There are some drummers that take pride in being a hard hitting power rocker. You know, the ones that hit so hard that the people standing in the back of the room can feel the air move from every tom hit and every cymbal crash. These were and are the John Bonhams, the Dave Grohls, and the Chad Smiths of the world.
Working in a drum shop lets us sometimes have the privilege of seeing famous drummers from time to time, and I can tell you that Chad Smith is without a doubt one of the hardest hitting drummers that I have ever seen. See for yourself!
As Chad Smith may tell you, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a hard hitting player. In fact, many agree that the hard hitting types are generally the most fun to watch and listen to. But unless you have an unlimited supply of free gear to go along with your sledgehammers, the price tag for broken cymbals can get pretty expensive if you’re not hitting hard the right way.
There are many players out there that seem to break cymbals all of the time, no matter what cymbal they use. Conversely, there are just as many players that, although they are hard hitters, hardly ever break a cymbal. That is the difference between a responsible and an irresponsible basher. Also, lets not forget that a poor technique can also lead to serious health problems that could ultimately lead to serious time away from the kit. So let’s take a look at a few ways to keep your cymbals, your health, and your wallet in good shape with a small course for the hard hitter in all of us.
Similar to how every cymbal sounds different, we should be able to agree that no cymbal is necessarily stronger than another. When in the market for cymbals, many drummers assume that because many of the cymbals that are made for louder music are thicker, that means they are stronger and can take a bigger beating. While this can be true to a certain degree, most of the time the cymbals modeled for heavier music are made thicker because they are louder and cut better than thin cymbals do. Thin cymbals tend to be darker and blend into the music more… but they’re both going to have pros and cons when it comes to “strength.” A thin cymbal is, in some ways, more delicate because it is thin but it many cases it will actually “give” more and be less rigid than a thicker cymbal will. Because of this, it’s often seen that the thicker cymbal can crack just as easily as a thinner cymbal can. So, there is really no such thing as an indestructible cymbal.
There are really more important factors that should be determined when searching for your cymbal than whether or not it will break. Most importantly, how do you like the sound of the cymbal? Ultimately, that is really all that matters. If it doesn’t work for your music, whether you will break it or not won’t matter. All cymbals are made to be hit, so they will all be strong enough to play. Because of this, the sound should be your biggest determining factor. If your music calls for a dark cymbal sound, then you may want to look past some of the thicker and brighter models.
Kevin - MDS