How to Stack Cymbals? FAQ Answered

If you are into changing your sound and adding some inspiration to your music, stacking cymbals would be an easy and quick way to do it. There are many ways of doing it, in case you are asking yourself how to stack cymbals.

More and more drummers nowadays are going for stack cymbals. Stacking cymbals became popular in the last couple of years, mainly because drummers searched for new sounds.

While you pick your cymbals to match your sound, it is also great to be creative and go for stacks – they usually allow you to stand out with the unique sound and are typically affordable.

Before I say more about stacking cymbals and some other interesting information, let’s first go through the first one, which is what stacks are.

How to stack cymbals

What are stack cymbals?

Cymbal stacks are two or more cymbals stacked on top of each other, mounted on one cymbal stand.

What sound can I expect to get from stack cymbals?

The sound from stacks is almost always unique, depending on which cymbals you will choose to stack. Often, but not always, stacks will give you gritty, trashy, and bright sound that can cut through the rest of the sound and create excellent accents or fills.

For example, more miniature cymbals stacked with china cymbals will usually give bright, harsh, short, and more cutting sounds, while larger ones tend to be washier and lower in pitch.

What sizes of cymbals should I use for stack cymbals?

Before stacking them together, you should primarily consider the size of the bell, the steep of the bow, and what kind of contact will these two or more cymbals have once you put them together.

That being said, any cymbal size can work, as long as they fit well together. For example, you can use two large or two small splash cymbals, a splash stacked on the bow of the china cymbal, splash underneath the crash, and many other combinations.

How to stack cymbals?

The effect you will get when you stack cymbals is mainly similar to the loosely closed hi-hat. The result will depend on the tension on the mounting bolt and diverse variations of cymbals.

There’s no wrong way of how to stack cymbals properly. You can try using the high-hat configuration or add more miniature cymbals on top of the bigger ones. You can try all combinations of your cymbals and see which one suits you best.

Some of the tricks you can use are to put an 8-inch splash on top of the 10-inch splash cymbal. Then you can put mini china on top of the 8-inch splash or inverted crash on top of the china cymbal.

Also, combining two same size crashes as hi-hats, especially if they are more extensive – such as 18” – can give you lower pitch and washier sound. 

Many drummers nowadays are stacking underneath their crashes to add more texture to the sound. For example, you can put a 10-inch splash cymbal underneath 18 inches crash, mostly in hi-hat configuration.

how to stack cymbals

Who pioneered stacking cymbals?

Stacking cymbals was pioneered by drummers like Mike Portnoy, Dave Weckl, and some other. They initially used china splash as the upper cymbal on top of another splash, crash, or china. Portnoy mounted both cymbals with bell up and no felt to maximize contact between them.

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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