Billy Higgins Cymbals

tkillian

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Love love love

20" old k? That thing is perfect. Any guesses on weight...stamp?

22" paiste with rivets?

14x8 Coliseum
How is his so dry even though he hits it off center.

I love his playing and sound.

Looks like bolero sticks


 

Seb77

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You're right, he plays off-center on the snare here, but it also sounds a bit more ringy than on some other recordings. It's an old drumhead, so higher overtones might be gone.

If your newer heads are too bright, I would put a bit of masking tape near the edge, no big deal. If it's in the way of brushes, put it on the underside, once you knpow how much you need. On one drum I just grabbed a small piece of paper and taped it on.
 
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JDA

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remember this old interview when he says Chrome snare and everyone was not sure whether he meant ' chrome covered wood or metal ... and a couple cymbal references..
 
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tkillian

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You're right, he plays off-center on the snare here, but it also sounds a bit more ringy than on some other recordings. It's an old drumhead, so higher overtones might be gone.

If your newer heads are too bright, I would put a bit of masking tape near the edge, no big deal. If it's in the way of brushes, put it on the underside, once you knpow how much you need. On one drum I just grabbed a small piece of paper and taped it on.
My drum sounds perfect.

Any ring disappears in the band..actually it gives some body

My remo ambassador is a used older head from my crate load of used heads.
 

mathale

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I watched him perform in an L.A. night club with Cedar Walton in 1999 (?). He was using all Paiste 602s - 22", 20", and 14" HHs (maybe 15"?).
 

mathale

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Blue Labels, that is. I don't quite remember the weights, however, I want to say that they were Thins (of course the HHs being Mediums).
 

tkillian

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“I switch up between a K. Constantinople and an old Paiste 602 Medium Ride,” says Higgins
 
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I watched him perform in an L.A. night club with Cedar Walton in 1999 (?). He was using all Paiste 602s - 22", 20", and 14" HHs (maybe 15"?).
We've been through this back on Cymbalholic, but what the hell, let's revive it.

When I was at William Paterson somewhere around 1990, Paiste sent (my teacher at the time) John Riley a 22" 602 Paperthin, I think they sent it to him to try to "woo" him. I remember that Istanbul had also sent him some stuff around the same time too (he wasn't a Zildjian endorser yet.)

I asked John if he was going to sign with Paiste. He wasn't sure, but we played this Paperthin at a few lessons, and we both LOVED it!!! I asked him if it was possible for me to get it if he didn't, so he put me in contact with the Paiste rep (I wasn't a Paiste endorser yet.) We made preliminary arrangements that if John didn't sign with Paiste, for John to give it to me instead of sending it back, and it could be billed to a Paiste dealer where I used to work.

In the meantime, a bunch of us went to Bradleys to hear Billy play in a piano trio. Billy was one of the only drummers that was "allowed" to play there. He had a KILLER 22" (new looking) 602 Blue Label Paperthin. He told me how much he loved it, and that he had just gotten it from Paiste. OH NO!!!! I got really worried that this was the same one, and that it had somehow gone through John and been directed to Billy (justifiably so,) and therefore I would miss out. DAMMN!

At the next weeks lesson I asked John if he had made up his mind and if he still had that cymbal, he said he still had it, and that he probably wasn't gong to sign with Paiste (although this Paperthin sounded really good.) I surmised that Paiste had probably just sent out a few (whew, thank God.) I continued to hope that John wouldn't sign and I could get the 602 Paperthin.

Well, that's what happened, and that's how I KNOW that Billy had one, and loved it. A few years later I saw him at the Vanguard (I think) with The Timeless All Stars, and he was still using it (with some TRads if I remember correctly.) By that time he had installed rivets in the Paperthin, and it sounded even better. I asked him about it, and he remembered us talking about it, I told him that I had one too (and how I got it.)

After that, I installed rivets in mine too. Whenever I went to hear Higgins play (which was QUITE often) he called me Paperthin Guy (ha.) I think I even brought mine to a gig for him to check out and play once (that would have been at Bradleys.)

Tony Reedus also had some GREAT Paiste 602 Blue labels, including a 22" Paperthin. We always talked about our love for 602 Blue's, and even compared ours side by side once at his house.

While I'm sure Higgins probably had a bunch of cymbals, I know that at one time, he had, and LOVED his riveted 22" 602 Blue Paperthin, as do I. I saw him play an older Medium too, (I forget if it was a Medium or a Medium Ride though, sorry Zen, that was probably the Blackwell gift) and some old K's, and I think I remember some old A's too. But I saw him using HIS "cherished" riveted Paiste Paperthin Blue 22, and I talked to him about it extensively, and he LOVED it!!!!

And I LOVE mine!
MSG
 

Seb77

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I guess you could ask "what's your favorite Billy Higgins cymbal sound", and get all kinds of answers. I guess I like the sound of Billy playing any cymbal :)

These look like Ks and sound a bit more on the medium side to my ear:

Same year:

Not really hi-fi sound:

More medium weight sounds, that crystalline quality of the cymbal behind the piano solo to me sounds like a 602 (not sure I would choose that cymbal):

Could be the same setup, 602 on the right, K on the left. Looks like very small stick tips here, makes the ride sound less metallic, but the sizzle top end and high bell sound to me sounds like some weight/thickness. Drum solo around 20min in. Very open/tight bass drum sound.
 

cinemadrummer2001

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We've been through this back on Cymbalholic, but what the hell, let's revive it.

When I was at William Paterson somewhere around 1990, Paiste sent (my teacher at the time) John Riley a 22" 602 Paperthin, I think they sent it to him to try to "woo" him. I remember that Istanbul had also sent him some stuff around the same time too (he wasn't a Zildjian endorser yet.)

I asked John if he was going to sign with Paiste. He wasn't sure, but we played this Paperthin at a few lessons, and we both LOVED it!!! I asked him if it was possible for me to get it if he didn't, so he put me in contact with the Paiste rep (I wasn't a Paiste endorser yet.) We made preliminary arrangements that if John didn't sign with Paiste, for John to give it to me instead of sending it back, and it could be billed to a Paiste dealer where I used to work.

In the meantime, a bunch of us went to Bradleys to hear Billy play in a piano trio. Billy was one of the only drummers that was "allowed" to play there. He had a KILLER 22" (new looking) 602 Blue Label Paperthin. He told me how much he loved it, and that he had just gotten it from Paiste. OH NO!!!! I got really worried that this was the same one, and that it had somehow gone through John and been directed to Billy (justifiably so,) and therefore I would miss out. DAMMN!

At the next weeks lesson I asked John if he had made up his mind and if he still had that cymbal, he said he still had it, and that he probably wasn't gong to sign with Paiste (although this Paperthin sounded really good.) I surmised that Paiste had probably just sent out a few (whew, thank God.) I continued to hope that John wouldn't sign and I could get the 602 Paperthin.

Well, that's what happened, and that's how I KNOW that Billy had one, and loved it. A few years later I saw him at the Vanguard (I think) with The Timeless All Stars, and he was still using it (with some TRads if I remember correctly.) By that time he had installed rivets in the Paperthin, and it sounded even better. I asked him about it, and he remembered us talking about it, I told him that I had one too (and how I got it.)

After that, I installed rivets in mine too. Whenever I went to hear Higgins play (which was QUITE often) he called me Paperthin Guy (ha.) I think I even brought mine to a gig for him to check out and play once (that would have been at Bradleys.)

Tony Reedus also had some GREAT Paiste 602 Blue labels, including a 22" Paperthin. We always talked about our love for 602 Blue's, and even compared ours side by side once at his house.

While I'm sure Higgins probably had a bunch of cymbals, I know that at one time, he had, and LOVED his riveted 22" 602 Blue Paperthin, as do I. I saw him play an older Medium too, (I forget if it was a Medium or a Medium Ride though, sorry Zen, that was probably the Blackwell gift) and some old K's, and I think I remember some old A's too. But I saw him using HIS "cherished" riveted Paiste Paperthin Blue 22, and I talked to him about it extensively, and he LOVED it!!!!

And I LOVE mine!
MSG
It’s nice to see someone mention Tony Reedus. A great drummer who unfortunately never gets mentioned when people speak about great drummers!
 

tkillian

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I saw him with Mullgrew Miller early 90s
22" regular K and 18" A with 3 rivet cluster

Burning..swinging
 
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vinnyrac63

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I saw him every holiday week at the V.V. w/ Cedar. Saw him using the 22 Istanbul and the P.T.602 and the 13 over 14 602's. The last time I saw him play was at an afternoon clinic at the Jazz Standard. He definitely was using his old K's because I went and looked. It was also about the same time that he did Hyperion w/ Charles Lloyd. There was a video floating about which I think has been removed of just Billy and Lloyd playing perhaps in someone's apartment. Those are the cymbals I believe i saw him using at the J.Z. That aside, I think Paiste is the absolute most frustrating cymbal company on planet earth. Both Sabian and Zildjian came out w/ 18 NHS-NHS type tribute flat rides last year. What did Paiste do in response? Crickets. They bring back the 602 heavy's but they don't make 13's (al la Stewart Copland) or a 21 (perhaps the best sounding all purpose ride ever made). If you've ever played a pair of blue label 13 heavy's or a 21 heavy you know exactly what I'm talking about. They bring back the Paper Thins but do they make a 22? No. Why? I have no idea. A 22 P.T. at 2400-2500 grams w/ 8 rivets will yield that Higgins sound. (the blue labels ran heavier than the black labels so you can't go by label) Guys will line up w/ hundred dollar bills in their hands to get one. Ditto for a Sound Creation Dark Ride 22. Simple marketing. It's like Paiste exists under a mountain or they're just selectively deaf.
 

tkillian

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There is no way that Sweet Basil ride is a paper thin.

Am I only one who thinks this?

Sounds like a medium..heavier..with light touch and small sticks.
 
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I saw him with Mullgrew Miller early 90s
22" regular K and 18" A with 3 rivet cluster

Burning..swinging
Yup Tony was a Zildjian endorser, BUT, he had a ton of Blue Label 602's from before his Zild days (most treasured was the Paperthin 22.) He played them on his FIRST solo record (with Bill Evans and Mugrew. And I saw him use them early with Jackie Mac.) He later brought them out for some local gigs and some recording sessions. I'm sure there are pictures floating around somewhere of him using them.

I saw him every holiday week at the V.V. w/ Cedar. Saw him using the 22 Istanbul and the P.T.602 and the 13 over 14 602's. ......They bring back the Paper Thins but do they make a 22? No. Why? I have no idea. A 22 P.T. at 2400-2500 grams w/ 8 rivets will yield that Higgins sound. (the blue labels ran heavier than the black labels so you can't go by label) Guys will line up w/ hundred dollar bills in their hands to get one. Ditto for a Sound Creation Dark Ride 22. Simple marketing. It's like Paiste exists under a mountain or they're just selectively deaf.
Thanks for independently "confirming" Billy's Paperthin for me. There were some guys back at Cymbalholic that "implied" that I was making this up for some reason. I think they thought that I was saying this so I could sell mine for more $$$. Never gonna happen! And yeah he loved that 13 over 14 thing too, I had forgotten that.

You are soooo correct about the Paperthins between 2400 and 2500 being special. Mine is 2441 with 2 rivets side by side, and is AMAZING.

As a Paiste endorser, I hear your complaints, and I have voiced many of them in person. They have their reasons, none are mine to convey though, sorry.

There is no way that Sweet Basil ride is a paper thin.

Am I only one who thinks this?

Sounds like a medium..heavier..with light touch and small sticks.
I haven't listened to that in a while Tom, but it could be (what year was that Basil DVD?) It could be the Medium. But remember what Paiste calls "Paperthin" is not what "we" usually call Paperthin. I don't know what a "Paperthin" Zildjian 22" would weigh (Zen???) but it would probably be much lighter that 2441. And the 602 PT's don't sound "paper thin," they just say it, and they sound AMAZING!!!!!!

For comparison, my 22" Paiste Super is REALLY thin and is 2057. I have a Bos Master Vintage that flops around like a freakin' Manta Ray, and it's 1930 grams. So no matter what Paiste says (or prints) a 22" "Paperthin" 602 ain't really paper thin.

Cinemadrummer,
Yes Reedus was one of the GREATS, and a super nice guy. A Sweetheart! I can't tell you how many times I heard him play, or how much he helped out my career. I miss him a lot. The last time I saw him was when he and Steve Smith both showed up at a gig I was doing at Cecil's Club. I was happy to "introduce" them (they had never met.) But Tony, Steve, CB3, and myself stayed into the wee hours drinking Monk's ale and laughing. Good, no GREAT times at that club!!!!

Seb,
Yes I think we can agree that Higgins was a true "cymbalholic," and some wonderful ones went through his hands. But he also had a GREAT touch (one of the best!) Those two ingredients could equal pure magic in music and cymbals.

MSG
 
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tkillian

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This one sounds thinner than a medium..right? Its still great...

My favorite is that sweet basil ride

 

fitzsy

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This one sounds thinner than a medium..right? Its still great...

My favorite is that sweet basil ride

I’ve worn out that sweet basil dvd. And that’s gotta be a wood Ludwig on that dvd. It’s way too dry and Ludwig didn’t make 8” deep metal drums until the past year or so.
 

tkillian

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If you closed your eyes I bet none of us would guess this weighs 3191 grams.

Put 8 rivets in there and I bet you would be close to Higgins sound.

Close is good enough. Its the player not the cymbal...but....

 

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