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What Is the Crash Cymbal on a Drum Set?

Learn about the crash cymbal from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


I'm holding the crash cymbal right here and I took it off the stand first to show you how to actually place it on the stand. Typically a crash cymbal is going to be off to your left side if you have one. Drum sets generally have a couple of crashes, they range in different sizes, and they start normally, again, off to your left and you might see one off to your right, a couple maybe even between the drums here, or on the left side.

Drummers often change their crash cymbal set up, depending on how big their set is and also what type of music you're playing. The cymbal, a normal cymbal, has a hole right in the center and that's gonna go right on your stand. You basically take off the wingnut and take off the first felt here. The cymbal goes between the two felts and hopefully has a little bit of protection device here, so it's not rubbing against the metal. Then the felt goes on top of it and the wingnut goes directly on top here. Now I have, like, a pinched wingnut, which you would pinch the sides and it goes right over the top and normally you have, like, just sort of a screw wingnut.

And you wanna make sure the cymbal has a little bit of play in it so that it doesn't crack or get into a position where you have a little bit of breakage along the hole here. When you hit the crash cymbal, you're basically gonna hit on the edge of the cymbal and you're gonna swipe through it, either directly down through it, or off to the side, depending on the sound you want. A big crash sound is gonna sound something like this. And if you swipe at it a little bit more, it'll have a little more of a whispered tone, like this. Now, depending on the size of the cymbal, the sound that you're gonna get is going to be different, depending on the range of what you wanna play.

This is an 18 inch crash right here, which is normally a larger crash. And crashes range anywhere from about 13 or 14 inches up to about 22 inches or so. And generally, you're going to pick out a crash depending on what type of music you're playing. So, a smaller crash, or a darker crash, is gonna be more for jazz and a brighter crash, such as this by the Paste company, the full line, or the signature line, or a larger crash with the same type of sound is gonna be more for your rock style.

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