN
    UFiP TAMAHA Zildjian
    REGAL TiP
    AQUARIAN

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    To suggest that a cymbal from a given manufacturer only sounds good with cymbals from the same manufacturer, and will blend with any of said manufacturer's cymbals, is pretty far fetched.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    All I can add is I love my Sabian XSR set. They really took my sound to another level.
    Six piece DW Design Series, Six piece Mapex Armory, Mapex Black Panther Blade and Mapex Exterminator drums, Sabian AAX cymbals


  14. #14

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    I don’t worry about it much. I am fortunate in that my 18” k custom dark crash is the sound in my head when I think of a crash cymbal, so I don’t really ever bother looking at other crashes. Unless I come across some Paper thin Cie’s. Because those are fantastic.
    "The chances of being attacked and killed by a terrorist are less than the chances of being attacked and killed by your own heart"
    Carrying the message to Garcia. Today and everyday.
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  15. #15

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    Well I just found a used 15" AAXPlosion to pair up with my 17", I'm anxious to see how it sounds, will try it after work tonight.

    The 17" AAXPlosion is louder than the Studios, no question. It sounds heavier and a little more busy harmonically, but all are very nice sounds to my ears. I can even hear the "autofocus" response Sabian advertises; the harmonics clean up when I lay into it (and it's very bright). I'm just going to keep whatever sounds nicest together and sell off the others.
    Taye Tourperformer, PDP Hammered bronze snare, 15" Diril Primitive hats, 17" XPlosion, 10" duo splash, 15" Xtreme china, 22" HHX Omni, 7" cup chime, Yamaha 9415 w. Vickicks

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Cymbal Pitch

    Ok, epic win for the 15"... I'm stoked because the 17" wasn't jiving with my Studios at all and the little brother matches perfectly. I could agree with some statements above but I'm old enough to know that I'm still too newish to make such claims. If I had to describe them, the AAXPlosions are simultaneously higher and lower than the AAX Studios. It sounds like a scooped EQ in a way, mainly because there is more presence/cut and the fundamental comes out more. I'd love to understand the physics behind this stuff...

    Anyway, the AAXPlosions retain a good low register when played soft which is not that different from the Studios. They sound more Rock when whacked hard and they focus on the higher "zing" where the presence/cut comes from. I'd say there is more dynamic range because of this. The Studios never change character much and seem more "vintage" or classic by comparison. The best part for me is that I now have a well-balanced set with the stage hats, Tri-Tone ride and 15" china. Very satisfied (for now)! Thanks for your input all
    Last edited by Natman; 02-19-2018 at 08:03 PM.
    Taye Tourperformer, PDP Hammered bronze snare, 15" Diril Primitive hats, 17" XPlosion, 10" duo splash, 15" Xtreme china, 22" HHX Omni, 7" cup chime, Yamaha 9415 w. Vickicks

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