Early on in my playing – ok, I don’t want to say ‘career’ here, but you get what I mean – I went to a rehearsal and forgot my hihats. Luckily, the studio had a set of 15”s that I could borrow. I distinctly recall hating them, finding them both too big and unmanageably heavy.
After I’d grown up a bit, probably around twenty years and lots of Steve Jordan later, I started using 16” hihats. Suddenly, all of the things I hated before were gone.
After spending some time with these 17” hats, they are – as you would expect – a deeper dive into the world of larger hihats.
I love the softer deeper sound they produce.
They’re not overly loud when fairly tight but they still have a bit of a crunch to them after being opened up which stills allows them to come through in a louder environment. What I do also like as an unintentional (I assume) bonus is that you can also ride just on the top cymbal and it provides a passable ride cymbal sound, something I’ve done as I don’t generally use a ride in my gigging setup. It’s a lighter, more subtle sound, but funnily enough, I prefer it to the old 17” ride cymbal I have.
The only downside I’ve found with these hihats, and arguably any larger hihat pair, is that they’re harder to physically play fast. You have to work them hard to keep on top of them at any type of pace. They’re still fun to play though.
Big hihats are definitely here to stay…