How Many Cymbals Should a Drum Kit Have?

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Electronic Drum Cymbal
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The number of cymbals a drum kit should have depends on the personal preference and style of the drummer. While some drummers prefer a minimal setup with just one or two cymbals, others opt for a more extensive setup with multiple cymbals of different sizes and sounds. In this article, we will explore the different factors that influence the number of cymbals a drummer should have in their kit.

The Importance of Cymbals in a Drum Kit

Cymbals are an essential part of a drum kit, adding a unique sound and character to the overall sound of the drum set. They come in different shapes, sizes, and sounds, allowing drummers to choose cymbals that suit their playing style and preferences. Cymbals can provide a range of sounds, from the sharp and cutting crash cymbals to the smooth and warm ride cymbals. They are used to accent the beat and add texture to the drum kit’s sound.

Factors that Influence the Number of Cymbals in a Drum Kit

  1. Playing Style and Genre

The number of cymbals in a drum kit is often influenced by the drummer’s playing style and the genre of music they play. For example, jazz drummers typically have a minimal setup with only one or two cymbals, while heavy metal and rock drummers tend to have a more extensive setup with multiple cymbals. The type of cymbals used will also depend on the genre, with different cymbals being favored in different genres.

  1. Budget

The budget is another factor that influences the number of cymbals in a drum kit. High-end cymbals can be expensive, and many drummers opt for a more minimal setup to save money. It is possible to have a great-sounding drum kit with just a few cymbals, so don’t feel like you need to buy multiple cymbals to achieve the sound you want.

  1. Personal Preference

The number of cymbals in a drum kit is ultimately a personal decision based on the drummer’s preferences. Some drummers prefer to have a few cymbals that they use frequently, while others like to have a variety of cymbals to choose from. It is important to experiment with different cymbals and setups to find what works best for you.

Recommended Cymbals for a Drum Kit

  1. Hi-Hat Cymbal

The hi-hat cymbal is one of the most important cymbals in a drum kit and is used to create the distinctive “chick” sound. It is recommended to have at least one hi-hat cymbal in a drum kit, but some drummers opt for two to provide more options for their playing.

  1. Ride Cymbal

The ride cymbal is used to provide a steady beat and is typically placed in the center of the kit. It is recommended to have at least one ride cymbal, but some drummers choose to have two for a more extensive setup.

  1. Crash Cymbal

The crash cymbal is used to add excitement to the music and is typically placed to the left or right of the ride cymbal. It is recommended to have at least one crash cymbal, but some drummers opt for two or more for a more extensive setup.

Can You Have Two Hi-Hat Cymbals?

Many drummers are curious about the possibility of having two hi-hat cymbals in their drum kit, and whether this could enhance their playing experience. Below are the two main options for having two hi-hat cymbals, and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Option 1: Two Separate Hi-Hat Cymbals

The first option for having two hi-hat cymbals is to have two separate cymbals, each mounted on its own stand. This allows you to have two distinct sounds available to you, which can be particularly useful for playing different types of music, or for creating different sounds for different sections of a song. For example, you might have a lighter, more high-pitched cymbal for playing fast, intricate patterns, and a heavier, more low-pitched cymbal for playing slower, more powerful grooves.


  • Increased versatility and flexibility
  • Ability to switch between two different sounds
  • Ability to use two cymbals of different sizes, weights, and sounds


  • Requires two separate hi-hat stands
  • Takes up more space in your drum kit
  • Can be more difficult to control two separate cymbals

Option 2: Dual-Cymbal Hi-Hat Stand

The second option for having two hi-hat cymbals is to use a dual-cymbal hi-hat stand. This type of stand allows you to mount two cymbals on a single stand, which can be controlled by a single foot pedal. This can be a more compact and convenient option than having two separate cymbals and stands, but it also has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.


  • More compact and space-saving
  • Easier to control two cymbals with a single foot pedal
  • Ability to switch between two different sounds


  • Limited to using two cymbals of the same size and weight
  • May be more difficult to control the sound of both cymbals simultaneously

What is The Optimal Number of Crash Cymbals for a Drum Kit

As a drummer, having the right number of crash cymbals can greatly enhance the sound and versatility of your drum kit. However, with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine how many crash cymbals you actually need. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine the optimal number of crash cymbals for a drum kit and provide recommendations based on various playing styles and preferences.

The Purpose of Crash Cymbals

Before diving into the number of crash cymbals, it is important to understand their purpose and role in a drum kit. Crash cymbals are used to create sudden, explosive accents and are often used in musical transitions and build-ups. They come in a variety of sizes and sounds, with some producing a bright, sharp crash and others offering a more sustained, shimmering sound.

Factors to Consider

When determining the optimal number of crash cymbals for your drum kit, there are several factors to consider. These include:

  • Playing style: The type of music you play will greatly impact the number of crash cymbals you need. For example, in heavy metal, a lot of cymbal crashes are used, so you may need multiple crash cymbals to create the desired sound. On the other hand, jazz and blues typically use fewer crash cymbals, so one or two may be sufficient.
  • Budget: Crash cymbals can be expensive, so budget will play a role in determining how many you can afford.
  • Space: The size of your drum kit and playing space will also impact the number of crash cymbals you can have. If you have limited space, it may not be feasible to have multiple crash cymbals.


Based on these factors, here are some recommendations for the optimal number of crash cymbals for a drum kit:

  • For beginner or casual drummers: 1-2 crash cymbals should suffice, allowing you to experiment with different sounds and techniques.
  • For intermediate drummers: 2-3 crash cymbals can provide more versatility and options for different playing styles and musical genres.
  • For advanced or professional drummers: 3-4 crash cymbals or more can allow for a wider range of sounds and accents, giving you the ability to create unique and dynamic drumming experiences.

The optimal number of crash cymbals for a drum kit is dependent on several factors, including playing style, budget, and space. By considering these factors and following our recommendations, you can enhance the sound and versatility of your drum kit and take your drumming to the next level.


Ultimately, the number of cymbals you include in your drum kit is a personal choice that depends on your playing style, musical preferences, and the type of music you play. While a basic setup of two cymbals is all you need to get started, expanding your cymbal collection over time can help you refine your sound and better express your musical ideas.

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