Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Every Drummer Should Stack Cymbals

Stacking cymbals refers to mounting one or more cymbals on top of another cymbal. When you stack the cymbals together, they can vibrate against each other, creating a complex sound. This kind of sound is often referred to as being trashy. In some stacks, the sound can be so complex that it sound like white noise!

This stack is a 16" AAX-xplosion crash over a 18" PST5 china. I have them on 
an x-hat, and they are kept fairly tight. This created a very controlled and 
fast sound, that is perfect for quick stick work and responsive enough for very 
light playing.

Stacking cymbals is great for a couple reasons. First of all, its just a lot of fun to try different combinations and to experiment. You never quite know what two cymbals will sound like when they're placed on top of each other. Its always a little bit of a surprise how it will come out. Some combinations work, and others don't.

The stack here is a 10" Paiste Alpha on top of a 16" Stagg SH china. I start 
playing on it at around 1:00. This is a really bright and trashy stack, it almost
sounds glassy and brittle. This was one of my favorites.

Another good reason to try stacking cymbals is that you can get fresh new sounds using stuff that you already have. Sometimes, you just need a new sound on the drum kit to get your creative juices flowing. With drums, you can grab a key and re-tune them. With cymbals, not so much. So in some sense, stacking cymbals is sort of a way to tune them.

This stack is very different from the last one. Here, I have an 18" wuhan under
a 10" PST3 splash. They're mounted on a regular hi-hat stand, and the splash is
upside down. As you can see, the splash touches the china only very lightly,
and modifies the sound in a rather subtle way.

Another cool think about stacking is that it gives you an opportunity to make use of cracked cymbals. Instead of throwing them away, you can recycle them by slapping them on top of or underneath other cymbals. The cool thing is that even if the cymbal is buzzing or rattling from the cracks, thats fine! Those sounds can actually add to the sound of the stack in a good way! But you'll never know until you try...

So, do you stack your cymbals? And what are you favorite stacks that you have discovered so far?