Hi-Hats: Tight or loose????

Defender

Silver Member
Just like the title says, do you prefer your hi-hats tight or loose? By this I don't mean pedal tension, I'm speaking of the tightness of the clutch on the top hi-hat cymbal.

I'm trying to figure out the best configuration here, and I'm just looking for some opinions.

Talk about how you like yours and what type of music you play the most when they are the way they are.

Peace, Defender
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I used to prefer mine extremely tight, like the cymbal wouldn't wobble at all if I were to open the hat and strike it like a crash. But for the last ten years or so, I have moved to rubber clutch cushions versus felts. You can tighten them down and the top hat will move in a much more controlled fashion than if you had a loose set of felts on the clutch, but never get so stiff you risk damaging the cymbal. It's a lot more control over the feel of the thing. I vastly prefer them and would recommend them to anyone.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Great question and I look forward to hearing the answers. I go back and forth on this all the time myself and haven't figured out yet what I prefer.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
loose and sloshy, with the top nuts just barely keeping a little check on the cymbal.

Drawback is this usually makes it easier for the bottom nut to unthread itself while playing. Anyone have easy tips (aside from Loctite) to prevent that?
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I don't like rubber bottoms and I don't like little hihat felts, they don't let the cymbal stay centered. I use larger felts and a washer if the clutch is too small.

Medium tension.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I like the top a little loose but not sloppy.

I keep the bottom tilted up so that at rest the edges closest to me are just just touching.

This is my "left foot off the pedal" go-to rock slosh and I will consider it my loudest (dumbest) default loud hi hat sound.

Keep a bit of foot and I got some drive and I can still get enough chick to hear my little tambourine ring.

I am not a good time keeping chicker so I like it this way to still be able to play barks and drive all the loud stuff.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
"Drawback is this usually makes it easier for the bottom nut to unthread itself while playing. Anyone have easy tips (aside from Loctite) to prevent that?" I have the same problem I like mine loose too but not quite sloshy-I want it to sing with foot action and spang-alang.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
The bottom nut should be tight and shouldn't come unscrewed. The tightness of the clutch against the cymbal should be controlled by the nut on top, which is normally two nuts that tighten against one another expressly for the purpose of keeping them from coming unscrewed.

Am I missing something in your description of the problem you're having?

As for me, I like the hats fairly loose, but if they are TOO loose you get too much slop when you close for a foot chick, especially rapid 8ths.
 

Elcajon64

Junior Member
I keep the top hat pretty snug. Just slightly less than rigid with the dense felts. I also keep the bottom hat flat so it closes all at once. This setup makes for a very deliberate sound and keeps the resistance on the hihat closer to that of the snare head, which makes hihat/snare fills smoother for me.

Most of my live kit is set up to eliminate ringing, wash, and other lingering or sustaining sound unless I really deliberately want it. I play fast rock and old-school punk and prefer an emphasis on the attack without an inarticulate buildup of sound when I'm playing the fast stuff.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
The bottom nut should be tight and shouldn't come unscrewed. The tightness of the clutch against the cymbal should be controlled by the nut on top, which is normally two nuts that tighten against one another expressly for the purpose of keeping them from coming unscrewed.
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I move the bottom nut as far up the threading as possible and then drop the top nuts down until they just barely have any play on the cymbal. The bottom nut tends to come loose after 6-7 songs. This has been an issue with both my original cluth and the new Yamaha one I bought. I've seen some clutches with a bottom nut that also has a key operated memory screw. I'm thinking thats just going to grind the threading down over time.


oh and also on the original topic, I have the old Tama 3 prong rubber base for the bottom hat. I hate it for the most part. I keep the bottom hat tilted until it makes a little contact. I like to hear both cymbals vibrating clearly when I play open.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I move the bottom nut as far up the threading as possible and then drop the top nuts down until they just barely have any play on the cymbal. The bottom nut tends to come loose after 6-7 songs. This has been an issue with both my original cluth and the new Yamaha one I bought. I've seen some clutches with a bottom nut that also has a key operated memory screw. I'm thinking thats just going to grind the threading down over time.


oh and also on the original topic, I have the old Tama 3 prong rubber base for the bottom hat. I hate it for the most part. I keep the bottom hat tilted until it makes a little contact. I like to hear both cymbals vibrating clearly when I play open.
Interesting. The bottom nut on the hi-hat stands I've used have an internal flange (basically, they aren't threaded all the way through) and the flange tightens against the bottom of the clutch sleeve. I've owned three or four stands of various brands and haven't had a problem.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
loose and sloshy, with the top nuts just barely keeping a little check on the cymbal.

Drawback is this usually makes it easier for the bottom nut to unthread itself while playing. Anyone have easy tips (aside from Loctite) to prevent that?
If you're clutch bottom nut comes loose during a gig, you need to get with a quick release type clutch. REMO and GIBRALTAR have them.

I have 4 of the GIBRALTRS and one REMO, you can see which one I prefer. A quick release clutch bottom nut will never come loose. No messing with drum keys to tighten, and they're easy on/off, a dream come true.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Not super-sloshy, but it needs to have a fair bit of movement. If the clutch is too tight, it just feels and sounds really bad when playing them open.
 

gyorpb

Junior Member
Interesting. The bottom nut on the hi-hat stands I've used have an internal flange (basically, they aren't threaded all the way through) and the flange tightens against the bottom of the clutch sleeve. I've owned three or four stands of various brands and haven't had a problem.
Older Pearl clutches had a nylon bottom nut. Newer ones are locked in place with a drum key. I've never had either system present me with loosening problems.
 

Brian

Gold Member
For a while I went through a sloshy loose setting, but lately I've gone back to a more tight setting. There is definitely some play and looseness, but not much.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Gotta be loose, need to let em breath. Same as cymbals, I've stopped using felts on the top of my crashes/ride/splashes, sounds amazing.

Plus if you choke a cymbal it sounds horrible and when you lay into it you're not giving the cymbal anywhere to move and that's how they get broken. Broke a few myself before I realised what I was doing wrong.

I find you can do more with loose hi hats and a bit of slosh just makes a groove nicer, check anything with Steve Jordan.

It's a nuisance when the bottom nut on the clutch un-does itself but it's a quick fix at the end of a song.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Since my new beats are rigid, I prefer mine tight, they need to open up like my other cymbals. Though, the rubber washer and clutch nut don't allow for all that much clamping.
 

Smoke

Silver Member
loose and sloshy, with the top nuts just barely keeping a little check on the cymbal.

Drawback is this usually makes it easier for the bottom nut to unthread itself while playing. Anyone have easy tips (aside from Loctite) to prevent that?
Ed-zackery! I use Teflon (anti-seize/plumber's) tape on the top hat nut so I don't have to jam it tight. Seldom if ever comes loose, but is always easy to remove. If you tear down often for gigs, you'll have to re-tape the threads every second or third disassemble/reassemble, as the tape doesn't last forever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thread_seal_tape

I've never tried semi-liquid "pipe dope" - it would probably work fine and be a bit more re-useable. But, it's sticky and would probably be more messy than tape.

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/5094/whats-the-difference-joint-sealing-with-teflon-tape-and-pipe-dope
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
If you're clutch bottom nut comes loose during a gig, you need to get with a quick release type clutch. REMO and GIBRALTAR have them.

I have 4 of the GIBRALTRS and one REMO, you can see which one I prefer. A quick release clutch bottom nut will never come loose. No messing with drum keys to tighten, and they're easy on/off, a dream come true.
I'm gonna check one out. Thanks for the recommendation.
 

geezer

Senior Member
I keep mine on the loose side, not super sloshy, but I like there to be play in the top hat. I play loud punk/post punk in one band, quiet acoustic indie stuff in another, and mainly jazz otherwise - I like the hats loose for all those situations.

I was having problems with the crappy clutch on the hi-hat stand in my practice space coming undone, usually mid-song, so I just got one of those Gibralter quick release clutches and it's awesome, no more having to constantly tighten the bottom nut between songs.
 
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