What is a Crash Cymbal?

June 10, 2022

A crash cymbal can be described as an instrument for percussion that makes the sound of a light, crisp, sharp sound.

The crash cymbal is a suspended cymbal mounted on the cymbal stand that is part of a drum set. 

Contrary to hi-hat cymbals and ride cymbals, which are typically employed to create the rhythm, they are usually employed only sparingly. Instead, most drummers employ them for intervals in-between parts, solos, and at the end of songs.

The term”crash cymbals” also describes the large hand cymbals in orchestras. 

These crash cymbals are played by multi-instrumentalists who are skilled in various percussion instruments. The marching band also uses this cymbal while performing the choreographed march.

Sharp, short, and powerful. The crash cymbal might not be the most prominent component on a drum set; however, it’s the loudest one when it’s struck. 

While other cymbals are designed to maintain a rhythmic beat, the crash cymbal can be employed for dramatic accents and to emphasize certain aspects of a song. 

what isa crash cymbal

How to Play Crash Cymbal

The crash cymbal has a unique sound that serves to end a song, drum fill, creates a crescendo, or even fill out the sonic palette of a drum solo. 

  1. The Cymbal Slide – Slide is the performance of a sizzle stroke that “slides” and moves downwards about an inch or two. Begin by sliding your right cymbal downward as soon as it contacts the stationary and vertically held left cymbal.
  2. Playing The Pianissimo Stroke with Cymbals – Your left cymbal should be stationary and vertical while your right cymbal is moving. Once your cymbals meet and start to ‘sizzle’ together, slide the right cymbal only slightly and then separate the cymbals from one another.
  3. The Pianissimo Stroke Refined – This step is only about practicing going slower, with a lot of time between your notes.
  4. The Mezzo Forte Stroke for Cymbals – Process is the same as the previous two steps, but it moves faster, and the stroke starts with the cymbals farther apart.
  5. The Forte Cymbal Stroke – Now, our left cymbal finally stops being stationary. Before the right cymbal makes contact, the left cymbal must tilt slightly away. Likewise, the left cymbal should move naturally and sway away from the impact site when the forte stroke makes contact.
  6. The Fortissimo Cymbal Stroke – The right cymbal has a high position, and the left one starts at a low one. Start moving them towards each other. The right cymbal should go up and down, whereas the left cymbal should go down and up.
  7. The Cymbal Flam Stroke – Cymbal flam stroke occurs when you play very loud crashes. You can hear a “ka-CHANG” sound when the bottom edges of the cymbals touch just before the main cymbal stroke.
  8. The Cymbal Follow Through – This technique will enable you to portray longer and shorter notes with cymbal crushes. The amount of time your cymbals stay in motion is directly proportional to the longevity of the note. To initiate big crashes, lift the cymbals above your shoulder height and lower them in rhythm at the cut-off of sound.
  9. The Cut-Off – The three best places to cut off the cymbal sound are your chest, the space under your arm/chest, and your abdomen. The speed of cutting off depends on what the music dictates to you as you are playing.
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how to setup crash cymbal

How to set up a crash cymbal?

When putting together crash cymbals for drum kits, The two main things we consider are efficiency and comfort. 

This should be our primary consideration since everything is crucial, including angles or distances, to heights.

You’ll be amazed at how much a centimeter in the height of your stand could make a difference. 

Unfortunately, it can also create discomfort during play, So one of the objectives is to play without looking at your eyes and not worry about things.

In the place you store your crash cymbal, for instance, you’d like to place it placed in a location that is easily accessible and accessible. That is undoubtedly one of the objectives of being in a position to be able to reach the items you intend to strike.

If you put your crash cymbals in a place that you can reach, it could result in more fatigue than you’d like to.

What is a crash-ride cymbal?

A crash/ride Cymbal is an average-weight, slightly tapered cymbal, usually within the 18-22-inch range. It is intended to be used in drum kits as a crash and ride cymbal.

Crash cymbal vs ride cymbal

Approaching each cymbal is different in your playing. 

Ride cymbal

The ride cymbal is generally bigger, heavier, and thicker. 

Also, it tends to have less shimmer and less pop. It is just a low-sustaining sound played with a consistent beat. You can almost experience something like a nice mellow sound. 

Crash cymbal

The crash cymbal emphasizes coming out of fill with a bright and shimmering tone. In addition, the smaller diameter of these cymbals gives them a brighter sound. The crash also adds dynamics and expression to your song.


Bigger crash cymbals can be used as a ride. Also, in rock, ride cymbals can sometimes be substituted for crash cymbals.


Ride cymbals give off short, sharp sounds, whereas crash cymbals produce a loud crash or a sustained swelling, adding dynamics and expression to your song. 

Ride cymbals are only struck on the top, while crashes are almost always struck along the edge. Also, the Ride cymbal is one you ride on or stay on more often.


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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