Sunday, March 12, 2023

Cymbal size vibe war!

Photo stolen from the cover of 
The Cymbal Book by Hugo Pinksterboer, 
which you should own.
At last, the definitive guide to the vibes we all get from the various sizes of cymbals. I don't know why most of them relate to cars for me. File this with my previous tom size vibe post

...mind you, what follows is rated 100% pure BS, so don't let it dissuade you from getting the cymbal you want or need. There are no “dumb” or “serious” cymbals, they're all instruments serving a musical purpose. But it's fun to let fly with these kinds of judgments.  

Let's do this from little to big: 

<6" - Finger cymbals, bells, crotales, Necco Wafers, other rejected Halloween candy.  

6" - Do you need something that goes ki? Looks ridiculous if not carefully placed, like putting a tiny hat on your drum set. 

8" - Normal splash, slightly suspect economy vibes, Honda Civic.  
10" - True normal splash.  Ford Bronco of splashes.

12" - Serious splash. BMW 5-series of splashes. Or, from another perspective, a big dumb splash. Hihats on a child's drum set, or for really trebly Dixieland, with a guy singing through a paper megaphone. 

13" - Sport hihats. Either Ferrari-like or Suzuki Samurai-like, depending on your perspective, abilities, and quality of the cymbals. Meinl = Suzuki. 

Tiny hat cymbal

- Normal hihats— Volvo 240, Gap jeans. Small crash or splash for serious people.   

15" - Alternate normal hihats. The viola of hihats, slightly bigger, dumber. Enticing/intriguing crash size. 

16" - Normal crash, most people's first crash cymbal. Now looks slightly inadequate in its former spot on the left side of the set. Fiat Panda, Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf. Big hihats for when you want people to know you're serious about “pocket.”  

17" - Sporty, agreeable-looking, the optimal size for a crash cymbal. Stupid looking hihat size, trying too hard. Like somebody really late to the party with the 80s wide leg jeans phase. 

18" - Platonic normal universal all-purpose cymbal size, though currently out of favor as such. People want their crashes either smaller or huger, and want their rides— left side or otherwise— bigger. Smallest size for a ride cymbal without getting weird. 

19" - Compact ride, big crash. Subaru Forester of rides, Oldsmobile 98 of crashes.  

20" - Normal ride, junior ride. The Ford Taurus of ride sizes. People are unsettled by its universality, interpreting it as a mundane rather than classic vibe. A little out of hand as a crash cymbal— you'd better be playing a lot of Billy Squier covers in that case, with a Pinstripe on your snare drum.     

21" - Compact master cymbal, Ferrari-like vibe, when a 22" would just bog you down, hold you back.  

22" - Master cymbal. Big, substantial, serious cymbal for grown ups. Full size Mercedes. I refuse to acknowledge that people buy crash cymbals in this size. 

My '70 Buick Elektra,.en route to Las
Vegas from Los Angeles, 1989

- There are a few of them around. Contrarian. You're not like those regular 22 and 24 inch cymbal using clods. 

24" - Big dumb cymbal— 1970 Buick Elektra, or DUKW aquatic military truck. I drove an Elektra when I went to USC. Driving it to LA with my brother, five minutes outside of Eugene, we passed a flaming hulk on the side of the road, then the Elektra's crumbling vinyl top peeled back and was flapping behind the car like a sad cape. We had to tear it off and keep driving. That's the 24" cymbal experience. 

>24" - The block long Hummer limo of cymbal dimensions. For the kind of person who's always looking for a hoppier beer. Looks like elephantiasis.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading about the Electra. What a creative piece. Where I grew up they called the Electra 225 the “deuce and a quarter” not only do you know music you are a gifted writer.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered why Steve Jordan played those 17” hats with James Taylor. That is supposed to be laid back vibe.