Swish Knocker

RickP

Gold Member
A Swish Knocker is a heavier version of the standard swish with about 20 rivets . It was made famous by Mel Lewis and Buddy Rich .

I have owned a couple - both bought site unseen and both absolutely sucked . The good ones are dry with good stick definition and less of a gong like undertone .
 

s1212z

Well-known member
I have owned a couple - both bought site unseen and both absolutely sucked . The good ones are dry with good stick definition and less of a gong like undertone .

This is interesting, do you happen to remember the weight the range on the ones you picked up? The ones I'm seeing are ~2300-2400. I never even played one, but I'm on the prowl for one.

According to John Riley here, the advice he got from Mel Lewis was to look for Swish Knockers that sustain the most. They didn't say when they revised the knocker recently to Mel Lewis's cymbal but I remember when they revived the SK during the 90s (or 00s), say "V2" and then they did then the Mel Lewis copy "V3". Plus there was the who whole A line revision that happened in 2010s for thinner As....so trying to figure out what the difference may be here. Nonetheless, what John plays here sounds great and of course the original 'mother' is a....mother, lol!

Side note, I believe Simon Phillips plays a 1979 24" without rivets prototype...pretty badass.

 

zenstat

Well-known member
The youtube link in the original post is broken now but well worth a view:


I haven't really finished the Swish and Swish Knocker research for the wiki but here is what I can tell you so far. This is based on my own data collection, the Zildjian model introductions and deletions list (thanks to Paul Francis and Leon Chiappini), The Drum Cave Dave video, and from various discussions I've been involved with in the past. It is preliminary and subject to change with more info.

1977 catalog no Knocker
1979 first release Knocker
1980 first appearance of Knocker in a catalog/price list
1982 Knocker dropped out of catalog/price lists; China Boy appeared
1987 Knocker not in catalog
1991 Knocker not in catalog
2001 Knocker came back in the catalog but in a lighter weight
2010? new design clone of Mel Lewis cymbal
2011? new design clone of Mel Lewis cymbal
2013 redesign of A series did not change Knocker, only the ink changed

The 2010 vs 2011 for year of the Mel change might be because it was brought out just before the new year in time for the NAMM show. I've documented a few other cases where a model seems to have a laser serial number which dates to the year before one might expect given the official release date. According the Paul Francis that represents getting stock so they can fill orders when the interest is generated at NAMM.

As far as my info on weights goes:

I haven't found the weight of Mel's original although I may have it buried in my notes somewhere.

In the 60s and 70s there were Swish models in 22" but with the Minicup and these are not Knockers. The weights are in the range 2000g - 2400g. The Swish actually dates back to 1938 when it was patented. Earlier ones (from the 1940s to mid 1950s) were lighter.: 1666g to 1980g

V1 The Knockers from the early period 1979-1985? come in at 2800g to 3032g

V2 The reintroduction period from 2001 to 2010? come in around 2200g weight bracket but I need more data

V3 The Mel clone period (2010? to present) come in around 2500g to 2535g

And of course it is about shape not just weight. Paul Francis goes through some of the shape aspects in the video with John Riley posted above.

Here is Peter Erskine in a video posted May 20, 2010


I can't say if it is a V2 or a V3. It is on the cusp. See what your ears say. I love the way he smiles when he first hits it.
 
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s1212z

Well-known member
The youtube link in the original post is broken now but well worth a view:


I haven't really finished the Swish and Swish Knocker research for the wiki but here is what I can tell you so far. This is based on my own data collection, the Zildjian model introductions and deletions list (thanks to Paul Francis and Leon Chiappini), The Drum Cave Dave video, and from various discussions I've been involved with in the past. It is preliminary and subject to change with more info.

1977 catalog no Knocker
1979 first release Knocker
1980 first appearance of Knocker in a catalog/price list
1982 Knocker dropped out of catalog/price lists; China Boy appeared
1987 Knocker not in catalog
1991 Knocker not in catalog
2001 Knocker came back in the catalog but in a lighter weight
2010? new design clone of Mel Lewis cymbal
2011? new design clone of Mel Lewis cymbal
2013 redesign of A series did not change Knocker, only the ink changed

The 2010 vs 2011 for year of the Mel change might be because it was brought out just before the new year in time for the NAMM show. I've documented a few other cases where a model seems to have a laser serial number which dates to the year before one might expect given the official release date. According the Paul Francis that represents getting stock so they can fill orders when the interest is generated at NAMM.

As far as my info on weights goes:

I haven't found the weight of Mel's original although I may have it buried in my notes somewhere.

In the 60s and 70s there were Swish models in 22" but with the Minicup and these are not Knockers. The weights are in the range 2000g - 2400g. The Swish actually dates back to 1938 when it was patented. Earlier ones (from the 1940s to mid 1950s) were lighter.: 1666g to 1980g

V1 The Knockers from the early period 1979-1985? come in at 2800g to 3032g

V2 The reintroduction period from 2001 to 2010? come in around 2200g weight bracket but I need more data

V3 The Mel clone period (2010? to present) come in around 2500g to 2535g

And of course it is about shape not just weight. Paul Francis goes through some of the shape aspects in the video with John Riley posted above.

Here is Peter Erskine in a video posted May 20, 2010


I can't say if it is a V2 or a V3. It is on the cusp. See what your ears say. I love the way he smiles when he first hits it.

Ah, I just saw DrumCaveDave's video a few weeks ago, I love all the info shared here, nice post! It really lays out some nice history. And I just saw the Erskine video, hard to say...sounds on the lighter side. John is playing really light, probably not to smack the original 'mother' gem too hard. Great point about the shape and not necessarily the weight....that is great to know though those V1s are heavy, holy cow. Another great point on the A redesign, was confused to see modern knockers go up in weight while the revised A line goes down! I suppose one could always re-lathe to experiment though I never seen any one do this to a knocker (or even if you should). Many videos are deceiving too, here John and Peter have nice a soft touch (of course!) but many videos hit way too hard or I don't like their bead. I'll buy a drum sight unseen but never cymbals (did it before it was awful), especially a cymbal as exotic as this with variations in eras and an A line Zildjian.
 

zenstat

Well-known member
And here is a piece of info

I have a Swish Knocker from 1996 (serial IF*), it's 2500 grams. I've owned several older as well, they were all in the same ballpark. I sold them as I was always looking for something else, didn't think they were "it". One of them was bought by a friend who is one of the best jazz drummers in Sweden. It sounds fantastic and he still uses it. My current Knocker is drier than the new "vanguards" that I've tested, not necessarily in a bad way. (I bought my current Knocker from Forks Drum Closet, according to them it came from John Robinson who sold a lot of Zildjians when he switched to Paste)

which claims a 1996 laser stamp and 2500g. That is in the weight range of the Vanguard Mel clone ones, but is said to date from the period when DrumCaveDave says the Swish Knocker wasn't in the catalog. I need to follow this up.

The other thing I'd say about context for the weights is it helps to know what was generally going on with weights for A Zildjian cymbals at the time. These are from a large project to document all models and weight classes since 1930.

22-counts-by-era.png

Taking cymbals which still have weight class ink on them here is where they fit

22-wt-classes-by-era.png

Note there is a THIN swish (had both model ink and weight class ink). I've recorded Swishes in the THIN category and one PAPER THIN from the 60s. The Knockers tend to be MEDIUM THIN weight class in the 90s and later. There is also a Knocker which is HEAVY weight class from the 70s, and so are PINGs from that era. @Skitch mentions the heavier Swish Knockers with "oversize bell" might derive (?) from Ping Rides. But what we see doesn't mean that Pings and Swish Knockers are closely related or ancestor/descent in their relationship. I would prefer to stick to reporting the data at this point and not get into too much more. Suffice it to say that there are indeed some Heavy weight class Knockers. But I also know that not all Pings are heavy weight class either. You will see a Medium Thin Ping in that table from the 1950s.

As far as I can measure the Swish models have the MiniCup and the Swish Knockers have the Medium Cup. The Knocker cup is only an "oversized bell" when you compare it to the Swish. In the context of 22" Ride cymbals the bell is as expected. There are larger bells (special cup and large cup) which are sometimes found on 22" and larger cymbals. However those larger cup sizes don't tend to be used on Ping Rides. That is part of the formula for creating a Ping, but there are other shape factors. There is still a lot of detail to document. Some of the data in those two tables will change a bit as I now have more data. Also, after the follow up I need to do as a result of this thread the Knocker data in that second table might need to be annotated with V1, V2, V3 to make it clearer. Expect some changes.
 

s1212z

Well-known member
V1 The Knockers from the early period 1979-1985? come in at 2800g to 3032g

V2 The reintroduction period from 2001 to 2010? come in around 2200g weight bracket but I need more data

V3 The Mel clone period (2010? to present) come in around 2500g to 2535g

I've been chasing YT videos for anything with a Swish Knocker title.

V1s- hard to find any sounds files. Would love hear one some day.

V2s - I'm finding anything that is lower than 2300 don't sound that great to me. All the samples, when they play lightly, don't excite the rivets enough and end up muting the cymbal and choking the bell...and 2200g is pretty light for a 22". This makes sense, what John Riley mentioned from the Mel Lewis 'mother' example and his own playing experience, he said to look for examples that sustain the longest and his general playing style to play pretty lightly. This is such an irony given the A line weights were way too high at that time but the SW was too low relatively speaking and then they flipped it.

V3s - All the best ones I heard were in the ~2450-2600 zone which, I had to guess, would put the 'mother' SW at as well. They had beautiful sustain while played lightly. Once they are higher, the characteristic seems to change into some thing different....not necessarily bad but certainly more 'pingy'.

Anyways, this was educational though would just like to play one in person one day eventually. But copper 20 rivets is...alot of rivets (and extra weight). So the jazzer pursuit of thin, thin, thin does not work here it appears....seems you need some weight to rattle these guys. Cymbal tilt also changed the sound quite a bit too (or flipped) Notable is the Sound Lab Constantinople 22" swish sound samples, with less rivets, sounds really good and are of thinner weight. They would sell well too, so not sure why not an official release. Speaking of, there millions of rides out there but the variety of 22 china/swishes is so small....and anything new has a million swiss cheese holes.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
I will try and make a video to post early next week.
I definitely had mine in 1988 because I used it on the Edie Brickell album. Whether I got it earlier and a leftover from 1985 production I can't remember.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
A Swish Knocker is a heavier version of the standard swish with about 20 rivets . It was made famous by Mel Lewis and Buddy Rich .

I have owned a couple - both bought site unseen and both absolutely sucked . The good ones are dry with good stick definition and less of a gong like undertone .
Agreed.
I saw one on Reverb once that had the rivets cut out. The seller said they just made the cymbal sound like trash & once they did this mod, it was decent.
He was selling it to get a Paiste Swish. Something they said they should've gotten from the get-go.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I will try and make a video to post early next week.
I definitely had mine in 1988 because I used it on the Edie Brickell album. Whether I got it earlier and a leftover from 1985 production I can't remember.
How accurate is this:
Chris_Whitten
 

s1212z

Well-known member
Well, I just bought the 22'' K Con proto Swish without the rivets (I like to add those in the form of chains when need, and take them off when not needed).

View attachment 107811View attachment 107812

Can't wait to place it between the other K Con proto's (this will be my 5th) and play it..

For now I only need the 18'' crash and 12'' splash.
Damn.That's a beauty so I'm getting jealous and annoyed they have produced this line yet. Are these actually one offs or a mini-production for exclusive drummer's club on a private paradise island? I think we are past the prototype phase if there are over 10 of these puppies circulating.

From here, looks like a thinner profile and smaller bell than SW...which tells me you can probably lay into more without getting too crazy. A nice weight for the K cons too... I'd probably opt for rivets based on the video comparison I heard before, I think they did 8? But I might get paranoid with a SL and chain it like you will.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Damn.That's a beauty so I'm getting jealous and annoyed they have produced this line yet. Are these actually one offs or a mini-production for exclusive drummer's club on a private paradise island? I think we are past the prototype phase if there are over 10 of these puppies circulating.

From here, looks like a thinner profile and smaller bell than SW...which tells me you can probably lay into more without getting too crazy. A nice weight for the K cons too... I'd probably opt for rivets based on the video comparison I heard before, I think they did 8? But I might get paranoid with a SL and chain it like you will.
Thanks. I bet you can find one too some day.

They have made only a few in the 18, 20, and 22 size. With and without rivets.

Zildjian send those around the world for people to buy in the shops.

They made one or more in the Kerope prototype line too.

Here is such a shop:
 
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Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Thanks. Looking at the John Riley video above, the vintage Swish Knocker sounds great and the modern one sounds to high pitched for my taste.
My one doesn't sound quite as nice as the Riley vintage one, but way nicer than the modern one. Lower pitch is the key to my taste.
 
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