Ice bell vs ride cymbal


Junior Member
I have a Sabian 21" Larrie Londin ride but with my rack and newly configured kit, it's not really fitting where I want it to be. Ideally it would sit front and right or low over the floor tom. I have 3 rack toms across the front and 1 floor (see avatar). I play all cymbals flat and it's simply taking up too much room. For the record, I'm playing rock and country rock in working bands. Anybody care to weigh in on subbing this ride with an Ice Bell? Thoughts/opinions?


Platinum Member
Well obviously, there are no rules here, but an ice bell can only sort of approximate the bell of a ride cymbal. If that's close enough for you, then you're golden.

My own opinion is that ride cymbals outrank toms by several pay grades. Don't get me wrong, I love me some toms, but not to the exclusion of a ride. An ice bell is not a viable substitute since it really only does one thing (clang!). Good for effects maybe, but not as your main ride. Definitely not something you could play a convincing swing pattern on, for example.

For most styles of music, including the genres you mentioned, the ride cymbal is such an integral part of the music and is included in too many of the grooves that get played, that to be without it would be severely limiting your ability to reproduce parts. Toms on the other hand function much differently within the music (not typically part of the basic groove) and most tom parts can be reproduced with only two.


Junior Member
Mike - You make a great point about the swing pattern. I had listened to some sound bytes on various websites and I wasn't convinced that the ice bell could replace a ride. It sounded alright but I was hoping that I could find all the sound of a ride in far smaller cymbal. I guess the nature of the beast dictates that only a ride will sound like a ride. Thanks for weighing in and so quickly.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't consider an Ice Bell a version of a ride bell, and would never use it as a substitute.

First, they make radically different sounds... you would never mistake one for the other. Second, the volume is much quieter with an Ice Bell, you'll always feel like you're not cutting through the music (although they do have a crisp attack.) And third, you lose your ride!

I do have a UFIP Ice Bell from the early '80s, but used it only occasionally, and only as an effect, not a bell. When I needed the same sound on tour (before playing custom samples was an option) I used a Sabian Cymbal Disc. Same basic Ice Bell vibe though not as loud, and it stored flat. However, it was also not a cymbal bell sound.

I recommend making the necessary modifications to keep a ride, as Mike suggested, you can easily lose a tom (or two) and still play just about anything.



Platinum Member
.... subbing this ride with an Ice Bell? Thoughts/opinions?
If you were doing some form of an indie/alternative thing, I could see it working. In the scope of mainstream rock/country, not so much. Plenty of drummers run three rack toms ..... and a ride. You might have to re-position something. I'd raise the ride, and angle it. See if that works. Sounds like that's where your space conflict is.​


Junior Member
Ok, it looks like I've got my answer and I'll put the ice bell idea on the shelf. I was under the impression that those bells were as loud as anything but it would appear not. So I'd lose volume and versatility to make my toms happy? There is a win win situation in my configuration, I just have to toy with it. I think my biggest issue is wanting my cymbals flat. Still, where there's a will there's a way and tinkering to find the optimal solution will be as fun as the result. Thanks to all for helping me understand and make a decision.