Mel's Swish Knocker @ MDS

egw

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We were talking about Mel's Swish recently and somebody said they wished Memphis Drum Shop would put out one of the Riley/Francis videos about it. Well, they did. Sorry if this has already been shared here.

 

Seb77

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Fantastic series of videos!
I think it‘s great that they do this for educational reasons (besides the obvious advertising), but they are also up to the challenge of comparing the mother to the replica, and be subject to yt comments. Respect!

I think Mel talks about having owned several of these (one being stolen?) so it’s maybe not the same sound as on the early records, which might be even lower?
 
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egw

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I think there were several different cymbals over the years, and a lot of the confusion surrounding this topic comes from the older, real Chinese cymbal.

As far as I recall Mel saying on the WKCR interviews, Zildjian made 2 or 3 of these original "Swish Knocker(s)", one of which is the one in this video. Mel said that Shelly Manne had one of the others, but it went missing. Not necessarily stolen; he just didn't remember where it went.
 

egw

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Isn't it funny how we treat such objects as priceless artifacts these days, while BITD, it was just another cymbal that was lost or misplaced, no biggie...
Who said anything about a priceless artifact?
 

hardbat

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Wow, now we're going to start looking for "mother" stamps, and people are going to start faking them. Seriously that was an excellent video. And, to me, the new one isn't nearly as similar to the old one as I was expecting.
 
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JDA

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Fellas I had a 22" Swish Knocker. Brand new. I don't want to tell you how I got it.. You had to "play" that cymbal otherwise it wouldn't make a sound (wouldn't budge) and when you did play that cymbal it was the strongest cymbal I've ever heard..since..
At the same I always had a 20" A Zildjian Swish. Now that's more a 'normal cymbal.
Swish Knocker
 
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Seb77

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I think there were several different cymbals over the years, and a lot of the confusion surrounding this topic comes from the older, real Chinese cymbal.

As far as I recall Mel saying on the WKCR interviews, Zildjian made 2 or 3 of these original "Swish Knocker(s)", one of which is the one in this video. Mel said that Shelly Manne had one of the others, but it went missing. Not necessarily stolen; he just didn't remember where it went.
I just listened to the first part of the interview about Shelly Manne again.
file 19 Shelly Manne 10 A
Here's what I noted down:
13:00min: History of the Zildjian Swish (?):
first made as replacement for Shelly’s broken Chinese cymbal
4-5 prototypes: one for Shelly, one for Cozy Cole-->went to Dizzy Gillespie
one went to Tollin’s drumshop; Mel had a “not so good” chinese stolen from him and got Tollin’s one
15:00min: Mel drilled his for rivets himself; it was stolen later on off the bus along with Ks so he called Armand Zildjian to make some new ones
16:00 min: two heavy unlathed prototypes were sent to him to check for the right shape; he then went to the factory and had them lathed. One of the two Mel used at the Vanguard, kept the other one as a spare, later gave it to Buddy Rich. After Buddy’s death Mel started using this one as well.
18:00 min: Zildjian started making it as a production model called “Swish Knocker”
Shelly lost his old one at some point.
 

Griener

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Here's the original Dizzy Gillespie cymbal:

I had Cymbal & Gong make a replica for me (including the cut-out since and the 17 rivets since I'm a fetishist, obviously).
It's a beast, but just yesterday at a rehearsal the baritone sax player mentioned how much he likes it.
I can tell I have something good when my fellow musicians actually talk about my cymbals.
 

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hsosdrum

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I'm kind of surprised that in the video Paul Francis doesn't mention Louie Bellson, who used a Swish Knocker (a heavier chinese cymbal with large, round bell and 20 rivets) starting in the late '60s. I was under the impression that he contributed the name — saying something in Zildjian ads about using it for "knocking time". I guess the current version based on the Mel Lewis cymbal has a more angled bow than the one Louie originally used.

I wonder when Zildjian started selling the ones based on the Mel Lewis cymbal. I bought a Swish Knocker in the late '90s that's still part of my everyday setup. It rides great (has that very long sustain Riley mentions in the video), but doesn't have quite the explosive crash sound that the Swish Knocker played by Buddy Rich in the '80s had.
 

Seb77

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Louie Bellson seems to have favored the thinner Swish and China cymbals.
Here it says '20" swish (thin)' in a 60s setup diagram,22" swish in an 80s one and the 2000s pics show an A China (Boy) high. http://www.vintagedrumforum.com/showthread.php?t=43428

Here is a picture of Louie, and the poster mentions it being a Knocker, but I don't see a large bell.

 

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