What Are Crash Ride Cymbals?

Crash ride cymbals are a hybrid of the crash and ride cymbals, which are two of the five cymbals commonly found in a drum set. These dual-purpose cymbals have a lively, brassy sound that complements the ride cymbal’s traditional “ping” and longevity. The ride cymbal’s job is to keep the beat steady, while the crash cymbal’s job is to add a splash of color or flair. When crash ride cymbals are combined, the cutting aspect of the ride is maintained while allowing for quick, energetic crashes when needed. The drummer has the advantage of having two cymbals in one, so his or her hands don’t have to stray far from the ride cymbal’s timekeeping element.

Crash ride cymbals are ideal for music with a heavy, loud sound, such as hard rock, heavy metal, and punk. Crash ride cymbals are also used jazz drummers because of the crash ride’s lighter, washier sound. The crash ride cymbal excels in certain types of music that require a “washy” cymbal sound throughout. The combination of the crash aspect of the cymbal’s louder sound and the ride’s longer sound creates a perfect shimmering sound.

When playing crash ride cymbals as a ride, drummers typically use nylon-tipped drum sticks to achieve the clean stick articulation required in a ride element. Drummers often hit the cymbal with the shoulder of the drum stick, which is just below the tip, or flip the stick over and hit the cymbal with the butt of the drumstick to create crash accents if they’re going to play them as a crash. The drummer will play near the middle of the crash ride cymbal to produce the ride sound, and near the edge to crash the cymbal.

Crash ride cymbals are distinguished from singular ride or crash cymbals their diameter and thickness. Crash ride cymbals are smaller, thinner, and have a smaller bell — the raised, dome-shaped area in the middle of the cymbal that serves as a resonator. Crash ride cymbals typically range in size from 15 to 19 inches (381 mm to 482.6 mm), though some jazz crash rides start at 14 inches (355.6 mm).