Zildjian Z3 replacing Z Customs? OR adding on?


Senior Member
When the original Z line was out, it was a mixed bag of hot and cold.

The ride sold OK (I still have one of the original 20" Heavy Power rides), and was used by a number of top players.

The Hi-hats were the star of the line, as guys like Lars Ulrich used them, and then Dave Weckl took sales to a new level with mixing the K and Z lines.

But the crashes were thick and clunky, and sounded more like manhole covers. No one bought them, and very few endorsers used them. Even the guys who swore by the rides and hi-hats didn't use the crashes. They were just too thick to be musical.

So Zildjian re-did the line with Z-Customs by making the crashes less manhole cover like, and adding a touch more lathing, which allowed the crashes to open up more and sounded much more musical. Sales went through the roof. I used them myself for a number of years.

What I never understood was why Zildjian also re-did the hi-hat and rides, when they weren't the problem. In my opinion, it made the rides and hats a little less special.

I'm not sure what's up with the Z3. Other than Sabian keeps coming out with something new every year, and Zildjian is always trying to prove they can be innovative too.
Got an email from Zildjian today. They finally updated their site with pictures and sound samples. The rides sound the same, but the crashes are nicer and the hats are fine , like you said, crashes were the problems, not the rides or hihats.


Gold Member
Yeah, I finally got my reply from Zildjian this past week regarding the Z3. I expressed my views on the new lathing and what I thought.

Thank you for taking the time to email us regarding your love for Zildjian cymbals. As with everything, we try to develop new cymbal sounds that drummers are asking for. With respect to the Z Custom series cymbals I agree that they are excellent cymbals. Through the years, we receive continuous feedback from artists and consumers stating that they liked the Z Customs but that sometimes they played very hard and stiff. After two years of extensive development we came up with a process that allows the new Z3 to have more “give” especially with the crashes without sacrificing any projection that you would get from a cymbal of this design. Throughout this development, different styles of lathing were tried and it was decided that the new Z3 series will be lathed the same way that we lathe our “A” series that have been around for years and years. We also decided to keep the brilliant finish. The Z3’s are made from the Zildjian secret alloy and do follow many of the same manufacturing steps the Z Customs did. If you have an opportunity, I encourage you to check out the new Z3 at a local drum store.


Paul Francis

Director of Research & Design / Quality

Avedis Zildjian Co.

So, after being a little sore about the change I decided to check some out this weekend at the local GC. They don't sound any better than the Z Customs and are certainly lacking in power. Easier to get a sound out of them but they in NO way have more volume or power as the Z Custom. I'll pass