Modern drum sets are pretty much pushing the limits of what you can do with percussion instruments.
There are many different parts of the kit that you can get, including even things like tambourine foot pedals and similar odd accessories.
The core of the drum is probably the only thing that hasn’t changed so far. You still have the bass drum, snare and toms. Everything else has seen a lot of change in past several decades. Especially the cymbals.
Cymbals are among those percussion instruments that can really change the way a song sounds. Just by introducing different types of cymbals, you can alter the dynamics of a song, and give it a more or less aggressive character. There are numerous types of cymbals available today.
Just look at the drum set from someone like Chris Adler. He has over around twenty cymbals on his set at any given time. With that said, are all cymbals the same? Or are some more important than others?
Every drum set will have the most basic cymbal configuration. This includes the hi-hat, ride and crash. That is the most basic form. Then you can start adding other types such as china cymbals and similar. When it comes to accent cymbals, there is one that is among the oldest in the history of drums, and that is a splash cymbal.
Splash cymbals have been around for a long time. Some will describe them as small crash cymbals, and that is somewhat true in most cases.
A splash is a tiny cymbal that has a lot of character. Due to its limited size, splash delivers a very piercing sound that cuts through the mix, which is why it’s considered to be the main accent cymbal. There are many different types of splashes, and these come in various sizes, however their effect is always within some predefined limits of sound.
Splash cymbal sound is very specific and is hard to recreate by anything else found on an average drum kit. Splash will give you a very hissy and fuzzy sound that can be very high pitched.
This type of character allows it to literally pierce through the mix of a band, and give accents to certain portions of the song. There are many applications for the splash cymbal in modern music. They are among the most favorite cymbals in metal and rock music. Depending on how you use them, they can add a layer of complexity to a drum line that would otherwise be missing.
Should You Get it ?
Whether or not a splash cymbal sound is something you can benefit from depends on the music you play, and your playing style. Being so aggressive in nature, you definitely need to know where and when to use splash. It’s very easy to misplace it and completely twist the atmosphere of that portion of the song.
Just like it is the case with other cymbals, figuring out whether you should get a splash for your kit is a personal decision. You can go out and test several different models and see how they sound to you.
On the whole
Many people wrongly assume that splashes are a new thing. That is mostly because we have seen an increase in their use, especially in more aggressive genres of music. The truth is that splash cymbals have been around for quite a while, and are among the most important accent cymbals out there.
Splash cymbal sound is very specific, and can really add a new layer of depth to your music. With that said, this is one cymbal you want to be careful with, especially if want to ride it hard. Not only is it easy to go overboard, but most drummers do.
On the other hand, when played with any amount of self control, a splash cymbal can be a very subtle tool that can produce some of the most delicate sounds on a drum kit. At the end of the day it all comes down to your playing style and what kind of sound you are looking for. If you are interested in splash cymbals, you should definitely give them a try.