15" Hats for Jazz

69OysterBlue

DFO Master
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
3,597
Reaction score
274
Location
Northeast OH
I've recently gotten back into a jazz trio and really enjoy the challenges of playing what I consider to be "classic jazz" - Miles, Coltrane, Monk, Brubeck, Parker, etc . .

It's been a while since I played some of this stuff and my ability to keep the high hat "chick" going on the upbeat of fast tempos has diminished a bit over the years. Specifically, we do Cherokee (Clifford Brown & Max Roach), Impressions (Coltrane), Seven Steps to Heaven (Miles), Spain (Chick Corea) and a few others that are testing both my speed & endurance.

I'm also looking for a bit more powerful sound and have been considering switching from the 14" hats (which I have used forever) to 15". I have my eye on either a set of Zildjian K Custom Dark or Zildjian K Sweet cymbals that I am thinking of picking up at the local drum store this weekend

So the question is this: Would the (slight) extra weight of a 15" top cymbal make it easier to play fast tempo up beats or am I going to have to compensate with a higher spring tension to get the cymbal to rebound quickly?

I appreciate any ideas you all might have -
 

JimmySticks

DFO Veteran
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
2,583
Reaction score
3,182
Location
Queens NY
I think if you're looking for speed and a way to help your endurance, than moving up to 15" is the wrong way to go as well. As @Deafmoon said, 13" would be the way to go. You can get a surprisingly good chick out of a lot of them.
 

bbunks

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 14, 2005
Messages
3,208
Reaction score
718
Location
Chicago
Let us know how what you decide. I’d think - as deafmoon said - 13s, or even the “right” pair of 14s would be the way to go.

My experience with 15s is that they’ll generally be washier and won’t give you as defined of a “chick.” So they may be louder overall but you’ll have to do more work to get the definition you want. But your mileage may vary.
 

Elvis

The King of Rock'n'Roll
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
14,828
Reaction score
2,943
Location
Poulsbo, Wa.
I've recently gotten back into a jazz trio and really enjoy the challenges of playing what I consider to be "classic jazz" - Miles, Coltrane, Monk, Brubeck, Parker, etc . .

It's been a while since I played some of this stuff and my ability to keep the high hat "chick" going on the upbeat of fast tempos has diminished a bit over the years. Specifically, we do Cherokee (Clifford Brown & Max Roach), Impressions (Coltrane), Seven Steps to Heaven (Miles), Spain (Chick Corea) and a few others that are testing both my speed & endurance.

I'm also looking for a bit more powerful sound and have been considering switching from the 14" hats (which I have used forever) to 15". I have my eye on either a set of Zildjian K Custom Dark or Zildjian K Sweet cymbals that I am thinking of picking up at the local drum store this weekend

So the question is this: Would the (slight) extra weight of a 15" top cymbal make it easier to play fast tempo up beats or am I going to have to compensate with a higher spring tension to get the cymbal to rebound quickly?

I appreciate any ideas you all might have -
I currently use 15" Istanbul AGOP Traditional Medium Hats.
I think the weights are like 1140/1420 (something like that).
I'm pretty happy with them. I'd used them for anything.
They play like dark 14's with a little more spread.


(mine come off a little darker than these. Could be the recording medium)

As for feel, I'm using them with a Sakae flat base HH stand, which is reminiscent of my old Ludwig Standard flat base HH stand.
Spring tension with either of those are not adjustable, but have a nice, "medium" feel to them, on their own.
With the 15's mounted, I can tell there's a little extra weight to push around, but it doesn't seem to inhibit how I play the hats.


Elvis
 
Last edited:

Ox Han

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
417
Reaction score
342
15” agop 30th anniversary…the top on my pair is 939g and cuts..that’s plenty light

That said, after a honeymoon phase with Paiste, I think 14” K custom darks have great cut and are the most versatile of the 14” hats I’ve played

If I currently was looking, I’d strongly consider trying 14” Constantinople hats. They seem like they might be a step up from the K custom darks and a bit lighter
 
Last edited:

JazzDrumGuy

DFO Star
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
12,098
Reaction score
3,992
Location
Pebble Beach, CA
I have had various 15" hats - Bosphorus masters vintage (sold), 80's A new beats (still have, a tad heavy), 15 Keropes (my favorites - amazing!), 15 K lights (nice but the foot chick was a little muted). I have a pair of 14 K lights or 14 K Cons if interested. I also had 14 K custom darks but thought they were too dark and didn't cut through the wash of the ride. I have a modern pair of big logo new beats that have a light top (sub 1K g) but a 1400g+ bottom), so a tad loud, but great overall hats.
 

Elvis

The King of Rock'n'Roll
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
14,828
Reaction score
2,943
Location
Poulsbo, Wa.
K Custom Dark, as a series, are all pretty cool cymbals. Very versatile with a great sound and feel.
I almost picked up a ride, way back when they first came out.
Still impressed, to this day.

Elvis
 

Tama CW

DFO Master
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
3,294
Reaction score
2,747
Location
SE Connecticut
I agree that the 13's and 14's will respond faster than 15's. As many 15's as I've tried, the smaller sizes perform better in speed, response, and foot "chup." I work harder to move those 15's and get less out of them to boot.
I have a pair of early 70's 14" New Beats (825/1155) that I always felt were optimum for all types of music....and they cut well enough. But after trying a set of 14" Intermediate Stamp K's (760/925) I found that they cut as well as the heavier new beats and have that nice "crunch" that works well for jazz. So it's not always just about the weight. I've had heavier 15's (1000/1400 and up) and just never felt comfortable with them....too harsh and clangy. My intermediate stamps feel like a Ferrari compared to all the others I've tried over the years. 750-900 / 900-1100 should give you enough power and all the cut you need in a well hammered 14".

My best and most cutting pair of 15's are 1930's Zildjians weighing mid 700's....with 3 large rivets on each one. They cut like 1000 gms because of those rivets. And they work great for jazz, R&B.

IMG_3606.JPG
 
Last edited:

musiqman

DFO Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,170
Reaction score
1,624
Location
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I have 15” K con prototype hats (1125/1448) and love them for jazz too.

They are on the heavier side in terms of weight, but feel and sound very light with well balanced body, compared to my older smaller cymbals
 

hsosdrum

DFO Veteran
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
1,749
Reaction score
2,965
This past spring I replaced a set of 14" New Beats (928/1277) that I'd been using for 35 years with a pair of new 15" K Sweet Hats (1074/1633). Sonically, the 15s have a deeper voice than the 14s (which is the main reason I switched), but they also have a stronger, more-defined "chic" sound. Patterns played with sticks sound with more authority, and the 15s' voice has more presence in the overall drum mix than the 14s' voice.

The top cymbal's slightly increased weight affects the pedal action by making it a bit 'softer' feeling, which I've been too lazy to correct by increasing the spring tension. I actually find it a bit easier to swing my 2 & 4 with the 15s than I did with the 14s, but that could be a spring tension issue.

Bottom line is that I vastly prefer everything about my 15" K Sweets over my 35-year old 14" New Beats (which I dearly loved right up until the moment I mounted the K Sweets on my kit). As with all cymbal purchases, my advice is: try before you buy.
 

Swissward Flamtacles

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
207
Reaction score
229
I can't really comment on the 300+ bpm part. Once I get into that territory, other things fall apart first, but at least the extra inch is not the issue. :D
I've had good results with a thin 15" over a pretty heavy marching bottom(both old A's). The bottom keeps the chick strong, while the top moves easily and responds to soft playing. So a heavy 15" bottom would be another option. You could try one of your 14" cymbals on top of it before getting a 15" top-I guess Max Roach used 13 over 14 or something like that to get a strong chick sound.
The K custom Dark you mentioned *might* be rather soft. At least the ones I've tried sounded lovely but didn't have a piercing cut. But give them a try if you have a local music store!
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
338
Reaction score
439
Location
Toronto, Ontario
I've had 15" Avedis, 16" K Lights, 14" Avedis, 14" Keropes. They are all beautiful sets of hats, but they've all come and gone. For jazz and faster playing and patterns, my go to is either a pair of light (600/700) 13" 50's As, or 14" K Cons. I loved the sound and feel of those bigger hats, but in terms of foot chick and general responsiveness, they don't come close to being able to do what my current hats can. I would also add that both these sets of hats are very responsive to foot use, and I can coax a variety of sounds out of them with ease using only my foot. I would try this with the larger hats, but they were always a bit clunky and slower to respond to nuances in the playing. YMMV.
 

Elvis

The King of Rock'n'Roll
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
14,828
Reaction score
2,943
Location
Poulsbo, Wa.
...another way to look at this is to think about the expressiveness of the setup and allowing the hats to speak a little, past the chick.
To that end, instead of going larger, you might want to go lighter, overall, and replace a NB bottom with a QB top, which is about 200-300 grams lighter.
I actually did something similar with the pair of 13" Paiste's that I use with the Ludwig kit.
I stared off with a stock set of Signature Dark Crisp hats that were approximately 746/1340 grams in weight.
It was pretty obvious to me that it was the heavy bottom cymbal that was drying out the setup (and it made the slosh rather "clangy", which I didn't like and what really prompted me to mod the setup to begin with).
Through a series of trades and experiments, I ended up with a Signature Medium bottom, which (at the time) was the lightest weight bottom cymbal Paiste made from Signature alloy.
It worked great and I ended up with a much nicer set of cymbals.
Not that there was anything wrong with the DC top I was using at the time, but shortly after the Dark Energy series came out, I decided to try replacing that DC top with a 13" DE top and it was such a sonically beautiful addition, I ended up selling off the DC top.
I still run that setup. Weights are now 748/935.5.
Of course, this won't help the OP, because it actually made for a gentler, mellower and lighter sounding set of hats, but for anyone looking to pull a little presence out of their hat setup (while adding a little more expressiveness), for small combo Jazz use, might look into modding the bottom cymbal.

Elvis
 
Last edited:

Seb77

DFO Master
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
3,557
Reaction score
2,200
Location
Germany
Jazz is rarely loud. 15" hats on the medium-heavy side, like K Custom Darks or K Sweets, are loud. 15" more so than 13" or 14". They aren't any faster to play by foot.
For jazz, I would try to find a pair that works - soundwise and volume-wise - for chick, splash, closed, open playing without you having to hold back during quiet passages such as bass solos etc.

Being able to play fast tempos comes from practice; it has nothing to do with gear choice.
 

SwivoNut

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 9, 2005
Messages
4,150
Reaction score
378
Location
Mason, MI
I use 15" New Beat hats in an 18-piece big band. The "chick" is very definite and the band always knows where the beat is, even on slow tunes when I'm using brushes. The New Beats have a heavy bottom cymbal and a lighter one on top so it's not necessary to tighten spring tension on the stand (top = 1056g, bottom = 1553g).
 

69OysterBlue

DFO Master
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
3,597
Reaction score
274
Location
Northeast OH
Thanks for all of the comments.

My current 14” hats that I play are a Zildjian prototype set that are an A bottom with a lighter Cons top. Turns out my options at the local drum store are K Custom Special Dry or K Sweet. I’m going to weigh everything to get a good baseline of what I’ve been using. I like the notion of 15” hats with a lighter weight top cymbal.
 


Top