I can remember walking down the
street as a nineteen year old clutching my first set of
13" new beat
hi hats. A tow truck could not have prized them away from me that
day. Little has changed with my enthusiasm for these cymbals in the
twenty years that have passed since. I am just really lucky to
be part of the Zildjian family of endorsers and use these cymbals
Playing such a wide variety of
instruments in so many different settings I am really called upon to
create many different colours and textures and this page is here as a
little insight into where and when I use particular
cymbals and what
tonal qualities specific cymbals can bring to various situations.
Percussion in the studio needs many
timbres beyond the traditional cymbal swell or ride cymbal pattern.
I am going to begin with some of the specialist items I use. I
shall go on to the more conventional cymbals
farther down the page.
First up is the newest addition to the Zildjian
family and a long
awaited innovation for metal resonance. It is the new 'Gong sheet'
and is basically a 24" flat gong which is designed in such a way as to
sound very close to a larger Tam Tam. It is perfect for situations
where you are short of space, short of a budget for a 30" gong or simply
too lazy to carry it up the stairs. It is great struck pp or ff
with a large gong mallet, bowed, dipped in water or struck with a small
acorn definition stick. It is a good contrast to the
20" wind gong
which has been round the world with me many times on a whole
variety of different projects.
On the subject of gongs, I also make
great use of the smaller gongs and Balinese nipple gong. These
sing nicely with smaller beaters and also bow really well.
Combined with the Earth plates and
(both great struck with
a metal beater) this is a great little pack of additions for the studio.
According to the Zildjian website I am the only endorser to use a
Burmese bell. I can't believe so many players are missing out on
this 'spin and sing' goodie, not forgetting of course the amazing
resonant Zil bells that ring on for a good twenty seconds when struck
well. I like to mount two on a mini 'lo-hat' stand for a real
crisp 'chick' sound.
Continuing with things great for the
studio, we have to look at the cymbals that are 'warped'.
People are always coming up after a show enquiring about my
cymbals. The first of this set has to be the
'crash of doom'
invented by Denis Chambers. This is a fairly thin cymbal, pressed
in such a way as to be wavy around the edges. It creates a much
darker tone than a standard finished cymbal and is truly fantastic to
roll with mallets or bow, as is the smaller ZXT
version from the effects
range. They also sound well when struck with the hand, which is
important when you are playing hand perc without sticks. You
obviously need to take great care with this so you don't hurt youself!
Finally, on the subject of warped, check
out these. They were inspired by the clock which used to be in the
office at Zildjian Europe. They had
made the clock from an
unfinished cymbal, straight from the
smouldering melting press. I
spied the potential and asked Bob and Tina at Zildjian to get me some
cymbals like this made out in Boston. Then, four months later I took receipt of these
amazing half made cymbals, all wierd shaped and amazing, complete with
They are really a cross between a cymbal and a gong and sound truly
dark, a little bit like an earth ride run over by a steam roller in the
middle of a horror movie. They go on all my film sessions.
In case you think that I only play the
more ecentric type Zildjians, here are a selection of thoughts and
applications for some other Zildjian products.
These are my standard kit cymbals. The new wrinkle edge
mastersound hi hats are top notch, with a
really clear foot 'chick, whilst the larger crashes
16" & 18" are great.
These are a very interesting range for me
when it comes to adding cymbals to a
percussion set up.
The 'jingle ride' stands out as a must have
for any percussionist. Mount it on its own stand though because
the jingles rattle if it is part of a rack set up.
interesting range when it comes to adding
cymbals to a percussion set up.
The good thing is that they are darker than the smaller splashes often
used by kit players so you won't clash in that tonal spectrum.
They also sing well when struck with hand or
mallets. I particularly like the little square edged bell
on some models. (Above).
The oriental range has some
great goodies as well. Great chinas
in various sizes that offer a great alternative to the more conventional
china sound. I love to get a matching pair and use them with
marching cymbal technique like they do traditional
Chinese cymbals. They sound the real deal. The
giant chinas I use with my large
Taiko drums. They make some impact
with those thick sticks, but you can break them easily like this so take
It's got to have the logo!
With Tina & Bob at Zildjian Europe
Wondering about what cymbals you need? Email