Are Zildjian Cymbals anything Special?

I’d avise any young drummer just starting out, to immediately start upgrading their cymbals, because what you usually get with “starter” sets with cymbals that sound like Oscar the Grouch’s trash can lid.

If possible (whatever brand you decide on) listen to them in a “live” setting (or at least in a music store with a decent booth).

Don’t be afraid (on a break) to approach the drummer and get some advice, either.

Don’t know if I can speak for all of them, but when drums/cymbals are the subject, I’m VERY approachable! :slight_smile:

Q

Look at the surface of a cymbal and note that every stairstep means another range of sound. This is one of those cases where, if you look for it, you will be able to distinguish it from a mass of white noise.

ETA: Because of their design, cymbals are vibrating toward self-destruction.

I have to agree here. Pay attention to your cymbal’s sounds on playback. You’ll notice a difference after a while. Also watch your sticking. I used to turn my right hand stick butt-up for a heavier crash, but it’s my HO now, that you should use the upper 3/4 of the stick on the “proper” (crash) cymbal.

I also don’t like the “chinese” or inverted flanged cymbals.

None of the music I play needs a PANNNNNGGGG sound, I reckon.

:slight_smile:

Q

Any instrument is like this though. You can tune a guitar or a violin or whatever but if the neck is warped or the pickups are bad or the bridge isn’t positioned right you aren’t going to get anything good out of it no matter what you twist at the pegs. Any good instrument has to be made to exacting tolerances.

But “You Can’t Tuna Fish”!

Will you EVER forgive me for this REO reference?

Sometimes I just can’t help it!:slight_smile:


However, to be serious: Paul McCartney had a HELL of a time keeping his Höfner bass in tune, because it didn’t have that rod going up the neck inside and all he had was WOOD (in his bass’s neck!)

Point taken!

Especially considering the Stradivarius!

Thanks

Q

Go to a drum shop. Take a stick to two different cymbals, same brand, size and type. If you can’t hear a difference, go on about your ways. If you can, then you will appreciate the subtle differences that make cymbals unique. Sound engineers tend to wash them out, and make them background noise. Meh. Drummers are used to being undersold.

Violins always sound pretty, student model or not, and a Stradivarius may cost tens of thousands of dollars. They both sound the same to lay people, yet there is clearly a difference.

In my experience, the right amount of compression and reverb make the best drum sound. Balance also, of course.

The problem is that they don’t really have their own place in the sound spectrum in a rock band. Look at the waveform of one - white noise with an envelope is a fair description. Half the problem a record producer has with making a potential hit record is getting the players to move away from their default sounds so that, in the end, each player sits in it’s own space. And cymbals can wash out the upper end of the guitar and some singers. Drummers probably want to hear those subtle differences, but in the context of a song, they are not going to be noticeable or useful.

Yeah on a mixed recording the cymbals are of the least concern as far as rock producing goes. But, listen to any old school jazz albums, and you’ll see that even the character of the cymbal is represented fully. IMO great producers are able to find a happy medium. Listen to any Tool album and you’ll hear every cymbal as an individual instrument. The same goes for any drum heavy band, Rush, Dream Theater, old Primus, etc. Cymbals can be a definite voice, and not a background noise, it’s all in the mixing.

Do any drummers use different brands for different songs? I know someone mentioned Paiste had a brighter sound, so do they ever swap, say, their Zildjian for Paiste for songs or sets that would call for that sort of sound?

Even the most hardcore drummers that I’ve seen will only add more cymbals to their kit, rather than swap out. In general you have a set sound you’re trying to go for in a project or session. That usually determines the “flavor” of cymbal you might choose. Drier K series Zildjians for a jazz album, and thick Z’s for a metal album, or maybe A customs for a more versatile sound. Even maniac drummers like Terry Bozzio usually stick with one set, and often with their sponsored brand. Actually, come to think of it, I can’t think of one drummer that uses a mixed branding of cymbals. That’s mostly due to product endorsement deals. Yeah, Neil Peart uses (or used) a Wuhan China boy along with his Zildjians, but that’s just one cymbal, and Wuhan pwns every other cymbal company as far as chinas go IMO.

Sound mixing affects cymbal sound quite a bit too. Iron Maiden’s drummer, uh Nicko Mcbrain or something? uses Paistes, and most metal drummers tend to use a thicker “wetter” cymbal, but he’s doing fine with them. I bet he breaks one a show though, 'cause they’re thin.

… and absolutely NO offense taken! Not Ever!:slight_smile:

Just that I like “playing time” right behind my band, and NOT suspended upside-down in a fiber-glass box “sailing” over my audience.

I’m more like THIS guy, I reckon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ11y7pYl-8

And…

Viva Los Straitjackets!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP9wvrvNOPg

THEN… I had to learn some other rhythms…

Like from THIS guy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni5ELUVM2eI

In the long version, James asks, “Let’s hear the drummer DRUM! Wanna hear the drummer drum? Well TAKE it, drummer!”

And Og have mercy on yo soul if you didn’t get it exactly right, because all the Frat brothers at WGC knew that lick, and it had to be ON DA MONEY, or we didn’t paid.

I DID get it right, thank Og!

They (the frats) also used to hire Doug Clark and His Hot Nuts!

Wish I could show you a LIVE version, but this is the best I can do right now.

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHFxDcKElSM

Quasi

… and absolutely NO offense taken! Not Ever!:slight_smile:

Just that I like “playing time” right behind my band, and NOT suspended upside-down in a fiber-glass box “sailing” over my audience.

I’m more like THIS guy, I reckon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ11y7pYl-8

And…

Viva Los Straitjackets!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP9wvrvNOPg

THEN… I had to learn some other rhythms…

Like from THIS guy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni5ELUVM2eI

In the long version, James asks, “Let’s hear the drummer DRUM! Wanna hear the drummer drum? Well TAKE it, drummer!”

And Og have mercy on yo soul if you didn’t get it exactly right, because all the Frat brothers at WGC knew that lick, and it had to be ON DA MONEY, or we didn’t paid.

I always did get it right, thank Og.

They (the frats) also used to hire Doug Clark and His Hot Nuts!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHFxDcKElSM

Enjoy!

Especially if you were a frat brother in those days!

Q

Sorry for the double post, but it showed up as a preview on my screeen!

Sorry

Q

After years of being struck and vibrating, do cymbals change their characteristics?
Zildjian has a special room, with cymbals made years ago-that were never played. Would a cymbal from say, 1950 (never played) sound different from one beat to death by some heavy metal drummer?

It would probably be obvious if both were played in front of you.

He uses Roland electrics too, for whatever that’s worth. I know this because I was close enough to read the logos on his gear.

I don’t know nuthin’ 'bout cymbals, but I can tell you this: On a family bike ride back when I was 9 or 10, I found a Zildjian cymbal by the side of the road. My Dad strapped it to my handlebars so I could take it home with me. I took it to our local music store and they bought it from me (out of pity, I’m sure.) I can’t remember how much I got, but it was enough for me to buy a parakeet and all of its accessories. Thanks for bringing up a good memory!

Would a drum (or cymbal) expert be able to differentiate cymbal brands recorded on an album? I mean like, listen to a Metallica album and say “yup, Zildjians”, the way some people can do with guitars, strat vs LP etc.

And did anyone see the Timewarp episode where they filmed drumming slo-mo? The cymbals were absolutely hypnotizing, the way the metal ripples…

I’d go out on a limb and say no. Not on an album. Even if it were a side by side comparison blindfolded it would really depend on the type of cymbal. Crashes would be the toughest, the weird effects cymbals would be easiest. A drummer could recognize something from his own kit as opposed to a brand he’s never used, but the types of cymbals (even of the same brand) are so varied that almost no one company has that specific a sound.

That said, I might be able to tell a Wuhan china boy apart from some of the other brands, simply because their cymbals are so unique, but at some point I’d almost undoubtedly be fooled. Now if you were to say “these are all Zildjian cymbals you’ll be hearing, tell me which line they’re from” then you could easily distinguish between K’s, Z’s, A customs, and the standard line. You can probably find a few people that, given three choices, could pick out which crash was the Sabian, the Zildjian, and the Paiste, but it wouldn’t be a cakewalk if the tester chose his cymbals carefully.

Bottom line though, on an album no one can tell, as long as you’re using pro grade cymbals and not some dollar store crap.

Slight derail, but there’s no cymbals used at all on the album that Gabriel’s I Don’t Remember is on. Great album, though not for that reason.