Swish Knocker

kb

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I was listening to a lot of Mel Lewis, John Von Ohlen and Jeff Hamilton after my blues gig last night.

I remembered a lightly used 22" Zildjian Swish Knocker at a local store. So I left early for my Big Band gig tonight to check it out. Decent price, returnable too....so I bought it.

Man, the cymbal bag is lot heavier with that beast in there, and I cut myself several times on the rivets trying to cram it in....I did remember to bring an extra cymbal stand....

Well, even though it's not the greatest china or swish I've heard, it's very representative of that classic sound. Really nice to have that extra voice. Sounded great under soloists, and for shout choruses too.

Not sure if I'll keep it. I've got Tuesday off, so I'll play it a lot and try to decide. I often use only one cymbal, two at the most, so it's a lot more stuff to schlepp. And most gigs I do don't NEED it....If I keep it, I'll start subtracting rivets to get more sustain. It's pretty dead with 20 rivets, and the paper tags under the bell too....
 

mtarrani

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Interesting. I purchased a Soulmate 23" Vintage China out of curiosity more than anything. Like you I rarely use more than a single cymbal and a China does not fit 99% of what I play. However, I have been playing around with it and am starting to like it. Basically, my China is like your swish (same bell type), but without rivets. I've been listening to a lot of Dave Tough and Big Sid Catlett recordings to get a sense of how they played theirs and I am slowly 'getting it'.' I was planning to flip mine, but decided to keep it because I am starting to play in a Dixieland group every Tuesday and the cymbal fits the genre.
 

rondrums51

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I don't know how old yours is, but they've gotten heavier over the decades.

I had a 60's one, and it was lightweight and thin and actually very pretty sounding. It only had 8 or 10 rivets.

I ended up selling it to a guy, and he sometimes used it as his main ride cymbal!
 

David Canada

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About 25 years ago Sabian made me a 22" Swish Knocker special order. It took me a lllllllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnggggggggggg time to begin learning how to play it. I'm still learning.

I was interested in what Big Sid, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, and Ray McKinley did with theirs. If you can check out Ray playing his with the New Glenn Miller Orchestra...their album "The Authentic Sound of the New Glenn Miller Orchestra -- Today"...hard to find on CD, but amazing what he does with his Swish Knocker.

I expected it to play something like rivet cymbals...been playing them for 55 years...but the Swish Knocker is something else. Some music school should offer a percussion major in it!!!
 

kb

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Well, I used it on two gigs, played it a lot at home, and returned it.

With 20 rivets, it has very little sustain, unless you strike it pretty hard. It rides pretty well, but just isn't sensitive enough at low volumes or slow tempos. It wasn't too heavy, as rondrums hints at, just too muted and short sounding. I'm sure if I removed a bunch of rivets it would be much better, but that would have voided the return policy.

Although I'd enjoy a deep, dark, dirty sizzley voice for some gigs, this just wasn't it.

And nobody ever comments when I show up with just one cymbal (besides hats, of course) so what do I need with three?
 

Seb77

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Might have been a good move. The ones I tried were too heavy for me to get the sound I heard (which is greatly infleunced by Mel Lewis in that respect, who ddi play one, go figure). I'd try any china you can get your hand on, doesn't need to be 22" in my book. If you like a low ride sound don't forget to test it all over the bow.
If it sounds good without rivets, it will also sound good with a few, and you can add one at a time.
 


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