Vintage A Crash - Advice Needed

jb78

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Hi all-

I’ve been enjoying older A Zildjians lately - most particularly a set of 15” hats from the 50s that I have. They’re great and more versatile than I’d have thought. I’d like to pick up a crash, perhaps a 17”.

Any advice is appreciated about:

1. How much difference the era/decade makes.

2. What types of weights should I be looking for - like what weight constitutes extra thin vs thin vs medium etc.

3. Approximate pricing that’s appropriate.

Thank you!

JB
 

TPC

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Weight and stiffness are the key factors, IMO, more so than era. Very generally, the sounds get a bit more complex as the age increases.

For crashes, I’ve had the best luck with:
18” = 1250-1400 g
20” = 1700-1900 g

Nice old A “crashes” vary in price from roughly $125-$200. Really great examples can be a bit more.
 

JDA

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I’d like to pick up a crash, perhaps a 17”.
I know 16" weights 17" it's been a long while since I used one (used to) and don't know weights off top o head.
16" 900g to 1275g generally work

Price? I bet there's a $120 17" good shape A crash sitting on ebay (check used back lots) right now.
Thin or Medium Thin is beautiful

How much difference the era/decade makes?
60s on up not much; can (Preowned) end up getting an odd job or a ringer

Just do it. Buy a good shape carefully used second hand one. Before it's too late : D
 
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zenstat

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Yes 17" cymbals are certainly less common that 16" or 18".

Current best estimates for Zildjian weight classes for 17" cymbals:

under 997 Extra Thin
997 - 1102 Paper Thin (thin crash weight class)
1102 - 1207 Thin (medium crash weight class)
1207 - 1312 Medium Thin (crash ride weight class)
1312 - 1470 Medium (ride weight class)
1470 - 1672 Medium Heavy
1672 - 1837 Heavy
over 1837 Extra Heavy

Note that not all weight classes are available in all decades. These weight classes applied from the later 1930s through the 1970s. At an as yet not pinned down year (later 70s? 80s?) the weight classes moved up a step. The weights moved back down in the 2013 reset for most diameters including the 17". The moving up of weight classes was not necessarily even across the diameters. That is still under study. There is a large study of model ink which sits behind the calibration of the allometric model for working out weight ranges. Model and weight class ink is found on cymbals starting in the 1930s, but you have to look at many cymbals to find a few with ink.

The other change which happened with the 2013 reset specifically for 17" cymbals was the bell or cup used changed from the Small Cup to the slightly larger K Constantinople Hi Bell.


Some people who have commented on this prefer the new cup, a few prefer the older Small Cup. Of course the cup change is packaged up with changes in weight and a lower profile, so you would really need to be comparing like with like.

Prices and weights of 17" cymbals are here:


Since that work was done I've got lots more data (about 109 17" cymbals) but I haven't processed it and updated all the graphs. I have checked to make sure that there aren't any big changes in the dynamics of the market which would make the earlier pricing results misleading.

There is also a 17" shown in my page about 1950s and earlier CRASH cymbals with model ink


I've had a relapse of my autoimmune illness PMR for the last 3+ weeks so I'm not able to work much but ask if you need more info.
 
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Tama CW

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As said earlier your choices are limited for 17's. Simpler and easier to find a good 16 or 18.....ideally one you can still ride as a medium thin or even thin.
I've only had a single 17" and even that was a "shorty" 16-5/8" 2nd stamp 1940s at 1220 gm.....crash/ride. Recently saw a cool 17" trans stamp sizzle but I think
it was in the $300 range (ouch). And I ordered an 18" trans stamp crash from a major Reverb seller and it turned out to be 17-3/16". Still a fair price at around $225 for one of those.
But between the too many rivets (16) tending to choke it a bit...... and not being a 18"...... I returned it.

I think your best bet for a crash would be a 50's 18" in the 1250-1375 gm range. You can search for that same range in the 60's and 70's but they tend to sound a little higher pitched than
the 50's. One of the best crashes I ever had was a 70's 18" at 1225 gm. It was lightning fast and very sweet and mellow....no harshness at all. Sold that locally for $125.....on Reverb that
could go for $150-$175.

Someone on here last year posted an 18" trans stamp crash at a thin 1130 gm or so. It sounded amazing. Asking price was around $200 at it sold pretty quick. The 1950's small stamp 18's can
be found in the $100-$150 range. I picked off an unmarked 18 trans stamp off EBay last year for around $100 as part of a $200 cymbal group of 3. It turned out to be a very light 1235 gm.
But even so, it seemed to have a slightly shrill tone to my ears. There's an exception to every rule. I suppose there's a 1425-1500 gm 18" out there that sounds incredible and breaks all the rules.
(haven't found it yet). My best 18" crash is a late 50's SSA small stamp at 1280 gm. Beautiful airy and smooth fast crash that plays well with both A's and K's. If you can find something like that at
$150 or under consider it a bargain. I'd value my 1280 gm at $175-$225 because it would take me years to find another like it. And I've seen some of the bigger Reverb cymbal retailers charge
up to $300 for perfect sounding 50's small or trans stamp 18's.
 
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1988fxlr

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If you are looking at buying a 17” off weight alone I have a couple and will attempt to give their weight equivalents in other sizes

My 17” trans stamp is 1108 grams and I would say it plays in between my 1264 gram 18” 60’s a and 1420 gram 18” late 50’s. Opens up very quickly, bright enough for 60’s sort of rock but not a lot of cut through for heavier stuff.

My 17” hollow logo (late 70’s/early 80’s) weighs 1386 grams and falls between the 1420 gram late 50’s and an 80’s Sabian aa medium I have that weighs 1612g. Still not a manhole cover by any means but can be ridden a little more without losing control and takes a little more authority to reach its full crash potential.

Comparing different A’s of even the same era and size is a bit of a shot in the dark bit hopefully this rant was in some way helpful
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I’d look for 60s to early 70s era Zildjians before the hollow logo. I’ve heard plenty good examples from that timeframe. Sometimes you may end up needing to go through a few until you get the right one, but that’s okay.

Also, if you’re not hung up on vintage, I’d easily consider a new current (but used) A thin or med-thin….which can sound great. I don’t think you can go wrong on the new ones. I have a pre-2013 med-thin version and still sounds great. (Mine would be like the second YouTube file below). I kinda dig that size too….not as splashy as a 16, but a little different than the standard 18” that everyone seems to have.


 
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