The 5 Best Jazz Cymbals Reviews

If you want to excel at jazz you’ve got to have the right instruments in tow. The drums and toms are great, but you still need the best jazz cymbals if you want to stand out from the rest.

Many drum kits don’t come with cymbals, and the bundled ones are usually of poor quality. Well there’s no need to settle for low quality cymbals as I have chosen five of the best available today.

The following reviews details my findings, what these cymbals can do and feature highlights. In a hurry? Check out the

 Top 5 Jazz Cymbals: Comparison Chart

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Jazz, funk, electro
Jazz, funk reggae, electro
Jazz, world, funk,
Jazz, reggae, studio
Mid dark
Jazz, funk, world

Best Picks of Jazz Cymbals

#1: Sabian SBR2012 SBR Series Pure Brass 20-Inch Ride Cymbal

If you look for the best budget jazz ride cymbal you’re bound to come across the Sabian SBR2012 as it’s one of the most popular today. These are affordable yet have features that are found in more expensive cymbals.

What makes the SBR2012 ideal for jazz is its focused and clear sound. The cymbals sound bright and crisp due to the way it’s been constructed.

Sabian 20" SBr Ride Cymbal (SBR2012)
  • A versatile model for beginners
  • Smartly priced, SBr Brass is in a class of its own
  • SBr makes your first step into cymbals an easy one
  • Protected by SABIAN One-Year Warranty

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The cymbals are made of brass and it’s been built so its sonic properties come out. The cymbals also have this sleek finish that’s pleasing to the eyes.

The Sabian SBR Series were designed to look and sound good, and they certainly succeeded with the SBR2012. These are also some of the most versatile cymbals I have seen, perfect for jazz, fusion and other music genres.

The cymbals’ vintage profile and medium weight add to its functionality. Design wise the lathing is precise and the peen hammering is exceptional.

The hand lathing and high pressure hammering Sabian uses on its more expensive cymbals are applied here too. This leads to faster decay so it’s ideal for wash riding.

The bell’s sound is powerful, lively and clean. While for beginners, these cymbals are powerful, feature packed and easy to use.

Highlighted Features
  • Designed for jazz
  • Easy for beginners to use
  • High quality brass
  • Clean definition
  • Tightly concentrated sound
  • Finely crafted
  • Perfect for wash riding
  • For full sound riding

#2: Meinl Cymbals B20JCR Byzance 20-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride Cymbal

The Byzance cymbals were designed specifically for jazz, so it’s not surprising this cymbal sounds great. As you’d expect from the best china cymbal for jazz, the Byzance are good enough for funk, pop, rock, at the studio or in the club.

The 4 rivets on the cymbals give it a powerful, lengthy sustain, and the hand hammering provides it with a smooth, dark tone reminiscent of classic jazz.

If you play classic jazz, in particular combos and trios, the long sustain will make your cymbal stand out. These cymbals are also versatile enough to be used in fusion, the blues and ballads.

Meinl Cymbals B20JCR Byzance 20-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride Cymbal with Rivets (VIDEO)
  • distinctive flat Ride
  • big hammer marks enable Dark and warm sound
  • soft, smooth, sound
  • long, sizzling sustain
  • Important Meinl disclaimer: Offers listed through the Amazon Global Store are not guaranteed authentic Meinl items, and purchases made through an Amazon Global Store do not fall under the Meinl warranty

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meinl cymbals are known for their aesthetics and these are no exception. The warm sound of the cymbals is another plus, and the distinct sound of the cymbals makes them suitable for various musical applications.

One of the nice things about the Byzance is their smooth sound that’s just right for jazz. The distinct finish complements the smooth sound, lending itself nicely to intricate, complex music.

The Meinl cymbals also have clear definitions, and the clear, dark sound is something you won’t find in ordinary cymbals. The stick definition is up there and thee wash is excellent. Its dryness is also ideal for jazz, punk and other musical styles.

Highlighted Features
  • Long sustain
  • Smooth sound
  • Large hammer
  • Warm sound
  • Very distinct flat ride
  • Beautiful design
  • Suited for different music genres
  • Made from durable materials

#3: Zildjian K Custom 20″ Dark Ride Cymbal

No discussion of the best jazz cymbal will be complete without mentioning Zildjian. With the K Custom model you’ve got an excellent dark cymbal that’s perfect for jazz, fusion, pop and other genres.

One of the most notable features of the K Custom is its rich, full sound. Play the cymbals and you’ll notice that it has a dark, warm sustain and a dry tone.

Zildjian K Custom 20" Dark Ride Cymbal
  • Excellent stick definition with dry, full-bodied stick sound
  • Dark, warm undertones
  • Trashy crash qualities for accents
  • Traditional Zildjian 80/20 Copper-Tin ratio

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The K Custom is also notable for its fast decay, and its attack is faster compared to a typical Zildjian cymbal. Differences in specs aside, the K Custom still has the same versatile articulations you’d expect from this brand.

The tone and beat are ideal for jazz, and your attacks have greater impact and better definition. What this means is the cymbals provide a clearer, cleaner definition.

Compared to other cymbals the K Custom allows you to generate heavier accents and greater range sound wise. The difference is significant, and even if you’re new to cymbals you’ll notice these have a different sound.

The K Custom cymbals are beautifully designed and should last a long time. When it comes to durability, it is imperative you buy from a quality brand to ensure it lasts, and that’s what you get here.

Highlighted Features
  • Available in 20” and 22” sizes
  • Uses standard Zildjian 80/20 copper-tin ratio
  • Comes with trashy crash qualities
  • Warm, dark undertones
  • Full bodied sound
  • Dry, stick definition
  • Packs power
  • Made of durable materials

#4: Zildjian K Constantinople 22″ Medium Ride Cymbal

The Constantinople makes this list of the best beginner jazz cymbals for its impressive design and performance. A lot of thought went into its construction and the result is a cymbal with articulation and more emphasis on the stick.

The Constantinople is notable for its pleasant overtones, dryness and wash. However it also has a warm sound that suits modern and classic jazz.

Zildjian K Constantinople 22" Medium Ride Cymbal
  • Bolder, more emphasized sound
  • Defined fundamental stick sound with a little more articulation
  • Dry with a good degree of very pleasing overtones and wash
  • Copper Tin ratio of 80/20

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The K Constantinople is hand lathed by the finest artisans using traditional cutting tools. Take a close look at the Constantinople and you’ll see that the impurities have not been taken out, preserving its appearance.

The cymbals are made of the finest brass and subjected to the high specifications set by the company. This provides assurance the cymbals are manufactured according to the highest standards.

The end result is the cymbals have this unmistakable classic sound that you’ll only get from a Constantinople. There are other vintage cymbals yes, but the Constantinople is far more consistent and with better range.

The Constantinople is designed for long term use, and that is evident in the manner in which it has been constructed. The tonal options are good and it’s depth is hard to match.

These cymbals are also noteworthy for being consistent, and it does well in high or low volume. Most cymbals can only do one or the other and that tells you a lot about this product.

Its low fundamental pitch is excellent and it sounds even better for live shows. You can also hear the notes amid the wash.

Highlighted Features
  • Available in different styles
  • 8020 copper tin ratio
  • Dry wash and pleasant overtones
  • Defined stick
  • High articulation
  • Made from heavy duty materials
  • Has a nice warm sound
  • Beautiful finish

#5: Meinl Cymbals B22JMR Byzance 22-Inch Jazz Medium Ride Cymbal

The B22JMR cymbals have the typical Meinl built and finish, providing excellent sound and remaining consistent with long term use. The B22JMR cymbals have been designed so that it produces the classic sound jazz musicians need.

Meinl Cymbals B22JMR Byzance 22-Inch Jazz Medium Ride Cymbal (VIDEO)
  • This Rides deliver more Full bodied Ride characteristics with a stronger response
  • Warm and dark spread and a soft buttery feel
  • Hand hammered into shape
  • Important Mein Disclaimer: offers listed through the global store are not authentic Mein items, and purchases made through an global store do not fall under the Mein

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The cymbals sound good on its own, but it also stands out when used in a band, live or recorded. Even with an intricate mix of sounds, the B22JMR still maintains its sharp edge, spread and dark.

Together these elements make the cymbals sound clean, sharp and appropriate for jazz and other types of music.

The Byzance cymbals were made for jazz and it shows in the manner it’s been built. As a ride cymbal, the Byzance delivers on its promise of quality sound.

One of the characteristics of a good cymbal is its quality, and it’s clear that these hammered cymbals are a step above the rest. It can be dark and aggressive but not overly so, giving you more flexibility.

The B22JMR cymbals are suitable for beginners, but these have the power, tone and range to satisfy long time musicians. These aren’t just for beginners as they’re proper cymbals with the consistency you expect from more expensive cymbals. The bottom line is these are high quality cymbals.

Highlighted Features

Hand hammered

  • Has a soft smooth sound
  • Dark and warm spread
  • Strong tones
  • Full body sound
  • Made from heavy duty materials
  • Beautiful finish
  • Designed for jazz


 What Makes for Good Jazz Cymbals?

What makes a good jazz cymbals? There are several factors, not least of which is its construction. Are the cymbals well made? More to the point, are the cymbals made with jazz music in mind?

It is hard to emphasize the importance of having quality cymbals. A good cymbal needs to have a crisp, clean sound that’s suitable for jazz. And contrary to what some may believe, the most expensive is not necessarily the right one.

More than than the price, you need to consider the type of music you play and what cymbals are suitable.

How to Choose Jazz Cymbals

The most common types of jazz cymbals are crash, hit hat and ride. Of the three, the ride cymbal is the most important for jazz because majority of the rhythm depends on it.

You also need to make sure the cymbals match the type of jazz you’re playing. Jazz comes in different styles and you have to choose a cymbal that corresponds with the kind of music you want.

Brands manufacture different types of cymbals, some for all purpose, others for jazz and so on. Pick the one that corresponds to your musical style.

Jazz cymbal tones range from very dark to very bright, and it’s not a good idea to mix and match them too much. Take into account your tonal quality and your current cymbal setup.

Another thing you have to remember is that cymbals from different manufacturers will always sound different. Even if they’re both classified as ride and dark, there will be differences when you play.

That’s why it’s important you give the cymbals a try to see how they sound. Do not use earplugs because you might end up playing louder than you need to.

Also keep in mind:

  • Don’t get jazz cymbals that are too loud because they will not properly blend in with the other sounds.
  • If you want the cymbals to blend in with your upright bass, you’ll want a darker tone.
  • If you’re just learning to play jazz, get a ride cymbal that sounds good to your ears first.

Things to Consider Before Buying Jazz Cymbals

Buy only from the brands of jazz cymbals, as that eliminates a lot of the possible problems that you might run into. In addition:

  • Cymbal size: they’re measured in diameters, and the bigger the cymbal, the more sustained the tones. The tones are also louder and the pitches deeper. Smaller cymbals have a higher pitch and more of a splash.
  • A larger cymbal is ideal for aggressive, loud play, while a small cymbal is ideal for cleaner, lighter tones.
  • Test the cymbals. Whether you bought it online or in a retail store, the only way to determine if it’s right is to test it with your drum set.
  • Most cymbals are made of brass or bronze. Brass is less expensive and their quality has improved significantly.
  • A thin cymbal with low pitch is ideal for jazz.

 Final Verdict

Now that we have gotten a good look at the five cymbals, we have to answer the question which is the best? As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I chose these five because of their exceptional sound, quality and range.

Having said that, I have to say the Sabian SBR2012 SBR Series offers the best value for your money. Yes, there are more expensive cymbals, but I can say that the Sabian performs better and has a richer tone.

For those reasons I chose Sabian as he best jazz cymbals.

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