While there are often several crash cymbals in a typical drum kit, there’s normally only one ride cymbal. So, making it a great sounding one is crucial!
Unlike crash cymbals that are mostly struck edge on and work as punctuation in a musical phrase, ride cymbals are mostly hit on the bow and bell with the tip of the stick.
Ride cymbals are used to keep the flow of the beat going, hence we have the term ride.
For Rock playing, the bow hits benefit from good stick definition.
The ride bell, with its thick and penetrating sound, is often played with the shank of the stick and is used to accent the pulse of the rhythm.
In Jazz music, the other musicians will listen to the ride cymbal as the timing reference, as it tends to be the only consistent, rhythmic pulse, due to the improvisational style of the music.
Jazz rides tend also to be thinner, with smaller bells than their Rock counterparts. The ride often doubles as a big crash as well.
Just like with acoustic cymbals, it’s even possible to stack and layer other sounds with the ride in the TD-50, as well as choosing from several different cymbal sizzles for recreating classic, long sustained Jazz ride sounds.
There are several very useful editing tools built into the TD-50 for shaping your ideal ride sound.
Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Corporation Australia
1. Increase the TD-50 ride cymbal size
While the most common sizes for ride cymbals are 20”-22”, the TD-50 lets you adjust the cymbal size from 1”-40” for any type of ride sound you can imagine.
[INSTRUMENT] | F1 (INST) | R2 (Size) 1-40
Try: Inst 142 Trad MedThin Rd size: 25.5.
2. Increase the TD-50 ride cymbal thickness
It’s possible to create a paper-thin ride sound on the TD-50.
Thinner cymbals can be fun to use like crash rides.
Making the ride thicker rides give longer sustain and a more defined stick attack.
[INSTRUMENT] | F1 (INST) | R3 (Thickness) THIN5-THICK+5
3. Modify the TD-50 ride stick attack character
Changing from wood to nylon sticks is a good way of changing the colour or tonal character of the ride’s attack sound.
Use the Ping Colour parameter in the TD-50 to simulate the effect that the stick head type has on the ride’s attack sound. This is often referred to as the cymbal ‘chick’ sound.
[INSTRUMENT] | F3 (BASIC 2) | R1 (Ping Colour) LIGHT2-HEAVY2
4. Increase the TD-50 ride cymbal stick attack level
[INSTRUMENT] | F3 (BASIC 2) | R2 (Ping Level) -4-+5
5. Move the TD-50 ride cymbal microphone
Microphone position has a dramatic effect on cymbal sound.
In the TD-50, you can move the microphone from edge to bell, to change the focus and the tonal balance of the ride cymbal.
Moving the microphone away and towards the edge will yield a darker and thinner sound.
Moving the microphone on top and closer to the ride will yield more body, sustain, stick attack and bell sound.
[INSTRUMENT] | PAGE DOWN | MIC POSITION | F1 (MIC POS) | R2 (Mic Position) OUTSIDE4-INSIDE4
6. Increase the attack and sustain of the TD-50 ride sound
You can make dramatic changes to the “envelope” of the TD-50 ride sound, using the built-in transient tool.
This powerful shaping tool allows you to freely adjust the attack and sustain or “release” of the ride, in order to increase both the stick definition and the tail of the sound.
Unlike using a compressor, which can “pump” and “breathe” or sound unnatural, the transient tool works on each individual strike and is a much more effective solution to help a ride cut through a mix, without nasty side-effects!
[INSTRUMENT] | [PAGE DOWN X2] | TRANSIENT | R1 (TIME) | R2 (ATTACK) | R3 (RELEASE)
Try: Time 5 Attack 100 Release 95.