I got this question in an email from Rick Huber today:
"I picked up a nice old 22" Zildjian ride cymbal and currently have a piece of light pull chain for sizzle but wanted to ask your opinion about adding rivets. How many? Hole placement (from edge?) I would appreciate any wisdom you could share. I have looked at multiple forums and am not convinced they know what they're talking about. Cymbalholic is shut down so I thought I'd ask the master.. "
Hey Rick, good to hear from you. I do not have a Master's degree. :-) A rivet common placement is six rivets equidistance from each other and about 1.5" from the edge. Any more than six and they start deadening the cymbal. I prefer three equidistant at 12;00, 4:00 and 8:00. 6:00 should be the playing area where the cymbal naturally falls at the lowest point. Those 12, 4 and 8 placements keep the rivets out of the playing area. Many people use three very close together which DO or can fall near the playing area at the bottom (6:00) but close enough to the edge to keep them away from the tip of the stick which usually hits a little higher in the cymbal. That placement gets the most sizzle whether riding or crashing. So, before you start drilling holes, make sure you play the cymbal on a stand until it settles into its natural position. You can find the Zildjian steel rivets online. There are also brass ones made by other companies but they are not as loud and sizzly as the Zildjians.
Here is a good video by great jazz drummer Tyshawn Sorey produced at the Memphis Drum Shop. Tyshawn explains his preferences in rivet placement.