Cymbal Tightening

porter

Platinum Member
Okay, cymbals aren't supposed to be tightened down all the way, right? I'm not crazy?

Last night I saw a pro drummer for a very popular rock band whose cymbals were tightened ridiculously. I was shocked, his crashes never moved past 15 degrees off flat, and his china sounded like there was foam in it! Anybody have a possible explanation for this apparent madness? He never once adjusted them through the whole show.
 

edvia

Senior Member
You're absolutely right. Crashes should never be tightened down (though it's okay to tighten a ride if you want to), and they should always be crashed at an angle. There's this popular tribute band where I live that I've seen a number of times, and every time the drummer's crashes are relatively high up, completely flat to the ground and so tight they barely move. When he hits them, his sticks are nearly perpendicular to the plane of the cymbals, so I bet he breaks quite a few. I've always wanted to go up to that drummer and tell him to angle his cymbals and loosen them up a bit.
 

Florian

Gold Member
cymbals need to be free to move to articulate their sounds....some drummers will tighten their small splashed tight, not sure why, but Ive never seen a pro clamp his crashes down tight....doesnt make sense.

F
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Some people clamp their cymbals down so they won't move, so they won't be "swinging" when the drummer goes to strike it a second time. Some of my students have done it because, "isn't that what the felt and wingnuts are for? If they're supposed to swing freely, why is there felt for the TOP of the cymbal?!?!?"

I don't agree with the "cymbals need to be at an angle" comment. I believe they should be played at whatever angle they need to be for the height they are set at for the way you strike them. My cymbals are near-flat (one tilter tooth away from being flat) and low...
 

mikel

Platinum Member
There are some drummers that don't even use wing nuts on there cymbal stands. Not me, however unlikely I don't like the thought of one of my expensive pies falling off, but the wing nuts are very slack.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I despise wing nuts. No felt on top, takes up important real estate. Cymbal crowns are the best thing I found. No wing nuts, and they don't take up any bell space whatsoever. I like flat cymbals too. They blossom and decay more smoothly that way. Plus the edge is right there, so you don't have to hit as hard. It's easier for me to get the exact tone I want from the cymbal. Tight cymbals...not for me, but hey whatever trips your trap.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I always set mine up at an angle relative to me, so that when I go to strike it, my stick will naturally be close to a tangential position with the cymbal. So my crashes are tilted towards me a little, but my splashes might be flat, and my x-hat might actually be tilted up since I sometimes hide it under the ride.

I tend not to use a top felt but I do use the Tama quick-release tops just in case (especially for splashes). Unfortunately, my use of a crash and a splash on the same thread requires that I use 3 felts there and a manual wingnut, so I guess that makes up for the rest of the kit's lack of it.

I just wish I could have gone up to this guy and prodded his brain about it. He had interesting technique, too, a righty kit but played by a lefty. And with most of his cymbals on his left.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I hate wingnuts too. I despise them.

The best alternative I've seen are some quick-release nuts that I used in a studio the other day, they were great. They're on the list for my hardware bag but I haven't used wingnuts for years otherwise.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I like free cymbals, I don't like wing nut, I use nylon tubed nut (Tama), so I can secure the nut without tightening the cymbals, and I can have felt on top and bottom if I wish to do so, the length of the nylon tube is designed for having felt without compressing the cymbals.

I like my cymbals almost flat and low, like caddywumpus :)
 

John T

Member
Not a fan of wing nuts either but once they are on I forget them.
I only ever tighten one of my China's down, not so it's rigid but just enough to limit the bounce when i use it rhythmically as opposed to one hit's.
 

porter

Platinum Member
The best alternative I've seen are some quick-release nuts that I used in a studio the other day, they were great. They're on the list for my hardware bag but I haven't used wingnuts for years otherwise.
Which ones? I'm partial to the Tama ones though the Mapex ones look nice since they only have one release button. I need to try the Vaters, too.

...I can't believe how granular this subject is. Wow.
 

edvia

Senior Member
I don't agree with the "cymbals need to be at an angle" comment. I believe they should be played at whatever angle they need to be for the height they are set at for the way you strike them.
You're right, of course. I suppose I was picturing my setup when I made the "angle" comment. My cymbals are all relatively low so I don't need that much of an angle, but they're angled nonetheless. As long as they're positioned so that your strikes are somewhat downward in relation to the plane of the cymbal rather than perpendicular to it, they can be at whatever angle you want.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what a cymbal sleeve is for? I tighten my wing nuts down against the sleeve and there is still about an inch for the cymbal to move.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what a cymbal sleeve is for? I tighten my wing nuts down against the sleeve and there is still about an inch for the cymbal to move.
Yes, That is exactly what a cymbal sleeve is for. When the nut contacts the sleeve you stop tightening and the pie rocks free.
If you however set the tilter at an extreme angle then the cymbal can become tight because of gravity making it want to sit flat.
That is what the top felt is for.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what a cymbal sleeve is for? I tighten my wing nuts down against the sleeve and there is still about an inch for the cymbal to move.
You'd think so, but with huge felts (a la the Tama ones- almost an inch thick!) it leaves no real room for the cymbal.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
You'd think so, but with huge felts (a la the Tama ones- almost an inch thick!) it leaves no real room for the cymbal.
I keep a collection of cymbal felts of different thicknesses so that I can select the correct ones to give a cymbal the proper amount of rocking motion. I also set my cymbals close to flat with just a slight amount of angle.
I slice the felts thinner with a razor blade sometimes to adjust them.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Which ones? I'm partial to the Tama ones though the Mapex ones look nice since they only have one release button. I need to try the Vaters, too.

...I can't believe how granular this subject is. Wow.
They were the Tama ones, I believe. Having looked them up using Google, they look exactly like them. I was impressed enough to consider buying a few but I have no real need for them.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I use a wingnut and a top felt but the cymbals move freely 'cause the wingnut tightens against the sleeve. I then alter the thickness of the felts if needed. My crashes are flat. I realize the top felt is pretty much useless but I use it anyway out of habit.
 
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