How Important Are the Ink Logos on Cymbals?

Old Drummer

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Recently I reluctantly listed my Sabian HH Raw Bell Dry Ride for sale in a local drummers' Facebook group. Since I like the cymbal, I'm reluctant to sell it, but because I never set it up (it's too specialized for me), I figured that it's best to get my money out of it and move on. My asking price was $200, though I was realistically looking for something north of $150, maybe around $175 depending on the particulars.

A prospective buyer peppered me with questions to the point where I was becoming annoyed. (No, sorry, I don't want to trade for a snare worth $100, etc.) Eventually he made a low ball offer of $125 and explained that the ink logos on my cymbal were faded and it therefore isn't worth much.

I was incredulous. Although I'd never put much thought into it, I'm somewhere between indifferent to ink logos and hating them. Kind of like wearing clothes with the seller's name on them, I don't like to provide free advertising for a company when I'm only buying their product. With respect to cymbals, while I've never intentionally dirtied one up (perhaps by burying it in the backyard), I suppose I've got a slight preference old cymbals with patinas and no ink logos at all. The only time I remember specifically reacting negatively to ink cymbal logos was when the hollow logo Zildjians came out. I dislike that logo so much that I avoid those cymbals. Now that I think about it, I also dislike Sabian's ink logo. Mostly, though, the ink logo is the last thing I look for in a used cymbal. If it's there, I frankly rarely notice, although if it's not there, so much the better.

Yet this guy was justifying his low offer on the grounds of faded ink logos. This prompts me to ask the rest of you: Are ink logos important to many cymbal buyers or did I just run into an oddball (or maybe a guy coming up with an excuse to make a low ball offer)?

I can understand it when drummers like shiny new-looking cymbals, even though that's not my taste. I can also understand it when collectors pay more for cymbals in mint condition. However, in this case the cymbal is just a used instance of a recent mass market cymbal that's obviously not going to be shiny new-looking and won't have value for collectors for a century. The value of this cymbal is found in playing it, not looking at the logos. I had to wonder if this prospective buyer was so much a victim of marketing that he actually thought the Sabian logos made him look cool.

I handled the offer by saying "no thanks" and not pursuing the discussion. To criticize faded logos struck me as too ridiculous to continue fooling with this guy. Plus, as said, I like the cymbal myself and am not so eager to sell it that I'm willing to take a low offer or deal with the ridiculous in the hopes of getting more. But now I wonder if there are other logo-likers out there and how prevalent they are.
 

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kdgrissom

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To me, ink logos are purely advertising and do not serve the instrument in any way. They have seemed to have grown in size over the decades too. It's also kind of redundant to me since they have always stamped the name anyway (or now laser etch). In a world without logos, people might listen with their ears and not their eyes.
 

michiganice91

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If you're a collector or a collector/player of cymbals then you're probably concerned with aesthetics quite a bit. Some cymbal companies put really nice colors and logos on their products which adds to the overall look and flavor of a cymbal so I can see why some people would place a high priority on them. For me I mainly play and collect vintage paiste cymbals and I think many of their logos look pretty cool and adds some uniqueness to the look. If every cymbal were blank I honestly think they would be kind of boring to look at.

It's really just a matter of preference. Some will say its ONLY about sound, and some will say its about the whole package.
 

dangermoney

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It seems to me that your prospective buyer may have been using the faded logo pitch as a ploy to get it cheap so that he could flip it at a profit if he decided to get rid of it. IMO, you did the right thing by walking away. As for me, logos mean next to nothing but I'm old school. It seems younger players and collectors tend to like the logos, many of them being careful to not remove them when cleaning. I guess it's just a matter of personal preference.
 

bongomania

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I think faded/worn logos are a correct thing to describe accurately in a for-sale listing, but I do not think it matters to the selling price generally. The only exceptions I can think of are either collectors of vintage pieces, or annoying jerks.
 

lrod1707

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I personally like my logos because they look aesthetically pleasing to me. (it's a personal preference for drummers, I guess!) I don't gig so I don't think about the "free advertisement thing". And for some things in life, it's just part of the package. I think it would be weird if my cars were missing the logos that show the make and model. I do get pissed though when the dealer slaps on their own logo on the car. Anyways, I think it's ridiculous to try and knock down a price over that issue and make it sound as if your cymbal was inferior over a logo. If the guy didn't like it, he should have moved on and never asked to begin with. You did the right thing, the heck with him, you'll get another buyer I'm sure that's willing to pay what it's worth, don't sweat it!
 

Tama CW

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It matters to many, there's no disputing that. I've collected "stuff" for over 50 yrs. Original condition counts. If it matters for a drum, it matters for a cymbal. Ink date logos on the drum interior, nice ink logos on original heads, etc.....it matters. Drum, cymbal, hardware condition all matters. I prefer original labels and ink stamps where they originally came. And I would pay more for such examples if a seller requires it.

All one has to do is continually track listing and selling prices on cymbals (Ebay, Reverb, FB, CL) and you'll find logo's matter. Maybe not to everyone. But you typically cannot get top dollar with a faded or missing logo. This is from watching a thousand Zildjian and Paiste cymbals for sale the past 2 yrs...and my own experiences buying and selling them. For something as cool as an EAK ride, try to get full price with worn out or weak K logos that are barely visible. The ones that bring all the money have strong logo's with minimal wear on them. The logo can vary the price by up to 20% or so. And in most cases, the strong logo cymbals at around the same price will sell long before the ones with weak/polished away logos. I think it's even more important on the Paiste cymbals, especially the 70's and 80's with the many colors....602's, 2002's, 505's, 404's, etc.

I was watching dozens of pairs of Zildjian A Custom 14 hi hats on Ebay and watched them range from $80 to $135 with the primary difference being their brilliance and the strength of the logo's. It's a market reality. I'd buy a strong logo pair for $110 but wouldn't touch a poor logo pair for anywhere near that. Don't blame a buyer if they want strong logos....I would too. It's part of determining just how original or pristine that cymbal may be. And I'd sell them 20% less with poor or non-existent logos.
 

Fat Drummer

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I think you handled the offer well. As for me, I actually am closer to Old Drummer's position... "I'm somewhere between indifferent to ink logos and hating them". I may lean a little more to the indifferent side of the scale, but I really dont care about logos all that much. That said, I don't intentionally remove them any longer as I one did. But I also tend to play my cymbals by brand and seldom mix and match so it probably does not bother me for that reason. I understand many drummers like logos and really identify heavily with the marketing and image they produce and I think that's cool, (come on, we do it with drums themselves after all) it just does not hit me strongly one way or the other with the cymbals.
 

premierplayer

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I'll take em' or leave em'. In the past I have gone as far as removing them, not now, too much effort, I'll live with em'
They don't matter to me when buying.
Most valuable to me helping with positive ID, model, dating, etc.
If you see Sharpie logos, BEWARE!
 

JDA

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Very big on bragging rights- logos. that's ok to be proud. No shame in being proud.
 

Markkuliini

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Doesn't matter to me personally. Actually, if the logos are faded, then it means that the cymbal is played a lot and now likely a really good one.

Only times missing logos bother me is if I'm buying or selling and don't know the model or can't prove the model for the buyer
 

ellaguru

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once I own them, i prefer them gone. personal dilemma being my love for thin hollow logo Zildjians.

this all reminds me a bit of my last car purchase. i detest the free advertising on the license plate frame that the dealership puts on you car. Just as I was about to put pen to paper I inquired..."Hey..whats my payment going to be again?" Finance dude said "$305 a month, sir". I replied that $305 was the exact amount i charge to advertise on my car. Frame was gone....pronto!
 

Old Drummer

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Funny, after looking at the photo I realize that the camera flash washed out the Sabian logo on the bottom. It's actually a lot more prominent than the photo shows (equal to the "Hand Hammered") and I didn't think to take another picture and send it to the guy showing the Sabian logo. I was too exasperated.

Also, I certainly understand how the prominence of a logo helps a buyer gauge the age and use of a cymbal, which in turn affects price. As a buyer, I notice this too. Although there are no hard and fast rules, a "nearly new" cymbal (with pristine logos etc.) may sell for as much as 80% of the retail price while the same cymbal heavily used (no logos left etc.) may sell for only 40% of the retail price. My rule of thumb for a typically used cymbal in "good" condition (probably faded logos etc.) is therefore around 60% of retail. Based on Sweetwater's price for this same cymbal today new, 60% of retail is $275. I can't see a price of $125 based on faded logos.

True, the sheer number of these specific cymbals on the used market today does I think lower their selling prices. I read somewhere that for awhile these were Sabian's bestselling cymbals. My sense is that the fad passed and there are a lot of these cymbals for sale now used, and this brings down their prices. However, the prices aren't in the basement. Someone has this same cymbal listed for sale on this forum for $175 plus shipping. That looks about right to me. Heck, I paid $170 for mine after looking around. A $125 offer based on faded logos was just too low.

I further understand that logos (and general condition) are important to collectors. However, it's difficult for me to believe that collectors are interested in this particular cymbal. There are just too many of them in circulation to expect any appreciation. Maybe one in pristine condition will be worth something to a collector's grandchildren, but this is not a cymbal I'd buy as an investment. I think you buy a cymbal like this to play it, and that's about it.

As for being proud of logos, well, Ringo was proud enough of the Ludwig logo to give that company a huge free advertising boost. I'll also admit that even I think an old Mercedes without the hood ornament is worth less than one with it. Hey, that hood ornament is cool. However, I prefer to take pride in what I do rather than what I buy.
 

REF

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Lol. The very first thing I do when I get a cymbal is remove the label. I am on the "hate them" side.

I view a cymbal as a musical instrument as important as someone's violin or cello and have no need to advertise said company after I buy the instrument. Interestingly, stringed instruments are known by their cleft cut outs or the headstock. Luthiers do things to state an instrument is theirs that way.

Some labels come off so easily. Other's, the worst are Paiste, are more difficult. Some months back I got a Paiste Big Beat. I gave up on it. I have to do more research on their ink and coatings.

I dread the day when all companies begin laser etching their logos into cymbals.

That will be the day I would drop the price of a used cymbal because the label is gone. Label buyers can pass on. I'll sell to those who are more concerned with sound.

I watched a video of a guy working for one of the cymbal companies using that company's cleaning cream. He must have said half a dozen times to be careful around the logo. What I found most interesting in the comments below making fun of the guy for saying that so much. For him it was extremely important, recognizing the number of people who really want their logos untouched. For many of those watching the video, the logo issue was overkill.

So, it would seem the division between logo lovers and non-lovers is pretty acute. Those in between settle the waters.

I do appreciate those companies now selling cymbals without logos, for those that don't like them.
 

Slingerland3ply

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all my Zildjains are from early 70's new or used from earlier. One from 1982 16" crash hollow ink logo. So I don't care about ink logos at all.
 

markkarj

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I'm quite fine with logos having worn off of my cymbals. I'm not sure I'd make a deliberate effort to de-ink my cymbals (that new Sabian abomination would be the first to go if I bought any of their cymbals).

The one thought that crosses my mind is a logo **may** make it somewhat easier to prove that a cymbal is what it's advertised as. I'd like to think I'd know enough to judge what a used cymbal may be by the engraving, hammering and lathing. Others may have more limited knowledge. I had one fellow try to convince me that the signature underneath a Sabian HH bell was proof it was a special signature series that commanded the premium price he was asking.
 

zenstat

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I'm quite fine with logos having worn off of my cymbals. I'm not sure I'd make a deliberate effort to de-ink my cymbals (that new Sabian abomination would be the first to go if I bought any of their cymbals).

The one thought that crosses my mind is a logo **may** make it somewhat easier to prove that a cymbal is what it's advertised as. I'd like to think I'd know enough to judge what a used cymbal may be by the engraving, hammering and lathing. Others may have more limited knowledge. I had one fellow try to convince me that the signature underneath a Sabian HH bell was proof it was a special signature series that commanded the premium price he was asking.
Ah yes, the "signature" underneath the bell. It says SABIAN.


It's the same story as the "signature" underneath the bells of old Ks which is the company name K Zildjian. It's the same story as the "signature" underneath the bells of the earliest A Zildjians which is the company name.

I study ink both in terms of identification and the impact on price. I differentiate between ink logos (like the Zildjian hollow logo on the underside of cymbals from 1978 to mid 1982 when it went solid) and model and weight class ink. This distinction is important because I come across people who think that ink started in the 60s or 70s, but it goes back to the beginning for A Zildjian (1929).

first-pthin.jpg


There is a lot of potential information in ink and when you remove it, you have to look to other attributes to figure out things like models and production era. There are enough older cymbals with ink left to allow me to put together a timeline of changes. So ink is important to me as a researcher.

In terms of the effect of preservation of ink on price it varies depending on the brand, line, model, and production era. Based on the data I've got I know not to attempt a "one size fits all" estimate. The question about ink preservation is in the same general area as presence/absence of rivet holes and the effect on price. If there is a detectable effect the magnitude is much smaller than overall structural condition. Then there are the other factors like production era, weight and so on. It's complicated.
 
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