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How to Play the Roll of a Crash Cymbal

Learn how to play the roll of a crash cymbal from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


Right now I want to talk to you about the roll of the crash cymbal when
we're talking about the cymbal off to the side of the drum kit.

Now if you know anything about drum setups, drummers often have a variety
of crash cymbals around their drums, but on a standard beginning kit it's
usually off to the side of your drum kit. The roll of the crash cymbals is
really important because where it usually falls is at the end or at the beginning of
a phrase to separate portions of a song.

From a technique standpoint, you're going to strike the edge of the crash
cymbal on an angle with your stick, and you're going to drive straight
through it to create a full bodied sound. In addition, you usually - not
always - but usually play a crash cymbal with your bass drum. It'll sound
like this. [demonstrates].

Now at the beginning of a phrase the crash cymbal usually substitutes for
beat one of your right hand or your high hat hand which would normally be a
high hat stroke. You'd insert a crash on that note, and you'd play a
certain amount of bars or measures. The crash cymbal is going to outline
how many measures you are playing in a certain section of a song.

Right now I'm going to play a standard rock beat. I'll start with the crash
cymbal, and I'll repeat it at the beginning of the next four bar phrase. It
sounds something like this. One, two, three, four [demonstrates].

In addition, you can use a crash cymbal for certain accents or notes that a
band would be playing in a song. For instance, breaking away from your grove
and playing it with the band. What I'm going to do right now is hit a crash
on the end of every two of every measure. One, two, and three, four; One, two, and three, four, so that
you can hear how that sounds. One, two, three, four [demonstrates].

There are so many different variations and places you could place a crash
with those type of accents. You'd have to listen to your band and the
people that you're playing with to see what matches up, but a great place
to start is to, at least, begin with outlining the sections of your song
and placing the crash right on one of the beginning of each phrase.

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