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How to Play Crash Cymbal Chokes

Learn how to play crash cymbal chokes from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


I'm going to talk about a technique that we use on the drum set called a crash cymbal choke, or just a choke in general.

Typically what this means is when you strike your crash cymbal, which is the cymbal off to this side of your body, you're striking it as you would normally strike a crash, which is on the edge of the crash, and on an angle with your stick. But instead of just swiping through it, and letting it ring out, you're choking it with your opposite hand. Choking it meaning cutting off the sound. The trick is to strike the crash first, and grab the cymbal immediately after.

Just as well with the normal crash, you are playing the bass drum under it at the same time. So, you're basically striking a normal crash with the bass drum, and then grabbing it right after. Something like this.

[plays drum]

So the purpose of a crash cymbal choke is that you're duplicating what your band is doing. At the end of a phrase, or even the beginning of a phrase sometimes, they'll cut off a chord or a certain section of a song, and you basically want to cut off with them, taking away any sound that might be bleeding over. Sometimes it happens again, at the end of a phrase or the beginning of a phrase.

What I'm going to do now is basically play a four bar phrase with a groove, and at the end of that where I would normally place a crash cymbal on one of the next phrase, I'm going to play that, but shortly after I'm going to cut off the sound. It'll sound like this.

One, two, three, four. [plays drum]

Again, you're aiming to match what your band is doing by cutting off all sound possible with the opposite hand. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

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