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Neil Peart Talks Paragon Brilliance

By Radim McCue Published February 5, 2010

The introduction of brilliant finish adds a shimmering stage brightness to the Paragon line. But, according to Sabian, it's about a lot more than appearance. Brand-new cymbals always need breaking in. Working with Sabian Neil Peart found that the brilliant finish could help give Paragons the openness of an older cymbal right out of the bag.

"I have always found that brand-new cymbals have a certain tightness," Neil says, "both in their physical response and in their sound, and it takes a few shows to play them in. Then they loosen up and start to "dance" on the stand, and the swell of sound from attack to decay would become smooth and open. "When I was talking about that quality to the dedicated cymbal-makers at SABIAN, they took it as a kind of challenge: how can we build that "played-in" quality into the cymbals?

"Wheels started turning in the imagination of Mark Love, chief designer and sound alchemist at the factory in Meductic, New Brunswick. He figured that because playing the cymbal creates heat in the friction among the molecules of the metal, then perhaps carefully-applied heat to a newly lathed-and-hammered Paragon could create the same effect.

"Experiments began, and prototypes were sent to California for "field-testing" by me and Sabian's Chris Stankee. Each prototype was carefully weighed and played, with stick-tip, shoulders, and mallets; notes were collected on a (very scientific) clipboard then exchanged with Mark at the factory. Eventually the formula was perfected.

"A careful application of the finished Paragon cymbal to a buffing wheel (a big old "steampunk" kind of machine, where a craftsman controls the force and time) brought it to a temperature of 400°F, and produced a well-tempered instrument that danced on the stand, and sang out clear and bright."

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