When you’re investing in your drum kit, it’s safe to say that every piece of equipment you buy is just as important as the rest and making the wrong purchasing decision can seriously damage the quality and tones of the overall sound you’re producing.
While many drummers will ensure their high hats and bass drums are optimally tuned to the sound they’re trying to create, overlooking your jazz cymbal is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. However, once you’ve invested in the right one for you, you’ll be shocked at the sounds you’re making and won’t believe that you played for so long with the wrong one.
Of course, when it comes to creating a jazz sound, there are several things you’ll need to be thinking about. For your traditional and classical jazz sounds, you’ll want a dark cymbal that has a sustain value between the mid and long ranges.
However, if you’re looking for a more modern, lighter jazz sound, you’ll be looking for a much punchy cymbal with a shorter ride that produces a much brighter sound. Furthermore, you’ll want to be thinking about your cymbal diameter (which is typically 20” – 22” for a jazz sound) and the rivet on each cymbal.
Phew. To help you make the best decision for your drum kit, we’ve selected four of the best jazz cymbals that are available today, helping you to create the perfect jazz sounds that you’re trying to create.
Let’s get started!
Meinl Cymbals B20JCR Byzance 20-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride Cymbal with Rivets
Starting off our list of the best jazz cymbals out there today, we’ve chosen this simply outstanding cymbal that generates a gorgeous jazz sound that’s unlike anything you’ll have created before. Despite the premium, professional price tag, this is a cymbal that you’ll instantly fall in love with.
Measuring in at 20-inches, perfect for producing those jazz sounds, this cymbal provides a long and sizzling sustain thanks to the rivets for a truly unique sound that it’s impossible to find with budget cymbals. The sound produced consists of soft and smooth tones and the hammer-marked ‘dents’ help to create that vintage dark sound.
Despite the traditional darker sounds, it still remains warm and promises to captivate your listeners.
What’s more, this is a cymbal that has been created by Meinl, one of the leading instrument manufacturers that has over half of a century’s worth of experience in the industry, guaranteeing this is an instrument you can trust.
What makes these cymbals great is the fact that they are hand-hammered into shape by the expert craftsmen at Meinl, meaning that each one of these cymbals is a masterpiece in their own right. While every cymbal is designed in the same way, this also means that each cymbal is slightly different, truly creating a unique sound you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Using outstanding metal materials that are highly durable and designed to last for many years to come, this could be the last cymbal you ever have to buy!
- Beautifully hand-crafted cymbal for a unique sound
- 20-inch for captivating jazz sounds
- Created by Meinl with over 50 years’ experience
- Riveted for long sustain
- Premium price tag
Sabian SBR2012 SBR Series Pure Brass 20-Inch Ride Cymbal
If you’re looking for a ride cymbal which still produces a beautiful vintage jazz sound but falls into a much more affordable price bracket, making it ideal for professionals, beginners and any drummer or band on a budget, the Sabian SBR Series Ride Cymbal could be exactly what you’re looking for.
This 20-inch cymbal sits with a truly competitive price tag and crafted from pure brass materials, making it highly durable, crash resistant, and therefore ideal if you’re looking for a trusted cymbal that will last for many years to come. In fact, this cymbal even comes with a one-year warranty to help you buy safely.
Once installed, this cymbal provides a very bright and ‘lively’ sound, and it’s been designed to make it perfect for full-sounding riding. You’ll even find this cymbal has been crafted for fast decay which is ideal if you’re looking for a cymbal you can wash-ride.
Look a little closer, and you’ll find this unit has been professionally made with large peen hammering and pinpoint-precise lathing, both of which just oozes quality and proper craftsmanship. In fact, this is one of the only cymbals that has the manufacturer branded onto the cymbal itself because they’re simply that proud of it!
As a cymbal that delivers a tight and very focused sound, you can be sure that this will create the ideal jazz tones that you’ve been looking for that will bring your sets to life. While this purchase only comes as a single unit and doesn’t come with felts or a stand, this is the best jazz cymbal you’ll find for this affordable price.
- Incredibly affordable jazz cymbal
- Large peen hammering and concise lathing
- Riveted for vintage jazz sustain
- Ideal choice for beginners and professionals alike
- Does not come with felts or stand
- Sound not as good as premium cymbals
Zildjian K Constantinople 22-Inch Medium Ride Cymbal
Heading back into the premium price range, some drummers out there are looking for a beautiful sounding 22-inch ride cymbal for creating some stunning jazz tones, and nothing is going to help you come closer than the Zildjian K.
The first thing you’ll notice is just how bold this cymbal is, perfect for creating a more emphasized sound that you simply can’t find with traditional and more budget-focused cymbals.
Of course, despite the fact this sits as one of the most expensive cymbals on this list, with a unit that generates this highly articulated sound, it’s worth every cent.
Made in Turkey, this cymbal prides itself on its copper/tin combination – sitting around the 80/20 mark – this is the exact cymbal you’ll be looking for if you’re looking to recreate those beautiful 50s and 60s jazz sounds from the bebop era.
This is the iconic sound produced by those drummers such as Elvin Jones, a hero of his time. All these cymbals are hand-crafted by the expert manufacturers at K Constantinoples using the traditional tools that were used back in the day.
This means you’ll still see the pits and impurities on the cymbal that modern-day machines will remove, not only retaining the beautiful sounds and tonal qualities that this cymbal creates, but also giving this cymbal its own character that you’ll fall in love with instantly.
- Beautifully hand-crafted cymbal made in Turkey
- Generates a mesmerizing 50s/60s jazz sound
- Copper and tin metal construction
- Gorgeous long sustain
- Premium and professional price tag
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 22-Inch Extra Dry Thin Ride Cymbal
We couldn’t resist finishing this list without another mention of the masters at Meinl with another cymbal from their coveted Byzance collection. Hand-hammered from B20 solid bronze alloys in Turkey, this dry-sounding ride cymbal is truly something to behold.
The crafters of these cymbals use the traditional methods which have been passed on for decades, a certain technique which provides you with a sound that will take your breath away. While this cymbal is unriveted, the look and sound are simply a far cry from the machine-generated cymbals you’ll find in the modern age.
With the cymbal, you’ll be treated to a light shimmer effect where your drumstick bounces effortlessly off the top, producing a deep and resonating mid sounds, glistening highs and low dark sounds. Bear in mind that although every cymbal under this name has been produced the same way, each is hand-crafted and therefore completely unique.
This means you’ll be the only drummer in the world who is able to create this exact sound when you play. Once created, each cymbal is then naturally treated with a raw finish which gives this cymbal its unique and earthy appearance that is sure to make an impression on stage.
In terms of quality, this cymbal is built to last, and you can be sure that it will be by your side and in your drum kit for decades to come. In fact, each one of these units comes with its own two-year warranty so you can play safely in the knowledge that this cymbal is as reliable as it is beautiful.
- Hand-crafted using traditional techniques in Turkey
- Each cymbal creates a truly unique sound
- Made from solid B20 bronze alloys
- Perfect cymbal for created jazz tones
- Expensive price tag
If you’re looking for the perfect cymbal to help you create the traditional jazz tones that have been proven to steal the hearts of anybody who listens to them, there’s a lot of great options out there for you to choose from.
All the ride cymbals we’ve listed above are ideal when it comes to producing that sought-after sound, so make sure you’re considering the price you’re willing to spend and the sound you’re trying to make, and you’ll be able to pick which cymbal is right for you easily.