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Author Topic: Cymbal changes for larger venues?  (Read 5828 times)
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IBJAMN in Nashville

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« on: September 06, 2009, 01:29:28 AM »

I have certain cymbal set-ups that really LIKE to use.  But sometimes I do have to modify things for the performance/venue situations.

And just because a cymbal is designed for a specific purpose doesn’t mean you can’t use it in other ways.  I am going to share some thoughts and some experiences with my own cymbals, and perhaps some of you will have occasions where this will be of benefit .

In blogs here on DSA, and in several posts I have talked about selecting drums and cymbals that were appropriate for the work I get calls to do.  Typically, I am “right on the money” for the small venue  jazz and fusion work.  But when working large venues, there still can be….well…. surprises once I get to the venue.  SOLUTION?  I bring some extra cymbals ]just in case.  There’s nothing worse than having exactly what is needed…..but just not having it WITH you.[

Of course, the mission of a professional is to adapt and get the job done.  That brings me to the cymbals situation.  Although we can re-tune drums, we can only change sticks to try and modify our cymbal sounds…right?  Well, yes, different sticks will produce different results on our cymbals but you can also substitute other cymbals in your normal cymbal set-up and use them for alternate purposes too.

I had situations where my ride cymbals were still just too piercing for what the band needed.  So was my 20” medium crash when I crashed it.  However switching the 20” medium crash to serve as a ride produced the exact shimmering/wash ride sound the band wanted.  If 14” heavy hi hats are too much, sometimes I’ve replaced the top hi hat cymbal with a 14” thin crash and mellowed that out. 

I always carry one or two thinner fast decay crashes and a medium weight crash with me.  That’s in the event that the heavier and longer sustain crashes prove to be way too much.  Then I can back off some.  And sometimes I have had to set them all up because the range of dynamics required spots for both the finesse crashes and the big power chord crashes.  It is certainly a situation that can change from act to act.

I learned to just be prepared for that because you never want to hammer your beautiful thin crashes and end up cracking them.  They have a tone range and a volume threshold and if you exceed it you are risking permanent damage.  I, personally, just don’t find cracking cymbals cool at all.

Some acts love for you to use them.  Some acts hate them.  If you don’t know where the act you are working with falls, you’d better ask.

Most of the time a good sound crew can take care of your drum set in the mix very well.  However, you still have to tune the drums appropriately and select the cymbals that work best for the performance situation.

Comments?   Hints or stories to share?    That’s what the Forum is for.

Ken Sanders
IBJAMN in Nashvile, TN

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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2009, 07:01:53 PM »

I'm not in a financial position to purchase the right cymbals for a certain venue.  Most of the time I do not see the venue until I arrive.  As you mentioned, different sticks work very well and a good sound mix will help also.  Most importantly I believe it depends on a couple of factors such as the style of music performed and how the cymbals are played.  I am assuming most drummers will buy certain cymbals to blend with their style of music.  There are good cymbals available that can be used for any situation.  Then again, cymbals are a personal thing.  Best to ya!
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