Modern cymbal sound

One Up One Down

Senior Member
Quite often I read mentions of the modern cymbal sound. What is this modern sound and how is it different than the classic sound? More trash? Bonus points for links to sound bytes.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Modern is somewhat subjective, depending who's talking about what music. Apart from effects cymbals, I'm not hearing anything genuinely different AND useful in terms of sounds.

When you say 'classic' sound, that's subjective as well. To me, the term suggests the bright, somewhat washy sound heard during the big band through '70s rock era music. It's a sound that companies managed to get away from, and have gone to special lengths to re-create/capture. Zildjian's Avedis series is an example of this, and they did a good job getting that 'classic' '50/60s sound. And while Sabian wasn't making cymbals until fairly recently - 35 years ago - they have captured the old sounds with some of their HH and HHX offerings, as well as the Paragons.

Bermuda
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
When I think of "modern" cymbal sound, Zildjian A Custom comes to mind: bright, responsive, with just enough cut.

When I think of vintage cymbals, I think of more dark, thick cymbals...like an old Zildjian A from the 60's.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
When I think of "modern" cymbal sound, Zildjian A Custom comes to mind: bright, responsive, with just enough cut.

When I think of vintage cymbals, I think of more dark, thick cymbals...like an old Zildjian A from the 60's.
I think this is fairly accurate. Though there are a couple of "modern" sounds.

There's the one you mention, the brighter cutting cymbal A Custom style, though this is almost becoming less the norm and is starting to become "classic" almost.

Lately there is also the super dark thin big cymbal trend as well with the hand hammered Turkish cymbals, Big and Ugly, Zildjian K Custom Special Dry, etc. type cymbals.

Honestly, it really depends on the sounds you want to make the music you want to make.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
There's the one you mention, the brighter cutting cymbal A Custom style, though this is almost becoming less the norm and is starting to become "classic" almost.

I actually hesitated in answering this question because I almost asked, "How modern?"

I used to love A Customs and dreamed of owning a set. I finally got a set and loved them.

Then I discovered the big, thin darker cymbals, and I love playing these more because the pitch is actually lower, and it doesn't take a big hit in order to get them to open up. Yup, they are the big Turkish ones. I play Heartbeat Custom Dry and Studio lines.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Let's not forget that all vintage cymbal sounds started out as a modern cymbal sound, when they were new. Completely useless way of trying to describe a sound, the word modern. Cutting, focused, pingy, washy, trashy...are much more accurate descriptors. There are so many flavors of cymbals these days that it makes no sense to equate a cymbal description analogy with an ambiguous time period.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Let's not forget that all vintage cymbal sounds started out as a modern cymbal sound, when they were new. Completely useless way of trying to describe a sound, the word modern. Cutting, focused, pingy, washy, trashy...are much more accurate descriptors. There are so many flavors of cymbals these days that it makes no sense to equate a cymbal description analogy with an ambiguous time period.
Also need to remember that for every "rule" there was a rule "breaker".

Some "jazz guys" played dark and smokey cymbals....some played pingy, brighter cymbals...

Also, for those of us getting older whose hearing may not be what it once was-I don't even know how a cymbal sounds to me compared to a person in their 20s?

lol
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
These days I think of a modern cymbal sound as stacks, holey crashes, thin rides that crash well but have no ping, and large washy hats with no crispness.
Pretty much the opposite of A Customs and Paiste Signatures, which I considered to be a modern sound in the 90’s.
 

One Up One Down

Senior Member
I agree that 'modern' is a terrible way to describe something :)

I had an old Sabian 16" Rock Crash (from the early 80's IIRC and a precursor to the AA line, before they created that brand) -- it was thick and heavy, you had to really lay into it to get it to open up, and the sound wasn't that interesting (to me). I had it re-lathed to make it thinner but it's still pretty thick by modern standards (see what I did there?) and still kinda boring. Classic sound I suppose.

I recently picked up a Sabian 18" Hand Hammered Dark Crash (which I absolutely love) and there are a few distinct overtones that can be brought out all at once or only some depending on how hard and where it's hit. Maybe 'modern' just implies that it's hard to describe!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If I think about it, anything that happens right....NOW!...is modern, no matter what it sounds like. It's so much fun to bash stuff that makes no sense, isn't it?.

Modern definition:

1. Relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.

2. A person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles and values.

3. Not to be used in describing cymbal sounds :)
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
A-Customs are what I think of when I think of a "modern" sound. They're quite bright and cutting. In comparison my old A's sound more dark and "smokey" if that makes sense.

One isn't better than the other, it's just a different sound.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I don't know. Seems A Customs were modern 10 years ago and clicks and scratches are modern today. I'll have to go with Modern being whatever is touted at the in thing and what that genre demands as a sound.

Then there's the modern look of cymbals, which doesn't have much of a relationship to sound. Some of the 60s-70s Zildjian As are considered classics, but if you make them look like they were found on the bottom of a dumpster, then they are considered modern.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
These days I think of a modern cymbal sound as stacks, holey crashes, thin rides that crash well but have no ping, and large washy hats with no crispness.
Exactly what I think when I hear of modern being described as sound. I would also add thin darker crashes that are somewhat rideable (washy with a small soft, brighter ping) are becoming popular as well.
 

TMe

Senior Member
Modern definition:

1. Relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.

That's how I think of "modern" - not relating to the past, or breaking away from the past. That's the difference between "modern art" and "contemporary art". "Modern" art isn't even new or contemporary, it's just a form of art that tried to break with the past. "Contemporary art" is art of the current era.

So... how does the "contemporary" cymbal sound differ from the sound of "thuh olden days", to quote Billy Bob Thornton?
 
P

Peedy

Guest
Man, this question is going to require photos. My newest cymbals are 40 something years old as I’ve systematically eliminated all the “modern” ones (my Paiste Signature Sound Edge HHs were the last to go) because I was looking for a sound I couldn’t get with anything current. More to come.
 
P

Peedy

Guest
Quite often I read mentions of the modern cymbal sound. What is this modern sound and how is it different than the classic sound? More trash? Bonus points for links to sound bytes.

I'd really need to ask: who's classic sound? I uploaded pics of 5 cymbals from about the same era (1910 to 1935) and they're all REALLY different. But I'd bet that each was cherished by a long ago drummer who was glad to have each one purchased for it's intended purpose.

1910 K. Zildjian 13.75in 900g orchestra type resounding sound
1925 K. Zildjian 12.25in 425g dark dark crash or HH top (HHs hadn't actually been invented yet)
1929 A. Zildjian 12.25in 1000g sounds like a dinner bell at a poser cowboy restaurant
1932 A. Zildjian 12.75in 425g trashy dark crash or HH top
1935 A. Zildjian 12.25in 700g dark - makes a sweet HH bottom if you like that sound
 

Attachments

  • 1910.jpg
    1910.jpg
    311.8 KB · Views: 2
  • 1925.jpg
    1925.jpg
    228.6 KB · Views: 1
  • 1929.jpg
    1929.jpg
    231.6 KB · Views: 1
  • 1932.jpg
    1932.jpg
    230.7 KB · Views: 1
  • 1935.jpg
    1935.jpg
    265.9 KB · Views: 1
P

Peedy

Guest
A-Customs are what I think of when I think of a "modern" sound. They're quite bright and cutting. In comparison my old A's sound more dark and "smokey" if that makes sense.

One isn't better than the other, it's just a different sound.

That's a great way to put it. And a primary reason they sound different is because of all the time that went into making them (ya gotta hold one in your hands to really get it).

This one is my only "trans stamp". I got it from a guy who was parting out a post war Slingerland Radio King with a brass cloud badge, so it's a 1947-48 A. Zildjian. 15in 810g. It is flat out the best HH, Crash AND Ride cymbal I've ever used. Even the bell sounds amazing. Every week I have to decide where to use it and I feel like I'm making a hole in my drum kit wherever I don't.

I totally get why this era of Zildjian is so sought after. You simply can't buy a new cymbal like it today.

But then that's me and what I'm looking for.

Pete
 

Attachments

  • 1947-1.jpg
    1947-1.jpg
    207.9 KB · Views: 2
  • 1947-2.jpg
    1947-2.jpg
    222 KB · Views: 3
Last edited by a moderator:
Top