A ride cymbal is a drum set cymbal that produces a long-lasting sound when struck. It’s called a ride cymbal because drummers use it to “ride” along with the music or to keep a consistent rhythmic pattern. The different sounds these cymbals can make are determined their thickness. The drummer’s ride cymbal placement is determined his or her comfort level and personal style. Depending on the music styles played and the performance venue, different types of ride cymbals are available.
Ride cymbals should be distinguished from crash cymbals, which are another common type of cymbal. Unlike the crash cymbal, which produces a more accented sound, the ride cymbal produces a softer sound while providing continuous rhythm backup in a band or small ensemble. Hi-hat cymbals with a pedal are frequently used in tandem with ride cymbals to provide a steady rhythmic accompaniment.
Depending on the thickness of the ride cymbals, different sounds can be produced. Thinner ones produce a more shimmering sound for smaller venues, while thicker ones produce a more accented sound for larger ones. 18 to 22 inches is the standard width (46 to 56 cm). The loudest sounds can be produced the larger models.
A ride cymbal is typically placed on the drummer’s right, slightly behind the floor tom. It may be preferable to place the ride cymbal on the left for a drummer who is left-handed. Overall, it’s best if it’s within easy reach of the drummer’s dominant hand. Because the proper use of a ride cymbal is based solely on personal comfort and style, there are no set rules for where it should be placed.
Industry standard ride cymbals should be considered a rock drummer. The ones made of medium to thin weight are the most popular. For rock concerts, these provide more power in the cymbal’s sound. Many popular brands exist, with various variations that produce a “ping,” or a sharper sound, when struck.
Ride cymbals that are more expensive are made of higher-quality materials. Because of the louder sounds they produce, many rock drummers prefer them. A flat ride cymbal is a popular choice among jazz drummers due to its quietness, which is due to the absence of a bell in the cymbal’s center.