In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: February 26, 2021
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Are you looking to buy a high-quality jazz ride cymbal to achieve the top-notch sound? Given the money you’re spending, you want to be sure that you choose the best jazz ride cymbals for you that fits your musical style. When compiling these jazz ride cymbals reviews, we focused on a few key features.
The diameter was important because of the vital role it plays in determining your cymbal’s pitch. We also thought about rivets, as most drummers want a little “sizzle” to add to their songs. The weight and material of the cymbals were a prime focus because of their impact on the sustain, volume, and response. Lastly, we prioritized the included warranty to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck in the long-term. Here’s a look at our top choices for the best ride cymbals for jazz.
The Meinl Cymbals B20JCR Byzance 20-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride is generally well-received by highly-skilled drummers. What’s important to point out is that this model comes in 21 different varieties. Each one has different characteristics that allow you to choose the best jazz ride cymbal for your ideal genre and playing style.
This jazz ride cymbal is actually hand-hammered right out of Turkey. That means each and every model of this cymbal sounds entirely different while also boasting an impressive sustain, low sound, and a ton of vibration. The four included brass rivets will add a ton of sizzle with each cymbal crash.
Most importantly, this particular model is considered to be “medium-thin.” That means this jazz ride cymbal is a good choice for just about any genre of music, whether you prefer playing heavy metal, smooth jazz, or anything in between. However, not everybody likes using it for other styles. What you’ll appreciate even more is that this cymbal can double as a crash cymbal as well.
What we liked:
Doubles as a crash cymbal in some cases
Four brass rivets add sizzling sustain
Comes in 21 different styles
Hand-hammered to creates a high-vibration sound
What could be better:
Might not actually fare too well with styles other than jazz
The Sabian 20″ SBR Ride Cymbal is perhaps the most affordable, yet high-quality jazz ride cymbal on the market today. For around $80, you can get yourself a rather durable brass cymbal that highlights the basics of what a jazz ride cymbal should be.
This is the perfect cymbal if you’re looking for a bright sound and tend to play higher-pitched and brighter music like pop and rock. Yet, it also will do its job just fine if you’re more of a jazz musician or heavy metal drummer thanks to the medium weight that can withstand heavy crashes. This construction can also give a bit of a deeper and louder sound when hit.
You can expect this jazz ride cymbal to produce an immediate sound that adds flair to your playing style. But, remember that there are limitations when it comes to what you can do with a brass cymbal. You won’t find any sizzle (no rivets) or unique sounds coming from this beginner’s cymbal.
The Zildjian Kerope 20″ Ride Cymbal is a high-end jazz ride cymbal that can add a ton of style to all of your favorite musical genres. The greatest feature is that this model is designed in a way that feels “played-in.” That means you can get right to playing without having to go through the typical “breaking in” process of a brand new cymbal.
A lot of cymbals are versatile, but very few target specific styles like the 50s and 60s music. This particular jazz ride cymbal is exactly what you’re looking for if you prefer vintage music and sounds. It provides warm and dark tones that many modern cymbals seem to be lacking. The cymbal produces a beautiful low-pitched, and traditional tone as well.
If a 20” cymbal just doesn’t produce the deep and low sound that you’re looking for, the good news is that this particular cymbal also comes in a 22” variation. Though it’s a little more expensive, it provides a very similar sound, albeit a bit deeper and louder than the 20” model.
What we liked:
Produces a vintage sound that works best with 50s and 60s music
Designed in a way where it feels already broken-in
A 22” model is also available
Warm, dark, and complex tones
What could be better:
Seems to be most well-suited for jazz playing only
The Sabian 22-inch HHX Manhattan Jazz Ride Cymbal is exactly what you need if you’re looking for a lower, deeper sound when playing more intense music, including metal and rock. Since this model is larger, you can expect an incredibly loud sound without needing to hit your cymbals too hard.
What’s most important is just how responsive this jazz ride cymbal is. Since it produces a loud and impressive sound immediately, you might even be able to use this jazz ride cymbal as a crash cymbal in a pinch. This gives you a lot more possible variety when playing your drums.
It’s quite important to point out that this specific jazz ride cymbal is quite thin, given the 22” diameter. This combination is a little unusual, but it does help to provide the unique sound that’s produced when hit. The dark sound also makes this the perfect jazz ride cymbal for lower-pitched jazz music. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive.
What we liked:
Creates a dark sound that’s suitable for jazz
22” diameter helps to create a deep, loud, and low-pitch sound
The Zildjian 19″ Armand Beautiful Baby Ride with 3 Rivets is a great choice if you’re looking for more of a vintage sound for several genres. At just 19” in diameter, this medium-thin jazz ride cymbal can provide a relatively higher-pitched sound that isn’t quite as “in your face.”
You also need to think about the material used to create this specific jazz ride cymbal. Since it’s made of a fine 80/20 (B20) material, it can produce a brighter and quieter sound that might fare pretty well in most jazz music. Even though this Zildjian jazz ride cymbal produces a very specific sound, a few people mentioned that it is not entirely versatile.
What you’ll also notice about this jazz ride cymbal are the three rivets. This added feature can create an impressive sizzle sound to your music. It also has an incredible sustain that can drag each note out just a little longer after your jazz ride cymbal is struck.
What we liked:
B20 construction produces a bright, yet quiet sound that’s perfect for jazz
Three rivets will add a decent amount of sizzle
A great choice if you’re looking for a calmer sound
The Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals Jazz Series LD-R19 will produce a sound that you’ve never heard before. That’s partially thanks to the “woody” tones that this cymbal is capable of making. This design allows you to hear the actual impact of your drum sticks on your cymbal, which creates a bit more of an earthy sound.
Since this cymbal was created by hand with a specific sound in mind, it was crafted carefully. The insanely dark sound and the 19” design make this cymbal the perfect choice for those looking for both low and dark sound that’s common in jazz music.
There’s no doubt that the sound is unusual yet impressive, but there’s a good chance 19” is just a bit too small and quiet for your favorite genre. What you’ll definitely appreciate is the fact that this model also comes in models ranging from 19” to 24”. This selection gives you the opportunity to personalize your sound and playing style fully.
What we liked:
Produces a dark and woody sound that’s ideal for jazz music
Hand-crafted with unique dark lathing for a bronzer look
Comes in sizes ranging from 19” and 24”
What could be better:
The woody sound might take away from trying other genres
The Meinl 20″ Medium Ride Cymbal CC20MR-B is probably your best bet if you like to experiment with a wide variety of musical genres on the drums. Though this cymbal’s diameter is 20”, it creates a loud sound that’ll keep your drum set from being overpowered by the other instruments in your band.
With such a durable construction and medium weight, this is the perfect jazz ride cymbal if you prefer live performances. You can feel free to pound on this cymbal without a second thought and not have to worry about the cymbal cracking, breaking, or denting.
If you play your drum set a ton, you’ll appreciate how easy this cymbal is to clean. Since this cymbal is created with a brilliant and smooth finish, all it takes is a quick wiping to get rid of any of that pesky dirt or debris. Plus, the brilliant finish will keep your jazz ride cymbal look bright and flashy at all times. However, its bell might seem too large for some musicians.
What we liked:
The medium construction makes this cymbal able to withstand even the hardest hits
Very easy to keep clean
Versatile enough for various musical genres
What could be better:
The large bell might make finding the perfect sound a bit difficult
The Stagg CS-RJ20 20-Inch Classic Jazz Ride Cymbal is an alternative if you appreciate the sound that comes with the Zildjian K. You can purchase this model instead to get a very similar sound profile without spending an extra few hundred dollars.
What’s the key to mention is the actual construction of the cymbal. It’s made of a B20 alloy, which helps it to produce a darker and lower sound that’s considered to be ideal in the jazz community. Furthermore, the lack of rivets gives you more of a pure and direct sound without any extra sizzle.
Despite the construction, you also need to consider the weight. Since it’s a medium weight, this jazz ride cymbal is actually more than capable of withstanding heavy crashes in some genres of music. However, it is not entirely versatile. Still, it definitely is a great choice for jazz, but you can add a little extra crashing thanks to the added weight.
What we liked:
Designed to withstand even the heaviest hits
Creates a sound very similar to pricier models like the Zildjian K
Offers clean and full-bodied tones
What could be better:
Doesn’t seem to be as versatile for musical genres as the manufacturer claims
Things to Consider
The one thing that can make a skilled drummer sound even better is a high-quality drum set. But, the opposite is true as well – the wrong equipment can make your favorite songs sound absolutely horrendous. Unfortunately, the best equipment for you might not be ideal for another drummer. It’s time to figure out what you should look for in your next jazz ride cymbal. In this buying guide, we’ll talk about the key features to focus on when doing your research. You should have a general idea of what to look for by the end of this brief guide.
Things to Consider Before Buying Jazz Ride Cymbals
Every single minor detail of a jazz ride cymbal will impact the sound and your playing style. That means it’s not a good idea to just choose the cymbal with the highest ratings online. Here’s a look at some things you’ll want to think about.
Your preferred pitch
Whether you like “sizzle” in your cymbals
Your ideal volume, response, and sustain
The sound you’re going for
Other genres of music you plan to play
How long you want your cymbals to last
How much money you’re willing to spend
Now that you’ve thought about what you’re looking for in your next jazz ride cymbal, let’s go over the key characteristics you should be looking for to achieve your ideal sound.
The diameter of your jazz ride cymbal is the measurement from one end of the cymbal to the other. The diameter typically ranges between 18 and 22 inches for jazz ride cymbals. Though a 20” cymbal doesn’t seem all that much bigger than an 18” cymbal, there’s actually a huge difference in terms of sound, and the Meinl Cymbals B20JCR Byzance 20-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride is designed to create that depth and warmth.
For the most part, a greater diameter means a much higher volume. That means you’ll want to go bigger if you like your playing style to include loud cymbal crashes. You also need to think about the greater cymbal thickness that comes with larger jazz ride cymbals. The combination of a large diameter and great thickness means a much deeper sound and a lower pitch.
The rivets of a jazz ride cymbal are sometimes referred to as “sizzles.” These are rivets that are drilled into a cymbal to produce somewhat of a rattling, sizzling, or sustained sound. These rivets can add a little spice and flair to your current playing style, allowing your cymbal to ring out a little longer with a more metallic and brighter sound.
The weight of your jazz ride cymbals is sometimes referred to as the “thickness.” You’ll notice that the thickness is described as thin, medium, or paper-thin (or some variation of these terms).
When it comes to thinner cymbals, you want to be aware that they’re much more delicate to hard hits and strikes. If not played correctly, they can crack or degrade quite quickly. A thinner ride cymbal is known for producing immediate sounds without requiring much effort from you.
When your ideal genre is rock or metal, or you simply play much faster, you’ll want to choose a thicker ride cymbal like the Sabian 20″ SBR Ride Cymbal. These can take quite the beating and usually produce a much louder and deeper sound.
The material your jazz ride cymbal is made of will surprisingly play a huge role in how your cymbals sound. Here’s what you need to know about each of the more common metals used.
Bronze: The ratio of tin to copper is described in the name. For example, a B20 bronze cymbal, such as the Zildjian 19″ Armand Beautiful Baby Ride with 3 Rivets, is made of 20% tin, 80% copper. The less tin a cymbal has, the more durable the cymbal, the louder the sound, and the greater the warmth will be.
Brass: Brass cymbals are perhaps the most common type of cymbal used by beginners. The sounds produced aren’t as technical or impressive, but these cymbals are generally cheap and easy to learn on.
In most cases, a brass jazz ride cymbal is a great choice for beginners. While B8 is better for harder styles like rock and metal, B20 is a perfect option for jazz and soothing music.
Perhaps you have a specific sound in mind, but just don’t know how to achieve it with your jazz ride cymbal. Here are some guidelines for achieving the perfect tones.
Bright: Shoot for a jazz ride cymbal that has a smaller diameter, is much thinner (weighs less), and has included rivets for that ideal sizzle sound. These are perfect for rock and pop music, too.
Dark & Deep: Aim for a jazz ride cymbal that has a larger diameter, is much thicker (weighs more), and has a lower tin-to-copper ratio (i.e., B8). These are ideal for jazz patterns.
No two cymbals sound the same, so you really want to focus on the sound you’re looking for before selecting a cymbal to drop into your Amazon cart.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that jazz ride cymbals are only useful for jazz music. While they’re definitely great for jazz, they can also be monumental in improving your sound in other genres.
For example, thicker and larger jazz ride cymbals like the Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals Jazz Series LD-R19 are a great choice for playing heavy metal and hard rock. That’s because thick/large cymbals typically produce a louder and deeper sound while also being more resistant to breakage with heavy hits.
You can also use your jazz ride cymbals when playing pop and soft rock music. That can be achieved by choosing thinner, smaller, and brighter cymbals like the Zildjian Kerope 20″ Ride Cymbal. These cymbals are built for gentle hits but still create a vibrant and beautiful sound.
Simply put, you’re going to be spending a decent amount of money on your next jazz ride cymbals. That’s why it’s a pretty good idea to be sure that you’re really getting your money’s worth. This can be guaranteed with a warranty.
Though a warranty is definitely necessary to protect your assets, most jazz ride cymbals require you to purchase the warranty separately. For jazz ride cymbals like the Stagg CS-RJ20 20-Inch Classic Jazz Ride Cymbal, you have the choice between a 3-year and a 4-year warranty. This will cost you between $33.99 and $44.99.
Even though you might be reluctant to spend any extra money, a warranty will definitely come in handy if your jazz ride cymbal suddenly breaks or becomes damaged with regular use.
There’s no doubt about it – Jazz ride cymbals can be a little pricey. But, just how much you end up spending really depends on what you’re looking for in your jazz ride cymbal.
For example, there’s the Sabian 20″ SBR Ride Cymbal, which costs less than $80, and it can offer a decent-sounding B20 alloy cymbal that can give you the perfect jazz tones. On the other hand, you can invest a cool $400+ on the Zildjian Kerope 20″ Ride Cymbal. This model can give you a perfectly warm sound, and it’s ready to be played as soon as it’s delivered.
You also need to consider the extra costs that come with warranties. A 3 or 4-year warranty can cost you an extra $30 to $80. All in all, you’re looking at between $100 and $500 for a jazz ride cymbal and any extra warranties you tack on.
Cleaning your jazz ride cymbal is not something you should do only when your cymbal gets so impossibly dirty that cleaning is your only option. In reality, you should be cleaning your cymbal after a few uses. For most instances, you should be okay just wiping your jazz ride cymbal down with a dry cloth to get rid of any dust, dirt, or debris. For more intensive cleaning, you’ll want to clean your jazz ride cymbal with some water and dish soap. Make sure that you’re wiping your jazz ride cymbal as soon as you’re done washing it, as water sitting on the surface can impact the integrity of your cymbal.
In all honesty, there’s no reason your jazz ride cymbals shouldn’t last forever. However, the lifespan of your jazz ride cymbal will severely be impacted by how you play it and how you care for it. Striking your thin jazz ride cymbal quite hard will definitely wear away at its strength and eventually cause cracking or damage in a few short months. You also need to make sure that you’re protecting your jazz ride cymbal from outside damages. You can do this by using a soft carrying case, wiping off any dust or debris as it happens, and being sure to dry your jazz ride cymbal after each and every cleaning.
If you’re choosing a jazz ride cymbal based on your genre of music and playing style, there’s no reason your jazz ride cymbal should ever crack. One of the most common reasons for this cracking is playing relatively hard and intense on a thin or paper-thin cymbal, which clearly wasn’t built for this type of playing. You should also make it a point to install your jazz ride cymbal at somewhat of an angle to reduce heavy hits that can weaken the cymbal. It’s better to achieve a louder sound by getting a thicker and larger cymbal rather than playing small and thin cymbals much more aggressively.
Our second choice goes to the Sabian 20″ SBR Ride Cymbal. This medium brass cymbal is an ideal choice for any beginners and those interested in playing hard rock or metal music as well. Add those features to the extremely reasonable price.
In our quest for the best jazz ride cymbals, we have the Zildjian Kerope 20″ Ride Cymbal as our third choice. This model will give you a practically unmatched vintage sound that perfectly infuses into the 50s and 60s music.