[Essay] A Better Ride Cymbal

I recently stumbled upon some old notes about my thoughts on drumming. And in this particular one, I was writing some notes on the ideal ride cymbal for Jazz.

Current Notes

Today, I think I am very close to owning my ideal Jazz ride with the 21″ Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Ride Cymbal. It has the definition and ping sound I’d been looking for, and the dryness and textures and overtones needed to give that ride cymbal it’s character and personality.

I also have a 20″ Zildjian Custom K Dark Ride that has a very defined ping, and with basically no overtones and wash. It’s great for a very dry sound and for a definite ping sound.

Opposite of this is a 21″ Zildjian Constantinople Ride Cymbal, which has a LOT of wash so it has less ping and sustained tones.

Between these three ride cymbals, I feel I get all the sounds I need for a wide variety of Jazz situations.

Original Essay

The most important cymbal i jazz performance definitely is the ride cymbal. From studying other drummers perform I noticed a significant enhancement in the overall sound of the group when the cymbal was prominent and defined, yet blended well with the other instruments.

Where the ride cymbal was lighter and defined, that cymbal became lost in the group’s sound and the cymbal did not divide the beats to the advantage of the group.

So far, from testing various cymbals at local stores, I noticed that two ride cymbals stood out, the 20″ Zildjian Custom K and the Zildjian 20″ Ping [Ride].

The Zildjian Custom K, the one Dave Weckl uses, has a very large bell, which is excellent for doing bell work for funk and latin grooves. It has dark overtones and at the same time has a nice solid ping sound. When you crash it the overtones really come through. This cymbal is basically a very loud cymbal and there is no doubt that this cymbal will cut through the band. The only negative is that it’s too loud a cymbal for light jazz work.

The Zildjian Ping would be a good basic ride cymbal that would fulfill the needs for light Jazz work as well as the Custom K, but the ping sound would be better suited for straight-ahead and bebop grooves.

Overall, considering the type of kit that I have, the Custom K would be more suitable, since my main emphasis would be a nice tight ping sound with all the dark overtones, and the oversized bell for the latin and funk grooves.



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

4 thoughts on “[Essay] A Better Ride Cymbal

  • Tuesday August 25, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Currently playing: All Zildjians:10 A-Custom Splash16 Z-Custom Rock Crash13 KZ Hats20 A-Custom Swish20 Custom K Dry RideIn need of a clupoe new crashes (hence the entry!)always bright clear tone.The Custom K Dry ride is the COOLEST ride cymbal ever. You just CAN’T load it up. Always nice clear sticking on every stroke. Won’t work for Van Halen-esque ride work, but hey, that’s what crash-rides are for!I like my 20 Swish, but I LOVED my 18 swish. Wish it wouldn’t have broken! The Rock crash is actually a little too much for what I’m doing now (worship music) but it was an awesome cymbal back in the bar-star days! Super loud and tons of attitude.13 KZ hats are the only hi hats that should exist. Cut through the mix, nice and chippy, and always great response.

  • Thursday October 1, 2015 at 3:29 am

    I’m really into it, thanks for this great stuff!

  • Thursday October 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

    You couldn’t pay me to ignore these posts!

  • Saturday October 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Help, I’ve been informed and I can’t become ignorant.

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