too many cymbals?


Silver Member
Similar to the "how many is too many splashes" thread

I'm curious to hear what other think as an "excessive" count of cymbals on a kit.

Personally - having so many cymbals that your kit (and you) are buried
behind stands and cymbals and splashes is not my style...

I've seen some kits on here that make me chuckle - several rows of cymbals surrounding the kit - believe me I have the cymbal bug so I can understand
the amassing of a cymbal collection over time - but at some point
mounting them all on your kit becomes overkill.

where do you draw the line?
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Gold Member
2 hats
2 rides
4 crashes
4 slashes
2 chinas
1 "regularly" set up china.

Then however many FX cymbals I want and the other auxiliary things.


Gold Member
I'm a 4 cymbals kind of person. 5 I could handle; 6 is crowded. So anything more than 6 I would feel claustrophobic. It harder too when you generally have big cymbals. It guess it depends one how big the kit is, and how many you are used to.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I use whatever is necessary for the gig at hand. It might be a crash/ride and hats, or 3 crashes, a ride, China and hats, or something in-between. I rarely use a splash, and have never used more than one when I did. Never 2 rides, or 2 Chinas, or 2 hats.

If I was ever posed with music that required more cymbals, I would certainly bring them... but it hasn't happened yet.



Well-known member
where do you draw the line?
I generally play 2 rides, 2 crashes + hats. It serves the music I play well. My avatar shows my setup.

2 rides & 2 crashes (one dark and one a little less dark for each) provide contrast and a nice sense of tension and release behind the soloists.

That being said, I ride my crashes and crash my rides so it's all fair game.

Anything more than that would be more than I think the music I'm playing needs.


Senior Administrator
too many cymbals say in most cases two things :
- i never gig this kit (or i never gig)
- i'm rich enough to afford all this and a roadie.

if i can't carry a kit into a venue in three trips from my car and set it up in less than 25 minutes including mics then its too big.


Senior Member
I think the amount of Cymbals depends on the way you evolve as a drummer. For me I have 1 Hat, 1 China, 1 Splash, 3 crashes, 2 fx crashes and 1 ride. Some say its overkill but honestly, I use each one for a very specific purpose. I dont just hit all of them in every song I may play. They serve a purpose. To me, cymbals are the voice of the kit, and you dont wanna sound like a monotone alien............

So the question at hand.....There is no point were anyone can use the term "overkill," beacause its not up to you what others want. For some it may be overkill to have what I have, but Im not about to hear what they have to say, cause I know what I want.

But on the other end, if theres a kid who is just starting out and would play say like 6 crashes 5 splashes and 10 chinas..well...I can recall when I started and when I would sit behind a big kit, all I wanted to do was hit everything, because I didnt understand the musicallity between having what I would see. Its like a guitar player and having like 30 my

Compare Terry Bozzio to Chad Smith, or Neil Peart to Travis Barker....Its about what you feel is needed for what you want to express as a musician.

Having said all that...I recently did a gig with dad and only used 1 hat 1 ride and 1


Platinum Member
Its all personal choice, whatever floats your boat of course.
BUT I am becoming more and more impressed with less, and with seeing drummers who use less. I'm down to just 2 larger cymbals and hats now, and finding thats plenty. There is a huge playing field of sounds just on one large cymbal alone.
The other consideration is economy of effort. Who wants to lug all this copper/tin around to rehearsal or gigs? Some of the sets I see on here must take weeks to set-up/down.


Platinum Member
My Rock/Country/ Blues kit uses these pies
Hats 13 inch
2 Crashes 17 and 19 inch
Ride 20 inch
Splash 11 inch

My Jazz kit
Hats 14 inch
Left side crash/ride 18 inch
Right side ride 21 inch
Splash 9 inch
22 inch sizzler of sometimes a 19 inch thin crash, it depends on my mood.


Platinum Member
too many cymbals say in most cases two things :
- i never gig this kit (or i never gig)
You're right. I don't :) .

I currently have hats, 2 crashes, ride, china, splash, cup chime (which is on top of the splash) and a bell. If money was no object I would probably add another crash, a mini china and maybe some auxilliary hats. That would do me. I wouldn't dream of saying someone has "too many" or "too few" cymbals. It is about whatever suits the music and the drummer in question.


Senior Administrator
I wouldn't dream of saying someone has "too many" or "too few" cymbals. It is about whatever suits the music and the drummer in question.
me either - it would be a boring old world if we didn't all have our own ideas of what is enough.


Silver Member
I own 9 cymbals at the moment.
But I use only 4 at a time, maybe 5 if I mount an inverted splash over a crash on the same stand.

And honestly most of the time I just use 3: hats, ride and crash. I like it that way.

I guess I'm lazy. I don't see the point of hauling and setting up a gazillion stands when I spend 95% of my drumming time on hats, ride and main crash.



Platinum Member
I most always use hats, a ride and two crashes. At church there are also one China and one splash (hardly ever use the splash). I have a China cymbal at home, but I do not use it in our blues band. Sometimes I use hats, one crash-ride, and one crash; and that is what I have been doing lately. However, I am going back to one pair of hats, one ride, and two crashes. So six cymbals is about all I want to use, and I most often use four. Peace, goodwill, and blues.


I take along just what I think that I'm going to need.. plus one. It's really nice to be able to "customize" your selection.



Platinum Member
Whatever you want, really, as long as you have a good reason. I have no qualms with people having 2 sets of hats on a kit, as long as they do something interesting with them. As for me, I usually use one set of hats, one ride, and 3 crashes. I used to use 2 rides when playing jazz gigs, but the rides I use nowadays are versatile enough that I can get several sounds out of them, so I don't think I'll use more than one of those anymore.


"Uncle Larry"
I think in terms of duration, I need a short crash, a medium crash and a long crash. So 3 crashes.

My long duration crash doubles as a 2nd ride.

Plus I have a 10" splash for effect. I get much use from that little thing.

1 ride
1 set of hats. 7 total cymbals (pair o' hats, 1 ride, 3 crashes, 1 splash)

Large cowbell
Small cowbell
Drumset mounted tambourine.

This is my setup, no matter what the gig. I can cover any music I encounter with this.


Platinum Member
I own more cymbals than would be sensible for me to use on a kit all at once. But that way I get to pick and choose what I may need depending on the circumstance.

My "usual" set up would be, hats, ride, two crashes (either 2 x 18" or 18" and 20".....sometimes a 16" and 18" for smaller rooms). But I've certainly been known to use three crashes....either, 16" , 18" and 20" or 16" and 2 x18". On rarer occasions I've added a 15" crash (used primarily as a large splash cymbal) and rolled with 4 crashes. Then again, I've been seen with just hats and a crashable ride too.

All in all, I guess I like to mix it up as much as anyone else. Hats and ride are always staples....never more than 4 crashes.....and anything in between, depending on what I'm doing.


Staff member
If it's used, it stays on the kit, if not, it goes. I never use something just because it's there. Goes for drums too.