There are different types of rock ride cymbals out there. They will tell you to use the pingy one for classic rock and a more crashy ride for modern rock.
Well, you need to know your cymbals to understand what all these variations mean. Rock is one of the most versatile music genres today. And there are different ways of getting that ultimate rock sound.
When it comes to choosing the right ride cymbal, there are a number of things to consider.
In this guide, I will introduce you to ride cymbals and review some of the best rides rock drummers use. By the end, you should be able to find the best rock ride cymbals.
What is a ride cymbal?
Before we go any further, do know what a ride cymbal is and how it is used? Many beginners find it hard to pick the right cymbals because they don’t know how to differentiate.
A ride is usually the biggest cymbal in any drum kit, though not always. Right-hand drummers place it on the right side above the floor tom.
The main difference between them and the crash cymbals is how they are used. A crash cymbal is typically for accents, while rides keep time. They are played in steady patterns, more like the hi-hats to keep rhythmic patterns.
Also, they differ in terms of sound. A crash gives out a rich and explosive sound, whereas the rides have a more shimmering and sustaining sound.
Rides tend to have more surface than crashes in a typical beginner kit. However, as you advance, you will notice that some crash cymbals have the same size as a ride cymbal.
In terms of sound, rides vary hugely depending on where you hit them. If you play on the bell, you get a sharp ‘ping’ sound of a bell, with a low sustain.
And when you play on the bow, the ride will give you a more subtle, familiar cymbal tone. It is because of these variations that a ride is seen as a very versatile cymbal.
It opens a lot of space for a percussionist or drummer to be creative. When you understand how the rides work and have the right, everything else becomes easy.
Besides, thinner rides sound lighter, brighter, and washier sounds. On the other hand, thicker rides seem darker, and with a louder ‘ping’ like one from a bell.
What is the best ride cymbal for rock?
In my experience, it all comes down to personal preferences. There are so many ride cymbals variations that may not be easy to tell which one is the best.
However, I also know that there are certain features that we all agree on when describing the best cymbals, whatever the type. And in this case, the brand has a huge role to play.
I was going through some online comments on this issue and realized all drummers tend to think alike when it comes to quality. One drummer posted on drummerworld.com a very interesting comment.
He says, “For a pingy sound, my favorite is the K Custom ride. Super strong ping, and a warm undertone (but not real ‘wash,’ and definitely not crash-able). I think this is more pingy than your ping ride….”
This is one of the ride cymbals I have been used (I have several rides), and their sound is well pronounced. However, I am beginning to like less pingy rides for rock.
The 22-inch K Dark Medium ride from Zildjian has become one of my favorites. It has a nice combination of a soft ping towards the middle and some sweet wash underneath.
Playing on this ride is quite enjoyable. I love the way it transforms into a beautiful washy ride the further you explore. Right at the edge is another expansive crash that will melt away your heart.
It will cut through the mix with incredible strength, and without overpowering the other instrument.
Another thing I love about the 22 K Custom Medium is that it’s not too heavy. This makes it greatly versatile. You can play it for other genres of music without feeling off.
Apart from this, there are other wonderful rides for rock.
5 Best Rock Ride Cymbals
Zildjian is one of the best cymbal manufacturers. It has a great reputation for being the number one cymbal manufacturer.
This K Custom Hybrid Ride Cymbal is an innovative percussion instrument that blends the articulate stick response and clear bell sound of the K Custom ride with a thinner lathed cymbal functionality.
Rock cymbals are known to be heavier and thicker, which makes them less responsive. But the brilliant combination of this sound with a crash-ability and wash of a lighter cymbal makes this ride extremely versatile.
The outer section is lathed, making it to give a softer, darker sound. The inside, on the other hand, and the bell delivers more pronounced brighter tones.
Many rock drummers love this cymbal because it allows then to tap into their innovativeness. It is one of the cymbals I have used for a long time, and it has never disappointed.
Besides, it is crafted from high-quality material. This is why it is stronger and durable, apart from sounding good. You can punish it all you want, and it will still take you far.
Paiste is another cymbal manufacturer that knows what the modern drummer needs. Their products have become very popular with modern drummers.
The company started making cymbals in 1906. They have the reputation of being extremely innovative. And there is a good reason why it is one of the most favored brands in the drumming community.
The Paiste Signature Reflector Bell ride is probably the only ride you will ever want for rock. And I am not saying this without being bias.
I have met many rock drummers with this cymbal, which makes me believe it’s indeed the best rock ride ever.
It will do anything you want from a rock ride. Think of perfect pink, an overweight bell, and thin enough to remain musical and powerful even with the strongest strike.
The cymbal is made from durable B20 metal with the highest quality considerations. It has then been hand-hammered into shape to ensure a specific sound whenever you play.
If you are looking for one ride cymbal that you will never have to change, then I recommend you go for this one.
Well, the price tag is a bit on the heavy, but once you invest, that is it. Professional drummers use this cymbal, and none has complained so far.
Sabian is among the top three cymbal brands in the world. It has been delivering high-end cymbals for drummers for more than 30 years. In terms of experience, therefore, this is one company you can never go wrong on.
About its reputation and quality of products, Sabian is an offshoot of Zildjian. Hence, you can be sure they have what it takes to serve well. One of the reasons they split from Zildjian is said to be a lack of versatility.
And that is what Sabian is all about to me – versatility. Their cymbals are so good and versatile that you can never lack anything from their lines. Sabian HH series is a high-end line of cymbals made for professional performance. This HH Raw Bell
Dry Ride 21-inch cymbal comes from this line. It has a dark, unlathed raw bell that gives out clear, cutting strokes combined with the ride area’s crisp response. This is the crowned by perfect amount spread, making the ride an incredible tool for volume in any music type.
The HH Remastered from Sabia comes with one more hammering; it’s more complex and a better tone. Hence, all HH rides deliver a traditional and complex. HH Remastered also adds more complexity and tone to individual cymbals accessories.
The entire line assures unmatched sonic properties.
Meinl ranks number three on my list of best cymbal manufacturers. They offer a wide range of percussion instruments, especially cymbals, to drummers across the world.
This 22-inch Classics Dark Ride Cymbal is a good sounding instrument that will put a smile on your face and the face of your audience.
All the other products mentioned above are very expensive. So, if you need something more affordable, yet with the same quality, you can count on this one.
It is made from B10 bronze allow, which places it in the middle-range. However, it features a twist on the traditional design on the cymbals that makes them look professional.
They are also done with a unique finishing process, giving it great complexity with dark warm overtones and a ton of glassy ping.
Meinl’s Classics Custom Dark Ride comes as a combination of a bright attack and a natural sustain. This combines with a clear-cutting bell that can be heard clearly through the mix.
This beefy ride will serve you well in any music style that needs some strength.
However, note that they will not last as long as you would expect B20 cymbals too. Nevertheless, it has a nice finish with all the right tonal values.
You may not know much about Istanbul Agop, but it is one of the biggest cymbal companies today. They have been highly appreciated for their quality and making affordable products.
The Xist Brilliant Raw Ride Cymbals are among the most expensive and best-sounding cymbals. When many drummers think about the ride cymbals from this company, they think big, papery, and dark cymbals perfect for low volume.
Well, this is what most Agop cymbals offer. But the Xist Brilliant Raw is one of their products you will love to play rock music with.
The company has combined more modern production methods with traditional processes to create professional cymbals at an affordable price. They deliver a distinctive ping that will improve your overall performance.
Frequently asked questions
What Are the Best Cymbals for Rock?
Let’s face it; rock is one of the easiest genres to drum. Sometimes it requires some crazy speeds and strange time signature that many drummers are not familiar with.
Hence, you need the best gear, especially cymbal.
The most recommended cymbals, in this case, are Paiste legendary 2002 series, Zildjian A Custom Series, Sabian AAX Series, and Meinl Byzance Brilliant.
These are good first because they come from the best manufacturers. Some of them have been on the market for more than 20 years, which proves they are really good.
If you are looking for old school rock, modern cymbals, versatile cymbals, and heavy cymbals, these are the brands to approach. And the lines mentioned above have it all.
What Is the Best Ride Cymbal?
Ride cymbals are defined by their build quality and their tonal values. There are so many rides on the market today, and it all comes down to the music you are playing.
But if you are looking for something more versatile, then the Meinl 20-inch Classic Custom Dark Ride cymbal should be a perfect choice. They are also not overly expensive, so you should not have any issues with it.
Zildjian’s 21-inch A series Sweet Ride cymbal is another good option for a premium product. It is made from B20 alloy, and it’s versatile, which means you might not have to but another ride ever.
What Are the Best Cymbals for Jazz?
Jazz is a soft music genre. This means the cymbal you buy should not be heavy and dark. Consider something like Meinl Cymbals HCS20R for an affordable ride cymbal for jazz. Or if you have the money go for Meinl Byzance Jazz.
What Is the Best Zildjian Cymbal Line?
Zildjian has a wide collection of best-quality cymbals. Their legendary K Constantinople is the pinnacle of all Zildjian cymbals. It is known for its perfectly blended sound quality with top-end performance.
There you have it, everything you need to know about the best cymbals for rock. There are many other rides, but I know the products I gave mentioned above will not disappoint.