Ride Cymbal - Bell Size

RaxCity

Senior Member
So today I was learning a song which involves playing on the ride bell a lot, through fast fills, and I was finding it hard to consistently hit the bell because it's quite small. My current ride is a Sabian XS20 medium ride, and while the bell does have a nice sound, it's nearly half the size of the bell on my 18" A Custom Crash! I am in the market for a new ride, but I want to watch out for rides with small bells. Are there any other particular models or brands with relatively small bells?
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Start with what characteristics you want out of the ride. Then see what fits that bill and how large or small the bell may be.

Most cymbals that are modeled "ROCK" have stable bells and the bow is quite dry and pingy. But if that ping sound isn't want you want, than you need to find something with a decent bell and still has some wash to it.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
I have a Sabian 22" HH Power Bell Ride that I would be willing to part with. Amazing ride, but the bell might be a little too clangy for you depending on your tastes.
 

porter

Platinum Member
One small thing you can do is take the top felt & wingnut off your ride. They don't serve much of a purpose on ride cymbals in the first place, and you'll get a tiny bit more area to hit. Also, it sounds like perhaps moving it a little closer would help?

Anyways, there are mega bell rides as others have suggested, but they're a very specialized sound due to numerous factors. If you do want a large bell ride with a more versatile sound, pick up a used Meinl Byzance Dark Stadium ride (discontinued now) – they're a medium-ish weight and, while still a bit aggressive, are much more usable than many 'mega bell' cymbals. (There's also the Meinl signature Ralph Peterson rides but those are a specialized sound on the other end of the spectrum.)

The Xs20s tend to have quite small bells, indeed, but you should be able to tell from any picture pretty easily how big the bell is in relation to the rest of the cymbal.

Good luck.
 

RaxCity

Senior Member
Alright guys, I appreciate the feedback, it seems like my problem only affects a small amount of cymbals, including my XS20. I should have no problem hitting the bell of a regular zildjian A medium ride, as they seem to have quite nicely sized bells in comparison, but trust me, I'm not looking for something as drastic as a mega bell ride! Thanks for the input.
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
Some series of Ride cymbals have smaller bells,I had a 21 Bos master series ferit ride that had an extremely small bell,so much so that it really sounded closer to a flat ride.I think a good amount of cymbals that are considered to have a vintage old K vibe have smaller bells.

Another thing to consider is the bells "sweet spot" esp when using the shoulder of the stick,some rides have a really large sweet spot,others less so ,I played a Sabian b- 8 med ride that got a great shoulder of the stick bell sound but the sweet spot was tiny,but was consistent all around the circumference of the cymbal ie same height but if you moved a fraction higher or lower,gone.

I have a Ufip class ride that has a good bell sound all around it and it gives me
pretty good leeway/room for error,but,it has a super sweet spot that goes about a quarter of the circumference of the bell,however the ride also has a heavy spot so when it settles because of gravity that sweet spot is just about
opposite from me,so pretty much unusable.

I find w3's comment interesting because I have a late 90's k heavy and the bell is pretty good size,but maybe some models with the same diameter within the same series have different bell sizes,or maybe they change the bell sizes from different eras of manufacture.
 

VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Could be the different eras of manufacture

Also I want to note yours is a K heavy and mine is just a K
I would say the current production K and K Heavy have roughly similar sized bells, though the Heavy bell may have a slightly sharper and taller profile. I had a nice 90s 22" K Heavy and the bell was certainly smaller than my current 22" K Dark Medium.

Regarding the "hitability" of smaller bells, I think it's mainly habit and most drummers would probably get there fairly quickly. As I said, my Dark Medium has a big bell, but the sweet spot of said bell is still pretty small, so I need to be equally precise when striking it compared to my 20" K, in fact maybe more so!
 
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VitalTransformation

Silver Member
Another thing to consider is the bells "sweet spot" esp when using the shoulder of the stick,some rides have a really large sweet spot,others less so ,I played a Sabian b- 8 med ride that got a great shoulder of the stick bell sound but the sweet spot was tiny,but was consistent all around the circumference of the cymbal ie same height but if you moved a fraction higher or lower,gone.
+1. I also had an A Custom 22" ride that had a big bell and a pretty forgiving sweet spot as I remember it. Problem was that the spot wasn't really that sweet and the bell (as well as the rest of the pie) was pretty bland sounding altogether. I would take a small bell XS20 over it any day...
 

w3r1_drums

Senior Member
I would say the current production K and K Heavy have roughly similar sized bells, though the Heavy bell may have a slightly sharper and taller profile. I had a nice 90s 22" K Heavy and the bell was certainly smaller than my current 22" K Dark Medium.
you know what, I just played for awhile today, and I looked at the bell, and it's not actually as small as I remembered. I'm not sure why I thought it was small except that I remember the transition from an 18" ZBT ride to a 20" K ride made it harder for me to hit the bell for some reason. Maybe it was the cymbal size (the bell on my zbt is only slightly bigger if it even is bigger)
 

RaxCity

Senior Member
So I picked up a Zildjian A Sweet Ride today and I am much happier with it. It has a much bigger bell than the XS20 and is lighter in weight, so it has a nicer stick sound too. I was debating getting it or an A medium ride but in the end I picked the sweet ride, a much wanted improvement. Cheers guys!
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
The Sweet Ride is a really good all around cymbal.
Decent bell, good stick to wash ratio, and I could picture it being used in almost any setting.

It doesn't really stand out as being superb in any one specific area, but is one
that I would call very versatile.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
So why do people make disparaging remarks about other people's use of certain words on a drum forum post? It's really MORE annoying than what they were going off about....lol.

So it's like "really?" So you really needed to comment on THAT?

So to the OP, sounds like the sweet ride hit the spot lol? So I have heard good things sbout them, and have been listening to samples myself...

So good luck with your new ride!
 

w3r1_drums

Senior Member
Good choice! When I was deliberating over how to upgrade my cymbals, I was choosing between As and Ks, and the sweet ride really stood out to me.

I'm glad I went with the Ks though because even though I liked the sweet ride better in-store, I got a pack of Ks (not the same cymbals I tried) and the 20" ride that came with it quickly became my favorite cymbal.

But I would play a sweet ride over many other ride cymbals. Good choice, man.
 

RacingBeat

Senior Member
This is an issue I've been going through the last year or so,

But in my case I was the cause not the cymbal, so I've really had to focus on technique to become more accurate when playing ANY ride cymbal.

My accuracy has improved by practicing shuffle between bell and bow, really focusing on wrist motion and also making sure to be far enough up on the cymbal. I was leaning back away from it without realizing it, so my stick was not far enough up towards center and I was struggling to maintain consistent accuracy with the bell.

It was the indian not the arrow in other words. Once you find that sweet spot not only do you get the rebound but that dry tone rings true....

Your mileage may vary....
 
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