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Old 08-20-2013, 12:02 AM
CarterWilson CarterWilson is offline
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Default Striking the Hi Hat

Just looking for some thoughts on this subject...I've been playing for 15 years, and I know how to correctly strike a cymbal, but for me there is this slight grey area when it comes to striking the hi hat. Specifically, when playing big, chunky open hi hat quarter note or eighth note patterns. I find that it feels pretty natural to hit the hi hats straight on (not using a glancing blow) in the "hands crossed" position. Thusly, every couple years or so I end up cracking a top hi hat cymbal.

I've searched and haven't found a lot of info on the "correct" way of striking the hi hat cymbals. Do you use a glancing blow when playing your hats? anyone else run into this problem at some point?
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:09 AM
EricT43 EricT43 is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

I can't answer your question, I just popped in here to comment that the more I read these forums, the less qualified I feel. I have never even thought about this. Came to improve my chops after a long layoff, now I'm not even sure I know how to strike a drum or a cymbal.

Great question though, will follow with interest.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

Straight on for me, at least when I'm playing a groove (probably because there's successive hits that depend on rebound?) with my dominant hand.

Sounds kinda sexy doesn't it?

Glancing blows if the snare is getting some either before or after...

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Old 08-20-2013, 12:28 AM
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GRUNTERSDAD GRUNTERSDAD is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

I think a lot depends on how opened or closed they are at the time of hitting. If you go sloshy like Ringo in days of old they are loose and will displace some energy. Pushed closed entirely they may fight back.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:42 AM
CarterWilson CarterWilson is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
I think a lot depends on how opened or closed they are at the time of hitting. If you go sloshy like Ringo in days of old they are loose and will displace some energy. Pushed closed entirely they may fight back.
my hi hats are set up to be loose and move freely. it's entirely possible that I see some breakage just from playing a lot harder when I play shows.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:08 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

A statement like, Oh you have to hit your hi hats such and such a way, is rediculous. Hi hats are so expressive, how you hit it depends on how you are feeling what you're playing. The fact that you're cracking them, hmmm. Where on the cymbal do the cracks appear?
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

I don't ever see a reason to hit them directly horizontally... I play some pretty thrashy stuff, and I've never cracked the hats...
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:51 AM
AGiampa AGiampa is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

I'm in the 'there's no right way' camp. Hi-hats can be hit in dozens and dozens of ways, depending on what you are doing. Breaking can occur from: sticks too big, hats too thin, hitting way too hard... ideally if everything is in the appropriate range hats should never break, but I suppose there's bad luck and accidents too.
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:58 AM
CarterWilson CarterWilson is offline
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
A statement like, Oh you have to hit your hi hats such and such a way, is rediculous. Hi hats are so expressive, how you hit it depends on how you are feeling what you're playing. The fact that you're cracking them, hmmm. Where on the cymbal do the cracks appear?
my point isn't necessarily about breaking hi hat cymbals or asking what am i doing wrong. i've broken a couple of top hi hat cymbals over the course of probably 10 years. each one, after several years of heavy use, getting a VERY very small edge crack and eventually expanding until i have to replace it.

my point is rather this: There is definitely a school of thought that is widely accepted on the correct way to hit a crash cymbal. Hitting it with a glancing blow allowing it to open up. Avoid hitting the edge of the cymba and not playing straight on or "through" the cymbal.

I'm just curious to see if anyone else had a school of thought, or had been taught a particular method for striking the hi hat cymbals, because there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there concerning that.
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Last edited by CarterWilson; 08-20-2013 at 03:02 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:52 AM
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Default Re: Striking the Hi Hat

I think I've only ever seen one drummer play the hats with the same glancing motion so often associated with proper crashing technique, and that would be Ringo.

I'm a little outside of the mainstream on proper cymbal technique, strictly speaking. In my opinion, ham-fisted noob drummers notwithstanding, cymbals are "meant" to be played in whatever way moves you and produces the sound you want. This is especially true for HH cymbals. For example, if you like your top cymbal tight for better control (and you said that's not you), but if you also want to crash them with heavy quarters for the heavy parts, then you need to make friends with the idea that a top's going to crack occasionally.

I've cracked 3 tops over the last 30 some odd years and for what I do, I don't think that's excessive, but that's just me. Hats are a different animal as I see them.
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