New Cymbals For 2010

Looking for a big bell on your ride cymbal? We mean a really big bell? Put a stick to the Amedia Fire Bell — then run!

Straight from those infamous Turkish forges to the floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, newcomer Amedia Cymbals made its NAMM debut showcasing the unique Fire Bell big-bell cymbal, a hand-hammered dome that’s about 60 percent raw bell, but with a nice even tone that works well for riding. Scaling way down from the Fire Bell is the Mini Cup, a jazz-oriented ride with a beautiful wash. Also, in a break from what seemed to be a trend this year of jazz-oriented cymbals, Amedia introduced the crisp, brilliant-finish D series hi-hats intended specifically for rockers. Also hidden among the Amedia booth’s generous assortment was a mysterious, as-yet unnamed ride with an raw, lightly hammered face and heavily hammered underside that left us looking forward to future developments from this intriguing newby.

Bosphorus introduced the Oracle series, developed with jazz drummer Ralph Peterson. The Oracle is similar to the New Orleans series, but with a much higher profile and a huge, unlathed bell. The result, according to company president Michael Vosbein, is a cymbal that is “a lot more aggressive than what we normally do.”

Diril introduced the AD series, a broadly lathed, 100 percent hand-hammered cymbal that the company claims is a “more refined and more mature cymbal,” good for jazz or lighter singer/songwriter music.

Take a China, exaggerate its lines, and you get the new Pang from Dream

Dream released its new Dark Matter rides in 20" and 22". The Dark Matter is a retempered, dried-out version of the earlier Dark Matter Energy formula, which provides a bit more stick definition and a more defined decay. The new Pangs are an update on an old China-type theme with a sharper arch on the interior lip and the notable addition of an interior bell. Marketing director Brian LaRue says the Pangs evoke the (regrettably) discontinued Paiste Nova Chinas, and are available in 10", 16", 18", 20", 22", the last of which, with the addition of a few rivets, would be a dead ringer for Zildjian’s Buddy Rich Swish Knocker.

Istanbul Agop celebrates its 30th anniversary with a cymbal line of the same name, featuring a 14" hi-hat and 20" or 22" rides. The rides come comfortably nestled in a faux-leather 30th anniversary cymbal bag.

Istanbul Mehmet’s Legend Dark

Istanbul Mehmet had new MC Constantinople Jazz series cymbals, made from the same secret formula as all Mehmet cymbals, with a bell and lathing modified from the Traditional and Turk lines. The new Legend Dark is a darker version (obviously) of the original Legend line, with similar underside lathing but wider lathing on the top. Origin is the new name for the discontinued FS series, available in Origin and Origin Dark, which has a smaller cup and some wicked scatter-shot hammering on its face. Along with the new moniker, the Origin cymbals also come with a thinner edge profile than the old FS cymbals. Also new are signature cymbals from Erik Smith and Snowy Shaw, which include Smith’s 22" Swish Ride with 18 rivets and 15" Versa Hats, and Shaw’s 21" Power Ride with Hyper Bell.

Kasza cymbals are a brand-new entry into the entry-level cymbal market. Available in both R (Rock) and F (Fusion) series, these B20-alloy cymbals are individually handmade in China. A separate starter pack comes with a bag and features cymbals made using the same metal, only with less hammering and handwork, and an accordingly smaller price tag.

Meinl came out with the M-series: B20 alloy machine-hammered in Germany for total consistency — includes 14" hats, 16" and 18" medium crashes, and 20" and 22" medium rides. The company also expanded its Soundcaster Fusion line, which it had just introduced at last year’s NAMM show, with some new weights and sizes (thin, medium, and heavy in 14"–20" crashes). It was hard to miss the Benny Greb signature Sand Ride, a Byzance series cymbal sand-blasted for a gritty matte finish, with a half-lathed and half unlathed underside.

Paiste gives Alex Van Halen his own bronze

Paiste made up for last year’s lack of fresh swag with a host of new offerings for 2010, including two massive 24" rides: the Rock Ride and the 2002 Big Ride. The latter was designed in collaboration with Alex Van Halen and is similar to the Giant Beats VH once used, but a touch more brilliant, and with a huge stadium-filling crash you need to hear to believe. Also new and brilliant were the Paiste Alpha Brilliant series, with characteristics and model sizes similar to Alphas but with a high-gloss finish. Also new are Metal Crashes, perfect for loud, aggressive settings as a crash/ride or a plain old ear-splitting crash, and available in 17", 18", 19", and 20" sizes. Last but not least is the Metal Edge hi-hat, which features the same production techniques as the new Metal crashes, but with a wavy bottom like the existing Sound Edge, and with a voice all its own.

Now beginners can enjoy some serious hang time with Sabian’s new SBR brass cymbals

Sabian’s gift to beginners is the new SBR brass cymbal line featuring jumbo-peen hammering and a unique tempering process that gives this affordable brass almost as much sustain as its bronze brethren. SBR is offered in three different starter packs. Also new is a brilliant finish option for the Xs20 line, which adds a different temper and livens up the sound. And since brilliant-finish cymbals account for 70 percent of Sabian’s sales, the company also added the option to Neil Peart’s signature Paragon line, responding to the Rush drummer’s preference for the “played in” feel his cymbals get after countless polishes from his drum tech. Speaking of the evolving tastes of top artists, Jack DeJohnette’s new Three-Point Ride reflects the jazz legend’s current palette with hand-hammering combined with HHX hammering, a mini bell, and a band to control spread. The HHX line also now boats 13" and 14" HHX Fusion hats, which feature a medium HHX top and heavy unlathed, hand-hammered (HH) bottom. Sabian has also elevated the prestige of cymbal packs by adding new Gospel, Praise & Worship packs in either AAX or HH/HHX combinations. Each pack features five models to fully outfit any worshiper’s rig.

“Earthy” can’t begin to describe Soultone’s Vintage Old School line

Soultone got in on the antique bandwagon with the Vintage Old-School series, meant to replicate the old ’50s K’s with a super dark, raw appearance and tons of evil, roaring darkness in its voice. Available in any size. The company can also now print custom signatures on any cymbal in its catalog for a flat fee of $50, regardless of the design. So you can stick your initials on, say, the new Latin series, whose half sizes (13.5", 14.5", etc.) will help set you apart that much more. Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett, who drummed for Michael Jackson, now has his own line of signature Soultone cymbals as well.

Stagg had a new student cymbal line, EX, which the company is billing as a more affordable series B8 cymbal, sold either as sets or individually. Also fresh out of the Stagg workshop are some thinner-model crashes for the Vintage Bronze series.

Another fresh face at NAMM was the newly minted Supernatural Cymbals, which came out strong with 12 complete lines of hand-hammered Turkish bronze sporting ambitious monikers: Aura, Omega, Universal, Prodigy Pro, Diamond Drive, Divine, Revelation, Mystic, Constellation, Impact, Heritage, and Relic. The Murrietta, California–based start-up is even delving into custom drums, offering 50 limited-edition snare drums of birdseye maple with die-cast hoops. We’ll be following Supernatural’s progress in the months to come.

The folks at Turkish raided the cookie jar for the Dark Hammer line

Turkish cymbals had some eye-catching new pies, including the wobbly Clatter series for percussion players, who can bash away with hands or sticks on sizes ranging from 14"–20". Other new additions are for jazzers only, including Vintage Soul, which resemble old Zildjian K’s that were just rescued from a house fire. The line includes 14" hats, 20"–22" crash/rides, and 16" and 18" crashes. The last addition is Dark Hammer, which looks like a giant Keebler Fudge Stripe cookie with its horizontal bands of lathed and unlathed stripes across the face, leading to a brilliantly lathed outer edge. Available in 13" and 14" hi-hats, 20" and 22" rides, and a 16" crash.

UFIP rewrote the plot for Beauty And The Beast with the Experience line

UFIP got a lot of attention with its beautiful new Bell Crash, which features a beefy ride cymbal bell and the delicate body of a brilliant crash, a combination made possible, the company claims, only because of its patented rotocasting cymbal-molding process. Bell Crashes are available in 17", 18", 19", and 20". Also new was the Experience series, an experimental line with characteristics similar to Zildjian’s K Constantinoples, but with a crackled surface on the bell from rapid cooling out of the forge and a rotocast construction that make it something else entirely. Also new were the highly versatile-but-decidedly-rock-leaning 15" Bionic hi-hats. And for the entry-level player not yet able to spring for a rotocast UFIP, the new Supernova sheet bronze cymbal line, with a sound reminiscent of a Paiste 2002 or a Zildjian A Custom, is a no-brainer.

Zildjian added new models to its super wobbly ZHT Trashformer line

Zildjian had an array of thin, jazzy new offerings this year, including the new 22" K Light Flat ride, and two new K Constantinople models: 22" K Constantinople Bounce ride, developed with Kenny Washington, and the 22" Thin OverHammered ride. The company also introduced a few new sheet-cymbal models geared toward the discerning player on a budget: ZHT 22" ride and ZHT 15" Mastersound hi-hats. The EFX line gained a couple of new sizes: 14" and 20" A Custom EFX cymbals feature eaborate vent cut-outs, while the new 16" and 18" K EFX’s round out the dark end of the spectrum with a sultry, trashy sound reminiscent of a K Thin crash. The lone 14" ZXT Trashformer gets some company with 8" and 10" models, which should prove useful for small, trashy accents or stacked on other cymbals. Finally, the Oriental China Trashes are now offered in odd sizes (13" and 15").