What Cymbals Drum Legends Use

February 6, 2024

Buddy Rich cymbals

Who is the best drummer in the world?

Buddy Rich was using Avedis Zildjian cymbals, which included:

  • 14″ New Beat Hi-Hats
  • 18″ Thin Crash
  • 18″ Medium-Thin Crash
  • 8″ Splash (also used a 6″)
  • 20″ Medium Ride
  • 22″ Swish.

Bernard “Buddy” Rich is one of the most prominent jazz drummers from America.

He is known for his powerful virtuoso technique and speed. 

Buddy Rich was dedicated to one drum set, with almost no changes in his setup.

Buddy Rich’s endorsements for Zildjian cymbals didn’t change through the years, except when he used Paiste Formula 602s in the late 50s until the early 60s. 

After this brief switch, he came back to Zildjian until his last concert.

Travis Barker cymbals

travis barker cymbals

Travis Barker has used an abundance of different cymbals, but his set usually includes these Zildjian cymbals:

  • 14″ A Quick Beat Brilliant Hi-Hats
  • Zildjian 18″ A Custom Projection Crash
  • Zildjian 19″ A Custom Crash
  • Zildjian 18” Oriental China
  • Zildjian 21″ Sweet Ride
  • Zildjian 10″ A Custom EFX Splash

Travis Baker is one of the most influential drummers of the last century.

He is known as the drummer of punk-rock band Blink182, but he also collaborated with musicians from other genres like hip-hop, alternative rock, pop, and country.

Zildjian cymbals have co-designed products in his name, and he stayed loyal to this brand.

Tommy Lee zildjian cymbals

tommy lee cymbals

Tommy Lee uses a Zildjian set of cymbals, including:

  • 21″ Sweet ride
  • 21″ Custom 20th Anniversary Ride
  • 21″ K Crash/Ride
  • 18″ A-Heavy Crash
  • 18″ A China
  • 16″ K series Hi-Hats
  • 9.5″ Large Zil-bel

Thomas Lee Bass is a founding member of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe.

Besides being a long-term drummer of the Mötley Crüe, Lee founded his solo project, a rap-metal band Methods of Mayhem.

Tommy Lee is known as the most entertaining rock drummer in the world.

Although he played Paiste cymbals for a brief period, he mostly stayed loyal to Zildjian.

What cymbals did Philly Joe Jones use?

philly joe jones cymbals

Philly Jones used Gretsch drums, including only two cymbals: one ride cymbal and a hi-hat.

Joseph Rudolph “Philly Joe” Jones was an American jazz drummer, playing with some of the leading jazz musicians like Miles Davis and others.

He played a Gretsch Broadkaster during the early part of his career and, in the late 50s early 60s, went onto use a Gretsch Round Badge (early USA Custom) kit.

Zildjian created a modern take on the classic ride cymbal used by Philly Joe, the 20″ Zildjian K Constantinople Philly Joe Jones Ride Cymbal.

Lars Ulrich cymbals

lars cymbals

Lars Ulrich uses Zildjian cymbals:

  • 14″ A Custom Dyno Beat Hi-Hats
  • 17″ A Custom Projection Crash (2x)
  • 18″ A Custom Projection Crash
  • 19″ A Custom Projection Crash
  • 18″ Oriental China Trash (used as a ride)
  • 20″ Oriental China Trash

Lars Ulrich is a Danish musician known as the drummer and co-founder of the American heavy metal band Metallica. 

His drumming style changed through the years. 

From the fast, aggressive thrash beats at the beginning, to more aggressive and experimental groovy style, with clean and fast double bass beats and heavy drum fills in the later years.

Keith Moon cymbals

keith moon cymbals

Keith Moon was using Zildjian and Paiste cymbals:

  • Zildjian Avedis 20″ Ride
  • Paiste 16″ 2002 Crash Cymbal
  • Zildjian 14″ A Quick Beat Hi-Hats
  • Paiste 18″ 2002 Crash Cymbal

Keith John Moon was an English drummer for the rock band the Who.

He is considered one of the best rock n roll drummers of all time and was an inspiration for the whole drumming world. 

Keith Moon played a four- and later a five-piece drum kit during his early career.

He preferred Zildjian cymbals, although he played with other brands too.

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What cymbals did Ringo use?

Ringo Starr used Zildjian cymbals:

  • Zildjian 22″ swish knocker
  • 20″ FX Oriental Crash of Doom
  • 18″ A Avedis Crash/Ride
  • 18″ FX Oriental China “Trash”
  • 18″ A high China
  • 16″ A thin Crash
  • Zildjian 14″ A New Beat Hi-Hats

Sir Richard Starkey, known as Ringo Starr, is famous for being a drummer for the Beatles.

There are few uncommon facts about Ringo: the first is that he is left-handed, and the other is that he didn’t use a ride cymbal at the beginning.

He used different brands of cymbals like Arbiter, Paiste, and Zildjian on his drum set up at different points of his career.

What cymbals did Rev use?

rev cymbals

Rev was mostly using Sabian cymbals:

  • 14″ AAX-Celerator Hi-hats
  • 18″ Sabian Signature Jojo Mayer Fierce Crash
  • 19″ Paragon China
  • 19″ AAX Metal Crash
  • 22″ AAX Metal Ride (x2)
  • 19 “AAXtreme Chinese
  • 10″ AAX Splash
  • 10″ Chopper Effects Cymbal
  • 11″ Signature Max Splash
  • 10″ HH China Kang

James “Jimmy” Owen Sullivan, or better known as The Rev, was the drummer and backing vocalist of the heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

Sullivan was the rare drummer who can combine power, brains, finesse while throwing a great visual show for the crowd.

Steve Jordan cymbals

steve jordan cymbals

Steve Jordan uses Paiste set of cymbals, including:

  • 17″ Signature Traditionals Thin Crash (as hi-hat top)
  • 17″ Signature Dark Energy Crash (as hi-hat bottom)
  • 20″ Masters Dark Crash Ride
  • 22″ Traditionals Light Ride

Steve Jordan is an American musical director, producer, songwriter, and musician.

He played with many blues and rock groups and musicians, including Blues Brothers, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, and some pop stars like Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys.

Steve Jordan is a multitalented musician with a long list of artists and bands he cooperated with, playing the broad spectrum of genres throughout his career.

Steve Gadd cymbals

most recorded drummers

Steve Gadd uses Zildjian cymbals:

  • 14″ top hi-hat
  • 14″ A Custom bottom hat with eight rivets
  • 15″ A Custom with eight rivets
  • 18″ K Dark Thin crash
  • 20″ Avedis Classic Orchestral
  • 20″ K Zildjian Medium Thin Low

Stephen Kendall Gadd is an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician, primarily playing jazz, blues, and rock music.

He has worked with famous musicians from many genres, such as Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, Kate Bush, and others.

Gadd was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1984 as one of the industry’s best session and studio drummers.

Dave Grohl cymbals

dave grohl cymbals

Dave Grohl uses a Zildjian set of cymbals, including:

  • 15″ A Custom Hi-Hats
  • 18″ A Custom Crash
  • 20″ A Custom Crash
  • 22″ A Custom Ride

David Eric Grohl is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and documentary filmmaker.

He is most famous for being the drummer of Nirvana and for his later projects such as Foo Fighters, for whom he is the singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter.

When it comes to cymbals, Dave exclusively used Zildjian As.

Grohl’s drumming approach combines classic rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and hardcore to create his unique sound.

What kind of cymbals does Max Weinberg use?

max weinberg cymbals

Max Weinberg is using Zildjian cymbals:

  • 20″ A Rock Ride
  • 18″ A Medium Crash
  • 17″ A Medium Thin Crash
  • 14″ A Mastersound Hi-Hats

Max Weinberg is an American drummer most widely known as the longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and as the bandleader for Conan O’Brien, on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.

Weinbergćs style is defined by drums-driven jump blues sound.

In 2014 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band.

What cymbals does Jack DeJohnette use?

jack dejohnette cymbals

Jack Dejohnette uses a set of Sabian cymbals, including:

  • 14″ Signature Encore Hats
  • 13″ Signature Encore Splash
  • 17″ Signature Encore Crash
  • 18″ Signature Encore Crash
  • 22″ Signature Encore Mini-Bell Ride
  • 22″ Signature Encore Flat Ride
  • 22″ Signature Encore Chinese

DeJohnette is regarded as one of the most important jazz drummers of the twentieth century.

He played with the most prominent musicians such as Charles Lloyd, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis, and others.

In 2007, DeJohnette was accepted to the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.

He is famous for his dark signature set of Sabian Cymbals.

Danny Carey cymbals

daney carrey cymbals

There is a long list of cymbals that Danny Carey uses, but mainly he is dedicated to Paiste cymbals, including:

  • 7.5″ and 8″ 2002 cup chime 
  • 20″ 2002 Novo China
  • 6″ 2002 Accent Cymbal
  • 8″ Signature Bell
  • 8″ and 10″ Signature Dark Energy Splash Mark 1
  • 18″ Signature Full Crash
  • 13″ Signature Sound Edge Hi-Hats
  • 19″ and 20″ Signature Power Crash 
  • 21″ Signature Dry Heavy Ride
  • 20″ Signature Thin China
  • 5″ 2002 Cup Chime
  • 11″ Noise Works Dark Buzz China
  • 40″ Symphonic Gong – Tai Loi
  • 22″ Monad Signature Dry Heavy Ride 
  • 14″ Formula 602 Classic Sounds Sound Edge Hi-Hat

Danny Carey is the drummer for the American rock band Tool.

He was ranked among the 100 greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone.

Danny is a Paiste artist, using some of the special cymbals such as Paiste’s Signature bronze custom cast limited set of cymbals and a signature purple ride cymbal called “Dry Heavy Ride – Monad.”

Neil Peart cymbal setup

neil peart cymbals

Neil Peart has spent the majority of his career with Zildjians.

However, he switched to Sabians and developed what would later become the Paragon line.

Neil Peart was using Sabian set of cymbals, including:

  • 16″ (x2), 18″, and 20″ crashes
  • 22″ ride
  • 8″ and 10″ splashes
  • 19″ and 20″ china cymbals
  • 13″ and 14″ hi-hat sets

Neil Ellwood Peart was a Canadian musician, best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush.

When it comes to his drum set, he was changing it often during his career, including an abundance of different instruments.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

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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  1. What cymbals does John X play?
    John is a online drum teacher/educator.

    • Hi Dave, I see I am also subscribed to John’s YT channel. What I can see from his videos, he plays Zildjian Zonstantinople ride and crash (not sure if the cymbal on the left is a crash or a ride) and for hi hat he uses Zildjian K series, I saw he uses K hybrid series on some videos, I also seen he uses A series ride, it’s A medium ride to be precise. Hope this was helpful. Cheers

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