Why do you play Zildjian?

I like them because it was the sound I grew up with. When I started playing, there were only two "good" cymbals available - Zildjian and Paiste. There were no Paistes to be found in my podunk area, so all my cymbals were Zildjians. They were simply the gold standard.

I suppose it's a kind of imprinting. "This is what a cymbal sounds like."
That's almost exactly my experience as well.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I had always just assumed that drummers typically purchase whatever cymbal they don't have to pay import duties on unless they have a particular reason to reason. Zildjian in the US, Sabian in Canada, Meinl and Paiste in EU, Instanbul in the Mediterranean north Africa, and west Asia.

Reasons not to can be as simple as icon emulation (Bonham/Ringo played blah, so I need to play blah).
 

Soulfinger

Senior Member
I had always just assumed that drummers typically purchase whatever cymbal they don't have to pay import duties on unless they have a particular reason to reason. Zildjian in the US, Sabian in Canada, Meinl and Paiste in EU, Instanbul in the Mediterranean north Africa, and west Asia.
There´s some truth to that.

I started playing drums in 1981, and all that was available in my hometown in Upper Austria was Paiste and Zildjian. Zildjian at the time was "A" Zildjian, period, and very expensive. Meinl was just testing the water with beginner cymbals of questionable quality, and Sabian wasn´t even around back then, let alone any of the turkish brands available nowadays.

So I started out with the best cymbals I could afford - Paiste 505. They served me well, but I always dreamed about playing either top-of-the-line Paistes like all the cool people in the Paiste Profiles book or Zildjians like all the cool people in the Zildjian Cymbal book, both of which I kept drooling over.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and now I´m finally able to afford those Zildjians, and they sound beautiful. But my initial gratitude and affection for Paiste (for providing me with great cymbals that didn´t break the bank) has never ceased, and now that they came out with their new 602s and the Masters Series I am in love with them again.

Bottom line - I have both Paistes and Zildjians for their inherent and unique qualities, and I wouldn´t want to part with either.
 

donzo74

Junior Member
It was Zildjian or Paiste when I was growing up and I preferred the Zildjian sound. Sabian was the new kid on the block and there wasn't much to choose from. Even if I heard a cymbal from another company that I liked, I would find an equivalent sound from a Zildjian and get that one instead. A combo of A's, K's and A Customs has given me any sound that I need over the years and it's the sound, feel and look that I'm used to.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
yeah...I was slightly interested in Paiste Rudes back in the mid 80's being a metalhead, but could not get Zildjian's out of my mind (and anything else in the house). I go into the drum shop, and look at a lot of the cymbals on the wall, but man, I am just drawn right past them all to the Z's!! I am currently lusting after a K Custom Dark 20" Ride....the bell sound is from heaven...literally, it is the cymbal that God has on his drum set
Ditto on the K Custom Dark Ride! One of the few times my wife has ever accompanied me to a music store, they had a very lightly used one for sale (but not in my budget). After tinkering with it, I told my wife "If you ever want to buy me any music equipment, this is it!"

Still don't have one... :(
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Ditto on the K Custom Dark Ride! One of the few times my wife has ever accompanied me to a music store, they had a very lightly used one for sale (but not in my budget). After tinkering with it, I told my wife "If you ever want to buy me any music equipment, this is it!"

Still don't have one... :(
Same thing I told my wife. I ended up with the L80s instead. I guess that’s why I play Zildjians instead of my Sabians. Banished to silence! :cry: Probably not the expected twist the OP was looking for!
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I am soundly in the zildjian camp with the sabians as well. Never cared for paiste much due to price. They do have a huge library of sounds, but they are not as durable as the zildjian/sabians imho. I am sure with unlimited budget I would find some I like. The giant beats I had were nice but I sold them for a profit.
I can't even imagine how hard you would have to hit a properly mounted 2002 in order to crack it. If I strike my 2002s with the same force that I use on my K Sweets, they're deafening.

I imagine that most of the major cymbal brands are similarly durable. Good technique is paramount.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Because when I was a young drummer, Zildjian cymbals were The Gold Standard. All the professional drummers I saw played Zildjian. I spent hours and hours looking at drum catalogs, and beside the kits themselves, I longed for the day I'd be able to afford Zildjians. When I finally obtained my first Zildjians - a set of hi hats - I was in heaven. Every subsequent Zildjian cymbal required a great deal of saving, scrimping, and sacrifice. At this point, I regard my Zildjian/Sabian cymbals far higher than my drum sets. Great-sounding drums are easy to find, but a great-sounding cymbal is a real treasure.

I must say that my confidence in Zildjian was beginning to flag for years before the big redesign effort. The cymbals were sounding very ordinary and rarely excited me enough to buy them except for necessity. But the redesign has made Zildjian cymbals live again. The new As and Ks are sonic adventures. I wish that I could afford to replace the mediocre crashes that I bought before the redesign, but I was able to hand-pick them and they are a decent bunch of crashes. But, if I had the dough, every one of them would be replaced by new K Dark versions like my recent purchase. The new Zildjians really are NEW!

GeeDeeEmm
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Because when I was a young drummer, Zildjian cymbals were The Gold Standard. All the professional drummers I saw played Zildjian. I spent hours and hours looking at drum catalogs, and beside the kits themselves, I longed for the day I'd be able to afford Zildjians. When I finally obtained my first Zildjians - a set of hi hats - I was in heaven. Every subsequent Zildjian cymbal required a great deal of saving, scrimping, and sacrifice. At this point, I regard my Zildjian/Sabian cymbals far higher than my drum sets. Great-sounding drums are easy to find, but a great-sounding cymbal is a real treasure.

I must say that my confidence in Zildjian was beginning to flag for years before the big redesign effort. The cymbals were sounding very ordinary and rarely excited me enough to buy them except for necessity. But the redesign has made Zildjian cymbals live again. The new As and Ks are sonic adventures. I wish that I could afford to replace the mediocre crashes that I bought before the redesign, but I was able to hand-pick them and they are a decent bunch of crashes. But, if I had the dough, every one of them would be replaced by new K Dark versions like my recent purchase. The new Zildjians really are NEW!

GeeDeeEmm
totally agree with you about the idea that the cymbal sound is the treasure...and I also remember the pursuit of "the next Zildjian". I am still pursuing a few cymbals. I only have 6 drums, but 34 cymbals. The cymbals are my "voice". I have a cymbal set up for every style of music that I play, and really only 2 of the cymbals are at every gig: my 15" Quick Beats and my 18" Thin Crash from the early 90's.

in jest, our guitarist and bass player call me Mr. Peart when we are loading in: "how much stage space will you need tonight Mr. Peart" is a common gig day joke. And it is funny b/c the guitarist is saying this as he is setting up 2 pedalboards EACH with at least 12 pedals on them. I remember one gig where he said: "can you do . show with just 4 cymbals?", and I replied "when you do a show with just 4 pedals...." of course, no reply.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I can't even imagine how hard you would have to hit a properly mounted 2002 in order to crack it. If I strike my 2002s with the same force that I use on my K Sweets, they're deafening.

I imagine that most of the major cymbal brands are similarly durable. Good technique is paramount.
I don't want to derail the thread, but I'll send you a PM...
 

Craig J

Senior Member
i really haven't found a zildjian cymbal i've loved in a long time. Occasionally I'll hit a k custom dark and really like it. But on the whole, for my ear, Istanbul and Bosphorus cymbals are a lot more interesting. THe Sabian HH line is also great and feels great under the stick
 

VandelayNJ

Junior Member
I have no brand loyalty with cymbals - or nearly anything drum-wise. To me, Zildjian is a top producer of high-quality cymbals. But there are a few companies like that. As far as variety of sounds, all the major manufacturers have a huge variety. I used to think, back in the 80s and 90s, that each of the companies had a sort of sound profile that they stuck to. Paiste seemed brighter and more cutting. Zildjian was warmer. Sabian somewhere in between - all my opinion based on who-knows-what. Now, I really couldn't tell the difference. Zildjians got some very bright, even harsh cymbals now. Paiste has some beautiful warm cymbals - I mean, Vinnie switched to Paiste after so many years with Zildjian and I think that's very telling about whether the top brands are really all that distinct anymore. And Meinl - what they've been doing is astounding considering they were nothing around 15-20 years ago - at least in the US. I know this isn't really on-topic, but I really question the whole brand-loyalty based on anything having to do with "sound" - I really feel none of the brands sound better than any others as the variety is so vast within each brand - with a blindfold on, I'm confident that my favorite sounding cymbals could be from any brand. So for me, it's totally about what sounds good and what I can afford. And I've recently gotten two Dream cymbals with that philosophy that I adore.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
I grew up with Zildjian. That's what we used in school, that's what was for sale locally. BUT, after getting back into drumming this past year, I've definitely stepped away from Zildjian and picked up cymbals from other companies. Like VandelayNJ, I have no brand loyalties. I own a Stagg, Paiste, Wuhan, a couple different offerings from Meinl, A custom, A, K (I still do like Zildjian for sure). I have one in shipment from Trinity Cymbals. A newer company using B20 bronze from local metal offerings in California. And, they're still 35% OFF right now.

I will say, I've never met a 16" thin crash (Zildjian) that sounded bad. I think it's one of the best crash cymbals available. I will ALWAYS have one while I'm still able to play.
 

makinao

Silver Member
Back in the 70s in my country, Zildjian was the only brand that had a local distributor/retailer. Today, only Zildjian, Meinl, Wuhan, and Istanbul Mehmet have distributors that are of note. Those of Sabian and Paiste don't actively promote their brands, and have poor selections. If you want these new, you have to either get them abroad, or special order them (which means you are obligated to get them without demoing first).
 
Last edited:

curty curt

New member
History : Close to 400 years of production.
Heritage: I heard Zildjians being played over the decades on the recordings that made me become a drummer first, and then a musician.
Ancestry: My maternal grandparents were Armenians who barely survived the Turkish genocide. My wife is full Armenian. My father-in-law’s name is Avedis.
Zildjians sound good, too.
 
Top