50's A's...

D. B. Cooper

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So. Another thread has me thinking about these pies.
How would you guys say they compare to 60's A's?

Were there 3 different stamps used in the 50's? Trans, Block and Small stamp? Is there a lot of variation? I've owned a few trans pies and have liked them, but they seemed a little too soft under my stick and lacked a bit a stick sound in my group. This was mainly because they were thin, I'm sure, but were the later pies made with amplifiers in mind?

I actually have two 20" 60's A's on their way to me right now. I was looking for something to put rivets in and wanted to try a couple weights before I drilled.

This one:


And this one:


I know they switched to machine hammering in the 60's, but hopefully one of these will have a bit of darkness in her.
 

Tama CW

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Finding dark and light ride cymbals in the 60's is not easy. I've only run across one light 20" 60's (1804 gm) and it was washy as heck at anything above light sticking. Great crash though. I got rid of it for $100. These days I'm a lot more leery of 60's rides trying to be like 50's. Recently had a light 70's 22" around 2500 gm. Didn't excite me either despite that light weight.

The 50's large stamps and small stamps can be pretty similar in the same weights. But there are plenty of exceptions. I recently had a trans stamp 18" at 1430 gm that was nearly a twin in sound to my 60's A at 1425 gm. Sort of shocking. So even some Trans stamps can be sort of "common" sounding. But the majority of trans stamps are distinctly different than the later ones. And I'd say the same thing about the large stamps. And then the same thing about the 50's small stamps. 50's stamps are generally placed into 3 categories of trans, large, and small stamps. There are at least 4 distinct versions of the trans stamps (most seen are the type 3/4 from 1951-1953). And there are 3 version of the large stamp (hollow block or LS1, LS2 and LS3). The LS3 is the only one without 3 dots. Then the 2-3 versions of small stamps (1954, SSA, SSB...) The "1954" stamp per Zenstat is probably mis-named but it appears to be a 60's stamp on a 50's hammered/lathed cymbal....possibly a cymbal that sat in the vault for years before a stamp was applied.
 
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Sinclair

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Yep what CW said. I feel the 60's A's are mostly heavier to fit the (electric) music of the era perhaps, with far fewer nuances compared to the 40's and 50's A's. I got into the 50's A market because I could afford them, and they were the sound on many of the classic jazz records and no doubt early Rock and Roll sessions I listened to and still listen to. They also (the good ones) have an unmistakable purity about them especially for small group jazz. My 22 Trans Stamp is essentially the white balance I judge all other ride cymbals by regardless of maker. I'll always have at least two, a main and LRS, in my bag regardless of the gig I'm heading to.

Not to say there aren't good 60's A rides out there, there are, but my observation is the 50's are more consistent and just sound better to my ears. I have two early 60's that are really nice actually. A 20" that's almost a medium that doesn't sound like a normal cookie cutter 60's at all, and a very rare thin 24 that I absolutely love. I have some recorded examples of many on my YT page.
 

Cliff DeArment

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During the 60's there were major changes throughout the decade. In early years they tried many experiments with the Quincy drop hammer, more various machines, heavier lathing, etc. Then came the Ringo effect (1964 and on?). At that point they had to crank them out as fast as possible. For years they would always say they stay in the vault for 2 years, but I have to wonder about that. A sale was a sale. Some are awesome, some... not so much. It can be hit or miss.

The 1954, which I prefer the name "54" (not really knowing for sure if it may have been stamped in the 50's or not), are the odd ball cymbals, all made in the Trans era (I have 7 of them). Bell lathing is a give away, as does the size of the center hole, but who knows if it was in the vault for 10 plus years. Patina can show us things as well. There are too many 54's for me to feel like they just sat that long. Or... was it possible older jazz players were just asking for the older sound they remembered. How many old ones were still in the back? Can we call them old 60's? The weirdest part is that I haven't seen any small stamp cymbals with the same Trans style. Is it the Ringo effect? Who really knows.

In the end, how does it sound?
 

D. B. Cooper

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Finding dark and light ride cymbals in the 60's is not easy. I've only run across one light 20" 60's (1804 gm) and it was washy as heck at anything above light sticking. Great crash though. I got rid of it for $100. These days I'm a lot more leery of 60's rides trying to be like 50's. Recently had a light 70's 22" around 2500 gm. Didn't excite me either despite that light weight.

The 50's large stamps and small stamps can be pretty similar in the same weights. But there are plenty of exceptions. I recently had a trans stamp 18" at 1430 gm that was nearly a twin in sound to my 60's A at 1425 gm. Sort of shocking. So even some Trans stamps can be sort of "common" sounding. But the majority of trans stamps are distinctly different than the later ones. And I'd say the same thing about the large stamps. And then the same thing about the 50's small stamps. 50's stamps are generally placed into 3 categories of trans, large, and small stamps. There are at least 4 distinct versions of the trans stamps (most seen are the type 3/4 from 1951-1953). And there are 3 version of the large stamp (hollow block or LS1, LS2 and LS3). The LS3 is the only one without 3 dots. Then the 2-3 versions of small stamps (1954, SSA, SSB...) The "1954" stamp per Zenstat is probably mis-named but it appears to be a 60's stamp on a 50's hammered/lathed cymbal....probably a cymbal that sat in the vault for years before a stamp was applied.

Yeah. I kinda knew when I bought them that they'd be bright and clean sounding. And that's ok, that sound works well with rivets too.
I liked that Philly Joe video, it has me inspired to try bobbie pins before installing rivets. Could sound nice on one of these 60's A's I'm getting.

Thanks for clarifying the stamp scenario, I appreciate it. There's some really beautiful block stamps on eBay right now. Just a bit outside my budget currently.
 

D. B. Cooper

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During the 60's there were major changes throughout the decade. In early years they tried many experiments with the Quincy drop hammer, more various machines, heavier lathing, etc. Then came the Ringo effect (1964 and on?). At that point they had to crank them out as fast as possible. For years they would always say they stay in the vault for 2 years, but I have to wonder about that. A sale was a sale. Some are awesome, some... not so much. It can be hit or miss.

The 1954, which I prefer the name "54" (not really knowing for sure if it may have been stamped in the 50's or not), are the odd ball cymbals, all made in the Trans era (I have 7 of them). Bell lathing is a give away, as does the size of the center hole, but who knows if it was in the vault for 10 plus years. Patina can show us things as well. There are too many 54's for me to feel like they just sat that long. Or... was it possible older jazz players were just asking for the older sound they remembered. How many old ones were still in the back? Can we call them old 60's? The weirdest part is that I haven't seen any small stamp cymbals with the same Trans style. Is it the Ringo effect? Who really knows.

In the end, how does it sound?
Can you post a pic of one of your 54's?
I'd love to see the bell and hole combo your talking about.
So 54's are trans stamp style cymbals that were supposedly unstamped, left over stock in 1954 that got the stamp they were using as they all went out the door?
 

Rock Salad

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Thanks guys, the top was easy to know it was 50s. It had the smaller hole but, I widened it. Beautiful lathe.
20200617_114628.jpg
 

drumtimejohn

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With exception to New Beats (started in the 60s), the only Zildjian’s I play present with lathing, hammering, bell size, and profile often seen on 50’s Trans, Block, and Small stamp cymbals. I simply value the feel and sound complexity of these cymbals more than others.
 

Seb77

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During the 60's there were major changes throughout the decade. ... Some are awesome, some... not so much. It can be hit or miss....In the end, how does it sound?
I have one 60s A crash ride around 2150g that looks a bit like done in a hurry and doesn't sound very complex, but with a nice bright wash/zing sound that works in any context.
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fsecret-love-20-avedis-2150g Here it is in an odd recording, German Christian pop songs re-arranged with a big band I was part in. Took this with me as the only ride, no spares. Cymbal starts at 0:28:

Here's a 60s ( I guess)20" A 1870g, two rivets. A favorite of mine.
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fbig-band-play-along-for-3
 

D. B. Cooper

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I have one 60s A crash ride around 2150g that looks a bit like done in a hurry and doesn't sound very complex, but with a nice bright wash/zing sound that works in any context.
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fsecret-love-20-avedis-2150g Here it is in an odd recording, German Christian pop songs re-arranged with a big band I was part in. Took this with me as the only ride, no spares. Cymbal starts at 0:28:

Here's a 60s ( I guess)20" A 1870g, two rivets. A favorite of mine.
https://soundcloud.com/seb234%2Fbig-band-play-along-for-3
Yeah! Those sound really great.
That delicate stick with a clean and bright wash.

I'm hoping I get a bit of variety in the two 60's 20"s I bought. One is super light at 17xx grams and I don't even know the weight of the other one. The seller didn't have a scale. I figured for $80, it was worth taking a poke.

Anyone care to venture a wild guess at the weight? I'm going with 2150. Just has that look to me... :)
 

D. B. Cooper

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Also, I'm excited to see which of them fits in better with the other gals. A 22" K Con MTL and a 19" K Sweet. I'm thinking the 17xx gram will kinda be like another crash voice.
But a heavier 60's A with rivets might be a nicer fit, I would probably use it more if it has more stick definition, ya know. I'm not really sure I'm drawn to the idea of another dedicated crash cymbal, I want another ride voice.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Can you post a pic of one of your 54's?
I'd love to see the bell and hole combo your talking about.
So 54's are trans stamp style cymbals that were supposedly unstamped, left over stock in 1954 that got the stamp they were using as they all went out the door?
54 might be the biggest mystery ever. Did the stamp start in the 50's then used again in the 60's? We really don't know, just guess work. There are possibilities, theories, and questions. After 6 years working on the damn things, I still can't say one way or the other. My beliefs (which mean squat LOL) would be a novel. The year 1954 itself is pretty silly. All years we use are iffy, at best. Then… there's the 3dot question. Many types of dots tell us things inside stamps. Pre-war, 40's, etc. In this context, 3 dots in arabic can be interpreted as *son of*… Armand? Notice a "60's stamp" could fall right before LS1 and LS2 stamps which also show 3dots. As I understand it, Armand was the foreman during the mid 50's. Hmmmm… I could go on, but you guys get the idea. Fun isn't it? :)

Anyway… Here's a 54 bell, 19" ride 1779g. Shows extra fine bell lathing (no tiers). 2 inch lathing chuck. That chuck shows an obvious circle around it which I like to call a "trans circle". We don't see those in the med/late 50's or on. A little keyholing, but clearly 7/16. Bells tell us so much. In this case, it was most likely made before Trans3. Was that cymbal later stamped and sold in the 60's? Maybe... maybe not. Call Ringo! :cool:
54 chuck.jpg
 
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D. B. Cooper

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54 might be the biggest mystery ever. Did the stamp start in the 50's then used again in the 60's? We really don't know, just guess work. There are possibilities, theories, and questions. After 6 years working on the damn things, I still can't say one way or the other. My beliefs (which mean squat LOL) would be a novel. The year 1954 itself is pretty silly. All years we use are iffy, at best. Then… there's the 3dot question. Many types of dots tell us things inside stamps. Pre-war, 40's, etc. In this context, 3 dots in arabic can be interpreted as *son of*… Armand? Notice a "60's stamp" could fall right before LS1 and LS2 stamps which also show 3dots. As I understand it, Armand was the foreman during the mid 50's. Hmmmm… I could go on, but you guys get the idea. Fun isn't it? :)

Anyway… Here's a 54 bell, 19" ride 1779g. Shows extra fine bell lathing (no tiers). 2 inch lathing chuck. That chuck shows an obvious circle around it which I like to call a "trans circle". We don't see those in the med/late 50's or on. A little keyholing, but clearly 7/16. Bells tell us so much. In this case, it was most likely made before Trans3. Was that cymbal later stamped and sold in the 60's? Maybe... maybe not. Call Ringo! :cool:
View attachment 447128
Awesome. Such an interesting topic! Thanks for the pic. Does the mark from the Chuck on the lathe indicate that from there to the center hole it was never lathed? Because there was no way to get a chisel in there? How is that different than other eras? Did they have a way around that?
 

Cliff DeArment

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Awesome. Such an interesting topic! Thanks for the pic. Does the mark from the Chuck on the lathe indicate that from there to the center hole it was never lathed? Because there was no way to get a chisel in there? How is that different than other eras? Did they have a way around that?
I've never lathed anything, so others would know much better. On this one it looks like it was first free spun lathed before the chuck was closed. That's common, but you don't see it here because the lathing is really really fine. I have a heavy 54 BeBop with a flat top like an LS would be and it was never lathed around the hole. More like it was shaved and buffed.
 
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