Getting a good sound out of a small splash.

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
The thread about the splashes vs. Chinas, has me wondering if here is something wrong with my technique with the splashes. Right now I have a cymbal stand extender that threads onto the top of a stand instead of a wing nut. It has a narrow post for mounting with a drum key locking mechanism, so I should be set there. The splash sounds good, but I think I have to hit it to hard, which makes it too loud for many situations, where I would normally use it. If I flip it over it seems to sound good without much effort and at a much lower volume. Then I took it off, an I could get it to chime pretty well balancing it on my finger. Then I got to looking at my felt... So it seems that if I use a smaller in diameter felt and thin felt on top as well as releasing any pressure using the keyed clamp. Ah nice NICE, much better, without hitting it as much. It still seems my technique needs to improve though. I have heard lots of people use splashes in fast syncopated ways, however, the cymbal flops around which makes it sort of a moving target, any suggestions?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
The thread about the splashes vs. Chinas, has me wondering if here is something wrong with my technique with the splashes. Right now I have a cymbal stand extender that threads onto the top of a stand instead of a wing nut. It has a narrow post for mounting with a drum key locking mechanism, so I should be set there. The splash sounds good, but I think I have to hit it to hard, which makes it too loud for many situations, where I would normally use it. If I flip it over it seems to sound good without much effort and at a much lower volume. Then I took it off, an I could get it to chime pretty well balancing it on my finger. Then I got to looking at my felt... So it seems that if I use a smaller in diameter felt and thin felt on top as well as releasing any pressure using the keyed clamp. Ah nice NICE, much better, without hitting it as much. It still seems my technique needs to improve though. I have heard lots of people use splashes in fast syncopated ways, however, the cymbal flops around which makes it sort of a moving target, any suggestions?
A lot depends on the sound of the splash and the sound you are trying to get from it. You don't mention what make, model and size your splash is. And what are you looking for -- a brief, quiet pssh? A ringy bell-like tone?

I have a 6" splash that I got specifically for its piercing, ringy sound (very similar to some of the handcut bells that Gavin Harrison uses). I use small hi-hat felts (since it's already a tiny cymbal), a washer under the wingnut, and I clamp it down particularly tight to cut down on wobble and sustain. My 8" spash is a more traditional "pshhh" sound, and so I leave it much looser, without a washer between the top felt and wingnut. I have a 10" splash on another set that's so loud it's nearly a crash; I tend to keep it loose as well. Same with the two 12" splashes I have owned.

Experimenting with how you have it set up (tensions, felts, bell up or down, etc.) is how you'll figure out how to make it sound best to your ear, but keep in mind that not all splashes are created equally. Just because it says "splash", it may not be capable of creating the same splash sound you hear in your head. Owing to their small size, splashes are probably the most one-dimensional cymbals out there, and you're not going to be able to do much more than what you're already trying to change the sound of the cymbal. And what changes you do manage will be minimally effective.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
A lot depends on the sound of the splash and the sound you are trying to get from it. You don't mention what make, model and size your splash is. And what are you looking for -- a brief, quiet pssh? A ringy bell-like tone?

I have a 6" splash that I got specifically for its piercing, ringy sound (very similar to some of the handcut bells that Gavin Harrison uses). I use small hi-hat felts (since it's already a tiny cymbal), a washer under the wingnut, and I clamp it down particularly tight to cut down on wobble and sustain. My 8" spash is a more traditional "pshhh" sound, and so I leave it much looser, without a washer between the top felt and wingnut. I have a 10" splash on another set that's so loud it's nearly a crash; I tend to keep it loose as well. Same with the two 12" splashes I have owned.

Experimenting with how you have it set up (tensions, felts, bell up or down, etc.) is how you'll figure out how to make it sound best to your ear, but keep in mind that not all splashes are created equally. Just because it says "splash", it may not be capable of creating the same splash sound you hear in your head. Owing to their small size, splashes are probably the most one-dimensional cymbals out there, and you're not going to be able to do much more than what you're already trying to change the sound of the cymbal. And what changes you do manage will be minimally effective.
Its a 6" Istanbul Mehmet, hand hammered. I want more of the traditional pshhh sound most of the time, sometimes I want a sequence of fast syncopated accents other times, I want the all out crystal breaking effect. I gather you think I probably have to choose.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
There you are. Most 6" splashes are very pitched and bell-like. I find an 8" or 10" is better for a little more subtle pshh sound. The 6"s are much better for staccato fills. You can try mounting it upside down, but unless really snacked, the smaller splashes tend to ring more than hiss.

But have a look at this. Here's a guy with 6", 7", and 8" Mehmet splashes. He's able to get a bit of both worlds out of his splashes, partially because the rest of his playing is at a higher dynamic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7XHoWr1UlY
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
There you are. Most 6" splashes are very pitched and bell-like. I find an 8" or 10" is better for a little more subtle pshh sound. The 6"s are much better for staccato fills. You can try mounting it upside down, but unless really snacked, the smaller splashes tend to ring more than hiss.

But have a look at this. Here's a guy with 6", 7", and 8" Mehmet splashes. He's able to get a bit of both worlds out of his splashes, partially because the rest of his playing is at a higher dynamic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7XHoWr1UlY
Mine sounds quite a bit like the first one. It has somewhat of a fast glissando. I tried the hihat felts, like you. It helped a little. Now a shoulder hit near the crown(which wasn't accessible before)of the bell gives a nice crystal breaking sound or a series of fast accents, in addition to the more normal technique. I new it would get that sound, because I dropped it in the store, and I thought I broke something.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Mine sounds quite a bit like the first one. It has somewhat of a fast glissando. I tried the hihat felts, like you. It helped a little. Now a shoulder hit near the crown(which wasn't accessible before)of the bell gives a nice crystal breaking sound or a series of fast accents, in addition to the more normal technique. I new it would get that sound, because I dropped it in the store, and I thought I broke something.
Sho nuff. With a 6", though, your aim has got to be dead on!
 

shemp

Silver Member
I'm a big fan of splash cymbals, so I have a range of them....which doesn't mean much on its own, but what I'm having hard time understanding is the need to identify and control these mounting parameters....I don't believe anything that's been said here is wrong or bad advice, but these difficulties have never presented themselves to me....nor the need to carefully mount or hit them.

Splashes sound best to me when they are mounted somewhat loose...otherwise there is a choking behavior that occurs. To each his own, but to me they feel and sound best when you give'em a good spanking and they are allowed to vibrate uninhibited; otherwise they feel stiff and lose that airy...white noise sorta response.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I'm a big fan of splash cymbals, so I have a range of them....which doesn't mean much on its own, but what I'm having hard time understanding is the need to identify and control these mounting parameters....I don't believe anything that's been said here is wrong or bad advice, but these difficulties have never presented themselves to me....nor the need to carefully mount or hit them.

Splashes sound best to me when they are mounted somewhat loose...otherwise there is a choking behavior that occurs. To each his own, but to me they feel and sound best when you give'em a good spanking and they are allowed to vibrate uninhibited; otherwise they feel stiff and lose that airy...white noise sorta response.
I just personally think the cymbal the OP has isn't necessarily the best one to give him the sound that's in his head next to the word "splash". Sure we have possibilities in terms of doing different things with the cymbal, but as I said, it's a one-trick pony, it does its one thing and there it is. SmoothOperator, maybe it's time to trade your splash in for another...?
 

shemp

Silver Member
I just personally think the cymbal the OP has isn't necessarily the best one to give him the sound that's in his head next to the word "splash". Sure we have possibilities in terms of doing different things with the cymbal, but as I said, it's a one-trick pony, it does its one thing and there it is. SmoothOperator, maybe it's time to trade your splash in for another...?
Oh, right. I agree with the one trick pony thing....I missed that I guess, Doh. That's what I was alluding to....throw that guy up there and give it a whack and that's what ya got...for the most part.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Oh, right. I agree with the one trick pony thing....I missed that I guess, Doh. That's what I was alluding to....throw that guy up there and give it a whack and that's what ya got...for the most part.
Yeah, I really just dropped in the shop and thought it sounded cool. I think you can get a couple of sounds one by a shoulder hit it on the bell right next to the post and one be whacking the the bow. I can see that the splash cymbal school of thought is to have several, that makes sense, given the ease of mounting and being relative inexpensive. Having them loose does help.
 

shemp

Silver Member
Yeah, I really just dropped in the shop and thought it sounded cool. I think you can get a couple of sounds one by a shoulder hit it on the bell right next to the post and one be whacking the the bow. I can see that the splash cymbal school of thought is to have several, that makes sense, given the ease of mounting and being relative inexpensive. Having them loose does help.
I really like them...Since I'm not some pro drummer at this point, I asked one of my drum buddies who I've been jamming with for many years (on guitar) his thoughts, cause he really has some nice sounds that explode off the kit. He went with me to help out with some splashes and the one that really stood out for that !explosion! was this 12" K splash among others...he has also helped me program some drum parts and I find his use of the splash very cool...so that is my reference and I would say I use it on almost every song to punctuate but not more than a few times.

Sometimes a cymbal really punctuates but just hangs on too long or has too much "width" if you know what I mean.
 
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