Why Drum Cymbals Are So Expensive

Drum cymbals are an essential part of any drum set. They provide a range of tones and can create different rhythms, accents, and fills that wouldn’t be possible without them. However, they are one of the most expensive parts of a drum set.

Here are 5 reasons why are drum cymbals so expensive 

  1. Historical attachment
  2. Materials used in production
  3. Range of tones
  4. Durability
  5. Customizability

Drum cymbals can range from $10-$1000 depending on the type, whether they are made out of brass or steel.

Why are Drum Cymbals so Expensive?

Historical attachment

Drum cymbals date back to Ancient Greece, where Greek soldiers used them for ceremonial purposes. Different civilizations have adapted them for use in war and music over the years.

The value attached to drum cymbals due to their history and versatility means they are often more expensive than other drum set parts. Drum cymbals are a staple in any drummer’s arsenal, so they are worth the investment.

Materials used in production

Drum cymbals can be made from a variety of materials, including brass and steel. The type of metal used affects the sound that the cymbal produces.

Brass is a softer metal that creates mellower tones, while steel produces brighter sounds. Cymbals made from different metals can also be combined to create unique sounds.

The expense of materials often drives up the price of drum cymbals. Metal is expensive to work with, and the type of metal used in a drum cymbal can affect its sound quality.

The value attached to different metals due to their versatility means that they are often more expensive than other parts of a drum set. Brass cymbals are generally more expensive than steel cymbals, as brass is rare and valuable.

Range of tones

Drum cymbals provide a range of tones that make it possible to play unique rhythms and fills. I rely on my cymbals to create unique and exciting sounds.

I produce a more comprehensive range of tones with my cymbals than I would with other parts of my drum set. The expense of a quality set of cymbals is worth it for the added versatility they provide. Some of the tones the drum cymbals can produce include:

  • chokes tones – fast and short sounds produced by hitting the cymbals near their center. Choke tones can be used for fills or accents during certain parts of songs.
  • splashy tones – produced by hitting the cymbals near their edge. This creates a very high, fast sound that can be used for accents or fill gaps between other sounds.
  • delicate tones – created by using softer sticks and playing closer to the center of the drum cymbal where it is thicker.


Drum cymbals are often more expensive because they are more durable than other parts of a drum set. They can withstand the wear and tear that comes with regular use.

Cymbals are made from metal, which makes them resistant to damage. They can also be replaced if they become damaged over time. The expense of a quality set of cymbals is worth it for the added durability they provide.


Drum cymbals can be customized to create unique sounds. Different types of metal, sizes, and shapes can all be combined to create a variety of tones.

The expense of customizing drum cymbals can often drive up the price. However, the added flexibility this provides makes them worth the investment for serious drummers.

Different types of customization include:

  • different metals – cymbals can be made from brass, steel, or a combination of both. This affects the sound that the cymbal produces.
  • size and shape – cymbals come in a variety of sizes and shapes. This allows drummers to select the perfect set for their playing style.
  • hammering – cymbals can be hammered to create different textures and sounds.
  • lathing – cymbals can be lathed to create a variety of shapes and sizes. This affects the way that they sound when played.

[Related Article: 5 Clever Ways to Add Cymbals to Electronic Drums]

The 7 Most Expensive Cymbals of All Time

  • Meinl Byzance Extra Dry 18″ – $38,000 USD
  • Zildjian K Constantinople 20 “Ride Cymbal” – $37,500 USD
  • Sabian HHX Evolution 19 “Extra Thin Crash” – $35,000 USD
  • Meinl Byzance Extra Dry 18″ – $34,500 USD
  • Sabian HHX Evolution 19 “Extra Thin Crash” – $32,500 USD
  • Zildjian K Constantinople 20 “Ride Cymbal” – $30,000 USD
  • Paiste Signature Reflector 18 “China” – $27,000 USD

Six Tips for Saving Money on Drum Cymbals

1. Shop around – compare prices online and in stores before making a purchase

2. Buy used cymbals – several websites sell used cymbals. This can be a great way to save money on high-quality cymbals

3. Rent cymbals – some music stores offer rental programs for drummers who need cymbals for a short period

4. Buy cymbals in sets – buying a set of cymbals is often cheaper than purchasing them individually

5. Find deals online – check out websites like Amazon and eBay for special deals on drum cymbal sets

6. Take care of your cymbals – properly caring for your cymbals will help them last longer and prevent them from becoming damaged.

Why Are Drum Cymbals So Expensive Related FAQs

Should I buy expensive cymbals?

It really depends on if you are playing for leisure or for a professional band. Cheap cymbals tends to sound thrashy. Like what we mentioned above, if you want quality, you cannot be a cheapskate. Cymbal making involves a lot of skill, time, research and expensive materials.

How long do drum cymbals last?

On average, quality drum cymbals can last you for 6 – 10 years provided you maintain them properly. You should always clean them after every use and polish them regularly if you are a heavy user.

Check out our guide on how to clean your cymbals here.

Why do drummers put holes in their cymbals?

Drummers normally put holes in their cymbals for different sound effects.

Here are three common kinds:

  • Rivet Holes – When putting the rivets on, it can add some sizzling effect to your sound. It is commonly used by many jazz drummers.

  • Effect Holes – Sabian are one of the first few brands to manufacture this from it’s Evolution line developed together with Dave Weckl.  The purpose of this cymbal is mainly adding special effect to the cymbal, increase trashiness of sound and overtones, faster attack, and shorter decay time.
    The shape, sizes, and number of holes may vary.
  • Tilt Hole – It looks like a cymbal with 2 holes in the middle. The main objective is for tilting more if you put it up in a high position.