A while back I discovered a brand new world - a world of beautifully crafted, hand-hammered cymbals available at affordable prices. I risked my bank balance and my marriage by continually shelling out hard-earned cash for cymbals from Turkish manufacturers Istanbul and Bosphorus.
Both these companies supply a wide range of cymbals, from tiny splashes and exotic effects up to 26" rides weighing more than the rest of your kit combined. My problem was that these cymbals are largely aimed at the jazz market. A generalisation I know, but a glance through the Bosphorus catalogue, for example, reveals a large collection of thin rides (with rivets!) and light, fast crashes. This isn't a problem, I suppose, except I'm a drummer who likes to hit the kit HARD from time to time. So my quest was to find a crash cymbal that would respond well at low volumes and also provide an earth-shuddering tidal roar when smacked to within an inch of its life.
So why not turn to "The Big 3"? Why not just find a rock crash and be done with it? Well - it's true that "The Big 3" make some fine, fine cymbals suited to many styles of playing, but for me - it's like there's no turning back. I fell in love with these cymbals the moment I heard them, and it became a challenge.
To cut an already long story short, I came across the Bosphorus 18" Antique Series Jazz Crash/Ride. This made sense - a ride cymbal which was designed to be crashed. I could finally go nuts!
First impressions count, and the first time I connected a stick with this cymbal was a joy - there was that trademark hissing, high-end attack
which backed off in good time to reveal a slow but subtle decay. Signs of a hand-hammered cymbal. Bosphorus cymbals are hand-made from start to finish, and boy can you tell. The Antique series shows off the "striped" effect you'll see in the accompanying thumbnails, meaning simply that parts of the cymbal are lathed, and other parts are not. This allows the differences in finishing technique to combine and create a cymbal of true, individual character.
At low volumes you can still hear the spread in the response of this cymbal, the wash stays there just long enough to make its point and the bell (unlathed) cuts through clearly. The only let-down I've noticed comes at high volumes, it just misses the mark with the attack
- not creating quite enough high-end roar to carry the character through walls of screeching guitar feedback. Saying that, the wash and decay are dazzling. Using this cymbal as a punctuation between loud and soft produces great results, and for accents it could hardly be better.
As a ride cymbal I find the response just too weak, but then we are only dealing with 18 inches of metal. I've been using a 20" Zildjian
K ride alongside this Bosphorus, and the two hang together like old friends.
If you're really interested in picking up some complex sounding cymbals, I strongly recommend checking out the Bosphorus range. The 18" Antique Jazz Crash/Ride is just one of many, each has its own unique character. Once you start getting acquainted with a Bosphorus cymbal, you'll realise there's a lot more under the surface than expected. I was (fairly) lucky with my choice, but I can't help feeling that the quest continues.
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