Cymbals with Holes (Different Types, Reasons, Pros/Cons)

Cymbals with holes tend to be more suitable for Jazz and Sizzle sounds. They have limited usability in songs and compositions and are considered more fragile than regular cymbals. There are a few different types, from rivet cymbals, effects cymbals, to low volume cymbals.

In this article, we’re going to go to each of them and explain the type of sounds that they produce.

They serve several purposes, depending on their quantity, size, and location on the cymbal. Holes will allow you to create a dynamic range of sounds with shorter decay times.

Note: the cymbals pictured above are known as ‘low volume cymbals’, where the many holes help to greatly reduce the volume and sustain time of the cymbals.

Rivet Holes

The term “Sizzle Cymbal” refers to cymbals with holes and rivets attached to them to produce a particular sizzling sound. The simplest method to attach rivets to a cymbal is by drilling holes in it, turning it upside down, and inserting a rivet from the bottom. Remember to flatten out the end of the rivet with a hammer to stop it from falling right out.

The number and size of rivets in the cymbal dramatically alter the way it produces a sound. Typically, by adding rivets to a cymbal, you can increase the sound intensity to make it louder. Plus, you can utilize the rivets’ effect to hide or reduce the presence of unwanted tones in low-quality cymbals.

There are commonly two types of rivet cymbals,

  • One with two groups of rivets attached 180 degrees apart, and
  • The other has a smaller cluster of two to three rivets along the cymbal’s rim.

Apart from these two typical types, the lesser-known kind of cymbal is called a fast hat, which has a hi-hat at the bottom and is denser than the top. The bottom hi-hat features a small rivet cluster. This cluster aims to let air escape from the bottom hat quickly and reduce the resistance while using the pedal.

Below is a link to all the tools you’ll need to create one of these sizzle cymbals or purchase a ready-made one, for your convenience. You can get rivets or even chains if you want to add some extra jazz to the sound.

Low Volume Cymbals

Low volume cymbals have a large number of holes in them. That, in combination with the materials used, allows for up to 80% of noise reduction, which makes them extremely useful for quiet home practice!

Effect Cymbals

Unique cymbals that are a part of a drum kit for creating extra special sound effects are known as Effect cymbals. Some of these cymbals may have holes in them to produce unique sound effects.

Despite the differences in their structure, all effect cymbals with holes are intended to create lower sustain. The resultant sound effect is kind of “trashy” and unique.

These kinds of cymbals usually have few but large-sized holes. A brilliant example of these kinds of cymbals is the Zildjian Effect Cymbal. It has a bright musical tone and is supposedly ideal for unique artistic accents and effects. The whole cymbal is of copper and tin with a ratio of 18:20.

Drilling Holes to Prevent Cracks

A popular way of repairing cymbal cracks is by drilling a hole in them. The idea is to disrupt the crack’s continuity and reduce its effect on the cymbal’s sound.

You can easily use a drill to make a hole where the crack seems to blend in with the rest of the cymbal, and the job is pretty much done!

If you’d like to see an in-depth visual representation of the process, you can check out the link underneath. The video demonstrates the process of drilling a hole in the cymbal, to fix a cracked cymbal and extend its life.

Cymbals With vs. Without Holes

The precise answer to this particular question depends on the kind of musical sound quality that you are looking for and your personal preference as a musician and instrumentalist. Overall, let’s discuss the difference between a cymbal with holes and one without holes to make an informed decision.

Cymbals with holes have more sizzle and jazz.

Cymbals with holes generally have less sustain and sound different from regular cymbals. As mentioned above, they have more sizzle, and you can manipulate the kind of sound they produce by altering the size and number of holes and adding amendments like rivets and chains.

Cymbals with holes give a lower-pitch sound.

Adding a hole to the cymbal will generally result in a lower pitch.

More holes mean more fragility.

Cymbals with holes in them tend to be more fragile and crack a bit more easily. The life of the cymbals will vary greatly depending on how you strike the cymbal and with what force.

Effect cymbals with holes have limited usability.

Effects cymbals usually play a supporting role in your drum set. So they have limited usability in your songs and compositions. Either way, the most common cymbals you will be using will almost always be the hi-hat, ride, and crash.

Are they worth buying?

All this information begs the question – is it worth buying cymbals with holes?

In some scenarios, buying a cymbal with holes is worth the extra cash. In general, if you’re looking for some unique effects and experimental sound quality you may want to give these kinds of cymbals a try because they have so much potential!

On the other hand, if you’d like a standard drum set experience and don’t plan on using anything other than the common cymbals, it is best to buy regular cymbals.

Overall, it’s worth buying and implementing cymbals with holes into your drumming because of the range of available sounds. You should never stop experimenting with sounds and developing new techniques.


In conclusion, cymbals with holes have been in trend for a long time now, and there are several reasons behind its popularity.

They serve many purposes and are useful in several aspects. If you want to spice up your cymbal collection then cymbals with holes in them can offer a unique and interesting sound to the mix.

On top of that, drilling holes in cymbal cracks can extend the life of them by a long shot. However, this does not come without its consequences to the overall sound of the cymbal!

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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