When it comes to playing drums in church, cymbals are the most important aspect of your drum setup.
Most drum kits can be tuned in a certain way to get the sound you want, with some kits fitting the church environment better than others. The sound of cymbals can’t be changed. So, you’re going to need a good set of them to play in your church.
Worship music is very cymbal-heavy, so let’s have a look at some of the best cymbal packs that fit well in a church setting.
Best Church Cymbal Packs for Worship Drumming
At first glance, you’ll see that this cymbal set packs a fair bit of variety. It comes with the standard crash cymbals, ride cymbal, and hi-hat cymbals. In addition, the pack also includes a unique splash cymbal.
Each cymbal expresses a musical tone that isn’t too bright or dark, making the cymbals fit extremely well in church settings. The 21” AAX Raw Bell Dry ride has a fair bit of wash to it. This makes it a great fit for crash/riding when playing contemporary Christian music. It also has a woody ping with a defined bell tone.
The 16” and 18” AAX X-Plosion crashes are responsive to dynamics, sounding great when played softly as well as loudly. They produce a warm roll when played with mallets, making them great for intimate musical moments. They make a heavy impact when played loudly. Overall, they’re great all-purpose crash cymbals.
The 14” hi-hats are the standout cymbals in this pack. They have a great chick sound that opens up to a smooth wash when your foot loosens on the pedal.
The 10” Aero splash provides a trashy sound that is great for accented hits. It’s not a sound that is commonly used in contemporary Christian music. However, it fits right in within a high-energy gospel setting.
Zildjian K cymbals are synonymous with the Zildjian brand. They’re Zildjian’s flagship series of products, providing different sounds, depending on how they’re made and structured.
The K Custom Worship Pack has a set of cymbals that have been specifically picked from the K line to work in church settings. These cymbals are dark and will blend into any mix thrown at them.
The 16” and 18” Fast crashes swell up beautifully and have a dark tone that’s great for conveying certain moods. They’re bright enough to make an impact when crashing hard and have a great response.
The 14” Dark hi-hats have a great chick sound with a smooth wash that will help you play heavy choruses with ease.
The 20” Medium ride has a great bell sound, allowing you to accent grooves with a decent cut coming from the ride. It can be crashed on to create a big cymbal presence in your playing.
The crashes are quite thin, meaning that they may not survive a lot of heavy bashing. This shouldn’t be a problem in a worship context. However, some heavy-handed players may just hit too hard for them.
This cymbal pack contains Byzance cymbals that have been picked by Mike Johnston to create a musical array of sounds. Their main feature is that they’re dark and dry. Perfect for worship settings.
The 14” hi-hats have a dry sustain and quick attack. This makes them great for grooving and keeping the volume low in verses of songs. The 18” has an almost trashy sound. It’s thin, yet very satisfying to hit hard.
The 20” crash has a huge sound that is perfect for crashing on and having that big cymbal presence needed in contemporary Christian music. It’s the highlight of this cymbal pack. Church music often calls for bigger cymbals and this 20” crash fits that bill.
The 21” Transition ride has versatility written all over it. It’s Mike Johnston’s signature ride cymbal. With a bright bell ping and articulate bow sound, this ride will be great for just about any style.
These cymbals are all very thin, meaning you’re going to have to play them with proper cymbal technique. If you need cymbals for your church and have beginner drummers serving in the worship team, this won’t be your best cymbal pack option.
Overall, these cymbals scream musicality and have a sound that will greatly benefit a worship setting.
The Zildjian S Series cymbals are a step up from Zildjian’s entry-level ZBTs. They’re a great option if you’re looking to upgrade from cymbals that came with a drum set that you have.
They’re bright and heavy, making them great for cutting through mixes of high energy music. This makes them a good option for gospel settings. If you’re playing in a church that plays a lot of shout breaks and has a choir, these will work well.
They’re not too responsive to dynamics, meaning they’re not a good option for soft environments.
The 14” hi-hats have a crisp tone that stands out when playing grooves. The 16” and 18” crashes have a balanced crash and sustain. The 20” Medium ride is quite aggressive. Some drummers like this more than others, meaning you may have to swap this ride out if you’re not looking for an aggressive sound.
All in all, the S Series Performer set is a great budget option for cymbals in your church.
These cymbals are loud. So, if you’re playing drums in a small congregation, they’re not a great option. However, they’re a great option for high-energy bands and large church venues.
They have a boomy, dark, and cutting sound that fits well in mixes that have a lot of instruments. Their responsive and defined sound is great for their low price.
The 16” and 18” get loud when played hard, creating a dense sound that fills the mix. The 14” hats are articulate, allowing you to distinctly hear every note that is being played.
The Classics Custom Dark cymbals were designed with metal drummers in mind. However, they work well in large venues. They’re a great affordable option for gospel settings.
Christian Contemporary Music
If your church band plays songs from groups like Planetshakers and Hillsong, it means your worship team is playing Christian Contemporary Music. This music has a specific sound that is required, and many of those sounds come from the drums.
Cymbals in this style typically need to be quite washy, blending with mixes instead of cutting through them. The cymbals that drummers use in the popular church bands are always larger than average cymbals.
It’s extremely common to see the drummer using ride cymbals as crashes and crash cymbals as hi-hats. The best cymbal qualities to look for in this case are dry, dark, and washy.
Gospel drumming is a different entity. The music is more energetic and upbeat, meaning the drummers need to play heavier and faster a lot of the time. Gospel churches will have large bands with massive choirs and the overall atmosphere will be musically brighter.
So, you need to use brighter cymbals in this environment. You’ll thrive if you use cymbals that are loud and high-pitched. They’ll give you the appropriate effect needed to create accents in the music. The cymbals need to cut through mixes instead of blend with them.
A great example of cymbals that perfectly within a Gospel setting are the Zildjian A Customs. They’re bright enough to make an impact but versatile enough to handle anything you throw at them.
Whether you’re playing Gospel or Christian Contemporary Music, the venue you’re in will play a big role in what cymbals you choose. Cymbals are one of the loudest things in a church band. Just ask all the older people who like to complain about them.
If your church venue is large and spacious, you don’t need to worry about the volume of your cymbals. You’ll need to make a careful decision if you’re getting cymbals to play in a small venue. The brighter cymbals are, the louder they are.
You may need to get cymbals with a shorter sustain to keep noise levels down. The Meinl Mike Johnston Signature Set would be the best option to go with in this case. These cymbals are great because you can play them fairly hard and they still won’t be as loud as bright cymbals. This allows you to play without worrying about holding back.
Cymbals like these aren’t ideal in Gospel settings, but the venue may just require you to use them. A great way to make them work is to add in one or two brighter cymbals, giving you the tools you need.
Cymbals are so important when it comes to church drumming. They have the power to make a break intimate moments in services. So, you need to have a set of them that fit the style of church music you’re playing. They shouldn’t get in the way of the music when they don’t need to.
Remember that drumming in church is about creating moments to reflect. Get yourself a set of cymbals that will help you do that.