6 New Zildjian Ride Cymbals Reviewed!

zildjian roundup

20" K Constantinople Renaissance Bounce Ride

This cymbal closely resembles the 19" crash/ride but has eight small clusters of hammer marks that add “dirt” to the sound. This cymbal was developed with the help of jazz drummer Kenny Washington and features a bell profile modeled from Washington’s own vintage K. The bottom of the cymbal is lathed more like an A Zildjian while the top surface features pin lathing.

If you have been looking for a good crash/ride and were disappointed to learn the previous model didn’t fit its description of crash/ride, I have good news, this Bounce Ride doesn’t really fit its description either, further indicating the limitations of cymbal nomenclature. As expected, this cymbal had a lower pitch than the 19” crash/ride, but it also was much livelier, less controlled, and just plain louder. It offers a pretty good crash sound that could work for jazz drummers or even rockers who want a washy, boisterous crash cymbal with a loud bell sound. Crashing it gave much more of a crash sound than most rides do and built up quite a bit of roar under louder riding. I prefer my ride cymbals drier and more controlled with a defined stick sound, though there are times (such as a big band shout chorus) when a cymbal like this one works perfectly. It could also work well in a contrasting partnership with a very dry ride.

21" And 22" K Custom Dark Complex Rides

Of all the cymbals in this review, these two are certainly the most unique and definitely the coolest looking. Their surfaces are unlathed yet they’re slightly bumpy and their hammer marks are sharp and almost stippled looking rather than blunter and shallower. Even the bells are hammered on these two models. There’s a unique satin finish on the surface that adds to their striking appearance. I thought my 21" model was actually a little deeper in pitch than the 22" because it’s undertone was deeper, though it had a little more of a controlled nature and slightly brighter stick definition. Both shared the same dark, controlled, and slightly trashy overtone characteristics. The stick definition was good, too. With lighter sticks the smaller cymbal’s bell didn’t speak as loudly as on the 22" model. With slightly heavier sticks it wasn’t a problem. I really liked both of these cymbals but some traditionalists might feel they are just a tad too “complex” to work as a primary ride.

zildjian roundup

21" 20th Anniversary A Custom Ride

Zildjian commemorates its A Custom line with this new 21" model that will only be available in 2012. It has a smooth surface and a brilliant finish with very shallow lathing and subtle symmetrical hammering marks. This new A Custom seemed much simpler in character than the Constantinople or the K Custom models and was fairly controlled and easy to play without ever becoming overbearing. It had a bright cutting bell that seemed like it would work perfectly for Latin drumming or as a general-purpose ride for a rock drummer more than in a jazz context. I prefer more complex rides and this one it was certainly more “vanilla” than the other cymbals in this review, but for drummers playing pop music it could fit their needs well.

Verdict

I loved several of these cymbals and could easily use them on my next jazz gig, and plan to do so. My favorites were the 22" Constantinople and the two Complex Dark rides since each is noticeably different yet would be complementary to cymbals I currently own. Depending on what you currently play and what you may need in your setup you might have other preferences.

Details

Model & List Price
19" K Constantinople Crash/Ride $724
20" K Constantinople Bounce Ride $772
22" K Constantinople Renaissance Ride $911
21" 20th Anniversary A Custom Ride $570
21" K Dark Complex Ride $671
22" K Dark Complex Ride $731

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