Hats (or hi-hats) are a pair of cymbals mounted on a stand that is operated/played by the foot. The cymbals are played with drumsticks as well as the foot, and can produce a variety of sounds depending on how tightly the cymbals are held together with the foot pressure . Hi-hats are a fundamental part of the drum-set. The most common size for hi-hats is 14” in diameter, but 13” and 15” are also popular.
Rides are cymbals that are mostly used to maintain repetitive rhythmic patterns. Generally around 20” to 22” in size, they can be as small as 18” or as large as 24”. Rides are a fundamental part of a drum-set set-up.
Crash cymbals are generally used to play accents. They are thinner and smaller than rides (14” to 20”). Most players have at least one crash in their set-up. Crashes produce a “burst” of sound, as evidenced by the name “crash.”
Splash cymbals are small cymbals used to play short accents. They differ from crash cymbals in their smaller size (12” down to 6”) and the tone and length of the sound they produce. Splash and China cymbals are often referred to as “effect” cymbals.
China or Chinese are cymbals that have an upturned edge. They are typically in the same size range as crashes, with 16”and 18” being popular sizes. China cymbals make a sound that is often referred to as “trashy,” producing a sharp, cutting and dirty-sounding accent. Some China cymbals are large and resonant enough to be used as ride cymbals for jazz. Splash and China cymbals are often referred to as “effect” cymbals.