The Difference Between Crash & Splash Cymbals


Standard drum kits consist of a bass drum, toms, hi-hat and a ride cymbal. Crash and splash cymbals can be added to a drum kit for increased effects -- both cymbals are often used for accents and can help to diversify drum fills. Crash cymbals are mounted on their own stand, while splash cymbals can be attached above the ride or crash cymbals.

Crash Cymbal Size and Sound

  • The crash cymbal's diameter ranges from 14 to 18 inches (36 to 46cm). Some crash cymbals can reach up to 24 inches (61cm) in diameter, but these are usually custom-made. The crash cymbal emits a sharp sound, and it is best used for effects and accents.

Crash Cymbal Location

  • The crash cymbal is usually placed opposite the ride cymbal -- this keeps each cymbal from interfering with the other. The crash cymbal is mounted on its own cymbal stand and is between the hi-hat and the tom closest to the hi-hat.

Splash Cymbal Size and Sound

  • Splash cymbals are smaller than crash cymbals with a typical diameter of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 31cm). They emit a higher pitched sound than the crash cymbals. Due to its smaller diameter, the splash cymbal's sound fades faster than a crash cymbal.

Splash Cymbal Location

  • The splash cymbal is not mounted on its own cymbal stand; to economize space, the splash cymbal is attached to the same stand as the ride or crash cymbal. The splash cymbal is inverted and placed above the ride or crash. As a precaution, a small piece of felt should be placed between the two cymbals to keep them from interfering with each other.

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