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How much do marching band cymbals weigh

When selecting cymbals for a marching band, understanding the weight and its impact on sound and playability is crucial. Here is a comprehensive guide on the weights of marching band cymbals and their characteristics:

Weight Categories and Characteristics

Light and Medium Light

  • Weight: Typically lighter, around 1502-1806 grams for a 22″ cymbal.
  • Sound: Immediate response, brilliant sound, less projection, and power at loud dynamic levels. Shorter sustain.
  • Usage: Ideal for quick articulations at lower volume levels.


  • Weight: Medium thickness, around 1963-2198 grams for a 22″ cymbal.
  • Sound: Balanced mid-range pitch with brilliant overtones and harmonics. Suitable for both articulate passages and longer sustain.
  • Usage: Versatile, suitable for a wide range of musical contexts.

Medium Heavy

  • Weight: Heavier, around 2198-2434 grams for a 22″ cymbal.
  • Sound: Maximum power, projection, and sustain with a high pitch. Full-bodied but slower response.
  • Usage: Best for powerful, sustained crashes but less suitable for fast, articulate passages at lower volumes.


  • Weight: Heaviest category, 2434-2748 grams and above for a 22″ cymbal.
  • Sound: Higher tessitura, greater volume, slower response, longer sustain, fewer overtones, and more stick definition.
  • Usage: Suitable for situations requiring maximum volume and sustain.

Practical Considerations

  • Size and Weight Matching: Match the cymbal size and weight to the music and ensemble scope. For fast marches, smaller diameters like 16″ or 17″ are preferable. For larger works 18″ or larger cymbals are more suitable.
  • Budget: Non-cast cymbals are more budget-friendly but may offer less complex overtones and sustain compared to cast cymbals.


Selecting the right weight for marching band cymbals depends on the desired sound characteristics and the specific musical context. Lighter cymbals offer quick response and bright tones, while heavier cymbals provide greater volume and sustain. Balancing these factors with budget considerations will help in choosing the best cymbals for your ensemble.

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