John Bonham and Zildjian

Burps

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I've been thinking about this for years and I'm finally getting around to asking the question. Hopefully the Bonham experts and/or cymbal experts can figure this out for me.

I'd like to know if John Bonham played Paiste with Zep because he liked the sound better than ZIldjian or because he broke more Zildjian cymbals than he did Paiste's.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall reading years ago that he broke a lot of Zildjian cymbals and started using Paiste to test their durability and found out that he didn't damage the Paiste's as often as he did with the Zildjians. So he chose to play the cymbals that lasted longer for him. I think I read this in a Paiste brochure from the 1990s.

If this is in fact true, does this suggest that he actually preferred and wanted the sound of Zildjian more than Paiste, but resorted to playing Paiste just because he didn't damage them as often?
 
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ThomFloor

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JB never broke lots of Zildjians, or any cymbal for that matter. Not sure how/why he landed with PAiste. I surmise he was in Europe and it was a little easier to get Paistes, not being an imported product like a Zildjian would.
But there is some debate on what cymbals appear on the Royal Albert Hall concert DVD . Some have said the cymbal profiles for that show do not match that of Giant Beats.
In addition, recording of Led Zep I precedes the PAiste GB line by a year, so he must have used other models/cymbals. I read somewhere the hats were 602 sound edges.
 
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Burps

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I will look through all my cymbal literature to see exactly what I read. Hopefully I wont have too much trouble trying to find it.
 

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I found a Zep forum which says 1) Bonzoleum knows a lot (Yup!), and

2) For the first album: That Slingerland Kit was super cool, it was a green sparkle 22x14, 9x13, 16x16. It was actually his own personal kit that he used with Band of Joy, he used it to record Led Zeppelin 1! It was also used with Zildjian Cymbals, when he got the Thermo Gloss drums in 1969 is when he fully switched to Ludwig and Paiste. Additionally, in between this kit and the maple kit he had a Ludwig Black Diamond Pearl set for only a couple of months from December '68 - February '69 it can be seen in pictures from Gonzaga '68 and the Whiskey a go go in January of '69.
 

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Ok! So you're saying, JazzDrumGuy, that he did use Zildjians on the first Led Zeppelin album. So the assumption that most of us have that he used Paiste on all of Led Zeppelin's albums is incorrect.

I did find in the Paiste Profiles Book #2 the following quote from Bonham himself:
"I began using PAISTE CYMBALS in 1970, after smashing my way through most other makes. I like the SOUND of them when I CRASH into and out of a solo. Quality-wise they don't crack or split."

So could it be more than just the first album that has Zildjians on it (depending on when the songs for the albums were recorded)??? :dontknow:
 

Burps

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I just dug out my July 1984 Modern Drummer Magazine, The John Bonham Tribute edition, and here's what I found. It quotes an English studio musician named Dave Mattacks who knew Bonham and got to fool around on his kit. He brings up his 2002 Paistes and says, "I'm pretty sure he was using 2002 Paistes because they were the only ones that didn't crack for him..." So it seems that maybe he did have a problem with breaking other brands of cymbals. Which brings the question up again of whether he played Paistes more for their durability than necessarily their sound quality.

Now I have to go listen to the earlier Zeppelin albums and really listen to the cymbals now that I know they probably were not Paistes.
This will be a big shock to my system. :wink:
 

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Another reference on his first kits is the LedZep FAQ book. His first kit was a Slingerland BDP. Also had a green sparkle one early on for touring the earliest shows as New Yardbirds or Led Zep in UK and Sweden. See this kit here. I would also guess these cymbals are Zildjians. Note also early on he used a 5 x 14 Supra.
http://www.pinsdaddy.com/john-bonham-drums_0x8ZxUqScwWse0wNOzvXHjcHN83LdaNkx9RMR61ndvM/wBYTtEjSBAfgGzHHT8kXRAt548E*T0NzQhWhvIfV2WdHqrxUKz2sX*uF7JsDCBMFSAWg31UJ4CffOuWY8l90ACJ5DWKq*r4AW7PD|b3jgu1FyZh05LSmngcspYnV|MVj/

Then, later tour of America (68, 69) he met Carmine and was switched on to (and ordered) the Thermogloss. The debate about the cymbals on Royal Albert Hall comes from cymbalholics forum.

Have to say I'm shocked at that PAiste quote, but it looks to be true, he was a breaker.
 

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I really don't know anything about this topic but we should recall that Ludwig was distributing Paiste at that time and that may have prompted the initial switch.When Bonzo was getting fixed up with his new set of Ludwigs it may well have come with a new set of free Paistes as well. Other Ludwig endorsers made a switch to Paiste (at least briefly) due to this connection, including Joe Morello. That might have prompted the change although obviously Bonham heard or found something in the brand that kept him using them long after Ludwig and Paiste parted ways.
 

Johnny D

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Burps said:
I've been thinking about this for years and I'm finally getting around to asking the question. Hopefully the Bonham experts and/or cymbal experts can figure this out for me.

I'd like to know if John Bonham played Paiste with Zep because he liked the sound better than ZIldjian or because he broke more Zildjian cymbals than he did Paiste's.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall reading years ago that he broke a lot of Zildjian cymbals and started using Paiste to test their durability and found out that he didn't damage the Paiste's as often as he did with the Zildjians. So he chose to play the cymbals that lasted longer for him. I think I read this in a Paiste brochure from the 1990s.

If this is in fact true, does this suggest that he actually preferred and wanted the sound of Zildjian more than Paiste, but resorted to playing Paiste just because he didn't damage them as often? Oh my. Can you imagine all those Zeppelin tracks with Zildjian's? Oh! The horror! :icon_lol:
I've never heard anyone, especially Paiste, claim that Bonzo played Paiste because they were more durable than Zildjian. Making such a claim would've set Paiste up for all sorts of criticism and they're not the type of company to make a claim like that. Besides, it's well-known that Ludwig stopped distributing Paiste in the US due to them having to warrantee so many cracked cymbals.

ThomFloor said:
JB never broke lots of Zildjians, or any cymbal for that matter. Not sure how/why he landed with PAiste. I surmise he was in Europe and it was a little easier to get Paistes, not being an imported product like a Zildjian would.
But there is some debate on what cymbals appear on the Royal Albert Hall concert DVD . Some have said the cymbal profiles for that show do not match that of Giant Beats.
In addition, recording of Led Zep I precedes the PAiste GB line by a year, so he must have used other models/cymbals. I read somewhere the hats were 602 sound edges.
ThomFloor, it wasn't just a little easier to get Paiste in the UK, it was practically impossible to get Zildjian there. After Ringo and the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Zildjian remained in perpetual backorder for years. They couldn't meet the demand in the US market, let alone Europe and the rest of the world. Paiste saw a huge opportunity in the UK/European market and seized it. And besides that, they made great sounding cymbals that appealed to many rock drummers i.e. the Giant Beats. If you look back at all the British rock drummers from that period, most if not all, were playing Paiste at one time. Ginger Baker is one of the few British drummers who only played Zildjian and that was largely due to him visiting the Zildjian factory in 1966 and buying a set of cymbals.
My understanding is that Bonzo used some 602s and possibly Zildjian on Led Zeppelin 1. Jason once told me he thought his dad used some A. Zildjians on the first record... I dunno...

K.O. said:
I really don't know anything about this topic but we should recall that Ludwig was distributing Paiste at that time and that may have prompted the initial switch.When Bonzo was getting fixed up with his new set of Ludwigs it may well have come with a new set of free Paistes as well. Other Ludwig endorsers made a switch to Paiste (at least briefly) due to this connection, including Joe Morello. That might have prompted the change although obviously Bonham heard or found something in the brand that kept him using them long after Ludwig and Paiste parted ways.
K.O. exactly. The Ludwig/Paiste connection was the catalyst and from there he developed a direct relationship with Paiste, as did Ian Paice, Nick Mason, et al.

Burp, if you can find that Paiste brochure from the 90s please post it. I'd be very surprised if they made that claim.
 
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Bri6366

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K.O. said:
I really don't know anything about this topic but we should recall that Ludwig was distributing Paiste at that time and that may have prompted the initial switch.When Bonzo was getting fixed up with his new set of Ludwigs it may well have come with a new set of free Paistes as well. Other Ludwig endorsers made a switch to Paiste (at least briefly) due to this connection, including Joe Morello. That might have prompted the change although obviously Bonham heard or found something in the brand that kept him using them long after Ludwig and Paiste parted ways.
This. Ludwig was a Paiste distributor at the time. He might not have become an official Paiste artist until a couple years later. Ludwig originally sent Bonzo the double bass maple kit identical to Carmine Appice's and they likely sent the Giant Beat models Carmine was playing as well.
 

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Johnny D said:
I've been thinking about this for years and I'm finally getting around to asking the question. Hopefully the Bonham experts and/or cymbal experts can figure this out for me.

I'd like to know if John Bonham played Paiste with Zep because he liked the sound better than ZIldjian or because he broke more Zildjian cymbals than he did Paiste's.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall reading years ago that he broke a lot of Zildjian cymbals and started using Paiste to test their durability and found out that he didn't damage the Paiste's as often as he did with the Zildjians. So he chose to play the cymbals that lasted longer for him. I think I read this in a Paiste brochure from the 1990s.

If this is in fact true, does this suggest that he actually preferred and wanted the sound of Zildjian more than Paiste, but resorted to playing Paiste just because he didn't damage them as often? Oh my. Can you imagine all those Zeppelin tracks with Zildjian's? Oh! The horror! :icon_lol:
I've never heard anyone, especially Paiste, claim that Bonzo played Paiste because they were more durable than Zildjian. Making such a claim would've set Paiste up for all sorts of criticism and they're not the type of company to make a claim like that. Besides, it's well-known that Ludwig stopped distributing Paiste in the US due to them having to warrantee so many cracked cymbals.

ThomFloor said:
JB never broke lots of Zildjians, or any cymbal for that matter. Not sure how/why he landed with PAiste. I surmise he was in Europe and it was a little easier to get Paistes, not being an imported product like a Zildjian would.
But there is some debate on what cymbals appear on the Royal Albert Hall concert DVD . Some have said the cymbal profiles for that show do not match that of Giant Beats.
In addition, recording of Led Zep I precedes the PAiste GB line by a year, so he must have used other models/cymbals. I read somewhere the hats were 602 sound edges.
ThomFloor, it wasn't just a little easier to get Paiste in the UK, it was practically impossible to get Zildjian there. After Ringo and the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Zildjian remained in perpetual backorder for years. They couldn't meet the demand in the US market, let alone Europe and the rest of the world. Paiste saw a huge opportunity in the UK/European market and seized it. And besides that, they made great sounding cymbals that appealed to many rock drummers i.e. the Giant Beats. If you look back at all the British rock drummers from that period, most if not all, were playing Paiste at one time. Ginger Baker is one of the few British drummers who only played Zildjian and that was largely due to him visiting the Zildjian factory in 1966 and buying a set of cymbals.
My understanding is that Bonzo used some 602s and possibly Zildjian on Led Zeppelin 1. Jason once told me he thought his dad used some A. Zildjians on the first record... I dunno...

K.O. said:
I really don't know anything about this topic but we should recall that Ludwig was distributing Paiste at that time and that may have prompted the initial switch.When Bonzo was getting fixed up with his new set of Ludwigs it may well have come with a new set of free Paistes as well. Other Ludwig endorsers made a switch to Paiste (at least briefly) due to this connection, including Joe Morello. That might have prompted the change although obviously Bonham heard or found something in the brand that kept him using them long after Ludwig and Paiste parted ways.
K.O. exactly. The Ludwig/Paiste connection was the catalyst and from there he developed a direct relationship with Paiste, as did Ian Paice, Nick Mason, et al.

Burp, if you can find that Paiste brochure from the 90s please post it. I'd be very surprised if they made that claim.
I did find the brochure and I was mistaken. It's not in there. The quote I was thinking of was the Dave Mattacks quote in Modern Drummer's Bonham tribute issue from 1984 that I quoted above.
 
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Johnny D

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Burps said:
I've been thinking about this for years and I'm finally getting around to asking the question. Hopefully the Bonham experts and/or cymbal experts can figure this out for me.

I'd like to know if John Bonham played Paiste with Zep because he liked the sound better than ZIldjian or because he broke more Zildjian cymbals than he did Paiste's.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall reading years ago that he broke a lot of Zildjian cymbals and started using Paiste to test their durability and found out that he didn't damage the Paiste's as often as he did with the Zildjians. So he chose to play the cymbals that lasted longer for him. I think I read this in a Paiste brochure from the 1990s.

If this is in fact true, does this suggest that he actually preferred and wanted the sound of Zildjian more than Paiste, but resorted to playing Paiste just because he didn't damage them as often? Oh my. Can you imagine all those Zeppelin tracks with Zildjian's? Oh! The horror! :icon_lol:
I've never heard anyone, especially Paiste, claim that Bonzo played Paiste because they were more durable than Zildjian. Making such a claim would've set Paiste up for all sorts of criticism and they're not the type of company to make a claim like that. Besides, it's well-known that Ludwig stopped distributing Paiste in the US due to them having to warrantee so many cracked cymbals.

ThomFloor said:
JB never broke lots of Zildjians, or any cymbal for that matter. Not sure how/why he landed with PAiste. I surmise he was in Europe and it was a little easier to get Paistes, not being an imported product like a Zildjian would.
But there is some debate on what cymbals appear on the Royal Albert Hall concert DVD . Some have said the cymbal profiles for that show do not match that of Giant Beats.
In addition, recording of Led Zep I precedes the PAiste GB line by a year, so he must have used other models/cymbals. I read somewhere the hats were 602 sound edges.
ThomFloor, it wasn't just a little easier to get Paiste in the UK, it was practically impossible to get Zildjian there. After Ringo and the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Zildjian remained in perpetual backorder for years. They couldn't meet the demand in the US market, let alone Europe and the rest of the world. Paiste saw a huge opportunity in the UK/European market and seized it. And besides that, they made great sounding cymbals that appealed to many rock drummers i.e. the Giant Beats. If you look back at all the British rock drummers from that period, most if not all, were playing Paiste at one time. Ginger Baker is one of the few British drummers who only played Zildjian and that was largely due to him visiting the Zildjian factory in 1966 and buying a set of cymbals.
My understanding is that Bonzo used some 602s and possibly Zildjian on Led Zeppelin 1. Jason once told me he thought his dad used some A. Zildjians on the first record... I dunno...

K.O. said:
I really don't know anything about this topic but we should recall that Ludwig was distributing Paiste at that time and that may have prompted the initial switch.When Bonzo was getting fixed up with his new set of Ludwigs it may well have come with a new set of free Paistes as well. Other Ludwig endorsers made a switch to Paiste (at least briefly) due to this connection, including Joe Morello. That might have prompted the change although obviously Bonham heard or found something in the brand that kept him using them long after Ludwig and Paiste parted ways.
K.O. exactly. The Ludwig/Paiste connection was the catalyst and from there he developed a direct relationship with Paiste, as did Ian Paice, Nick Mason, et al.

Burps, if you can find that Paiste brochure from the 90s please post it. I'd be very surprised if they made that claim.
I did find the brochure and I was mistaken. It's not in there. The quote I was thinking of was the Dave Mattacks quote in Modern Drummer's Bonham tribute issue from 1984 that I quoted above.




Thanks, Burps. Great thread. Always fun to discuss Bonzo!
 
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Burps

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JazzDrumGuy said:
I found a Zep forum which says 1) Bonzoleum knows a lot (Yup!),
Very true! And on another thread that I searched out this morning here on DFO Bonzoleum said this about Zep's first album ...

"I think they're straight up A Ziljian on that first record."

This quote was from the thread called "Vintage Bonham cymbal question circa 1969."
 

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I was thinking about the timing of all this last night (at my gig of all places) and it didn't ring true, so I did a little internet research this morning and sure enough my hunch was correct. The Giant Beat line was introduced in 1967. Led Zeppelin I was recorded in October 1968, and was released in January 1969.

So in simple terms: Led Zeppelin I does not pre-date the Giant Beat line. The Giant Beat line had been out for a year by the time Zeppelin went into the studio to record LZI. As a former Zildjian employee for 24 years, I'd love to think that Bonzo played Zildjian on the first record, but I'm certain they're Paiste Giant Beat and maybe some 602 hi-hats.

I don't hear "straight up" A. Zildjians on Led Zeppelin I. Can anyone give an example of a song on Zep I where they think they hear A.'s? I have to think the true Paiste aficionados will agree. The original Giant Beats were a unique animal. Not being critical of Paiste, but discontinuing the Giant Beats in the early 70s to make way for the 2002s was a misstep. It probably seemed like the right idea at the time, but as we now know, they're different enough from 2002s to have their own niche.

Anyway, I digress... :)
 
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ThomFloor

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You're right the GB were introduced in 1967 (I mispoke 69). Bonham's written Paiste agreement can also be found online and it starts dated in 1970. Perhaps there is a prior one.
http://www.rcivistalite.com/paiste.htm
Of course, one could have obtained cymbals without an agreement.
I do recall a long discussion on another message board about A Zildjian's on the 1st record. I think in studio recordings it CAN be difficult to tell cymbals apart, without knowing. Bonzoleum beat that topic to death.
 

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