Your Favorite Jazz Hi-Hats?

KevinD

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Hard to tell what works or not until you try it. About 10 years ago I attended a function in an art gallery where a Jazz trio playing in the corner. Being a drummer the 1st thing I thought of was that this was loft space, high ceilings, lots of cement, not an ideal acoustic environment, esp for a a Jazz trio. Band sounded great.
Orfghghhjktrne of the things I noticed throughout the evening was that the hi hats sounded nice and crisp but didn't over power the room. I finally made my way over toe the band and was surprised to discover that the drummer was playing 80s era Zildjian Scimitar HHs...

In the late 70s Tony Williams was playing Zildjian Rock HHs, That influenced me to obtain a pair .For me they are way too heavy and high pitched for Jazz (I'm not really crazy about them for rock either) but Tony made them work...
 

paulwells73

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While I have some heavier jazz hihats (my new Agop Traditional Jazz hihats are kind of meaty) that I love, there is a certain thing that super thin hihats do that I can’t seem to get with anything else. I have a couple of pairs of very thin old As - 13" Trans Stamps that are 528g and 543g, and 15" Small Stamps that are 844g and 876g. These have an airiness, sizzle, and crunch that no modern hihats can give me. The closest thing I have is an early pair of Agop 30th hihats that are 625g and 648g. The biggest tell is how these sort of hats respond to brush playing. Ultra-thin hihats will still open up when played with brushes, and they also respond with a full and unmuted sound when played very soft with brushes.

These kind of hihats can struggle a bit with the chick sound. You have to experiment with the bottom cymbal angle sometimes. And it’s going to be an adjustment because the chick sound is always going to be soft, even if it’s a good short sound. But for a lot of things I do (especially any swing and earlier jazz playing), they are essential.

My model for this kind of sound and playing is Jo Jones. He did a lot of riding on the hihats, both with sticks and brushes. He always got a certain sensitivity and sizzle from his hats that I can never get with anything approaching New Beat-style weights. But then again, Kenny Washington can get that kind of sound, and he uses 60s New Beats, so anything is possible!
 
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While I have some heavier jazz hihats (my new Agop Traditional Jazz hihats are kind of meaty) that I love, there is a certain thing that super thin hihats do that I can’t seem to get with anything else. I have a couple of pairs of very thin old As - 13" Trans Stamps that are 528g and 543g, and 15" Small Stamps that are 844g and 876g. These have an airiness, sizzle, and crunch that no modern hihats can give me. The closest thing I have is an early pair of Agop 30th hihats that are 625g and 648g. The biggest tell is how these sort of hats respond to brush playing. Ultra-thin hihats will still open up when played with brushes, and they also respond with a full and unmuted sound when played very soft with brushes.

These kind of hihats can struggle a bit with the chick sound. You have to experiment with the bottom cymbal angle sometimes. And it’s going to be an adjustment because the chick sound is always going to be soft, even if it’s a good short sound. But for a lot of things I do (especially any swing and earlier jazz playing), they are essential.

My model for this kind of sound and playing is Jo Jones. He did a lot of riding on the hihats, both with sticks and brushes. He always got a certain sensitivity and sizzle from his hats that I can never get with anything approaching New Beat-style weights. But then again, Kenny Washington can get that kind of sound, and he uses 60s New Beats, so anything is possible!
I couldn't have said it better myself bud. I can only really play thinner hats, if you need more chick, put a little more space between them, tilt the bottom a little more, or use a little more (heavier) left foot. There is such a thing as "left foot touch!"

What weight did Mel use for hats? They always sounded pretty thin to me, even with the orchestra, and he had no problem with "cut."

I have 2 sets of 13" Trans stamps that are in the high-500-low-600 gram range (Papa Jo to the max!) I sort of went that way after playing Al's, his are really thin, and sound great riding with brushes or sticks. If I find another pair of trans 13's I'm putting rivets in the bottom!

My set of pre new beat 14's in the 700 range (and I have 2 bottoms, one with rivets,) or a pair of pre serial 602 14"s in that same high 700 range (I have an extra bottom that is slated for rivets too,) and a newer set of Giant Beats or a set of newer 602 Mediums. All of the 14's get used for rock but any of them could make a jazz record with no issues as well.

But... Paiste is making me a set of 13" Thin Masters as we speak, so we'll see...

Hope all is well Paul!
Mark
 

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What weight did Mel use for hats? They always sounded pretty thin to me, even with the orchestra, and he had no problem with "cut."
In the 1985 clinic he is using 13" Zildjiler (early Istanbuls), these sound quite meaty. I think Agop got his weights down pretty close. As for his earlier sounds, I sure would like to know. In the first clip (1969) the hats sound a bit lighter, but not really thin, maybe mediums close in weight.

I have a really thin pair of Nickelsilver 15" somewhere; I used one of these with a 15" K dark crash thin for a while, not in a big band setting though.



 
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tbird8450

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It's been tough finding modern thin hats that have all of the qualities I'm looking for - I guess they just don't make 'em like they used to. Most of what I've been auditioning has been in the ~850/1050 area (14"). These seem to offer the best balance of everything. As I said earlier, I've listened to several ML 14's and they seem to tick a lot of boxes, and sound more papery / crunchy than their higher weights would appear to indicate. I think it's coming down to those or the 30th Anniversaries. The latter are lighter (~700/800) and a bit crunchier, but I'm not sure they are quite as versatile. They're also about $100 more expensive.
 
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richiegarcia4

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I got lucky and scored a pair of paper thin A's from the 60's. I also have a pair of Cymbal and Gong Holy Grails that are great and more versatile than the A's. Both pairs are 14's. These types of hats are great if you're into the darker vintage vibe.
 

richiegarcia4

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Hard to tell what works or not until you try it. About 10 years ago I attended a function in an art gallery where a Jazz trio playing in the corner. Being a drummer the 1st thing I thought of was that this was loft space, high ceilings, lots of cement, not an ideal acoustic environment, esp for a a Jazz trio. Band sounded great.
Orfghghhjktrne of the things I noticed throughout the evening was that the hi hats sounded nice and crisp but didn't over power the room. I finally made my way over toe the band and was surprised to discover that the drummer was playing 80s era Zildjian Scimitar HHs...

In the late 70s Tony Williams was playing Zildjian Rock HHs, That influenced me to obtain a pair .For me they are way too heavy and high pitched for Jazz (I'm not really crazy about them for rock either) but Tony made them work...
That's crazy. I bought a Scimitar at a flea market back in the 80's. It was a Zildjian, so I thought it was a steal. When I got it home, I pounded on it and nothing. They could sell this crash an L80 today. That said, I could see a good jazz drummer making use of the muted quality of those cymbals.
 

KevinD

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That's crazy. I bought a Scimitar at a flea market back in the 80's. It was a Zildjian, so I thought it was a steal. When I got it home, I pounded on it and nothing. They could sell this crash an L80 today. That said, I could see a good jazz drummer making use of the muted quality of those cymbals.
Yeah, I think that was my only experience with those Scimitar cymbals, I had always heard negative stuff about them but those sounded really good that night. I seem to recall that there were different versions of them over time, maybe the drummer that night had one of the better versions.
 

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Jazz is a Frame Of Mind : ) @tbird8450
you can do some wild or inside jazz with Bosphorus, old 602s, certain A's....
has to be a certain inspirational quality present that sets you free
doesn't hold you up (or back) too much
but still be heard
able to get your ideas across clearly

you know. Like I do everyday. : /
I found Istanbul hh cymbals slow (back when I endor$ed (bought) them- laggy and weak chic (no matter weight I owned (Mels included) ...Bosphorus (I've found) much quicker, crisp and responsive.
old 602 are nice too. old K's are inter-planetary but you can't buy them anymore (much at all) so no use recommending them;
A's always work...

It's a Frame of mind mostly

get your mind in the direction and most gear will follow your direction
 
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tbird8450

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The Bosphorous Traditional Crisp 14s were on my short-list for sure. Maybe I'll end up going that way, we'll see. The Master Vintage hats were pretty sweet, but not quite what I'm after. I did grab some Mel Lewis 14s as they just seemed to offer the best overall package for my tastes. Some others had a slightly better chick, or a bit more crispness, etc, but didn't have quite enough in other areas. The MLs ticked a lot of boxes and I kept going back to their videos / sound samples. So far I'm enjoying them a lot. They seem more than responsive and quick enough - of course I'm coming from 15" 2002s which are about 300g heavier. I'll give them a few days of distraction-free playing (Ha - I can dream, right?) and then figure out if they're keepers. So far I think they will be.
 

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I had trouble finding a set of hats I liked for jazz until I started mixing. Now I'm using a crusty hollow logo new beat top over of all things an unbranded brilliant Steve Weiss top. Definitely not sexy but I guess it's whatever works.
 

JDA

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I'll leave the thread with some Italian film from the early 50s.


 
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Skins_in_the_game

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I have a pair of the old Paiste Ludwing Standards 14" Nickle Silver hats that are 603g and 608g, I use either of them over the top of a 70s A (800g new beat top used as bottom). They sound great. Good sensitivity.
I think they are pretty inexpensive when you can find them.
 

Gcort49

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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.
What I have...
 

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I bought a pair of used Istanbul Mehmet 14" Nostalgia hats a few months ago, but hadn't had a chance to really play them until last night. I was amazed by how much they sounded like my old K hats. I've played a variety of contemporary Turkish hats, and none of them came close to the old K sound except the Nostalgias.
 

glaze148

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In the 1985 clinic he is using 13" Zildjiler (early Istanbuls), these sound quite meaty. I think Agop got his weights down pretty close. As for his earlier sounds, I sure would like to know. In the first clip (1969) the hats sound a bit lighter, but not really thin, maybe mediums close in weight.

I have a really thin pair of Nickelsilver 15" somewhere; I used one of these with a 15" K dark crash thin for a while, not in a big band setting though.



More cowbell ?
 


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