Cymbals play a massive role in the overall sound of any church worship team. They have the power to make or break the atmosphere you’re trying to create. So, it’s important to have some good cymbals that fit the situation.
Not all church worship teams sound the same, meaning you need to carefully select the cymbals you’re going to use for your church band.
Luckily, many companies have put together cymbal packs that provide you with all the tones you need. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
The Zildjian K Custom cymbals exhibit ark and warm character that fits very well in worship settings. If you bunched a group of different K Customs together, chances are that they’d work for church.
Luckily, Zildjian has gone and picked out all the best ones and put those in a set that caters extremely well for worship music. Included in this set is a pair of 14” Dark hi-hats, 16” and 18” Fast crashes, and a 20” Medium ride.
The hi-hats have great stick clarity with an amazing amount of swell to them, perfect for heavy and light grooving. The crashes have short decays and get out the way quickly, making them the perfect accent tools.
The ride can be crashed on and is more subtle than you’d expect a ride cymbal to be. If you’re looking for warm character, these are the cymbal to get. They’ll do a fantastic job in laying low in the mix while providing just enough attack to be effective.
These cymbals are most commonly used by gospel drummers, thanks to their fantastic projection and varying tones. The pack includes 5 cymbals that will give you creative control over the number of sounds that you can make from all the cymbals.
The 10” Aero splash is a fantastic addition to this pack. It has a short trashy sound that is great for playing quick jabs in the middle of drum fills. Gospel drummers do this a lot and that’s why they love this cymbal so much.
The 16” and 18” X-Plosion crashes are powerful, packing a huge punch when played. There’s a good pitch difference between them, giving good tonal range.
The 14” Medium hats have that typical dark hi-hat sound. The tones are clean and cutting and change the further out from the bell you play.
The 21” Raw Bell Dry ride is a beast of its own, providing a seriously strong bell sound and a woody ping on the bow.
This cymbal set is the perfect choice for gospel drummers. The tones may be a bit too aggressive for drummers playing in very small churches.
The Mike Johnston Byzance set wasn’t designed with church drummers in mind. However, these cymbals have musical qualities that fit wonderfully in many church settings.
Included in the pack is a set of Extra Dry 14” hats, an Extra Dry 18” crash, an Extra Thin 20” crash, and a Mike Johnston Transition ride that is 21”.
Let’s start with the Transition ride. It was designed to be one of the most versatile ride cymbals around and you bet it will sit fantastically in a church mix. It has good stick definition with just the right amount of overtones to keep it sounding subtle.
The hi-hats and 18” crash cymbal have similar sounds as they’re from the same line. The short decay and dark tones are music to the ears. Mike Johnston calls the 20” crash the ‘bwoosh’ crash. It has a huge sound that is great for ending fills with.
Overall, a fantastic set of cymbals!
If you were a fan of the Mike Johnston pack, but are on a budget, look no further than the Meinl Classics Custom Dark cymbals. These things pack a punch and work well in gospel settings.
Included in the set are a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, and a 20” ride cymbal. All the cymbals sound very similar to each other. They’re bright and punchy with complex dark overtones.
Mostly used by metal drummers thanks to their cutting tones, these cymbals can be used by gospel drummers because they cut through mixes very easily. This means they’ll be heard clearly in a mix that also has an organ.
Since they’re quite loud, they may not be the best cymbals to use in contemporary Christian settings.
The Paiste Signature Classics are arguably some of the best sounding cymbals around. They’re also some of the most versatile. You could use them in any musical setting and they will shine through the mix.
If you’re looking for some top-quality cymbals for your church, these are a great option. The cymbal pack has a set of Dark Crisp 14" hats, a fast crash that is 16”, and a 22” Full ride. On top of that, it includes two Paiste Full crashes that are 18” and 20”.
Contemporary Christian music often requires large cymbal sizes to cater to the big sounds of all the electronics and these cymbals perfectly fit that role. With a 20” crash and a 22” ride, you’ll have all the tools you need to achieve that big sound.
All the cymbals have smooth tones and there is a fantastic tonal difference between each one. You can’t go wrong with these cymbals. They’re incredibly expensive, so you’ll need to do some saving.
When thinking of cymbals, there’s often a classic sound that everyone pictures. That classic sound often comes in the form of the Zildjian A. These are such popular cymbals and they’ve been used by so many different drummers over decades.
They have a full-bodied tone that perfectly exhibits what many people think cymbals need to sound like. They’re bright, cutting through mixes very easily. These bright tones make them a great choice for use in gospel settings.
The set comes with New Beat 14” hi-hats, Medium Thin crashes in the standard 16” and 18” sizes, and a Sweet ride which is 21”. The New Beat hats are incredibly popular amongst drummers while the crashes and ride cymbal have excellent tones.
Check these cymbals out if you’re looking for a brighter sound that cuts easily through mixes.
Christian Contemporary vs Gospel
Although all church music has the same goal in leading a congregation and setting a contemplative mood, there are two distinct styles of music that you’ll find in different churches. These are Christian contemporary music and gospel music.
Christian contemporary music leans more on the side of pop and rock, having many common drum parts such as playing four-on-the-floor for multiple songs. You’ll hear music like this coming from bands such as Hillsong and Elevation Worship.
Dark and warm cymbals work best in that setting as those types of cymbals blend very nicely into the mix, adding to that warm and contemplative mood.
Gospel music leans closer to R&B and churches that play this style will often have choirs to back the music. This style is more upbeat and requires cymbals that are a bit brighter and punchier.
You’ll often find that drummers who play Christian contemporary music have very large cymbals. It’s not uncommon to see someone with 20” crash cymbals and a 24” ride. Although that seems a bit excessive, the large cymbals cater extremely well to the style.
Gospel drummers, on the other hand, make very good use of smaller cymbals for playing accents in different drum parts. You’ll see gospel drummers using splash cymbals very regularly.
As a drummer, getting a good set of cymbals is one of the best investments you can make. There are several ways to treat your drums so that they sound good, even if they’re cheap.
There’s no way of doing that for cymbals, meaning a bad set will always sound bad.
So, getting a high-quality set of cymbals will boost your overall drum sound dramatically and it will especially help in your church setting. Every set that I listed above has fantastic qualities that could work for you.
Establish what your budget is, choose a set of cymbals, and get ready to experience their high-quality goodness.