The recipient of the best available china cymbal is this gorgeous Sabian AA Holy China Cymbal. Sabian and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith created this china to produce a revolutionary cymbal that is offensive, destructive, and incredibly noisy!
Generally speaking, all cymbals share universal core features: a rounded bell raised, gradually sloping bow, and smooth, uniform edges. This traditional Turkish construction yields a more even, consistent response that drummers over the past century have come to rely on and expect.
Conversely, China cymbals are wildcards. They look like Salvador Dali’s idea of a china cymbal, with their conical bell, more dramatic bow profile, and a slanted flanged edge. They are brazen, aggressive, and somewhat unpredictable. But they are also a recognizable tone that attaches a package to its unmistakable identity.
So how did so many drummers find such dynamic challenges a fixture?
Origins of China Cymbals
The beginnings of the China cymbal got closely interwoven with the beginning of the modern drum set configuration. As the tom/snare/bass setup gained legs in the early twentieth century, drummers complemented their kits with smaller cymbals that were aimed more at giving accents than at acting as sonic staples.
Chinese Cymbal Cymbals from this period in the early 1900s come from two sources: Turkey and China. Lead by Zildjian, Turkish cymbals get distinguished by a more refreshing, more sedated sound heard in “New Ks.” On the other hand, a large swath of cheap cymbals came in from China marked by a moodier, ambient voice. Some early models also show tonal parallels, though such pieces were a little rough around the edges, like old drums. Such cymbals, hand-shaped and hand-hammered, featured metal mixtures and designs that were more familiar to ritual and military styles than the ones of today.
An expanded bell was a prominent feature of those smaller cymbals, which created a noisy, chime-like sound. Mostly, China kept splashing like a mini China or Japan. Versions of those smaller models can be seen on legend sets such as Gene Krupa.
Amp technology continued to improve as the need for more muscle in larger environments grew, as the Big Band era rolled on. Also, cymbals began to grow to cope with the louder blends, and the ones we know today originated from the nebulous size/weight scheme that the significant manufacturers employed. As specialized models emerged rides, crashes, and hi-hats, China began to take shape.
During the 1940s and 1950s, World War II severely disrupted Chinese cymbal sales forcing firms such as Zildjian and Paiste to fill the business vacuum. These newer Chinese began to gain the “trashy” character that attracted musicians to the model in a uniform, reliable package
While the image of a large, boisterous China is inseparable from Neil Peart’s likes, thanks to jazz/rock hybrid dynamo Billy Cobham the cymbal owes its current place in the gear world. In one of Geoff Nichol’s book “The Drum Book: A History of the Rock Drum Kit ” he said that, “I always think that Cobham should be massively rewarded by cymbal manufacturers since China-type cymbals immediately started and have been in every drummer’s armory since.” When used for its sharply great crash for the first time in real-time, China immediately found favor in rock and continued to become a fixed one.
Types of Cymbals
Here is the list of different types of China Cymbal:
- Traditional: The regular edition, and the most identifiable one. Built from under with a conical bell and unfinished top.
- Novo: A Paiste creation, the Novo blends a china’s standard bow profile with a typical rounded bell and flipped tip. Novos is usually the darkest and most violent form found in lighter environments.
- Pang and Swish: Originating from Zildjian, the Pang and Swish is china with a Turkish cymbal in its middle. More sedate and operated for a more ambient effect, this layout typically comes with rivets or a sizzle chain.
Sabian 19” AA Holy China Cymbal
This cymbal is made from bronze B20 and features 51 holes, which give a sharp and energetic sound to this cymbal. Not only is this china cymbal offensive, but it also has a beautiful, bright tone.
This cymbal is exceptionally responsive and has significant explosive force. It has a brilliant finish that brings some subtle shimmering overtones to this cymbal, and it has moderate support that ensures this cymbal is much more flexible and artistic than some other china cymbals that are far too brash and overpowering.
It is the best china cymbal for a broad spectrum of musical genres. From jazz to reggae, this cymbal offers clean, slashing sounds that raise your artistic ability.
This cymbal looks and sounds fantastic, and is played by some of today’s most prominent names in drumming. The likes of Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory), and Ray Luzier (Korn) all swear by this Chinese as the best high-volume china cymbal.
Meinl 18” Classics Custom Dark China Cymbal
We have this Meinl Classics Custom Dark China in second place for best china cymbal. Each cymbal has a loud and aggressive ring, built to be able to cut through high levels of volume. It has a massive projection while providing complex and musical sounds.
The Meinl Classics Custom Dark cymbals are undergoing a unique finishing process, which gives them dark, warm tones and dry support. The cymbal has a distinctive, earthy, and raw sound.
This cymbal is ideal for drummers trying to break through the warped instruments of rock and metal music with high intensity and aggressive china cymbal.
This cymbal also sounds musically enough to be played as a cymbal effect within funk, blues, jazz, and even pop music.
For the money, this is the best china cymbal. It produces an intense sound coupled with dark and raw tones that offer nuanced overtones and a dry sustain to this style. This cymbal often provides an excellent value for money, and at an affordable price, you will produce premium quality sounds.
Zildjian 19” A Ultra Hammered China Cymbal
This Zildjian china cymbal is a strong favorite of mine that we have up for review. I used this china cymbal on a lot of recordings, and it does deliver unusual sounds. It’s sharp and cuts through, with a delicate balance of clear and bright tones and trashy overtones.
This cymbal isn’t quite as trashy as the previous oriental china, and the overall sound is smoother. But it is as noisy, if not louder yet! It features innovative’ volcano bell’ by Zildjian and extensive hammering to give this cymbal enormous volume and projection.
Ideal for rock and metal, this china cymbal is probably too loud for a wide range of musical styles. But it does have a quick sustain, which means it makes a great cymbal impact for accents with styles like funk and blues.
What I like most about this Zildjian A Ultra Hammered China Cymbal is that it is a style that is genuinely robust. It is the excellent china cymbal if you’re searching for a cymbal that can break through loud music and keep up with a lot of violence!
Zildjian 16” Oriental China Trash Cymbal
Next for analysis, we received the Oriental China Trash Cymbal from Zildjian, and it is my personal choice tool being the best metal china cymbal. This famous china cymbal is a staple of numerous metal drummers like August Burns Red’s Matt Greiner and Wage War’s Stephen Kluesener.
This cymbal with a very rapid, explosive response has an incredibly strong impact. It has a short sustain making this the perfect cymbal effect for articulating accents and fillings, as well as for riding on in a song’s energetic passages.
This cymbal’s sound is a trashier sound than the two preceding china cymbals. It has an authentic Oriental sound, dark as well as sizzling. This cymbal cuts through and can improve your drum set’s sonic range.
This china has a distinctive Asian tone that’s perfect for aggressive music styles driving the beat.
This cymbal, given its smaller 16 “scale, delivers excellent value for money and big sounds too. It is one of the best varieties of china cymbals on the market for the money.
Wuhan 18” Lion China Cymbal
Finally, we have this authentic china cymbal from Wuhan for review, and it is the best china cymbal available on a budget. This cymbal delivers loud and trashy sounds that compare with far more costly china cymbals, given its affordable price tag.
Wuhan is a traditional Chinese manufacturer of cymbals, so they know one or two things about china cymbals! They handcraft these cymbals from bronze grade B20 to a process that is two thousand years old.
The Wuhan Lion China Cymbal sounds sinister and is powerful. The model itself is relatively light and features a typical conical bell in the’ gong’ style, which contributes to its trashiness and short sustain.
It’s a great value china cymbal that will deliver ear-piercingly loud accents and effects perfect for rock and metal music for the price you can’t go wrong with this model.
Because of Wuhan’s legacy of fabricating Oriental cymbals, this china cymbal has a traditional trashy sound that might not perform well with most modern music styles. It has an incredibly sharp pang which doesn’t do anything.
Ultimately it’s still an excellent option for an inexpensive china cymbal, and it also comes with a 1-year guarantee of “no questions asked.”
China Cymbal Buying Guide
China cymbals are cymbals that have a very unique and easily recognizable appearance, often known as Chinese cymbals. They are not the most flexible cymbals, but they have their place in music, and when used at the appropriate time, they can add something new and fresh!
China cymbals are noisy and violent to produce a fast musical assault and are performed like smash cymbals. They are used musically to express accents as well as phrases. In very loud and energetic sections of china cymbal a song, they are often played repeatedly and consistently like hi-hats or a ride cymbal.
The design is very different from any other cymbal (apart from gongs!). We sport upturned edges and cylindrical bell, adding to their unusual tonality. Also, they are almost always mounted upside down on a cymbal stand to avoid drumsticks being cut on the sharp edges!
A recent trend in cymbal makers is experimenting with the manufacturing of cymbals to explore new sounds. Many cymbal versions purposely got sold with holes cut into them, to make more apparent and more trashy effects.
China cymbals and splash cymbals are both regarded as significant types of cymbal effects. We are used to offering tonal color bursts and bringing sound to the music.
There are many varieties of china cymbals, and not one strict protocol follows the manufacturing. The different manufacturing techniques and adjustments like holes and rivets will alter the sound scope of the cymbals. To enhance a song and introduce some power, China cymbals are built to provide noisy, sizzling, and slashing sounds.
What Musical Styles Do China Cymbals Compliment?
Following the invention of China cymbals in China about 2000 years ago, rock and metal songs are now ubiquitous. These are also often used as cymbal effects in rock, fusion, Latin, disco, and blues.
China cymbals have a powerful, roaring sound, and not all musical styles match well. These are generally best recognized for being found within heavy music styles, such as the various rock and metal music subgenres.
Within metal music, China plays a different role to its known role in the common effects or accents. In time the china cymbal is played in quarter notes rhythmically over passages known as breakdowns. Breakdowns are guitar and bass patterns that suit the kick drum and are often syncopated and complex.
How Trashy Do I Want A China Cymbal?
The word trashiness is used to characterize cymbals, which have a more offensive and less innocent tone. And the symbol of trashiness is the china cymbals. But the extent of china cymbal trashiness varies from mild to blatantly trashy. It all depends on what’s useful for the music style and what you like as a listener.
I think the best china cymbal is one with the optimal combination of the following sound qualities:
• Smooth, full-bodied tone
• Sonic smash sound
• Fast delay fast-talking reaction
• Simple trashy overtones
• Musical tone
• Minimal gong-like ‘ pang ‘ sound