Your Favorite Jazz Hi-Hats?

tbird8450

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My background is mostly rock, but over the past few months I've been going all-in on developing my jazz skills. I'm mostly into acoustic, smoky jazz club and bop type material more than big band and new wave.

I'm pretty well set on rides and crashes. I currently use 15" Paiste 2002 SE hats, which I absolutely love for rock and are actually serviceable for jazz if you work them the right way, but I'd like to get a jazz-specific set.

I'd like something quick, crisp, and on the lighter side, that are nuanced enough for intricate work during lower-volume situations, and maintain a nice sizzle even down low. The biggest downfall of the 2002s is that when the volume goes down, the sizzle devolves into clankiness.

I haven't really auditioned much yet as there's just so much out there - so where should I start? My ride / crash setup consists of Paiste, Zildjian, Meinl, and Istanbul, so clearly brand isn't a key concern. Thanks!
 

marc3k

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I use 15" Agop 30th Anniversary for piano trio. They are quite light and have a really nice sound to me. However, they are not very "quick" and for a loud "chick" I need to tilt the bottom cymbal a bit - but for me this no issue.
I also have some Agop 15" Om hihats, which have a bit a higher sound and are maybe a bit quicker. I have some older 14" signature, but they are heavier and seem quite loud.
 

saturnresearch

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I like smaller hats, especially for jazz. I got the Agop dry darks in 13" when they first came out and think they're incredible if you're looking for a smokier, raspier sound with a decent chick. They fit the profile you lay out pretty well: they're light, quick, and crisp, and when closed give plenty of stick definition. The entire dry dark line is made to be stackable so you could slide a 13 crash or something under the bottom hat for a louder chick sound, but I never felt the need. On a whim I ended up switching to some uberlight 50s A 12" hats (400g each) which are also really cool, though considerably more niche. I think you can't go wrong with a light set of old As, there's plenty of 14 and even some 15 hats from the 50s-60s where both plates are sub or just above 1000g. The agops are priced really well for their quality and you can always snag a good deal on some 50s As -- I paid $100 for mine and they're in great shape! No need to break the bank
 
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tbird8450

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Those 13" Dry Darks are pretty nice. They may be just a tinge too dry for what I'm looking for, though. But wow, they sure are priced well.

So far I like what I've heard of the 14" Mel Lewis Agops. They may be a current front runner.
 

larold

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I'd like something quick, crisp, and on the lighter side, that are nuanced enough for intricate work during lower-volume situations, and maintain a nice sizzle even down low. The biggest downfall of the 2002s is that when the volume goes down, the sizzle devolves into clankiness.
I'd suggest trying Dream Bliss, Istanbul Mehmet Legend and Istanbul Mehmet Nostalgia.
 

cruddola

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My favorite are the Paiste 602 hats that came with the Joe Morello set I bought in the late 60's.
 

Quai34

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Meinl Byzance Foundry Reserve 14 or 15"? Or Sabian Artisan 14" or 15"?
 

JimmySticks

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I like smaller hats, especially for jazz. I got the Agop dry darks in 13" when they first came out and think they're incredible if you're looking for a smokier, raspier sound with a decent chick. They fit the profile you lay out pretty well: they're light, quick, and crisp, and when closed give plenty of stick definition. The entire dry dark line is made to be stackable so you could slide a 13 crash or something under the bottom hat for a louder chick sound, but I never felt the need. On a whim I ended up switching to some uberlight 50s A 12" hats (400g each) which are also really cool, though considerably more niche. I think you can't go wrong with a light set of old As, there's plenty of 14 and even some 15 hats from the 50s-60s where both plates are sub or just above 1000g. The agops are priced really well for their quality and you can always snag a good deal on some 50s As -- I paid $100 for mine and they're in great shape! No need to break the bank
I had them and they were great. Trouble was I hated the rest of the series, ride and crashes, so I sold them all off in frustration, but I should have kept those hats. What a great chick!

After much experimentation, I have a good handle on what to look for in jazz rides, but I really don't have a grasp on the qualities that make a good set of jazz hats. Unlike rides, many hats sound very similar, (to me anyway) and I have a hard time knowing what to look for. I'll be following this thread!
 

dustjacket

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The new 14” Istanbul Agop Traditional Jazz hats may be worth checking out. I have a set arriving soon. Will let you know if they’re worth recommending.
 

Pedal_Pusher

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I have some Matt Nolan 14" high hats that work well for me playing in small group jazz jams. I alternate them with some 50's Istanbul K Zildjians once in a while and they compare favorably. Good luck, you can never have too many cymbal sounds.
 

Pibroch

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Those 13" Dry Darks are pretty nice. They may be just a tinge too dry for what I'm looking for, though. But wow, they sure are priced well.

So far I like what I've heard of the 14" Mel Lewis Agops. They may be a current front runner.
Suggest also trying the 13” Mel Lewis Agops if you haven’t already done so.
 

Targalx

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14" Sabian HHX Manhattan Jazz hats. Hey, they say "jazz" right on the cymbal itself! I play a full complement of the HHX Jazz series for all of my bop combo gigs.
 

Seb77

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If your starting point is Paiste, why not try 2002 medium hats? I learned to play jazz on a 14" pair of 505 medium hats that our school had, worked fine for all styles other than really loud ones. Paiste's medium hats are lighter than some Isty Mels etc. I have played, not to mention New Beats etc.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I use Sabian cymbals for my Jazz gigs ( small group and Big Band) and I am really digging the Sabian HHX Complex Medium 14” models. I had a pair of Artisan Light hihats that ai liked but once I heard the HHX Complex Mediums the Arrisans went up for sale . These hats are crisp and warm with a great foot chick and can do Rock gigs as well . Probably the most versatile hihats ai have played . Think a warmer A Zildjian New Beat .

Speaking of Zildjian the A Avedis 14” hats would make great Jazz hats .
 


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