Drums or cymbals?

BruceW

Senior Member
Cymbals, mostly...and I don't have high-end stuff either. That's my goal (and conundrum) for this year. I want to treat myself to new cymbals, but I want them to sound the way I want. I've put together my current cymbal selection over time, and really enjoy the sounds and variety that I have. I plan on buying a new, matched set of better cymbals, but without being able to hear them, I'm very hesitant on pulling the trigger. And there is no place nearby to listen to a wide variety of them. (3 hour trip, each way, maybe this summer.)

Why, you might ask? Many of us want new toys, and nicer ones...I haven't added anything substantial in a very long time. If I told you what some of my current cymbals are, many of you would laugh. I have versions of them that really sound good, to me. The goal is to get something nicer that replicates that style, and perhaps improves it. And yes, I know that i don't "need" to have a matched set... I just feel that I want to, this time. Perhaps when I actually get to go to the big drum shop I'll change my mind.
 
I can't personally understand how one can obsess over drum shells.
I'm one who said that much as I love drums, it's the sound of cymbals that really work for me. But there's something about drums...I think the sight and feel of wood is almost primal. (For me, of course.) Which is why I don't generally care much for wraps, and love various finishes that allow the wood grain to show through.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
I can't personally understand how one can obsess over drum shells. Its about 80% head sound and 10-12% Shell(maybe not even that much, bearing edges, mounts and hoops affect more.

This is easily proven by science. If you have any knowledge of acoustics/physics and sound, you'll understand.
I've been advised by several people- one, a builder, no less- of almost the same. Who knows the accurate numbers- and this could vary per different types of drums) but what was stated to me was, for toms & bass drums, 75% of the sound of a drum is the head types and their tuning. For the remaining 25% from the shells, most of what matters is structural integrity and other aspects of craftsmanship- that the circumference is true round, the bearing edges true flat (not the actual edge itself, but overall, as viewed from the side, or as tested with a light and a true-flat surface like a marble table), and other things like presence/absence of re-rings, ply/solid/stave, etc. The actual wood type used accounts for maybe 5-10% of the drum's tone, but can be more helpful for that structural integrity- i.e. softer woods like luan and poplar are more likely to be affected by changes in temperature & humidity (but all wood is prone to them, to varying extents).

All that said, I believe I've heard qualities in maple vs. birch that have led me to prefer maple. Others' mileage certainly varies.
 
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Rock Salad

Junior Member
Am I confused here? In looking for drum sounds, I would much rather have sets of every type of head than every type of shell. I think soon my trial and error for heads will have cost more than the drums, but it is freaking dialing in on some sounds!
 

Ruok

Silver Member
Cymbals for me. Then snares.
Then the kick.
Um, then the rest!
Exactly!

Ever since I was a wee lad, hi-hats always fascinated me more than anything else on a drum kit. When listening to records, it was the hi-hat that I listened to first to analyze them. Then the ride was the next important part.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Exactly!

Ever since I was a wee lad, hi-hats always fascinated me more than anything else on a drum kit. When listening to records, it was the hi-hat that I listened to first to analyze them. Then the ride was the next important part.
I always did ride first, and then snare...then everything else evenly...
 
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