Tech Tip:Effects Cymbals

Different Shades Of Metal


Tired of your cymbal sounds? Feeling the need to spice up things up a little? Today there are many cymbals available that can take your cymbal palette far beyond the standard crash/ride/hi-hats formula.


China cymbals typically have a bell with a truncated cone shape, with an outer rim that is turned up in reverse shape to the main bow of the cymbal, and are mounted bell side down. Chinas provide a darker, trashier alternative cymbal sound, and became popular with drummers in the ’70s. Today China cymbals are available in a wide range of sizes. Drummers usually invert them and mount them upside down, concave side up.


Splash cymbals are smaller versions of crash cymbals, generally measuring between 4"-10" in diameter. Splashes have a quick, bright attack with little sustain, creating a fast burst of sound that’s great for accents when a regular crash would be too much.


Sabian APX Ozone, Zildjian EFX cymbals, and Meinl Generation X Trash have holes in them, giving them a drier range of sounds and shorter sustain, somewhere in between a crash and a China. The Meinl Filter China has holes in it that give it a quieter, shorter sound than a regular China.


Stacked cymbals layer 2 or more cymbals on top of each other, creating a quick, focused burst of white noise-like sound. These include the Sabian Chopper, Meinl Generation X Signature Benny Greb Trash Hat, Meinl Generation X X-treme Stack Effects, Sabian Mike Portnoy Max Stax Pack, Paiste Noiseworks Triple Raw Smash Cymbal Set, and Meinl Generation X Electro Stack 8" and 10" Effects, among others. With their harsh, almost electronic timbres, many of these stacked models are ideal for modern genres like techno and drum’n’bass.


Finally, there are a number of metal percussion instruments available now that really push the envelope, challenging traditional ideas of what a cymbal is. For example, Zildjian’s Spiral Trash Effects Cymbal features a hanging metal spiral that creates wave-like sounds. Factory Metal Percussion creates a variety of cymbal-like metal percussion instruments mountable on cymbal stands, many of which include bells, jingles, and other effects.


And Hammerax is known for their completely unique cymbals, beautiful to look at and capable of creating an otherworldly range of metallic sounds. For the drummer or percussionist looking to expand their sonic vocabulary, these instruments offer intriguing choices. Just type "Effects Cymbals" in the Music123 search box and let the journey begin.