Your Favorite Jazz Hi-Hats?

BennyK

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You should look at Dream Bliss 14" hats, they're incredible. They are thin, dark, and still have a definitive chick and stick definition. I believe they're made in Wuhan, and they're hand-hammered. And the best part, they're about half the price!

I love mine, I'll never part with them.


I've a 13" pair I use with the bottom on top . A friend of mine uses a 14" Bliss top over a 2002 sound edge bottom . Killer .
 

JimmySticks

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So what does somebody look for in jazz hats?

I know what to look for in jazz rides, but I'm at a loss for hats. Is it the same, dark, light, dry? A good chick is a must I presume. But it's harder for me to hear the differences in hi hats compared to rides. Right now, I'm using
a pretty light set of Kashian's, and they sound good to me. I had a set of Agop's dry/dark 13" and they were pretty incredible. What a strong chick and very dry and dark. Unfortunately, I sold them. Should I just get another set?
 

Twakeshima

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You’re gonna want the meinl dual hats or some sand hats. Dual hats especially are great for low volume articulation. The only thing is they’re super dark and dry... not sure if that’s your thing, but check them out.
 

Seb77

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So what does somebody look for in jazz hats?
They shouldn't be too loud. These days, people use lighter ymbals even for hard-hitting styles, but when I started out buying cymbals, hi-hats were often designed to "cut", not what you want in a quiet setting. I personally don't like real old-school, paperthin cymbals as hats, at least not on bot sides. I want some chick and stick definition, but the upper end in terms of weight/projection would be something like Tony Williams' 60s hats. Check out John Riley's clips about his vintage cymbal collection, he seems to have hunted down this sound.
Another aspect I would pay attention to is the half-open sound, which for me should be pretty long, so you can get a sustaining sound even with slow beats. The rest is a matter of taste, a jazz cymbal doesn't need to be dark per se.
 

JimmySticks

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They shouldn't be too loud. These days, people use lighter ymbals even for hard-hitting styles, but when I started out buying cymbals, hi-hats were often designed to "cut", not what you want in a quiet setting. I personally don't like real old-school, paperthin cymbals as hats, at least not on bot sides. I want some chick and stick definition, but the upper end in terms of weight/projection would be something like Tony Williams' 60s hats. Check out John Riley's clips about his vintage cymbal collection, he seems to have hunted down this sound.
Another aspect I would pay attention to is the half-open sound, which for me should be pretty long, so you can get a sustaining sound even with slow beats. The rest is a matter of taste, a jazz cymbal doesn't need to be dark per se.
Thanks Seb.

I'm using an old set of Kashian's right now and they seem to fit the bill. They have good stick definition and a pretty good chick, although I would like it to be a little more pronounced. They're not dark or very dry, but not at all overly bright either. I had a set of Agop Xist dark/dry hats and that set had a very pronounced chick which I really liked, but was maybe to much for quiet jazz settings.

I've been slowly switching over from my Kashian's to Paiste, so I'll be checking out their hats. (it's an expensive transition!!!)

I'm adding a YouTube vid of Kashian hats that are very close in weight. Let me know what you think if you can -

 
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AtlantaDrumGuy

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Even though I prefer older new beats, remember that Peter Erskine uses a modern made pair...and they always sound great when he is playing! So there ya go. New Beats.
 

charlesm

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I'm loving my vintage '50s A hats lately. They just sound fantastic. They manage to be so many things in one: dark, lively, responsive, sit nicely in the mix but still present, etc.

These really show their best sides in thin, close weights, imo. Found an amazing set of 14s locally that are about 700/800g. Totally got the bug and then sold off a great-sounding set of Kerope 15s to fund a set of 15" '50s A (preferred size). Found a set online that is about 900/999g...nicely thin but with good presence.

Couldn't be happier with these 14 and 15 sets. And they're GREAT for recording...present but not too toppy. Kept a set of 15" K "Lights" (1100/1300g) too, though, because it's a really sweet example.

Many hats can work for jazz, obviously, but I think, for general work, it's more important to keep them on the thin side.
 

drumsdbes

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I like Sabian Manhattan 14s for a bit washier sound and 14 New Beats for Big Band that needs to cut through a bit more...
 

lossforgain

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Another vote for finding yourself a pair of old Avedis hats. My jazz hats are a 14” set of 60s As on the thinner side but not too thin. My weights are 765/890.
 
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pwc1141

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I bought a pair of 14" Bosphorus Master series hats almost 20 years ago and they still sound good. I like a pronounced "chick" but not too harsh and these seem to suit any genre although I play mostly jazz.
 

marc3k

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They shouldn't be too loud. These days, people use lighter ymbals even for hard-hitting styles, but when I started out buying cymbals, hi-hats were often designed to "cut", not what you want in a quiet setting. I personally don't like real old-school, paperthin cymbals as hats, at least not on bot sides. I want some chick and stick definition, but the upper end in terms of weight/projection would be something like Tony Williams' 60s hats. Check out John Riley's clips about his vintage cymbal collection, he seems to have hunted down this sound.
Another aspect I would pay attention to is the half-open sound, which for me should be pretty long, so you can get a sustaining sound even with slow beats. The rest is a matter of taste, a jazz cymbal doesn't need to be dark per se.
I agree - I played 14" K Mastersound Hihats before switching to Agops and recently tried them again before selling them - man are they loud!
 

tbird8450

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OK, I've listened to probably 100 hats in the last few days...phew. Most of them were excellent. So many of you made some fantastic suggestions. Having such a vast amount to choose from is both a blessing and a curse. I learned a bunch about my own tastes, and should be able to narrow things down to a winner very soon.

Some standouts:

Regular old Zildjian Ks
K Lights
New Beats - Super versatile and would work great, but not quite "jazzy" enough for me
Agop 30th Anniversary - both 14" and 15" - man these are nice
Agop Mel Lewis - both 13" and 14"
Paiste Formula 602 ME
Sabian Manhattan

There are others I'm missing, but these all stuck in my memory.

So far I keep coming back to the Mel Lewis 14s. They seem to have the best combination of the right sizzle, low-volume nuance, chick, and can be played with both some dryness and some brightness depending on how you work them. Whenever I would find something else that I really liked, I'd go back to the MLs and prefer them just a bit more.

I'll give it a few more days.
 
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dnel77

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That’s interesting because they seem like a heavy pair of hats to me. You don’t find that they are too loud?
they are! I had a pair of dark medium heavy which are lighter. However just wasnt the sound i was looking for. Nope! i learned how to play them. I play my sound creations on every type of gig. It just depends on what i want to hear at the time.
 

David M Scott

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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!
Now I know i'll be considered weird but I went through about 4 sets of hats over the years and I admit that Zil A/K's and Paiste were out of my price range for a number of years. I got got service out of Sabian B8 regular and B8 Pro Rock but as Jazz/Swing came back into my life I was looking for a brighter sound. I happened to buy a 14in Sabian B8X crash at a good deal and because it was bright started to use it as a top hat. I liked it so much I added a second for the bottom and i've found the sound I was looking for as it has good bounce for light rock.
Satisfied !
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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My thing is this, I want to hear the foot click sound. If you go too thin, then the foot definition isn’t there. With a new beat, you get enough volume to hear the 2 and 4. But that’s just me. I’m not playing ride patterns on my hi hats, so it’s all about the 2 and 4.
 


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