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Suggestions for affordable cymbals

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  • Suggestions for affordable cymbals

    I recently picked up the shells and hardware to a used Pearl Rhythm Traveler for a whopping $60 on Craigslist. With a good cleaning, new heads and a little TLC, I should end up with a decent little compact kit for around $200, half the price of a new PRT.

    I plan to use this little acoustic as a quick "load and go" kit for casual jam sessions and such, though my Harts will remain my primary kit and primary source of G.A.S.

    So, given that this PRT is a kit I'm purposely keeping on the cheap, I'm looking for suggestions for decent yet affordable acoustic cymbals. I love top-of-the-line Zildjians as much as the next guy, but I can't justify hanging $1,000 in cymbals over a $60 drum kit.

    Who is making the best for less these days? Zildjian? Sabian? What do you guys suggest in the way of econo-class cymbals? I'm keeping it small, so hats, ride and two crashes tops. Maybe a splash, too, but that's it.

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by V(ader)DRUMMER; 10-06-08, 01:26 PM.
    >>>See my E-kit here<<<

    >>>See my A-kit here<<<

  • #2
    I believe in higher quality cymbals much moreso than drums, so if price is a constraint I would definitely look at used cymbals. Additionally, I would probably seek out something that has a lot of manufacturing volume out there because it pushes down prices. As far as hi-hats go, I recently saw some vintage 14" Zildjian A New Beats for $45 (Craigslist not eBay, the latter where prices are probably $90 - $140/pair). I was going to pick up but I thought that they might not be differrent enough from my Ks to warrant a purchase.

    If you look around pretty hard and pretty extensively (e.g., pawn shops), it's not impossible nab some vintage Zildjian As for ~$50 to $75 per piece. Not sure if that fits your budget, but I think As are great cymbals.

    If you want econo class cymbals, some of the sheet metal cymbals in the Zildjian ZHT series sound ok to me (B12 bronze), and you may find certain cymbals in a series may be more agreeable to than others (e.g., hi-hat versus ride). The sheet metal cymbals (e.g., which use the B12 bronze versus B20 bronze in many cast cymbals) tend to have higher overtones that I tend not to like. The higher overtones may work ok for you depending on the music you play, and the balance of other instruments.

    Steve
    Roland TD-12, 4-piece kit (very downsized) setup
    http://www.vdrums.com/forum/attachme...0&d=1180324146
    Gretsch New Classic, Yamaha & Ludwig snares
    Agop SE, Vintage A Zildjian, K, K Custom Dark, Sabian HHX Legacy
    DW Hardware

    Comment


    • #3
      http://www.cymbalholic.com/forums/index.php
      Audio | Video | Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip/Meinl cymbals

      Comment


      • #4
        Personally, I would not buy a cymbal I could not first listen to. There's just too much variance in the manufacturing process, even in the higher-priced brands.

        I had not looked at cymbals for a long time, but was asked to find a good ride for our a-kit at the small church I attended. I went to several shops in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and could not find what I thought was a good ride. I was looking for a nice, clean ping that didn't build a lot of overtones. I finally found a used 20" Sabian Dry Ride, and it was perfect. Paid $100 for it.

        Given the cost of cymbals, and the fact that this is not your "main line" kit, I would take my time and scour the pawn shops and used inventory at your local music shops and try to find a bargain that you like the sound of, whatever brand that might be.

        Comment


        • #5
          Stock prices, home prices, ... all plummeting.

          Cymbal prices holding up though, especially with increasing costs of copper. For quality used cymbals, preserving your financial investment.

          * My contribution to feeding GAS *

          Steve
          Roland TD-12, 4-piece kit (very downsized) setup
          http://www.vdrums.com/forum/attachme...0&d=1180324146
          Gretsch New Classic, Yamaha & Ludwig snares
          Agop SE, Vintage A Zildjian, K, K Custom Dark, Sabian HHX Legacy
          DW Hardware

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Vader,

            Sticky has really hit the nail on the head here - there is just too much variance in cymbals to buy without listening. When I used to play A's I would often go through every cymbal in a drum shop and walk out disappointed having bought nothing - usually, when I did buy a cymbal, it was one that cost many hundreds of $s just because that's what you had to pay to get good sound - everything else just sounded terrible.....

            However, you do come across the odd bargain in the "no-name" brands. I once found a little Zilco splash in a drum shop, a second hand paper thin thing, that sounded absolutely beautiful and was only $20. Needless to say I bought it, and it is the only A-cymbal that I kept when I sold my A-kit.

            Smaller music shops or pawn shops are definitely the go - sometimes local markets too. If you keep a pair of sticks in your pocket (or in the car) - you never know when that bargain will appear.

            Comment


            • #7
              After further review...

              Finally got to spend some time slapping lots of new and used cymbals at the store today. Didn't take long to figure out that I'm just not going to be happy with the cheaper stuff. The Zildjian As and a few used Ks were the only ones in the store that got me excited at all.

              I didn't make any purchases today, but it definitely set me straight. It's funny how I remember being perfectly happy with the cheap cymbals I had on my old A-kit years and years ago. Now, I honestly think all this time playing e-kits has trained me to be much more particular about my sound.

              Thanks for all the input, guys. I have an idea of what I want now, so I've just got to work the pawn shops some and see if I can't find some bargains. Otherwise, my wife has hinted that cymbals might make for good Christmas gifts this year.
              >>>See my E-kit here<<<

              >>>See my A-kit here<<<

              Comment


              • #8
                G.A.S. struck hard last Friday. I went with all new Zildjian Custom As. Took them to a jam session Sunday and they sounded fantastic.

                I've finished refurbishing my compact (but no longer particularly cheap) acoustic kit. I'll try to post a pic or two soon.

                Thanks for everyone's input on the cymbals.
                >>>See my E-kit here<<<

                >>>See my A-kit here<<<

                Comment


                • #9
                  Vadar,

                  Congrats, man! Was just thinking about you this past week as I picked up a vintage A top hat in the used market.

                  A Customs are great cymbals! Well worth the investment. Look forward to the pics.

                  Best,
                  Steve
                  Roland TD-12, 4-piece kit (very downsized) setup
                  http://www.vdrums.com/forum/attachme...0&d=1180324146
                  Gretsch New Classic, Yamaha & Ludwig snares
                  Agop SE, Vintage A Zildjian, K, K Custom Dark, Sabian HHX Legacy
                  DW Hardware

                  Comment

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