Densmore/Doors cymbals

thenuge

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Does anyone know what era A Zildjians he used on the first Doors records? (before he switched to Paiste) I'm wondering specifically if his main ride is a Trans Stamp i.e. 40s/50s cymbal. I've done some searching here and around the net and he doesn't talk too specifically about his cymbals beyond the switch to Paiste after Strange Days.

Listening to 'The End' there is a pretty amazing dark crash sound that, to me, says that cymbal might be older than a 60s model, but maybe not. Those 60s thinner A's can be pretty amazing.
 

mikilalonzo

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I'm wondering this as well, wanna know every little inch of information about Densmore's setup. I guess the only one who's able to answer to this one is Mr Densmore himself but it was 45 years ago and maybe he'll sue us for thinking about using the same equipment as he did :)
 

Doop

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The specifics on what cymbals Densmore used is a little sketchy, even when it's come from the horse's mouth. Here's the best three references I was ever able to find when I was hunting for the same info ...

The first is from a lengthy interview with Hal Howland from Howland's book "The Human Drummer: Thoughts on the Life Percussive":

One of the pictures makes your hi-hats look like Paiste Sound Edge.

“I never really got into those till later. I pretty much stayed with Zildjian. I always had a little sizzle, though, now and then.”

I’ve guessed your main Doors cymbal setup to have been 14” hi-hats, an 18” ride with rivets, 18” and 16” crashes (or two 16”s).

“Yeah. Sometimes a 20” with the rivets.”
These next two are Densmore's replies to questions posted on his forum -- the second was asked by DFO's own wflkurt:

"... P.S. What cymbals did you use after the first 2 Doors records many sources say Paiste 605 , could that be a misprint for the Formula 602's? ..."

"602's my friend... john"

http://forum.johndensmore.com/index.php?showtopic=126&hl=cymbals
"Hello John. Hope all is well. I belong to a drum forum called drumforum.org. We have a section on cymbals that people discuss in our forum. A lot of people agree that your cymbal sound on the L.A. woman album is the best sounding cymbals recorded in rock. I was wonder what cymbals those were and do you still have them? I thought they were regular A. Zildjians but it has also been speculated that you used Paiste 602's. The ride especially sounds great. Thanks for your time.
-Kurt"

"My ride cymbal is Paste 602... with rivets... I used to use Zildjians... also with rivets... JD"

http://forum.johndensmore.com/index.php?showtopic=1326&hl=cymbals
The only thing clear I get from all that is that he initially played Zildjians, and at some point switched to Paiste Formula 602s. When he made that switch is unclear -- in the interview he says he stuck mostly with Zildjian and didn't switch until "later," but like thenuge said, a lot of sources say he switched after the second album, and he doesn't dispute that in the one forum question. Whether he completely went to Paiste or just changed some cymbals isn't clear, either. He's definitive about using a 602 ride with rivets, and seems to concur he used Sound Edge hi-hats. But he doesn't say anything about crashes. And I've never found anything specific about the Zildjians, other than his affinity for rivets!

Maybe Kurt will chime in here -- he may have done more research and found more out ...

-- doop
 

mikilalonzo

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This is really good research Doop! It's probably the most we can get out of this question if Kurt doesn't know more as you said. I can imagine John remembers that he used Zildjians on the two first recordings but as the sessions became more protracted and the gigs probably look all the same in his head (which I guess is normal after 45 years) I can understand if he can't recall everything in detail himself.

Our best chance is to find some roadie or some other Doors freak who found this out DURING the Doors period and still remembers. And still is alive for that matter, can't be that many who fills our criteria. Really hope for it, though.
 

Cymbalist

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This is really good research Doop! It's probably the most we can get out of this question if Kurt doesn't know more as you said. I can imagine John remembers that he used Zildjians on the two first recordings but as the sessions became more protracted and the gigs probably look all the same in his head (which I guess is normal after 45 years) I can understand if he can't recall everything in detail himself.

Our best chance is to find some roadie or some other Doors freak who found this out DURING the Doors period and still remembers. And still is alive for that matter, can't be that many who fills our criteria. Really hope for it, though.

I saw The Doors live at the Fillmore East in NYC circa 1968 from 6th row center seats, Ars Nova as opening act (to this day, perhaps the most memorable concert I've ever seen)..My distinct recollection is that John was playing all A Zildjian's at the time. ( As s drummer, even then, I was checking them out closely, as you might imagine!) The ride seemed to be a 20" Riveted from where I sat)
 

mikilalonzo

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I saw The Doors live at the Fillmore East in NYC circa 1968 from 6th row center seats, Ars Nova as opening act (to this day, perhaps the most memorable concert I've ever seen)..My distinct recollection is that John was playing all A Zildjian's at the time. ( As s drummer, even then, I was checking them out closely, as you might imagine!) The ride seemed to be a 20" Riveted from where I sat)
You are a happy man, must have been hell of a show!
It's very nice to have such experienced men here to teach from, thank you for the information!
 

Doop

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I saw The Doors live at the Fillmore East in NYC circa 1968 from 6th row center seats, Ars Nova as opening act (to this day, perhaps the most memorable concert I've ever seen)..My distinct recollection is that John was playing all A Zildjian's at the time. ( As s drummer, even then, I was checking them out closely, as you might imagine!) The ride seemed to be a 20" Riveted from where I sat)
:notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

-- doop
 

tamadrm

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I saw the Doors at the Garden in 69 or 70 I think,and to me his cymbals sounded like Zildjians .I remember seeing a VH-1 special a few years ago with the surviving members playing with the lead singer from Creed I think,and he definately using both Paiste and Zildjian,with his mod orange Ludwigs,with I think 13" hats.

Steve B
 

mikilalonzo

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I saw the Doors at the Garden in 69 or 70 I think,and to me his cymbals sounded like Zildjians .I remember seeing a VH-1 special a few years ago with the surviving members playing with the lead singer from Creed I think,and he definately using both Paiste and Zildjian,with his mod orange Ludwigs,with I think 13" hats.

Steve B
It's fantastic to have such experienced people to talk to here, would've done anything to see the Doors!
I've seen the Creed thing, no mod oranges I believe but you're probably right about the cymbals, didn't he use this weird sizzle thing as well?

EDIT: Found it on Youtube


My bad, that is a mod orange isn't it? I have a very hard time figuring that out due to the ligt but it looks too shiny. It sure is a 602 anyhow.
 
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Doop

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My bad, that is a mod orange isn't it? I have a very hard time figuring that out due to the ligt but it looks too shiny. It sure is a 602 anyhow.
Definitely Mod Orange, but not his original kit, which aside from the 14", and maybe one or more of his original Supras, appears (unfortunately) to be lost to the sands of time! I think this kit is a 13-16-22 -- I'd have to watch more of the DVD (which I haven't done in a long time) and count lugs and such, but I think I see 10 on the bass … hard to tell from the YouTube video.

Seems to me that Kurt either found out or at least surmised that this kit is the one that has been displayed at both the Hard Rock Cafe and the Petersen Automotive Museum and erroneously billed as Densmore's original kit. Definitely a gorgeous specimen regardless.

John is indeed using a cymbal sizzler on that ride -- rivets when you don't have rivets! I was thinking of getting one for my reissue 602 since I don't think I want to drill for rivets.

Does anyone with more knowledge of Paiste history than I have know based on the labeling what era that 602 ride is?

-- doop
 

mikilalonzo

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Definitely Mod Orange, but not his original kit, which aside from the 14", and maybe one or more of his original Supras, appears (unfortunately) to be lost to the sands of time! I think this kit is a 13-16-22 -- I'd have to watch more of the DVD (which I haven't done in a long time) and count lugs and such, but I think I see 10 on the bass … hard to tell from the YouTube video.

Seems to me that Kurt either found out or at least surmised that this kit is the one that has been displayed at both the Hard Rock Cafe and the Petersen Automotive Museum and erroneously billed as Densmore's original kit. Definitely a gorgeous specimen regardless.

John is indeed using a cymbal sizzler on that ride -- rivets when you don't have rivets! I was thinking of getting one for my reissue 602 since I don't think I want to drill for rivets.

Does anyone with more knowledge of Paiste history than I have know based on the labeling what era that 602 ride is?

-- doop
It definitely is bigger than the original so a general guess would be 13-16-22 as you said.
I, too would love to know more about that 602, it really sounds fantastic! Does all the 602's sound this good? I am amazed.

I don't get that sizzler; what if you hit hard? Does it follow?
 

wflkurt

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A little late here because I don't look at the cymbal section as much as I should!

On the first album I almost want to say that he used the Gretsch set but maybe as a three piece with no floor tom. As far as I can tell I don't hear him use it on any song. maybe it was there but just not used. It also sounds to me like he is using one cymbal and a set of hats. The cymbal is probobly a crash or possible crash ride. he only appears to have one cymbal sound on the album and that cymbal(whatever it may be) sounds very distinct. If you actually listen to the matrix recordings you can clearly hear that cymbal along with another crash. I would asume thay are zildjians but as Mike has stated, John gives out little info and sometimes I don't think he even gives out correct info. I'm sure he really does'nt care the way we do.

That video is a 22,13,16 1967 mod orange super classic. I'm sure the set was found specifically for John to use in this show. It was certainly not used while he was in the Doors back in the 60's. I remember that it was actually sold on ebay some time ago and john autographed the inside of the shells. The seller had a BIN of $4000.00 on it and as much as I would have loved to have it, that was too rich for my blood! The other set that Mike is reffering to is a 1960's hollywood 22,12,13,16 that John had mentioned in an interview as being his set with the Doors. The set was on display at the Peterson museum along with John's old ford pick up. Weather John knows or not, this is definately NOT the set he used in the Doors. His set was a downbeat 20,12,14 and there is a BIG difference. The set at Peterson museam only has one tom with it but I saw the full set(with both toms) at the hardrock in Vegas. Vince treynor has the surviving floor tom from the original set.

John seemed to use Paiste 602's for at least the last two Doors albums and the post Morrison stuff. It does sound to me like he was using Zildjians on the 1970 tour though. His cymbals have always been somewhat of a mystery to me. given the fact that John is extremely vauge about any of his equipment does'nt help either. I have seen John with a pearl fiberglass set with multiple toms on TV before. He was actually using a wmp 14" floor tom which I am to assume is the tom from his wmp downbeat set used on the europe tour in 1968.
 

mikilalonzo

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And it will probably never get solved... We have to speak with him in person to get the best details I guess. One day...
 

b/o 402

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Here's another number from the same show, with Scott Weiland singing "Break On Through." At about 0:58 you can see 10 lugs on the BD.
Weiland sounds pretty good!
 

drums147

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And it will probably never get solved... We have to speak with him in person to get the best details I guess. One day...
I doubt he could shed much more light on the matter than he has . . . most drummers didn't know if their cymbal was an A or a K . . . and only experts could tell you what era a cymbal was from by its logo . . . the same kind of knowledge (or curiosity) did not exist back in the 60's / 70's . . . if it sounded good you played . . . if it didn't you chucked it . . . if I had run across K Zildjians back in the 70's I would have probably junked `em . . . most sound like crap . . . just a different mindset . . . NAD
 

DanC

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Here's a clip from the Ed Sullivan show in 67. There's a couple of decent shots of the cymbals here and there. Not sure if it's much help. They do look like Zildjians to me.

I always thought that ride sounded like a 20" Crash/Ride, it had so much wash and that full sound we've come to know and love...


 

K.O.

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Perhaps another way to think about this is to ask when Paistes became available through Ludwig? That was around the time that Joe Morello switched to Paiste 602s and I would suspect that these changes were in some part due to the Ludwigs wanting their endorsers to promote the cymbals they were selling...and probably supplying Paiste cymbals to endorsers for free or at a greatly reduced price. I'd bet that played into the switch as much as anything.

Paistes first pop up in the 1967 Ludwig catalog. According to Bill Ludwig's autobiography after he imported his first large batch of Paiste cymbals Avedis Zildjian (the man) cut Ludwig off from selling Zildjians* so Ludwig had to go full bore with the Paiste line if they wanted to sell cymbals along with their drums. it would seem to be a wise business move to try to get your endorsers (or high profile users...I don't know if Densmore was an official Ludwig endorser) to use those same cymbals.



*apparently WFL Sr. warned Bill Junior that this would happen if he fostered a distribution relationship Paiste but Bill thought that Zildjian couldn't afford to lose one of their biggest customers...Junior was proven wrong. The Paiste adventure ended badly for Ludwig as the louder music coming into fashion just then led to hundreds of new cymbals being broken and returned...and Paiste refused to replace them...so the replacement costs came out of the Ludwig's pockets.
 


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