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Old 03-17-2013, 01:37 AM
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MikeM MikeM is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Default Re: Thick vs. Thin Hi-Hat Top

Originally Posted by MrLeadFoot View Post
Those "accented hat openings that clse on many of the 2 & 4s" are indeed fans. That said, most people play fans just like that, on the 2 and/or 4, periodically, and those fans only take one 1 eigth note.
Okay, fair enough. In over 30 years of playing, I've never heard anyone use that word to describe such a common and pedestrian "technique". But it's possible, I suppose, that it's some obscure and arcane term that someone of my youth and geography is too far removed from to ever have heard before. The word "fan" doesn't really capture the abrupt and explosive nature of playing hats like that, IMO. I think "bark" is closer, though still not perfect - it seems to work better when used as a choked crash sound (as in Take the Money and Run), but not as well when ended on the beat (as with the Ringo example).

In any case, all you need is a top cymbal that opens up. Bottom cymbals matter too, and contribute a lot, but if the the top won't open up, then you'll only hear the cymbal edges rattling together without much cymbal body or tone.

I had a pair of A Custom Mastersounds (medium-thin / medium) that played really well until the top cracked. I went to eBay and picked up a AAX Stage Top. That combo was terrible (like the Paragons, a medium / medium) and they were ridiculously hard to control for some reason. I couldn't step on the pedal hard enough to get anything I'd associate with tight articulation. So I went back to eBay and got an AAX Stage Hat bottom (heavy) and that worked like a charm. I think the medium weight A Custom bottom didn't have enough mass to immediately stop the vibrations of the medium weight Stage Hat top, which is why they played so sloppy. But paired up with a heavy bottom cymbal sturdy enough to control the top, I got all the tight control and articulation I wanted. Probably why medium / heavy is such a popular combo in all the major's lines.
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