Trying Cymbals?

MJ14

Junior Member
I read time and again on here that you should always try cymbals before you get them and find out what's best for you. I think this is obviously great advice, but I have one small problem. I'm not exactly sure where I can go to try cymbals out? Can anyone help me out with where I might be able to go to try all kinds of different cymbals? I play Avedis at my church and I don't like them at all. They're nice for the church setting that I'm in, but not for my home kit.

I know I want a 17" A Custom Fast Crash from Zildjian, but that's about all I know. I've only played a 17" K crash, 20" 502 Paiste ride, 14" Zildjian New Beats, 14" Zildjian Mastersound Hi-Hats, 19" projection crash A custom, 17" A Custom Fast Crash, and a 22" A Ping ride from Zildjian. Then obviously the Avedis set at church.

Out of those, I really only liked the 17" A Custom Fast Crash enough to invest money in it right now. The 20" 502 Paiste ride is OK and I may end up getting it for my ride, but like I said, it's just OK. I don't want to "settle" on cymbals, because I plan on keeping these cymbals for quite some time and I don't want to waste money buying cymbals that I'm just so-so on.

The only places near me that sell drums are 2 different guitar centers, and a small little instrument place up the road from me, which I highly doubt would let me try any. So what's my best bet? If I do plan to try them, should I call ahead and see what cymbals they have? I already know some that I don't want and if they don't even carry any that I want to try then it'll be a wasted trip. Can I ask them to get certain cymbals in just to try? Do places even really do that? I will say I live a few hours outside of Indianapolis, so should I try to find some kind of drum store there? Just not sure how to go about this at all. Wouldn't me trying cymbals reduce the value?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I read time and again on here that you should always try cymbals before you get them and find out what's best for you. I think this is obviously great advice, but I have one small problem. I'm not exactly sure where I can go to try cymbals out? Can anyone help me out with where I might be able to go to try all kinds of different cymbals? I play Avedis at my church and I don't like them at all. They're nice for the church setting that I'm in, but not for my home kit.

I know I want a 17" A Custom Fast Crash from Zildjian, but that's about all I know. I've only played a 17" K crash, 20" 502 Paiste ride, 14" Zildjian New Beats, 14" Zildjian Mastersound Hi-Hats, 19" projection crash A custom, 17" A Custom Fast Crash, and a 22" A Ping ride from Zildjian. Then obviously the Avedis set at church.

Out of those, I really only liked the 17" A Custom Fast Crash enough to invest money in it right now. The 20" 502 Paiste ride is OK and I may end up getting it for my ride, but like I said, it's just OK. I don't want to "settle" on cymbals, because I plan on keeping these cymbals for quite some time and I don't want to waste money buying cymbals that I'm just so-so on.

The only places near me that sell drums are 2 different guitar centers, and a small little instrument place up the road from me, which I highly doubt would let me try any. So what's my best bet? If I do plan to try them, should I call ahead and see what cymbals they have? I already know some that I don't want and if they don't even carry any that I want to try then it'll be a wasted trip. Can I ask them to get certain cymbals in just to try? Do places even really do that? I will say I live a few hours outside of Indianapolis, so should I try to find some kind of drum store there? Just not sure how to go about this at all. Wouldn't me trying cymbals reduce the value?
Man, that's a lot of questions. Let me try to at least get you in the ballpark a bit.

If the Guitar Centers near you are anything like the ones I have been to, they have sound-isolated rooms full of cymbals. Depending on who is staffing the drum department there, you may be able to get away with quite a bit as long as you don't try to break something. Remember, they want you to buy something, and a cymbal is usually a good chunk of change. One time, I took my own cymbals into my local GC in Gilroy, CA to find an 18" crash that was a good complement to my 19" crash. The employee even brought a couple of cymbal stands into the room for me to put my crashes on and let me stay in there for a good 20 minutes narrowing it down between three crashes I liked.

As far as setting the cymbals up on a set and going for it, well, some GCs let you do that, some don't. I bought a Roc-n-Soc throne at the GC in San Jose, CA and they let me go nuts on a set for about ten minutes to try it out. Other places (especially the mom and pop places) don't let you play the sets. But if you're there serious about buying stuff, that often helps them to be a little more lenient.

Most places will not order and stock a cymbal just for you to try it out. But the Guitar Centers I've seen have been very good at having a decent selection on hand, so if you don't find the exact cymbal you want, you will probably find something similar (like maybe a 16" when you want a 17"). Smaller stores usually can't keep that sort of stock on hand.

The whole thing about cymbal selection when you're starting out is that it's a wide open field, and you have to have some sort of starting point. For me, growing up a long ways from any sort of music store large enough to carry cymbals, I based my buying decisions on the sorts of sounds I was looking for and what my idols played. Neil Peart and Louie Bellson played A Zildjians. Good enough for them, good enough for me. Then I realized I didn't much care for the sound of the A series rides. So I looked to see what other guys I liked were playing. At the time the K Custom had just come out, and Dave Weckl was playing one. I happened to be in the drum shop, they put on a video of him playing one, and I'm like, "I love that sound!" The drum salesman happily walked me over to the cymbals rack and parted me and some $300 of my money.

There's gonna be some trial and error, and your tastes may change. I have recently started playing thinner, larger crashes and gravitating towards darker sounds instead of going for volume and cut. So some of my thicker, smaller crashes have gotten Craigslisted. Hey, it's the way it goes.

Don't stress too awful much about it. Choosing cymbals is something I actually enjoy doing, and I think the hunt can be nearly as fun as actually owning the cymbals!
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Unfortunately in the situation I'm in trying them doesn't exist too much. Local stores for the most part carry minimal stuff and what they carry does not interest me.

I've scored all my recent stuff on cymbalsonly.com and mycymbal.com. I can't highly recommend cymbalsonly enough!

I'm relegated to the sound of my computer and stereo speakers once I burn the wav files to CD. Also, Tony @ cymbalsonly will talk to you all day about cymbals and you can pick his brain.
 

steverok

Silver Member
I must say the cymbal selection at my local GC is pretty sorry. You may be able to find one or two things you are interested in, but they may be old stock that nobody wants. There is a local store by me that has all kinds of great stuff, and regularly gets new stuff, and he sells them new at a good price. I think a road trip may be in store for you. Do you know of any good stores, other than GC, within driving range ?
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
You are fortunate that Indianapolis has lots of music stores,not just Guitar Center.You also have Sam Ash,Chops percussion,and Drum Center Inc.,which is a 5 star drum shop.IRC is also a good store,and there are 4 or 5 more in the city.Just a point of information,all Zildjians are stamped either Avedis,or K Zildjian,which are brand lines,and not models.So the A customs you mentioned will be stamped Avedis,and the K fast crash,will be stamped K Zildjian.

All of tthe places I mentioned in my post will let you play different cymbals,before you buy,and I believe guitar center,will let you do a take home test drive of a cymbal,and if you bdon't like it,you can bring it back.

I have to encourage you to look at used cymbals also.Since you will be playing them,you can inspect then for damage,such as cracks.Buying used,will double your buying power.Lets say you have 200 to spend,on a crash cymbal.Buying used,you could buy 2 cymbals,instead of 1.Buy pro level cymbals,and leave the beginner cymbals alone.That way you only have to buy once,instead of upgrading crappy cymbals.

Go to mycymbal.com,and cymbalsonly.Listen to their cymbal files,to at least get an idea,of what you're looking for.That way you won't be playing every cymbal in the store,when you get there.Forget brand loyalty,and try different brands,like Sabian,Meinl,Bosphorus,Dream,ect and not just Zildjian,and Paiste.

The first place I would go is Drum Shop Incorporated.Call ahead,and ask when It would be a good time to come in, and tryout some cymbals.5 star drum shops usually have knowledgeable people working there who are all drummers,so they know what you're going through.Have fun,listen to advice from other drummers,and buy with your ears,not you're eyes.Buy what sounds good ,to you.Good luck.

Steve B
 
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