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  #1  
Old 06-16-2008, 11:41 AM
sonorguy1 sonorguy1 is offline
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Default Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Hey guys im going to purchase new cymbals and i was wondering which way is the best to go?

Traditional or brilliant finish?

ive heard that brilliant finish needs frequent polishing but im not sure if it is true.
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2008, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Obviously its a matter of taste, and they will show fingerprints much easier, so if thats important then traditional.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Brilliant finish cymbals seem to make the high end frequencies clearer. They are a little more glassy sounding than traditional finish cymbals.

Yes, the brilliant finish cymbals do show more dirt and fingerprints and they do get a brighter again when they are cleaned.
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Old 06-17-2008, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

There is virtually no sound difference, but brilliant cymbals will dull down over time, making them slightly higher maintenance.
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:31 AM
sonorguy1 sonorguy1 is offline
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

thanks guys. Im really keen on the zildjian k custom. any of you have much experience with those?
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonorguy1 View Post
thanks guys. Im really keen on the zildjian k custom. any of you have much experience with those?
The K custom hybrid rides and hi-hats sound frickin amazing. I'm not to fond of anything else in the K custom line though.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonorguy1 View Post
thanks guys. Im really keen on the zildjian k custom. any of you have much experience with those?
I have 14" K Custom Dark hats, 16" and 18" K Custom Dark crashes, a 20" K Custom Dark ride and a 22" K Custom Dry Light ride. I have no bad words to say about them; they're versatile, sensitive and just beautiful.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I agree with guidrummer. I play all Zildjian A custom's, and they do show fingerprints very easily! It might bother some people, depending on the look you want, or style. However, it does't seem to bother me that much. I clean then about once a month, depending on just how dirty they are. I wouldnt suggest using any specific company of cymbal cleaner to get the fingerprints off however. Those are all known for taking the logo off. (I use lemons, they seem to keep the fingerprints off the longest.) A Custom's are great sounding cymbals for all types of rock music.
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2008, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonorguy1 View Post
thanks guys. Im really keen on the zildjian k custom. any of you have much experience with those?
I have:
18" K Dark Crash thin,
17" K Dark Crash thin,
14" K Dark Crash thin.

And I absolutely LOVE them! Especially the 14" it's definately my fav.

the guys above might not like them but A LOT of people ask me about them and say they really like em. I know you were asking about K Customs but K Dark Crashes are my favorites.

I got them in traditional finish because the excessive fingerprints and stick marks of the brilliant finish would get to me, heh even the little amount that shows up on my Trad finish bothers me. I usually clean them after each gig, which is on average once every week or once every two weeks. And yes I may look like a dumbass but when they are clean in the cymbal bag and I'm setting up for a gig, I use cotton gloves to put them on the boom stands. Make fun all you want but I like my stuff to look and sound as nice as I can. I paid a hell of a lot of money for my cymbal purchase (for me anyway) so yea you better believe I take very good care of them.
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Brilliant finish. That way you can see how good looking you are when you gaze into 'em. Seriuosly, it is a matter of personal preference. I have both but like the brilliants better. They look way cool under the lights :)

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  #11  
Old 07-27-2008, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fett2oo5 View Post

I got them in traditional finish because the excessive fingerprints and stick marks of the brilliant finish would get to me, heh even the little amount that shows up on my Trad finish bothers me. I usually clean them after each gig, which is on average once every week or once every two weeks. And yes I may look like a dumbass but when they are clean in the cymbal bag and I'm setting up for a gig, I use cotton gloves to put them on the boom stands. Make fun all you want but I like my stuff to look and sound as nice as I can. I paid a hell of a lot of money for my cymbal purchase (for me anyway) so yea you better believe I take very good care of them.
I won't poke fun! I was the same way!

I had a full set of Zildjians, all brilliant once. Probably about 10 cymbals, and the only way to touch them was with soft towels. I kept them looking like I was getting ready to play Madison Square garden. Nothing wrong with that!

I just don't get it when people buy Brills, and then don't keep the prints off of them. It's a shiny cymbal, keep it that way! To my ears there is so little sound difference between a trad and brilliant finish anyway. So, I don't buy it when people say they like the patina on a brilliant to get the sound they want.

The drum guy at my nearest shop is a jazz player, and he would always get a kick out of me coming to the store to buy my cymbal polish, when he hadn't ever cleaned his. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing, mind you, he had traditional finish stuff)

I now play Paistes,and aside from about 2 cymbals that are what they Reflectors (their "Brilliant"), all are traditional. They are less work to maintain, as someone said, but honestly, Paiste puts an extra coat on that Zildjian does not, so they seem a little shinier to me anyway.
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  #12  
Old 07-29-2008, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I prefer the glassier, more shimmery sound of brilliants. If you choke them by touching the edges they stay clean longer. When cleaning is needed, it only takes a few minutes (Wright's Copper Cream & hot water) & then they look & sound new again.

Last edited by bodinski; 07-30-2008 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I'm a big fan of a traditional finish. To me it just looks awesome. Brilliant is nice in the light i guess.
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  #14  
Old 07-29-2008, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by guidrummer View Post
Brilliant finish cymbals seem to make the high end frequencies clearer. They are a little more glassy sounding than traditional finish cymbals.
This is backwards. When you put a finish on a cymbal, you're putting a coating on it. Essentially, you're filling in the lathe marks (to an extent) and inhibiting the natural vibration of the cymbal. It "softens" the sound, whereas a cymbal without the brilliant finish will sound "brighter", due to the freeness it has to vibrate. Sometimes our perceptions deceive us, like when we "hear with our eyes", so to speak.

Some brilliant finishes are done by a buffing process. Once again, it flattens out the ridges in the lathing, making the sound "stand out" less and takes a little off of the high end.

The difference is so minimal though, it doesn't really matter. Go for what you like the look of, and how much effort to want to exert towards keeping them clean.
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  #15  
Old 07-29-2008, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonorguy1 View Post
Hey guys im going to purchase new cymbals and i was wondering which way is the best to go?

Traditional or brilliant finish?

ive heard that brilliant finish needs frequent polishing but im not sure if it is true.
I have never cleaned my brilliant finish cymbals, nor do they really need to be cleaned and i have had mine over a year.
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  #16  
Old 07-30-2008, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Brilliants are not coated. They're polished until shiny, smoothing the finish in the process. The smooth finish results in a glassier tone, that apparently only some people can hear. <--- I suppose that's a good argument for hearing protection. Then again, the difference probably can't be heard with plugs in. Ah hell - nevermind..
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Brilliant vs. Traditional....hmmmm

Get whatever SOUNDS better to you. That's what's most important with cymbals, drums, music, etc.

If you can't hear much of a sound difference between the two finishes, then go brilliant for the looks.
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  #18  
Old 06-07-2009, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I find that traditional shows way more stick marks than when I had brilliant finish. Brilliant shows more fingerprints though.
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  #19  
Old 06-07-2009, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I always thought the brilliants were more shimmery sounding. This would counter what Caddy says, and I am really confused because I usually agree with most everything that man says.
Does anyone know Caddys first name?
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
This is backwards. When you put a finish on a cymbal, you're putting a coating on it. Essentially, you're filling in the lathe marks (to an extent) and inhibiting the natural vibration of the cymbal. It "softens" the sound, whereas a cymbal without the brilliant finish will sound "brighter", due to the freeness it has to vibrate. Sometimes our perceptions deceive us, like when we "hear with our eyes", so to speak.

Some brilliant finishes are done by a buffing process. Once again, it flattens out the ridges in the lathing, making the sound "stand out" less and takes a little off of the high end.

The difference is so minimal though, it doesn't really matter. Go for what you like the look of, and how much effort to want to exert towards keeping them clean.
I agree. Good explanation...traditional finish have a more agressive bite...but finally its a matter of taste..
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  #21  
Old 09-04-2009, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bodinski View Post
Brilliants are not coated. They're polished until shiny, smoothing the finish in the process. The smooth finish results in a glassier tone, that apparently only some people can hear. <--- I suppose that's a good argument for hearing protection. Then again, the difference probably can't be heard with plugs in. Ah hell - nevermind..
The other poster that refuted your claim that brilliants are higher pitched did mention they were buffed (not coated) and his perspective that brilliants are acually lower pitched is 100% correct, period. It is a fact that brilliant finishes dulls the tonal grooves, flatening the sound and creating a darker sound that is lower in volume as well. Both Sabian and Zildjian websites confirm this. They sound glassier only at impact level behind the kit b/c that is the ball of your stick hiting a flatter surface. Hope this helps.
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  #22  
Old 09-06-2009, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

every crash cymbal I have is brilliant. They have a slightly warmer sound than traditional. yes they are harder to keep clean, but c'mon guys, I clean my cymbals before every show and it takes about 20 minutes to do all of them (I have 4 crashes). If it's to much upkeep, then don't buy them. but they do sound different than the regular finish. My high hats and ride are traditional as they have a slightly brighter sound and a little more stick definition vs brilliant. Just test them out yourself and see what sounds better to you. Upkeep should never be an issue.
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  #23  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

In all honesty, it really depends on how you are as a person. If you're really anal about how things look and kept, than brills will be higher maintenance and could potentially be bothersome to you. If you really don't care how a cymbal looks, then it doesn't make a difference at all besides aesthetics. I've got both a tradish (18" K Custom Dark) and a brill (16" AAX X-plosion Fast) crash, and the finished themselves really don't make much of a difference at all.

Although, the one thing I think puts tradish ahead regardless is that your singer can't dick around and gaze at his "gorgeous reflection" in them. ;)
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2014, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

i prefer the look of traditional finish, on every cymbal bar the crashes, they either need to be hybrid (half brilliant and half traditional) or brilliant, the hybrids to look cooler but tend to be more expensive.

never really compared the two though, all the crashes I've owned have been brilliant and by sabian but i did own a zildjian avedis traditional 16" medium crash, I'm more of a bigger crash sort of guy (18+) so i didn't really like it, it was very bright, may have been due to its weight and size.
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  #25  
Old 02-27-2014, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
This is backwards. When you put a finish on a cymbal, you're putting a coating on it. Essentially, you're filling in the lathe marks (to an extent) and inhibiting the natural vibration of the cymbal. It "softens" the sound, whereas a cymbal without the brilliant finish will sound "brighter", due to the freeness it has to vibrate. Sometimes our perceptions deceive us, like when we "hear with our eyes", so to speak.

Some brilliant finishes are done by a buffing process. Once again, it flattens out the ridges in the lathing, making the sound "stand out" less and takes a little off of the high end.

The difference is so minimal though, it doesn't really matter. Go for what you like the look of, and how much effort to want to exert towards keeping them clean.
Absolutely. As a certified Cymbal Luster™, I find the difference fairly audible, but it won't make much of a difference to the audience. Generally, I go for brilliant crashes and chinas to control the overtones a bit, and traditional hats/ride/whatever else to maximize stick definition at low volumes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Class A Drummer View Post
I have never cleaned my brilliant finish cymbals, nor do they really need to be cleaned and i have had mine over a year.
Agreed as well. I clean them occasionally, maybe monthly, with limes, but not before every gig or anything. The marks don't bother me.
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  #26  
Old 02-28-2014, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I prefer the look of a cymbal in a traditional finish. I also thought that I preferred the sound.

I bought a K crash in a very big and very well stocked drum store that had dozens of Ks to choose from, in brilliant and in traditional finish. The store was lit up like a Xmas tree with spotlights everywhere so all the cymbals looked quite shiny. I chose the best sounding crash to my ears, thinking I'd chosen a model in traditional finish.

On my way home I looked at the invoice, it said "brilliant K..."! I took the cymbal out of it's bag and sure enough, in the cold light of day I realised that it was a brilliant finish.
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Stand View Post
I prefer the look of a cymbal in a traditional finish. I also thought that I preferred the sound.

I bought a K crash in a very big and very well stocked drum store that had dozens of Ks to choose from, in brilliant and in traditional finish. The store was lit up like a Xmas tree with spotlights everywhere so all the cymbals looked quite shiny. I chose the best sounding crash to my ears, thinking I'd chosen a model in traditional finish.

On my way home I looked at the invoice, it said "brilliant K..."! I took the cymbal out of it's bag and sure enough, in the cold light of day I realised that it was a brilliant finish.
Oh, god, I'm so sorry... how did you cope? :)
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

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Old 03-01-2014, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

As to sound - I had a 20" A Custom Ride with a brilliant finish, and it was the brightest sounding cymbal I've had.
I don't think it was just a matter of the finish fooling my ears.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:14 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

audiences like shinny things ;-)

seriously, as everyone has said, it is what sounds best to you that counts. Your not going to go wrong no matter what you buy if it is good quality. Each has pros and cons (ie fingerprints, stick marks, etc). All my cymbals are traditional As and Ks. I wanted something different so my last 2 purchases were K Lite hats and a K Constantinople High ride. I am very pleased!
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

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Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
As to sound - I had a 20" A Custom Ride with a brilliant finish, and it was the brightest sounding cymbal I've had.
I don't think it was just a matter of the finish fooling my ears.
There are a million other things that go into the brightness than the finish, though- the A Customs have a pretty high profile especially, which is definitely a bigger contributor than the finish. I think the finish's difference is more textural than pitch/brightness altering (and of course we may have differing definitions of brightness).
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:34 AM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I'm definitely a traditional finish kinda guy.

Mind you, if the sound is right, that won't stop me from getting a brilliant cymbal. I'll just make sure to put as many fingerprints as possible on it, daily, until it resembles a traditional finish. And I'll never clean it. Not. Even. Once.

I know, that's tantamount to sacrilege for some, isn't it?
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Due to a store mix-up (sent me the brilliant finish after I'd specified I wanted traditional, and let me hold onto the one they'd sent until the right one arrived), I was able to A/B two AA Bash Rides in brilliant and traditional finish. On the bow, the traditional finish was both brighter and cleaner. The brilliant finish had some tinny characteristics I didn't care for.

To add to the comparison, though, I had ordered a "used" floor model. The cymbal in brilliant finish was clearly very used, and the one they eventually sent in traditional finish was brand new. The crash on the used model was lower pitched and warmer than the crash on the new model. However, since I've been putting it to heavy use over the past two months, the new one has warmed up and "broken in," and now opens up quite nicely. I'm saying all this because I have seen other threads about whether cymbals can or need to be broken in. The difference in these two was quite evident.

In the end, the traditional was superior sounding (and looking--the raw, unbuffed bell adds a nice visual touch) to me, and I'm very happy with it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Just remember no two brilliant or reqular finish cymbals are going to sound exactly the same so to do one A/B test on two cymbals is not very scientific. Order two of the same anything online and see if they sound the same when they arrive. My bet is they won't.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Just remember no two brilliant or reqular finish cymbals are going to sound exactly the same so to do one A/B test on two cymbals is not very scientific. Order two of the same anything online and see if they sound the same when they arrive. My bet is they won't.
Yeah, all cymbals (b20 especially) have natural variations from cymbal to cymbal. The characteristics Paravil found seem consistent with what the average differences between finishes are though. Likely, the used one had been 'broken in' and also was of a lower weight perhaps.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:52 AM
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Yeah, all cymbals (b20 especially) have natural variations from cymbal to cymbal. The characteristics Paravil found seem consistent with what the average differences between finishes are though. Likely, the used one had been 'broken in' and also was of a lower weight perhaps.
Right. It was just an example. I'm aware that no two cymbals are exactly the same.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

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Originally Posted by Beam Me Up Scotty View Post
I'm definitely a traditional finish kinda guy.

Mind you, if the sound is right, that won't stop me from getting a brilliant cymbal. I'll just make sure to put as many fingerprints as possible on it, daily, until it resembles a traditional finish. And I'll never clean it. Not. Even. Once.

I know, that's tantamount to sacrilege for some, isn't it?
I'm also a fan of cymbals with a traditional finish. Sure, you get better results from polishing a cymbal with a brilliant finish, but I play a lot of jazz, so the brighter tone would be out of place. I do have a Zildjian A Custom Projection Ride for my rock and metal stuff, and I love it, but I was quite disappointed with the brilliant finish version of the A Sweet Ride. I tried out at least ten Sweet Rides with each finish, and each time, I found that the brilliant finish models had a weaker bell and lackluster crash qualities, and lacked the warm tone of the traditional 21" that I ended up getting. I also have a 20" K Ride, and that's easily my favorite ride (even after the K Constantinoples I've played in the store). To each their own, I guess.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

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Originally Posted by ZildjianLover View Post
I tried out at least ten Sweet Rides with each finish, and each time, I found that the brilliant finish models had a weaker bell and lackluster crash qualities
I found that medium and lighter rides tend to lose a lot of bell tone with a brilliant finish, especially if the bell isn't a bold shape/curve. That's one reason to go traditional!
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  #39  
Old 03-19-2014, 12:36 AM
MatrixClaw MatrixClaw is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 190
Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonorguy1 View Post
thanks guys. Im really keen on the zildjian k custom. any of you have much experience with those?
My K Custom Hybrids are the best sounding hi-hats I've ever heard. Perfect when closed or open, which is a rarity, it seems.

I also have a K Custom Fast Crash on the way that I'm hoping I enjoy. The K Custom Dry Ride is also a REALLY awesome cymbal, thinking about switching my Meinl Byzance out for one.
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  #40  
Old 03-19-2014, 05:32 AM
TopHat TopHat is offline
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Default Re: Brilliant Or Traditional Finish?

I wouldn't really worry about the finish. I have unlathed cymbals, lathed unpolished cymbals, and brilliant finish cymbals. I admittedly have fewer high polish cymbals, but I tend to like lines that are a little darker in flavor. My UFIP Bionics are brilliant as hell and I love em.

I love both the looks by the way, but brilliant finish is a novelty for me because so few of mine are.
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