China cymbals are synonymous with certain types of music, their bright sound has seen them dubbed ‘trash’ cymbals. Originally, the term “China” comes from the fact that the sound resembles a gong, which is associated with Asian music. The truth is these are a great addition to any drummer’s arsenal and allow you to keep adding interesting new themes and sounds to your drumming. China cymbals are often heard in Jazz music, jazz fusion, heavy metal, thrash metal and a few other genres, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them out in just about any song.
Trash cymbals give a lot of room for experimentation. There are a few different styles available and different ways of mounting them. Some drummers put them upside down on their cymbal sound to make them easier to play. The sound is unmistakable but there are some alterations provided by china cymbals with different shapes. The traditional shape is the ‘conical’ bell and has a rough inside finish. The Novo sound is a rounded bell which is sometimes reversed, but the cymbal has a reversed edge. Pang and Swish cymbals are other variations which are actually a huge range of cymbals, with some resembling ride and crash cymbals. These technicalities aren’t vital for finding a China cymbal you’re happy with and we have multiple models reviewed here to ensure you can find the best trash cymbal for you.
Considerations when choosing any cymbal include:
- Sound. Of course, the most important quality is a clear, high-quality sound which will add something to your music. Any china cymbal you buy should enhance the all-around sound of your drum set.
- Price. Unfortunately, this is something most people have to consider as we don’t have infinite budgets. Value for money is the key criteria we look at, there’s no point in just buying a cheap china cymbal if it isn’t going to do the business.
- Durability. Cymbals can break, and though this is something that may well happen eventually, you want to make sure your cymbal is as reliable as possible and doesn’t break when you most need it in the middle of a gig! You can protect your drums during transport with a cymbal bag, but that doesn’t protect it while you’re playing.
With trash cymbals, you’re really looking for a bright, resonant and crisp sound that drives the track along. They’re often used in breakdowns and for adding interest to the flow and tempo of a track. From Jazz to rock to metal to pop, China cymbals can add something to your style.
Wuhan WU10418 18-Inch Lion China Cymbal
Wuhan is a brand that may not be the most famous in the world of drums, they don’t produce whole kits or anything. However, in the world of China cymbals they are a real industry leader, and their 18 inch Lion China cymbal has been met with rave reviews all over the world from both beginners and professionals. Wuhan cymbals are an excellent brand for another reason too, their traditional chinese method of producing cymbals. They are cast in alloy and then hammered in a factory by hand. This care and attention is exceptional, and so is the sound. It is a bit darker than some of its competitors due to the method of production, but is a real authentic China sound.
The Majority of Wuhan reviews we’ve come across online give their china cymbals a five-star review. Although the 18 inch is just one of their products, the majority are well received and respected by musicians everywhere. Not many can say that their drums are manufactured by a brand with a 2000 year history, but that is exactly what you’re getting with Wuhan. Add a story to your drums as well as another amazing sound.
Wuhan is a brand we’re really happy to support as a small independent manufacturer of brilliant cymbals. They even manufacture gongs, and you definitely get the Asian vibe many of us are looking for from a Trash or China.
Sabian 31616B B8 Pro 16-inch China Cymbal
Sabian is a brand with a huge amount of products available in the drum space. Whether it be cymbals, hi-hats or drum accessories. Their pro range of cymbals is a bit more expensive than some of the competitors, but this definitely has the quality to justify spending a little more on.
The durability of the 31616B B8 Pro China cymbal is virtually unquestionable. To ensure that consumers can have trust in their products, Sabian even offers an impressive two-year warranty on their pro range of cymbals to ensure even if the worst should happen, you’re covered for 24 months from purchase. Sabian’s drums are very flexible. This is a fast china cymbal and this makes it very easy to play, some have said this isn’t the most traditional sounding China cymbal out there, but for ease of use, whether you’re a beginner or a professional the Sabian B8 Pro makes a great addition to any drum rack.
Paiste PST 3 Cymbal China
The Paiste PST cymbal has an exceptionally quick attack and a clean, crisp sound. The medium weight means that a heavy sound along with easy playing is appealing to players of Latin music, Jazz music but also heavy metal and rock genres. A crisp sound that is suitable for players everywhere and the price point at which you can pick up this trash cymbal makes it even more appealing. There is an argument for the Paiste range of cymbals being the best value for money, and as such, they’re a great choice for beginners.
Zildjian Oriental China Trash
Zildjian is a brand which hails from Turkey, and has an exceptional understanding of percussion in the middle east and Asia as well as in Europe. Their oriental China Trash cymbals are not cheap, and if you’re looking for a china under $100 you might want to look elsewhere, but if you want flexibility and sheer quality of sound, the Zildjian oriental range is truly wonderful.
This has a fast attack and a fast decay, making it easy to play in songs even if the tempo of the track is high (think heavy metal, jazz or pretty much any modern genre).
On top of all of this, Zildjian offer this at a huge range of sizes. Size is a big consideration when it comes to buying a china cymbal. This is available in 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18 or 20 inch sizes, so the choice really does come down to your personal preference. The china cymbals at smaller sizes sound closer to a ‘splash’ cymbal sound, with a high-frequency attack, this becomes more mid-range at 12-14 inches and lower at 16, 18 or 20 inches. Whatever is best for your style of playing and your band is catered for by Zildjian, probably the most famous manufacturer of cymbals and other drums.
Drummers can benefit from attention to detail and a wide choice of drums and cymbals can help any drummer find their own unique sound. “Trash” or “China” cymbals have a huge amount to offer drummers, especially playing metal music, heavy music genres or anything with a Jazz influence.
A huge choice of sizes and brands can seem overwhelming when looking for a China cymbal, but all of the above brands have something to offer. While sizes can be confusing, generally the smaller the cymbal the more high frequency and ‘tinny’ it will sound. Bigger china cymbals have a thicker, gong-like sound which has some low-end sounds in there.
If you want the history of thousands of years, I recommend Wuhan for their amazing quality and the awesome mythology of a 2000-year-old method of production, plus the price point is one most wallets will agree with. Some of their cymbals can be picked up for under $50, others under $100. The prices go up a bit if you’re looking to Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste or other more mainstream brands, but all have their own charms, and brand loyalty will no doubt come into your choice, and each can add a whole new dimension to your drumming.