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Will cymbal trends ever lean towards the 40's/50's Zildjian A sound?

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I've recently been pushed headfirst down the Old A rabbit hole (I blame Brian Blade). There's something about the sound of the really good 40's and 50's A's (the ones with a slightly smoother lathe pattern) that are magic to my ear. Buttery, warm, woody stick tone with an ever so slightly restrained but dark crash, and tension built into the cymbal not from hammering but from a combination of other factors (seems to be the curve of the cymbal?). I've seen a handful out there and am positively losing my mind over that sound.

However, with the exception of the new Avedis Reissues and some copies that remind me of, as one user aptly put it, like the old "K's that sound like A's", such as the Bosphorus Pre-Aged 1600 series and an occasional 30th Anniversary, I really struggle to find any modern cymbal clones that seem to be chasing this sound. The prevailing trend has been and continues to be the ever elusive search to create cymbals that sound like recordings of the famous pre-buyout Turkish K's (Tony/Elvin/etc). I get it, I love those rides too, but I can't help but wonder if I'm not the only loony toon out there obsessed with the slightly different sound.

It's surprising to me that the Avedis Reissues are the only clear tribute to these monstrous sounding cymbals. With a dizzying saturation in the "old K" it would make sense to me for manufacturers to lean into a slightly more cost effective and less jam-packed vintage sonic range and market it heavily.

P.S. First post here! Hello to all!! Long time lurker here from Boise, Idaho. I look forward to learning from and discussing our mutual passion with you all. Cheers :)
 

Tama CW

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Welcome FH. Sounds like you've done some serious thinking on the old A subject. Can't say I know all the reasons on why some of those old A's sound so much
better than other ones. When I hear it.....I know it. But, often not the "why" of it. I'm always looking for a better sounding old A so guess that makes me obsessed too.

When I ran into a thin set of "modern" A Customs made in 2019 I was impressed with the "thin" 16 and 18 inch crashes in that set. They were very much like 1950's A's in feel and tone.
They're finely lathed as well. I've also found that some of my trans stamps were very close in tone to Zildjian's modern K's. So in a way Zildjian has been attacking the old A sound in
multiple directions through the Avedis line, A Customs, and regular K's. And there could be others I'm not in tune with yet.

In coming out with the "regular" K line of the past 20 years.....that to me is pretty much the old 50's A line.
 

Seb77

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I think both Zildjian and Sabian in part keep the older A sounds alive. Even the standard A is a bit more like an older cymbals than pre-2013 redesign. T
here are some videos with Paul Francis talking about the A. Cie Vintage series (from the earlier 2000s I think) as being the attempt to recreate some old A sounds consistnetly, and that it was quite hard to make them.
I like the A. Avedis as well, but to me they sounds like some 60s A'. As even older than ( I haven't played many) still haven't been replicated imo.
There is a certain tension/brittlness/zinginess factor unique to A's. Old ones might have a certain dark quality different from Ks, too. People look for different sounds; "protoypical" A sound might mena different things to different people.
 

Bronzepie

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I've recently been pushed headfirst down the Old A rabbit hole (I blame Brian Blade). There's something about the sound of the really good 40's and 50's A's (the ones with a slightly smoother lathe pattern) that are magic to my ear. Buttery, warm, woody stick tone with an ever so slightly restrained but dark crash, and tension built into the cymbal not from hammering but from a combination of other factors (seems to be the curve of the cymbal?). I've seen a handful out there and am positively losing my mind over that sound.

However, with the exception of the new Avedis Reissues and some copies that remind me of, as one user aptly put it, like the old "K's that sound like A's", such as the Bosphorus Pre-Aged 1600 series and an occasional 30th Anniversary, I really struggle to find any modern cymbal clones that seem to be chasing this sound. The prevailing trend has been and continues to be the ever elusive search to create cymbals that sound like recordings of the famous pre-buyout Turkish K's (Tony/Elvin/etc). I get it, I love those rides too, but I can't help but wonder if I'm not the only loony toon out there obsessed with the slightly different sound.

It's surprising to me that the Avedis Reissues are the only clear tribute to these monstrous sounding cymbals. With a dizzying saturation in the "old K" it would make sense to me for manufacturers to lean into a slightly more cost effective and less jam-packed vintage sonic range and market it heavily.

P.S. First post here! Hello to all!! Long time lurker here from Boise, Idaho. I look forward to learning from and discussing our mutual passion with you all. Cheers :)
It’s coming back around, I’m seeing a move towards cleaner sounding cymbals and slightly heavier weights, as in thin and complex cymbals trending to medium thin and mediums with a more traditional vibe. Maybe more of a trend correction than an actual trend. Too early to say, but I’m getting more inquiries for what I’d call more “versatile” cymbals.
 

John DeChristopher

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The authentic "A Zildjian sound" has always been relevant and has never gone out of style. For years, cymbals, whether they were Zildjian Ks or A Customs, and certain Sabian, Paiste, Meinl, Bosphorus, etc models, have been chasing and trying to replicate the authentic "A Zildjian sound." Drummers/consumers just didn't realize it was the sound they wanted. If you started playing drums in 1995 and got your first A Zildjian, that would be your impression of an A. Zildjian, vs. someone like me who got their first A. Zildjian in 1973. There's a world of a difference.

When rock drummers began using modern K cymbals (crashes, rides, hi-hats etc) in the 80s/90s, it wasn't because they'd discovered Elvin Jones and wanted "dark sounding" cymbals - the Ks sounded closer to what an authentic/old A sounds like. They were looking for an old (60s/70s) A. Zildjian sound, but couldn't get that from a modern A because they had become so heavy. Modern K crashes sounded closer to old A's than A's themselves. I've talked about this ad nauseam. The redesigned A's in 2012/2013 were a huge improvement.

When we launched the redesigned the A's in 2013, shortly before I left Z, Paul Francis selected a set from the first production run for me. 16" & 18" Thin Crashes, 20" Medium Ride and 14" NB Hats. No logos and no coating. The crashes are incredible - even better almost 10 years later. And with no coating they've developed a nice patina and look like they're 50 years old.

Cymbal & Gong is making a line of cymbals aimed at the old 60s A Zildjian sound and the few I've heard sound good. They have limited distribution in the US, thus are hard to find. https://www.cymbalandgong.com/merseybeat-2/

So cymbal makers are indeed chasing the sound, in some cases without realizing it...
 
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Thank you @Tama CW !

At advice of yourself and @John DeChristopher I took a look at some more recent A Custom videos and my mind is slightly blown right now. They do in fact share not only the similar thin lathing, but the lathing... shape? I wish I knew more about the manufacturing process so that I could elaborate further, but it looks almost as though there is an old A hidden underneath that brilliant finish. I would have never noticed that as this is a line that I've pretty consistently passed on, but that notion was also formed in my earlier years of playing.

The discussion of both manufacturers chasing a sound without realizing it and also people chasing sounds that are misleading has really opened up my mind as of late. I came across an older DFo thread on here in which a user mentioned finding a Meinl Byzance Traditional Medium Ride that sounded shockingly like the famous Nefertiti sound despite being outside of the ballpark of cymbals typically intentionally aiming for this ride. It really opened up my mind to the fact that I might be missing an opportunity to find the perfect ride (in a subjective personal sense of the word) because I was caught up on preconceived notions of what that cymbal should look like (or be named for that matter). I'd love to hear those cymbals you got from Paul (John).

On the topic of aesthetic though... I would be remiss if I said that the visual component of the cymbal wasn't a priority to me. Maybe this is something I'll grow out of - I did just turn 30 and recently started washing and drying a load of laundry in a single evening so I know that major life changes changes are on the horizon. There is something striking to me about the look itself of those old A's. The aged patina plucks at a psychological chord with me, and is one of the reasons the Bosphorus 1600s, C&G, and Paiste Giant Beats (my main ride is a 24" GB ) immediately call out to me. I've seen enough video and pictures of these well worn in patina'd vintage A's that that I've effectively been conditioned to see cymbals fitting that image in a different light.

@Seb77 it's that tension/brittleness/zinginess that pulls me to them as well, and is the main factor that I'm not using the Avedis Reissues as a ride (although I have a set of 16" plates as my main hats).
 
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mkelley

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I think both Zildjian and Sabian in part keep the older A sounds alive. Even the standard A is a bit more like an older cymbals than pre-2013 redesign. T
here are some videos with Paul Francis talking about the A. Cie Vintage series (from the earlier 2000s I think) as being the attempt to recreate some old A sounds consistnetly, and that it was quite hard to make them.
I like the A. Avedis as well, but to me they sounds like some 60s A'. As even older than ( I haven't played many) still haven't been replicated imo.
There is a certain tension/brittlness/zinginess factor unique to A's. Old ones might have a certain dark quality different from Ks, too. People look for different sounds; "protoypical" A sound might mena different things to different people.
I was giddy when the new Avedis series cam out. I really wanted something thin, kinda like Paiste's Big Beats, but the new Avedises are too heavy, which has generally been my issue with modern Zildjian.
 

JDA

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O what did Aram tell/show Avedis
and how did Avedis after Aram left- interpret it
I tell the story as soon as Aram left Avedis was on the phone "get me some machines down here I can't have these guys pounding cymbals 7 hours a day they'll leave"

aram and the immigrants.jpg


but they did it for a while until slowly over time it disappeared ...+/-
 
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Side note but I'm also extremely curious to see what kind of stuff Paul Francis brings to the table I really enjoyed his first batch that he sent off to Steve Maxwell's shop. If anybody were to chase down that old A sound for the pure fun of it it seems like it'd be him.
 

JDA

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the son..is a novice drummer ...but he gets it up to speed and feel after a few minutes


but hmm A? hmm maybe

curious to see what kind of stuff Paul Francis brings
more random hammered than symmetrical hammered
 
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Tama CW

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the son..is a novice drummer ...but he gets it up to speed and feel after a few minutes


but hmm A? hmm maybe


more random hammered than symmetrical hammered

I like the 20" best of that group. Something magical tends to happen with old 20" A's around the 1900 gm range (1800-1950 gm). And new beats at 900/1400 are a bit heavy for a vintage
vibe. I'd have chosen nothing heavier than 850/1175 gm for new beats. They can swing either way at that level....and can nicely mimic matched pairs of old A's and K's at the 800's to mid 900's.

I've stuck around the old A's because you can still pick off good ones for not a ton of money. You really can't do that with newer cymbals or even old K's.
 

JDA

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Can't tell anything about Francis' cymbals from the video's so far; these really have to be in-person up-close- it seems....
Or Closer/ better/ single/ up close videos/
which in time will come etc.
All so far have been 'at a distance'..

doing them a disservice a lil bit. But then again it's up to Paul to present his wares. when he's ready.
May be missing the initial opportunity to get some traction
 

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You might wanna check out this guy. Take a number though, get in line.
My favorite apparel!


 

varatrodder

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I love old A's, and when I shop for modern cymbals, I still try to find cymbals that have that Old A sound. Having played, bought and sold old A's for the past 30 years, I've seen a lot of variation in A Zildjians (even within the same stamp period) so the Old A sound you are looking for maybe different than the sound I am looking for.

That being said, I've found some newer cymbals that really do emulate the Old A sound I like. The trick is to listen with your ears and not your eyes (that's the hardest part for me).

These are the ones I've owned:
22" K Custom Dark Ride. The one I owned sounded almost identical to my 24" 1950's block stamp ride, just higher in pitch due to the smaller diameter. These cymbals sound like the perfect Old A.

Istanbul Xist crash and hi hats. These things are REALLY close to first stamp A Zildjians. I compared them to a couple of first stamp A Zildjians I had (16" and 13") and the lathing and hammering were nearly identical. The profile of the Xist was a bit higher, but they all had very similar sound characteristics. I've only owned one Xist ride, but they have a much larger bell than Zildjian, so they may not be a good match for Old A's.

Bosphorus Traditional rides. I've had a few medium and medium thin rides in various sizes, and they sounded like some of the washier Old A's I've owned. Bosphorus are pretty clean sounding compared to the other Turkish brands, so you get a bit of clean and a bit of grit.

22 K Ride (the regular modern K ride). They are dark, but not trashy. To my ear they capture that darker old A sound, with just enough of that Zildjian zing underneath.
 

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I highly recommend Cymbal & Gong cymbals, especially the Mersey Beat series.
They claim "The cymbals are closely patterned after the set of cymbals played by the most famous British Invasion drummer to hail from Liverpool. They work especially well in the studio: thin 14” hihats, and 18” right-side crash-ride and a 20” left-side crash-ride with four rivets!"
I love this 20" ride and own two of them.
Also their "Leon Collection" cymbals are resembling the old Avedis sound for my taste, but they’re not easy to get since they're a special series, not part of their regular series.
But you should really check them out.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I saw Brian Blade in 2014 at Monterey Jazz and his setup was an Old K, a real Spizz, and a 22" K Con light if I recall. I got to meet his drum tech and actually touch the cymbals. Same in 2018. I'll see him there in a few months and update this.

 

Griener

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I highly recommend Cymbal & Gong cymbals, especially the Mersey Beat series.
They claim "The cymbals are closely patterned after the set of cymbals played by the most famous British Invasion drummer to hail from Liverpool. They work especially well in the studio: thin 14” hihats, and 18” right-side crash-ride and a 20” left-side crash-ride with four rivets!"
I love this 20" ride and own two of them.
Also their "Leon Collection" cymbals are resembling the old Avedis sound for my taste, but they’re not easy to get since they're a special series, not part of their regular series.
But you should really check them out.
This is the "Leon Collection“ ride from Cymbal & Gong that I bought:


It’s a great cymbal.
Is this the sound you’re looking for?
(I won’t sell it, by the way)
 


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